To Europe With Love


On Sunday, January 23, 1972, youngsters from Sacramento, California to Syracuse, New York begged their parents to "stay up just a little later". An hour after the "World Of Disney" aired the Lesley Ann Warren film "The One And Only, Genuine, Original Family Band", NBC presented a charming one hour skating special that history has all but overlooked - "To Europe With Love".

"To Europe With Love" was Peggy Fleming's third made-for-TV special. It came on the heels of "Peggy Fleming At Sun Valley", which won two Emmy awards. Directed by Sterling Johnson, produced by Dick Foster and packaged for NBC by Bob Banner Associates, the production was filmed in the autumn of 1971 over a four week period. Most of the scenes were shot in Grenoble, where Peggy won Olympic gold in 1968, but the crew also filmed in Austria, Germany and Switzerland. One of the more memorable scenes from the production was a skating scene set on a glacier on Jakobshorn mountain in the Alps, overlooking Davos.


There were some adventures along the way. In Switzerland, Peggy climbed atop the roof of a two-story home with four others and took on the role of a chimney sweep. She recalled, "Swiss chimney sweeps got around by bicycle, riding along even on snow while balancing their ladder and long broom... The mayor [also] closed the schools in three districts to permit hundreds of children to participate in one scene to fill two acres of ice with skaters."


Peggy skated both solo and duet performances in "To Europe With Love", performing with nine time Austrian Champion Willy Bietak and Paul Sibley, a former star of the Wiener Eisrevue. The title track for the show was written by Everett Gordon, but the bulk of the music came from the Austrian pop group The Milestones and special guest star Andy Williams. The production was a reunion of sorts for Peggy and Andy. Back in 1966, she had made her first network variety show appearance on his show. Andy even laced up and took to the ice in one scene of "To Europe With Love" with Peggy that was filmed at the stunning Neuschwanstein Castle in southwest Bavaria.


Less than two weeks after "To Europe With Love" aired, Peggy was in Sapporo, Japan commentating with Jim Simpson on NBC's coverage of the 1972 Winter Olympic Games. Though "To Europe With Love" received good reviews, it kind of got lost in the shuffle as Trixi Schuba - coincidentally a European - succeeded the American star as the new Olympic Gold Medallist in women's figure skating.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating and archives hundreds of compelling features and interviews in a searchable format for readers worldwide. Though there never has been nor will there be a charge for access to these resources, you taking the time to 'like' the blog's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SkateGuard would be so very much appreciated. Already 'liking'? Consider sharing this feature for others via social media. It would make all the difference in the blog reaching a wider audience. Have a question or comment regarding anything you have read here? Have a suggestion for a topic related to figure skating history you would like to see covered? I'd love to hear from you! Learn the many ways you can reach out at http://skateguard1.blogspot.ca/p/contact.html.

Xenia Caesar, The Mother Of Russian Figure Skating


Born in 1889 in St. Petersburg, Russia, Xenia Genrichovna Caesar developed a sense of discipline and appreciate for melody as a child by studying piano with her father, a music teacher. Along with her sisters Barbara and Olga, Xenia joined the St. Petersburg Society Of Ice Skating Amateurs when she was still a student. At the frozen Yusupov Gardens, she excelled at the finer points of compulsory and special figures under the expert tutelage of none other than Olympic Gold Medallist Nikolay Panin-Kolomenkin. Panin later recalled, "From the first meeting with her on the ice, I was amazed by her abilities... Soon Xenia took a leading place among the younger population of the 'Academy'."

In 1910, Xenia made her debut at the Russian Championships, finishing third in the men's event which was won by Karl Ollo. When a women's competition was formally introduced the following winter, she claimed the gold, defeating fellow Panin disciple Lidia Popova. That same winter, she finished second at a figure skating competition for women which was held in conjunction with the European Championships, which at that time were only contested by men. Xenia reigned as the Russian women's champion for five years in a row and in 1914 in St. Moritz, she became the first Russian to participate in the women's event at the World Championships. Hampered by low marks in the school figures, she placed seventh of the nine entries despite earning third place ordinals from both the German and British judges in free skating. Unfortunately, the outbreak of the Great War ended her competitive figure skating career.


