The Evolution Of Technical Merit And Artistic Impression

Photo courtesy Simon Fraser University Library Editorial Cartoons Collection. Used for educational purposes under license permissions.

"It's that presentation mark that is always the nebulous one. Whatever you like can have a basic impression. For example, if two things are well-done, then you sort of go with what you are most familiar with and knowledgeable about. Some people like opera, others don't.'' - Rosemary Marks, "Edmonton Journal", March 17, 1996

As compared to today's points-based system, many tend to think of the 6.0 judging system, where skaters received two sets of marks from a panel of judges, as pretty cut and dry... vague even. Skaters received one mark for the technical content of their performance and one for the way the performance was presented. However, the history of how those two marks developed and evolved over time is nothing short of complicated, convoluted and quite fascinating.

Free skating rules from the 1910 Minto Challenge Cup 

In the early years of the International Skating Union, skaters received one mark for their figures and were judged on 'contents of the programme' and 'manner of performance' in free skating, with the scores added and multiplied by a factor to achieve a total number of points and a final result. Section ninety one of the ISU Regulations noted that in marking 'contents of the programme', judges were to consider difficulty, variety, harmonious composition and utilization of space. When considering 'manner of performance', judges were to take into account harmonious composition, carriage, sureness, easy movement, rhythm of movement and in the case of pairs skating and ice dancing, unison and variety of movement.

In the early Roaring Twenties, the Austrian skating federation pushed to have a third marking category added to the evaluation of free skating: the overall impression for the performance. In "Skating" magazine, George H. Browne quoted 'the Austrians' as arguing, "Beauty, which should be an essential element of artistic skating, is not sufficiently taken into account in the present evaluation of our skating." The Austrians petitioned the IEV to add this third category - called 'aesthetic impression' to the fold in 1924, but were shot down. Instead, the IEV added 'rhythm' to the judging criteria for the 'manner of performance' criteria. An ISU subcommittee brought the 'aesthetic impression' proposal before the ISU Congress again in 1929 and it was again flatly denied, citing the fact that having three categories for marking free skating would only compound the pressure upon the already overwhelmed judges.

To further the confusion, the earliest ISU recommendations for Valsing competitions during the same period called for couples to be marked in not three but FOUR categories: Carriage, Grace, Unity and Time. Ice dancing, as we know, wasn't yet considered an official discipline at ISU Championships until the fifties but 'informal' contests were held at European and World Championships as early as the Edwardian era.

Judging criteria circa 1948

It took a second World War and some thirty years before the ISU finally decided to make a change, dumping 'contents of the programme' and 'manner of performance' in 1959 in favour of categories called 'sporting merit' and 'general impression'. In "Skating World" magazine, a clearly unimpressed Muriel Kay remarked that the term 'sporting merit" sounded "more applicable to horse trials or foxhunting".

These terms only lasted two years before being replaced in 1961 with 'technical merit' and 'artistic impression'. The USFSA adopted these new categories two years later, in 1963. ISU historian Benjamin T. Wright noted, "The intention of the change was to indicate that the judge must evaluate both the artistic planning of the program and the technical ability with which it is performed."

Judging criteria circa 1962

As a result of a decision at the 1975 ISU Congress in Munich, the marking categories changed yet again. Short, original or technical programs were scored on 'required elements' and 'presentation'; free skating programs on 'technical merit' and 'artistic impression'. In singles and pairs skating, the 'required elements' score in the short programs was based on quality, difficulty and execution and 'presentation' was marked on "the composition of the whole program and its conformity with the music, originality, the difficulty of the connecting steps, speed and how well the ice surface is covered." The 'technical merit' mark in the free skate considered the quality, difficulty and execution of jumps, spins, steps, 'other elements' and "the cleanness and sureness of the overall performance". The 'artistic impression' mark was based on "harmonious composition of the program as a whole and the conformity with the music chosen, utilization of the ice surface, easy movement and sureness in time to the music, carriage, originality." Compulsory dances continued to receive one set of marks in competition and 'composition' and 'presentation' were used internationally for the OSP with 'technical merit' and 'artistic impression' utilized as the free dancing categories.

