ISU President Jan Dijkema has spoken of his vision for the future of the sport with the world governing body set to celebrate its 125th birthday ©Jan Dijkema

International Skating Union (ISU) President Jan Dijkema has revealed his vision for the future of the sport as the world governing body prepares to celebrate its 125th birthday.

The ISU was founded on July 23 in 1892 in Scheveningen in Dijkema’s homeland of The Netherlands.

The Dutchman, elected to his role in June last year, believes ice skating and the ISU "must move in tandem with developments in our societies" in order to succeed in the future.

"We need to find creative ways to fascinate the global sports audience based on their needs and deliver spectacular events," Dijkema, a trained sociologist, added.

"We should also focus on attracting and educating new talent worldwide, the next generation of athletes.

"For sustainable growth, we must instill a passion for skating at a young age and provide access to training facilities and coaching.

"Together we can shape the future of our beloved sport and leave a legacy for the next 125 years."

Dijkema hailed good governance as one of his three main priorities when elected ISU President.

Marketing and promoting the sport and development were also identified by the 72-year-old, who replaced Italian Ottavio Cinquanta in the top job. 

"Despite my Dutch roots, I always take a global point of view," Dijkema said.

"One of my priorities is to expand and develop skating worldwide.

"It’s no coincidence that we established a new ISU Development Programme in the first weeks after my election.

"It’s key to educate more coaches and officials worldwide and to support the development of promising young skaters in a sustainable way."

Skating is an extremely popular sport in The Netherlands, where the ISU was founded ©ISU
Skating is an extremely popular sport in The Netherlands, where the ISU was founded ©ISU

The first modern speed skating competition took place in Norway in 1863, with figure skating’s inaugural international event being held 19 years later in Austria’s capital Vienna.

The latter featured the legendary Norwegian figure of Axel Paulsen, who performed the famous jump that immortalised his name.

By this time, skating clubs, national associations and emerging international competitions were calling for rules, standardisation and governance.

A meeting was called in Scheveningen, attended by representatives of all countries interested in international ice skating competitions, and the ISU was born.

As the oldest international winter sport federation, and the second-oldest of all sports federations, the ISU also pre-dates the International Olympic Committee by two years.

"Skating is in the DNA of every Dutchman, it has shaped my life," Dijkema said.

"When I grew up, I loved to skate on natural frozen water. 

"I am still skating long-distance tours nowadays. 

"My love, passion and enthusiasm for skating have motivated me to work hard for the development of the sport and the ISU."