Following the War, Xenia served as a professor at the Institute Of Physical Culture in Leningrad and was the founder and head instructor at the school of figure skating at the Leningrad Provincial Council of Trade Unions. She later taught at the Pischevkus and Lesgaft skating schools with Nikolay Panin-Kolomenkin and fellow Russian Champions Karl Ollo and Fedor Datlin before returning to the Yusupov Gardens to teach skating with the Central Club of the Leningrad Provincial Council of Trade Unions. Among her students were 1937 and 1939 Soviet pairs champions Raisa (Novozhilova) and Alexander Gandelsman.

Although contemporary sources claim that Xenia passed away in 1967, the Russian National Library's "Book of Memory of Victims of Political Repression in the USSR" supports journalist Oleg Chikiris' claim that she actually died in May 1942 during the Siege Of Leningrad and was buried near Nikolay Panin-Kolomenkin in Piskarevskoe Cemetery. For those who aren't up on their World War II history, the German occupation of Leningrad was nothing short of horrific. Over one and a half million people died - the largest loss of life ever in a modern city - and starvation was so extreme that citizens resorted to eating sawdust, rats and cats - even murder and cannibalism. Many died on the streets. Hardly a fitting end to anyone's story, let alone the mother of Russian figure skating. Inducted into the Hall Of Fame of the Federal State Educational Institution of Higher Professional Education, National State University of Physical Culture, Sports and Health posthumously, Xenia's tragic story is all but forgotten outside of Russia today.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating and archives hundreds of compelling features and interviews in a searchable format for readers worldwide. Though there never has been nor will there be a charge for access to these resources, you taking the time to 'like' on the blog's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SkateGuard would be so very much appreciated. Already 'liking'? Consider sharing this feature for others via social media. It would make all the difference in the blog reaching a wider audience. Have a question or comment regarding anything you have read here or have a suggestion for a topic related to figure skating history you would like to see covered? I'd love to hear from you! Learn the many ways you can reach out at http://skateguard1.blogspot.ca/p/contact.html.

Five Fabulous Fellows Of The Fifties


In the heyday of lavish touring productions, hotel ice shows and colourfully costumed skating pantomimes, the press was certainly more than kind to the leading ladies. Male skaters, however talented or unique their stories, almost always seemed to play second banana. Today we will hop in the time machine and meet five fabulous fellows of the fifties whose accomplishments as professional skaters certainly warrant a second moment in the spotlight!

MICKEY MEEHAN


Ice show aficionados in the fifties would have had to have been living under a rock if they didn't know the name Michael 'Mickey' Meehan. This Irish born skater got his first big break as a Gloria Nord's pairs partner in the roller skating revue "Skating Vanities" and rose to prominence as an ice skating star in the early fifties with the Holiday On Ice tour.


A graceful skater who drew on ballet training, Mickey skated a romantic pairs act called "Stars In Your Eyes" with Joan Hyldoft in the 1952 show that stood out amongst the shtick for its elegance. So styled was his skating that "Dance Magazine" raved about his solo performance to Tchaikovsky's "Fifth Symphony" thusly: "If the balletic form Michael Meehan shows in Holiday On Ice is his on terra firma too, a dance star is in the wrong pew. If he worked hard he could easily be snatched by any ballet company." Leaving the touring ice show world behind, Mickey found success skating in the ice shows in the Boulevard Room at the Conrad Hilton Hotel in Chicago in the latter half of the fifties.