Things became exceedingly confusing in the decades that followed as different federations employed their own rules and criteria to the categories used in national level competitions. To only compound the confusion, as television emerged as a medium, it wasn't uncommon for commentators to go back and forth between outdated and current ISU and national terminology for the categories from event to event, year to year.

To give you a sense of as to how a federation would employ their own rules to the marking categories, the 1984 CFSA rulebook explained that in free skating, pairs, fours and free dancing, skaters were marked on 'technical merit' and 'artistic impression'. However, in the OSP, Variation Dance and in precision skating, the marks were for 'Composition' and 'Presentation'. In compulsory dances, skaters only received one set of marks in competition, but in tests the categories were 'Dance Rhythm' and 'Execution'. The definitions of these categories varied wildly. The three criteria for 'technical merit' were outlined as Difficulty, Variety and Cleanness and Sureness. 'Artistic impression' criteria was Harmonious Composition and Conformity With The Music, Utilization Of Space, Easy Movement and Sureness With The Music and Carriage. In ice dancing, the criteria of 'Composition' and 'Presentation' for ice dancing were outlined thusly:

By 1998, the term 'artistic impression' - or even the word artistry - was nowhere to be found in any ISU rulebook. 'Technical merit' and 'presentation' became the new go-to terms as the ISU ditched the term 'artistic' in some effort to remove itself from the intangible quality of judging something 'artistic'. In modern times, countries still using the 6.0 system in lower level competition use the terms 'Technique' and 'Timing/Expression' for pattern dances, 'Composition'/'Required Elements' and 'Presentation' for Original/Short Dances and 'Technical Merit'/'Required Elements' and 'Presentation' for free skating, pairs and free dancing.

So why did the 'powers that be' insist on changing the names and marking criteria of the two categories under 6.0 so often over the years? The changes were no doubt made to try to improve upon and clarify a judging system that wasn't always perfect. Did it make that much of an impact? Probably not. Is it interesting history? Absolutely.

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 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

Reader Mail Time!

It's once again time to unpack the mail bag, answer some of your questions and share some of the interesting e-mails and social media messages that have come my way over the last few months. I'm going to try to do this quarterly from now on so things don't pile up. As always, if you have a question you'd like me to tackle or feedback on a blog please reach out via e-mail.

Before we get started, I'd like to talk to you about a couple of new things you'll find on Skate Guard. Firstly - over the past few months, I've been sharing dozens upon dozens of 'new to you' videos on YouTube. They are organized into playlists - Essential Eighties, Nostalgic Nineties and others. If you're looking for videos of a particular skater, just pop their name in the search bar and see what you can find. Secondly - if you go to the top bar on the blog's main page, you'll find the new Collections page. This is a catalogue of all of the books, magazines, photographs, etc. in my personal collection. The reason I've chosen to share this is so that you have an idea of what kind of tools I have at my disposal. If you're looking for articles about a certain skater for a paper you're writing or are doing genealogical work and trying to learn more about that famous skater in your family tree, I'm always happy to help. I'd finally like to sincerely thank the many, many readers who have donated to these collections - without your generosity this blog wouldn't even be possible!


From Amber (via e-mail): "I have a question I'm hoping you can answer. When did they start giving out the pewter medal at U.S. Nationals and why don't they give it out at Olympics and Worlds?"

