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Clap skate

Clap skates (also called clapskates, slap skates, slapskates, from Dutch klapschaats) are a type of skates[?] used in speed skating. Unlike in traditional skates where the blade is fixed to the boot, the clap skates have the blade attached to the boot by a hinge at the front.


Illustr.: Regular skate and clap skate compared.

Clap skates were developed at the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences of the Vrije Universiteit[?] of Amsterdam, led by Gerrit Jan van Ingen Schenau[?], although the idea of a clap skate is much older; designs dating from around 1900 are known.

The clap skate was first used in the 1984/1985 skating season. It was however not until the 1990s that the idea was taken seriously. In the 1996/1997 season, the Dutch female team started using the skates, and with great success. The rest of the skating world soon followed suit, causing a rain of World Records in the following seasons, including the 1998 Olympic Winter Games at Nagano, Japan. Nowadays, all top level skaters use clap skates.

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