BILL HINCHY



Hailing from Glebe, a suburb of Sydney, Australia, William Hinchy rose to prominence as a pairs skater in the late forties, winning the 1948 Australian title with partner Thelma Homsey. Following that win, Hinchy turned professional, took a job coaching in Melbourne and appeared with Thelma in the shows "Schooldays" and "Rhythm On Ice" at the Sydney Glaciarium, skating for a few years on the Tivoli Circuit.


The lure of stardom drew Bill to Great Britain, where he appeared alongside Belita in two of Claude Langdon's ice pantomimes at Empress Hall in London - "Jack In The Beanstalk On Ice" and "White Horse Inn On Ice". He then left Langdon's troupe to skate in Tom Arnold's pantomime "Queen Of Hearts On Ice" at Westover Ice Rink in Bournemouth and won the 1953 World Professional Championships in pairs skating with Maureen Pain. 

RUDY RICHARDS


The son of Anna (LeBlanc) and Edward Richard, Rudolph Arthur Richard was born August 14, 1922 in the province of Quebec. His family emigrated to Fitchburg, Massachusetts in his youth, where his father found a job in a paper mill and his older sisters worked in a shoe shop. He was the third oldest of seven children.

While attending school, Rudy contributed to the family income by appearing in nightclubs and Vaudeville shows throughout New England as a dancer and giving dance lessons. Upon moving to New York City, he made the most of another passion of his youth - ice skating - one he'd never explored beyond skating in a few carnivals on local lakes.

Under the stage name Rudy Richards, he got his start in professional skating in the Terrace Room at the Hotel New Yorker. His success in "Newfangles On Ice" led to  a series of shows at the Centre Theatre including "It Happens On Ice", "Hats Off To Ice", "Stars On Ice" and "Howdy, Mr. Ice". At Marjery Fielding's Midnight Ice Show at the Iridium Room in 1944, he stole the show with his solo to Maurice Ravel's "Bolero", some forty years before Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won Olympic gold performing to the exact same music. In 1947 alone, he appeared alongside Belita in "Rhapsody On Ice" and Sonja Henie in the "Hollywood Ice Revue". During the forties, he also served a stint in the United States Army, serving as a Technician Fourth Grade during World War II.

Sonja Henie and Rudy Richards in the 1955 Hollywood Ice Revue. Photo courtesy The Norwegian Archives.

After performing in the Boulevard Room at the Hotel Stevens in Chicago, Rudy took a stab at the acting world, appearing with The Lighthouse Players in a play at the Mountain Playhouse in Jennerstown, Pennsylvania. In 1961, he would appear on the silver screen in the 20th Century Fox film "Snow White And The Three Stooges", which starred Olympic Gold Medallist Carol Heiss.


However, Rudy achieved his biggest stardom in the fifties as a star in Holiday On Ice. He skated both solo acts and duets in the show and became a popular performer in both the United States in Europe. In 1955, he partnered Sonja Henie when the tour visited her native Norway. Rudy tragically died on July 8, 1964 in Los Angeles, California at the age of forty one. His death was allegedly a suicide caused by a barbiturate overdose.

BOBBY BLAKE


Born September 4, 1928 in Mount Vernon, New York, Robert 'Bobby' Joseph Blake was an accomplished tumbler and diver in high school and the son of an Irish musician and step dancer. He got his start not as a skater but as as a song and dance man in nightclubs.


After seeing an ice show in Philadelphia, the red-headed young dancer decided that anything they could do, he could do better. Bobby took to the ice and trained for eight to ten hours a day for a year before his first professional skating audition. His first gig came in 1944, when he took on the role of pairs partner to Ruby Maxson in the Ice Follies. Her former partner, a brother also named Bobby, had joined the Army Transport Service and it wasn't long before Bobby Blake was away serving as a tank gunner in the army himself.


After being discharged from the Army due to an injury, Bobby toured with Holiday On Ice and Ice Vogues. However, it wasn't until 1953 when he joined Arthur M. Wirtz's Hollywood Ice Revue alongside Barbara Ann Scott and Jacqueline du Bief that he really started turning heads.