A: Really great question, Amber! As far as I know, the U.S. is the only country that has ever given out a pewter medal or included the fourth place finisher in its medal ceremonies. Back in the day (we're talking the thirties) it wasn't uncommon for skaters to be given small participation medals at international competitions by the event's organizers and even small gifts sometimes... but nothing like the pewter medal. I couldn't pinpoint exactly when the USFSA started doing this so I reached out to Karen Cover at the U.S. Figure Skating Hall Of Fame. She knew it was at least as far back as 1990 when Nicole Bobek finished fourth in the junior women's event. I traced it back a little farther though. If you watch ABC's coverage of the medal ceremony at the 1988 U.S. Championships in Denver, you see Jeri Campbell standing just off the podium with a medal around her neck... presumably the pewter. Pictures of the medal podiums from 1985 and 1986 Nationals don't show a fourth skater so it's possible (?) that this tradition started in 1987 or 1988.

From Shannon (via e-mail): "Thank you for everything that you do! I really enjoy reading about skaters from the 1970's and 80's in particular. I was always upset that Brian Orser didn't win the Olympic gold medal because of the compulsory figures. Were there other skaters who missed out on gold because of the figures?"

A: Thanks for the excellent question, Shannon and I'm glad you're enjoying the blog! The short answer is yes... and quite a few. The most obvious answer is Janet Lynn in Sapporo in 1972, but there are a ton of others. That same year, Sergei Chetverukhin would have won the gold in the men's event and become the first Russian man to win an Olympic gold since Nikolay Panin-Kolomenkin back in 1908. The free skate winners in the women's events at the 1980 and 1988 Olympics were Denise Biellmann and Liz Manley. Emmerich Danzer would have won the men's in 1968 and Ronnie Robertson would have won in 1956. Ginny Baxter would have won the women's in 1952. The men's champion in 1924 would have been Willy Böckl and the women's champion in 1920 would have been Theresa Weld Blanchard. Finally, at the first Olympic figure skating event in 1908, Richard Johansson would have defeated Ulrich Salchow. Speaking of Salchow, what's perhaps most interesting is the fact that he would have only won four World titles instead of ten had it not been for the figures. Gilbert Fuchs, Max Bohatsch and Werner Rittberger would have each beaten him not once, but twice.


From Janet (via e-mail): "I have just read your article on James. I am taking advantage of the increased time at home these days to get on with straightening out my family history.  I have grown up always being aware of the Drake Digbys in Cambridge, and just randomly found your article via Facebook. I know about Uncle Sam, and William (my great grandfather) but James was previously just a name on the tree... My mother (James great niece) was born in 1915 and brought up in London. From her early teenage years she was a frequenter of the Queen's Ice Skating rink in London.  I had assumed it was just something everyone did, like ballet classes and learning the piano. Perhaps not, and now I shall never know. She retained lumps on her head from falls on the ice throughout her life, but the falls didn't put her off!... Thank you for the article, it has been excellent for me to see parallels with his brothers and to find out so much more."


From Kristi Yamaguchi (via Twitter):


From Margaret (via Facebook): "This is really interesting to me as my husband and I and about six English skaters toured East Germany with the Circus Aeros in 1957. It was a small ice show with the circus. We toured with the circus for about nine months. What an experience that was. One place we played was near Buchenwald and we visited that terrible place, the circus people laid a wreath as it was, I think, the anniversary of the end of the war and the release of the survivors. One experience among many."


From Kalonji (via e-mail): "I have came across an early photo of Anna Galmarini in the 1958 European Championships. One thing I have noticed in the photo that I have been searching for in the longest time was she was wearing over-the-boot tights in that particular photo. That could mean she was the first official figure skater to don opaque over-the-boot tights in the sport. And I believe the second figure skater to wear that style was Jinx Clark in 1959 when she did a stint on Holiday On Ice. She wore it in a form of a fishnet."


From Doug Chapman (via e-mail): "1955 Professional competition is incorrect. The competition was actually held in Nottingham, England.

Men’s results were:

1. Douglas Chapman (me) of Great Britain
2. Jackie Lee Australia
3. Bill Hinchy (Australia)

Not sure why complete results are unavailable? It was an Open Competition for free skating. I was coached by Megan Taylor 2 time World Champion."


