Speed Skater FS II.303 was created in honour of the 1984 Olympic Winter Games. After completed, this print was made into a poster that was seen all over Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, where the Olympic Games were being held. By layering different colours on top of each other, Warhol is able to form a black square from which the skater seems to be skating from. This colouring, as well as Warhol’s use of line on the skater, ultimately creates a sense of depth and motion. This skater appears to be skating out of the layered colours, in motion indefinitely.
This print was originally published in the portfolio Art and Sports, which contained works by seventeen artists. This was the official art portfolio of the XIV Olympic Winter Games. Although Warhol wasn’t a sports enthusiast, he was fascinated by the fame that athletes acquired. He recalled: “I really got to love the athletes because they are the really big stars”.
Warhol created the “Athletes” series in the late 1970’s, a project originally started by Richard Weisman, an art collector and avid sports admirer. The subjects for the series, chosen by Weisman, include Muhammad Ali, Pelé, OJ Simpson and Jack Nicklaus amongst others. As a part of the process in creating portraits, Warhol took Polaroid photographs of the athletes as a way to inform the final works.