Bobby later performed in a number of Gerald Palmer's ice pantomimes at Wembley in England. "Billboard" Magazine called him "a nervy jitterbug on skates who, judging from the preem, has his own skating sox brigade who swoon-scream for and at him. The kid is there on skates... and in a swing-waltz number does something to the paying customers that they'd appreciate having done for hours at a time. Maybe he's just enjoying himself, but the payees have a habit of enjoying what performers enjoy."


Bobby passed away on May 26, 1994 in Normal, Illinois at the age of sixty six. Quoted in "The Evening Independent" on February 24, 1959, he said, "I believe one can do anything if he works hard enough at it."

FRANK SAWERS

Photo courtesy Bildarchiv Austria

"Skating is show business. It's ballet, dance, entertainment. I've skated that [way] all along, but others kept saying it is a sport." - Frank Sawers, "The BG News", April 11, 1973

Francis 'Frank' Traynor Sawers Jr., his Scottish born parents Frank and Margaret and older sister Isobel lived on Holmwood Avenue near Lansdowne Park in Ottawa during World War II. Young Frank first learned to skate on ponds in Ottawa was regarded by many as 'a natural'. Though he joined the Minto Skating Club, he was largely self-taught. In fact, he received less than a dozen formal lessons, picking up most of what he learned from studying Barbara Ann Scott's practices. While attending Commerce High School, he won the Devonshire Cup for intermediate boys at the Club's championships and placed second in an intermediate waltzing championship with Connie Choquette.


An exciting free skater with little aptitude for school figures, Frank gave exhibitions during the intermissions of Senior Interscholastic Hockey League games and was regarded as something of a prodigy. The April 14, 1944 issue of "The Ottawa Citizen" raved, "Critics who have seen the lad skate refuse to believe that he hasn't spent most of his life under the tutelage of an outstanding mentor." By the age of sixteen, he got permission from his parents to quit high school and joined the cast of Ice Follies. At the time, he was the youngest member of the show's one hundred and fifty member cast.


Frank left the Ice Follies in the late forties and joined the cast of Holiday On Ice and came to Europe.
In 1949, he appeared in "Ice Vogues" at the Stoll Theatre in London with Cecilia Colledge and The Kermond Brothers. The following year was snatched up by Tom Arnold's "Ice Express". He went on to join Arnold's company which toured Continental Europe. At only five foot four, he was a diminutive dynamo on the ice with a flair for the theatrical. He often stole the show in whatever production he performed in.


Frank appeared in the 1950 film "Zirkus auf dem Eis" with Marjorie Chase and Glenn Goddard and the 1952 film "Der bunte Traum" with Maxi Herber and Ernst Baier and Lydia Veicht. Joining Herber and Baier's German eisballets, Frank blossomed and was given the opportunity to perform leading roles, often with an interpretive and flamboyant bent. In an April 11, 1973 interview with "The BG News", he explained, "I'm not tall and handsome, so I played character roles. My favourite role was Pagliacci, the happy-sad clown. It was a tragicomedy role, and I played it for six years." Pagliacci, as we all know, was later famously interpreted on ice by Toller Cranston.


Though Frank was popular with audiences, unfortunately life behind the scenes mirrored that of the fictional clown that he portrayed in front of captivated audiences. On January 28, 1953, "Der Spiegel" reported, "A short time after the performance, at the large Ernst-Merck-Halle... the door of the caravan of [Ernst] Baier flew open and someone shouted, 'Frankie wants to hang himself!' Ernst Baier tried in vain to hold back his excited woman. On the way to the guest house, Maxi Herber learned from Spezi Wolfram that 'Frankie' (Frank Sawer), the 25 year old Canadian star, tried to hang himself from the chandelier of the board room. His bantamweight (56 kg) was sufficient to tear the chandelier from the ceiling. 'Mr. Sawers suffers from severe mood swings, he is nervous,' diagnosed the doctor Maxi called."