From Anna Pataky (via e-mail): "You wrote a lovely tribute to my father, Ryan, and I am most grateful to you for sharing his story with such a wide audience of skating enthusiasts. My father would have been very moved and humbled. I wish also that my brother could have lived long enough to read it, but for the rest of the 'Pataky's' the article leaves a legacy of courage and accomplishment that we will always be proud of."

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 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

#Unearthed: The Ice Show As An Attraction For Hotels And Night Clubs

When you dig through skating history, you never know what you will unearth. In the spirit of cataloguing fascinating tales from skating history, #Unearthed is a once a month 'special occasion' on Skate Guard where fascinating writings by others that are of interest to skating history buffs are excavated, dusted off and shared for your reading pleasure. From forgotten fiction to long lost interviews to tales that have never been shared publicly, each #Unearthed is a fascinating journey through time.

Today's gem is an article from the 1946 edition of "The National Ice Skating Guide", penned by Rube Yocum - husband and pairs partner of Gladys Lamb, who for many years skated with Norval Baptie.
In this piece, he shares a fascinating history and timeline of hotel and nightclub ice shows in America in the first half of the twentieth century.


"Let's go out for dinner, tonight dear." "Where would you like to go?" "Oh! Let's go to the hotel that has the ice show - they say its marvelous!"

So they went to the hotel that advertised the ice show. They had a fine dinner and saw a grand show - and they went again and again - and they told their friends about it. And business in the hotel continued to grow, with reservations at a premium.

Photo courtesy "National Ice Skating Guide"

Ice shows as an attraction for hotel dining rooms and night clubs are not a new idea - but the present interest in skating makes them increasingly popular.

In 1914 the first permanent ice rink was installed in the Sherman Hotel in Chicago and the laurel wreath should be given to Mr. Frank Bearing for having the foresight and vision to introduce the ice stage at his hotel - for it was so popular that it remained there for five solid year's as one of Chicago's famed attractions!

The managers of leading hotels and night clubs in other cities were not long in emulating Mr. Bearing's example. The next show blossomed forth on the roof of Shubert's famous 44th Street Theatre in New York; then Healey's Golden Glades, also in New York, installed a permanent rink. The Terrace Garden in the Morrison Hotel and the North American Restaurant, both in Chicago, followed suit to be followed by the Hotel Winton in Cleveland and the Biltmore in New York. Then the vogue swept west. The Hotel Muehlebach in Kansas City, the Cafe Bristol in Los Angeles and the Portalouvre in San Francisco, all installed permanent equipment.

In 1927 the great Norval Baptie built a portable ice rink that made real ice. The refrigerant used was dry ice or CO2 gas. Baptie was a leading factor in popularizing this type of attraction. He pioneered the field and should with Mr. Bearing be given credit for introducing and making the small rink shows the success they are today. Baptie, whose name is synonymous with skating, now manages the fashionable Chevy Chase Ice Rink in Washington, D.C.

Ice shows continued in popularity until the Prohibition era which ushered in the speakeasies with their small rooms in which the ice show hardly had a place. In 1935, shortly after repeal, Frank Bearing again booked an ice show in the Hotel Sherman and rekindled the present flaming interest in this form of entertainment.

The following year, Mr. Ralph Hitz of the New Yorker Hotel, New York, installed a permanent ice floor. Gladys Lamb starred and produced the shows for the first three years. This is the tenth anniversary for the Hotel New Yorker ice show - and interest is keener now than when it opened.

Photo courtesy "National Ice Skating Guide"

Gladys Lamb and I, in 1939, decided to invest in a portable rink with which we could tour the country, and after much research decided on the new miracle gas Freon, as the refrigerant. Our portable rink was constructed by Dick Baker, president of the Baker Ice Machine Company in Omaha, and we have operated it continuously for the past seven years. We opened at the Fontenelle Hotel in Omaha for Mr. Gene Eppley and the success of the engagement and rink equipment influenced the Nicolett Hotel in Minneapolis to install a permanent rink of the same type in 1940 and bring in the talented star, Dorothy Lewis, who has appeared there every year since.