Prior to the suicide attempt, Ernst Baier had fired Frank from his eisballet without notice. The German press suggested it was because the young upstart had been upstaging him. Ernst claimed the termination was related to Frank's "nervous breakdown." There were allegedly fights and times Frank ran away for several days with no explanation. After a duet with Maxi Herber was cut from the show, Frank started cursing and trashed the dressing room. Ernst Baier said, "Frank [acts like] such a small child that [must] have everything he wants. Whether it is a car or a human..."

Frank Sawers and Loismarie Goeller in Holiday On Ice

After the incident in Germany, Frank rejoined the cast of Holiday On Ice and toured Europe and South America for four years. Nothing seemed to go right. He became gravely ill and missed six months of skating after being coated in gold body paint to portray 'a Chinese dragon-god' and getting metal poisoning. In 1961, while skating in Argentina, he suffered a serious neck injury and was operated on in Buenos Aires. He never performed again but remained with Holiday On Ice as a coach and choreographer until 1968. Moving to America for a time, he taught skating at Bowling Green State University in Ohio for many years and used his show skating expertise to use in developing the precision team The Falconettes.


Frank returned to Canada in 1975, moving into a trailer park in Kinburn, Ontario and getting a job as a salesman at the Eaton's department store. He passed away on July 26, 1982 at the age of fifty five. Though he faded somewhat into obscurity, he was remembered by Jacqueline du Bief in her book "Thin Ice" as "one of the most artistic male skaters of our time. Full of imagination and choreographic ideas, to his originality he adds a brilliant style of expressive quality that is rare (especially among men) and great physical endurance. To see Frank on a good day is to have proof that skating can be a great art."

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating and archives hundreds of compelling features and interviews in a searchable format for readers worldwide. Though there never has been nor will there be a charge for access to these resources, you taking the time to 'like' on the blog's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SkateGuard would be so very much appreciated. Already 'liking'? Consider sharing this feature for others via social media. It would make all the difference in the blog reaching a wider audience. Have a question or comment regarding anything you have read here or have a suggestion for a topic related to figure skating history you would like to see covered? I'd love to hear from you! Learn the many ways you can reach out at http://skateguard1.blogspot.ca/p/contact.html

The 1972 Canadian Figure Skating Championships

Scandinavian pop sensations ABBA got their start and people went gaga for Atari arcade game Pong. The year was 1972, and before the World's best figure skaters gathered in Sapporo, Japan to compete in the Winter Olympic Games and in Calgary, Alberta for the World Championships, Canada's best skaters convened in London, Ontario from January 13 to 16 for the 1972 Canadian Figure Skating Championships. 

With career-altering Olympic spots on the line for singles and pairs and World spots for dancers on the line, it was do or die for the twelve men, twenty women and four pairs and seven dance teams entered in the senior competitions. How did things play out in London? Let's take a look back!


THE NOVICE AND JUNIOR EVENTS 

Multiple panel judging was used in the novice and junior singles events. After twelve teams tackled the Fourteenstep, American Waltz and Rocker Foxtrot in the initial round, Nicole and Pierre Nadeau of Montreal led the pack. After the elimination of all but four teams, the Nadeau's managed to hang on to their early lead, winning the novice dance event with superior performances of the Foxtrot and Tango. An unprecedented fifteen teams vied for the novice pairs title, and in a three-way split of the judges panel, Londoners Cheri and Dennis Pinner came out on top by the slimmest of margins. The results were just as close in the novice women's event, when Judy Bowden of the Cricket Club narrowly upset Kim Alletson of the Minto Skating Club, who had won the figures. Though Kevin Robertson of the Granite Club was the unanimous winner of the novice men's title, it was the performance of Barry Fraser that stole the show. He vaulted from sixth after the figures to secure the silver medal. A young Brian Pockar finished tenth. In a four-three split of the judges panel, Linda Watts and Don Fraser of Richmond Hill defeated Daria Prychun and Roger Uuemae of the Cricket Club to claim the junior pairs title. Judy Currah and Keith Caughell were the unanimous winners of junior dance.

Lynn Nightingale, her sister and dog. Photo courtesy Marie Petrie McGillvray.

Lynn Nightingale may have been fifth after the figures in the junior women's competition, but a sublime free skate moved her all the way up to first. Moving up from third after figures, Chatham's Lee Armstrong was the winner of the junior men's competition.   

THE ICE DANCE COMPETITION

After the Starlight Waltz, Rhumba, Argentine Tango and OSP, defending champions and newlyweds Louise (Lind) and Barry Soper held a solid lead. Their effervescent free dance easily scored top marks from all seven judges and earned them the sole ticket to the World Championships in Calgary. Barbara Berezowski and David Porter finished a solid second. Linda Roe and Michael Bradley skated a very strong free dance to claim the bronze medal, dropping Judy Currah and Keith Caughell to fourth.

THE PAIRS COMPETITION


The pairs podium. Photo courtesy Marie Petrie McGillvray.

For the fourth straight year, Mary Petrie had to settle for the silver medal at the Canadian Championships. The silver lining to that silver was that she and partner John Hubbell earned a spot on both the Olympic and World teams. The winners, Toronto siblings Sandra and Val Bezic, dazzled in claiming their third consecutive Canadian title. Their short program was set to "Tin Roof Blues" and their free skate was a medley of music by Chopin, Brahms and Tchaikovsky. Marian Murray and Glen Moore, who'd been training in California under Mr. John Nicks, finished third; Linda Tasker and Allen Carson fourth.

Sandra and Val Bezic. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine.

THE MEN'S COMPETITION


Toller Cranston in 1972. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine.

After amassing a considerable lead in the school figures, defending champion Toller Cranston spellbound audience members and judges alike with his winning free skate, earning six 5.9's for technical merit and a quartet of 6.0's for artistic impression. He received a standing ovation for his performance and earned Canada's lone men's berth on the Olympic and World teams. Paul Bonenfant of the Capilano Winter Club, who had been a solid second in figures, managed to fend of Kenneth Folk for the silver medal. Patrick McKilligan, Ron Shaver and Stan Bohonek rounded out the top six.

THE WOMEN'S COMPETITION


Karen Magnussen in London

Due to a fractured pelvis, nineteen year old Cathy Lee Irwin was forced to watch the 1971 Canadian Championships from the sidelines, supported by a pair of crutches. She had returned to competition triumphantly the autumn prior to the Canadian Championships in London, winning the silver medal at the Richmond Trophy in England. However, a disappointing sixth place finish in the figures all but took her out of the running for the silver medal. The gold, of course, was expected to go to the darling of Canadian figure skating, Karen Magnussen. Magnussen amassed a huge lead in figures but fell on both of her double Axel attempts in the free skate. Aside from those two mistakes, her program was otherwise top notch and it was still enough for her to unanimously win her fourth Canadian title. The silver went to Ruth Hutchinson and Irwin moved up to take the bronze. Preston's Janice Maikawa, who had been second in figures, dropped all the way down to sixth behind Daria Prychun and the previous year's bronze medallist Diane Hall.

Cynthia Miller competing in London. Photo courtesy Cynthia Miller.

Also competing were Cynthia Miller, pairs medallists Mary Petrie and Marian Murray and future legendary choreography Sarah Kawahara. Petrie was the only skater in the event to land a triple jump... a rare feat in those days! All three medallists would be named to the Olympic team, but Hutchinson would be forced to withdraw when she broke her arm on the way back to the Olympic Village after a practice session. The fact there had been twenty entries in the senior women's event in London stemmed from the 'problem' that anyone with a Gold test could compete at Sectionals, there were twelve sections at the time and the top three finishers at each Sectionals earned a trip to the Canadian Championships. This theoretically meant that there could be thirty six entries. David Dore later stated of the entries in London, "half of them shouldn't have been there." From the number of entries in the London event came the CFSA's development of the Divisionals, which were first held in 1974.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating and archives hundreds of compelling features and interviews in a searchable format for readers worldwide. Though there never has been nor will there be a charge for access to these resources, you taking the time to 'like' on the blog's Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/SkateGuard would be so very much appreciated. Already 'liking'? Consider sharing this feature for others via social media. It would make all the difference in the blog reaching a wider audience. Have a question or comment regarding anything you have read here or have a suggestion for a topic related to figure skating history you would like to see covered? I'd love to hear from you! Learn the many ways you can reach out at http://skateguard1.blogspot.ca/p/contact.html

Bracket-Change-Brackets And Business: The Sherwin Badger Story

Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine

Born August 29, 1901 in Boston, Massachusetts, Sherwin Campbell Badger was the son of George and Grace (Spear) Badger. Dr. George Badger was a respected physician who performed house calls and advocated for health standards in public schools. Sherwin and his younger sister Virginia enjoyed a rather privileged upbringing, growing up in a very nice house on the Back Bay with two servants at their beck and call. The Badger family had ties to the local copper industry; E.B. Badger and Sons manufactured copper kettles in their thriving shop on Pitts Street.


While attending the Browne and Nichols School on Garden Street in Cambridge, Sherwin was introduced to the wonderful world of figure skating at the age of fourteen by his headmaster, American skating pioneer George Henry Browne. He took his first steps on the ice at the Cambridge Skating Club.


Joining The Skating Club of Boston, Sherwin was quickly recognized as something of a skating prodigy. When the Cambridge Skating Club administered its first tests in the International (Continental) Style only a year after he started skating, he became one of the first three skaters to pass and earn a Bronze medal. One of his first performances was in a skating pantomime organized by Clara Rotch Frothingham called "The Enchanted Forest". He played the role of Jean, a boy with magic skates.

Left: Beatrix Loughran and Sherwin Badger. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine. Right: Sherwin Badger.

At the age of sixteen, Sherwin earned a place in the record books when he won the very first U.S. junior men's title at the 1918 U.S. Championships in New York City. A report from "The New York Times" remarked, "Young Badger... displayed a skill on the runners which surprised the old-time skills. Rarely has a boy skater been developed in this country who has shown the talent of this Boston boy." His sister Virginia would also go on to claim a U.S. junior title of her own in 1927.


In the years that followed, Sherwin's accomplishments on the ice were nothing short of incredible. Mentored by Charles Morgan Rotch and George Henry Browne, he won five consecutive U.S. senior men's titles from 1920 to 1924 and the very first North American men's title.


Sherwin also won five medals (three of them gold) at the U.S. Championships in pairs skating with three different partners, bronze medals at the 1930 and 1932 World Championships in pairs skating, a medal in fours at the 1923 North American Championships and a medal in the Fourteenstep at the 1922 U.S. Championships. In addition, he won the Cambridge Skating Club's annual competition in men's singles, Waltz and Fourteenstep.

An account of Sherwin's win at the 1920 U.S. Championships from "The New York Times" noted, "Badger won by an exhibition of whirling that threw his older opponents definitely into the shadow. In comparison with [Nathaniel] Niles, his form was more spirited, dashing and unrestrained, and with his daring and dash he combined exquisite grace and polish... He whirled and pirouetted in mid-air with amazing ease."


Though selected for both the 1920 and 1924 Olympic teams, Sherwin was forced to decline both invitations due to schooling and business affairs that didn't permit him the 'time off' to travel abroad.
At the 1928 Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, he placed eleventh in the men's event and fourth in the pairs event with partner Beatrix Loughran. Four years later in Lake Placid, Sherwin and Beatrix won America's first medal in pairs skating at the Winter Olympic Games.

Sherwin Badger and Bea Loughran receiving the Henry Wainwright Howe Trophy. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine.

Roger Turner, Maribel Vinson, Beatrix Loughran, Sherwin Badger, Theresa Weld Blanchard and Nathaniel Niles in 1928

Early in his competitive career, Sherwin studied at Harvard University. He graduated in 1923, earning his letter not as a skater but as a coxswain in boat races. Following his graduation, he worked for United Fruit Co. in Boston and Cuba, then joined the Boston News Bureau. Moving to New York City in 1925, he worked for Dow-Jones Publications as banking editor of "The Wall Street Journal" and then wrote and edited for "Barron's Weekly" from 1932 to 1935. In 1937, he joined the Washburn & Co. firm in New York and in 1940, began working for New England Mutual Life Insurance Company, serving as Senior Vice President - Financial until his retirement in 1967. In 1954, he was appointed by then Governor Christian Herter to the Massachusetts Fiscal Affairs Survey Commission, which aimed to reduce the state's debt.

Sherwin also served as Chairman of the Board of the New England Conservatory Of Music and on the boards of the Old Colony Trust Company, Massachusetts Business Development Corporation, Downtown Waterfront Corporation, Massachusetts Small Business Development Company, Boston Opera Association, Children's Hospital Medical Center, New England Baptist Hospital and the Transportation and Communication Committee, of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

After marrying his first wife, novelist and reputed spy Mary Bancroft in December 1923, Sherwin had a son named Sherwin, Jr. and a daughter named Mary Jane. After the couple divorced in the early thirties, he remarried to Anna Clark. The couple welcomed two more sons, David and William, to the Badger family. Mary Jane married Yale professor Horace Dwight Taft, the son of Republican senator Robert A. Taft.

James Lester Madden and Sherwin Badger examining a bracket

Believe it or not, this incredibly busy man's most important contributions to the figure skating world happened off the ice and not on. Joining the USFSA administration in 1927, Sherwin served as First Vice President to America's governing body of figure skating in 1928 and as President from 1930 to 1932 and 1934 to 1935. He acted as a skating judge and chaired the Eastern, Sanctions, Nominating, Olympic Games, Ways & Means and Judges Committees. He was an esteemed member of the USFSA Executive Committee for some twenty two years. Under his presidencies, he worked to make the first World Championships and Winter Olympics ever held in America a success and the subscription of "Skating" magazine more than doubled. Managing the USFSA's finances through The Great Depression, he chose to spend money on skater development rather than tucking it away for a rainy day. This strategy of course paid off at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, where as an Olympic Committee member, USFSA President and Manager of the U.S. Figure Skating Team, he and Beatrix Loughran medalled, as did Maribel Vinson.

Photo courtesy Boston College Libraries

Sherwin also worked tirelessly with Ulrich Salchow and the ISU during his presidency to effectively wrangle control of the newfound influx of European skaters performing in U.S. carnivals, many organized by rink managers and promoters, not USFSA clubs. Later recalling his presidency, Sherwin admitted, "All in all, the highlights of my years as President, as I look back on them, center around foreign skaters. They brought to this country a much needed boost and were, to my mind, to a large degree responsible for the rapid development of both the popularity and skill of skating as practiced in this country. If there were headaches in trying to foster European participation in events here, they were well worthwhile."

Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine

Sherwin passed away on April 8, 1972 in Sherborn, Massachusetts at the age of seventy, seventeen years before his second wife Anna and twenty five years before his first wife Mary. He was
posthumously inducted to the U.S. Figure Skating Hall Of Fame in 1976. In his obituary in "Skating" magazine, Theresa Weld Blanchard remarked, "No one can know what he sacrificed... but skaters everywhere still owe him sincere gratitude as his leadership advanced figure skating."

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