We are proud of the fact that our travelling portable show was a real success. There were a lot of headaches but we took pride in pioneering the way. We were the first show to open up the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, where they have had an ice show ever since. we also had the pleasure of opening the ice show in the Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati, the Copley-Plaza Hotel in Boston, the Hotel Schrader in Milwaukee the Hotel Peabody in Memphis and the Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia which has ran uninterrupted for the past three years. Mr. Joseph E. Mears, managing director of the Benjamin Franklin Hotel considers the ice show a permanent part of his organization.

We also had the pleasure of stimulating interest in ice shows when we introduced this form of attraction to night clubs in Boston, New York, Washington, Buffalo, Chicago and Hollywood and also played leading theatres with the unit from coast to coast.

When we started in 1939 the only other so-called travelling ice shows for hotel work were not skating on real ice but on imitation ice or 'muck' made of melted hypo spread on boards. Skating on the 'muck' proved so difficult that it has gradually dropped out of the picture.

At the present time some of the leading hotels - namely the New York, Netherland Plaza in Cincinnati, St. Regis in New York, the Adolphus in Texas, and the Benjamin Franklin Hotel, Philadelphia, have their own permanent rinks.

Besides our portable units, other skater-producers that have invested their own money in portable rinks, purchased their own equipment and costumes and produce their own shows ready for booking in as a complete unit are Everett McGowan and Ruth Mack and Maribel Vinson and Guy Owen. These people all have an extensive background of experience and are star skaters in their own right. They have helped immeasurably in keeping up the standards of the ice shows and in making the travelling small units an attractive proposition for hotels and good clubs. George Arnold is another skater who recently has invested in his own portable rink.

Photo courtesy "National Ice Skating Guide"

Ice shows as an attraction for hotels and night clubs haven't scratched the surface yet. They have proven themselves to be one of the most popular and high-class attractions in the amusement field.

The small travelling skating shows, like other new fields of endeavor, have not been handled or managed to best advantage. Agents booking skating shows must be made to realize that unlike other attractions the ice show builds up each week - each performance is different - they need a much longer engagement than ordinary stage entertainment. At the end of a six months booking an ice show will be drawing better than when it first started! And, anticipating the future, agents should make sure that they book a good ice show. The rink itself is merely the floor for the performers to work on - they should make sure that they are selling competent skaters - not just the ice itself.

This type of entertainment has more than a 'beach-head' on the public fancy. It is no longer an experiment or novelty. It is sound, basic entertainment. It is probably the greatest value in the amusement field 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 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

The 1926 U.S. Figure Skating Championships

Grace Munstock's silver medal from the junior women's event at the 1926 U.S. Championships

Held February 15 and 16, 1926 at the Boston Arena in Boston, Massachusetts, the 1926 U.S. Figure Skating Championships were perhaps the most unusual U.S. Championships to take place in the roaring twenties. For starters, the competition was held on a Monday and Tuesday (hardly prime ice time) with all but three rounds of school figures crammed into the second day. Two of the more important skating clubs in America at the time were poorly represented due to circumstances largely out of their control. The Philadelphia Skating Club And Humane Society's rink had closed for a time, forcing members to train outdoors on the Merion Golf Club Pond that season. The New Haven Skating Club's rink had burned down but was rebuilt not long before the competition in Boston.

In the days before records, tapes and CD's, the thirty six competitors were at the mercy of the organizers when it came to their free skating programs. The announcement for the event in "Skating" magazine noted, "If notified at time of entry the Committee will endeavor to provide any special piece of music selected by the contestants for the Free or Pairs Skating or Fours competitions, and have the same played at the desired tempo. This, if possible, should be indicated by the metronome speed number, or beats per second." So, to clarify, entries paid a two dollar entrance fee to compete at the National level... and the live band who accompanied their programs may or may not have performed the music they'd practiced to leading up to the event.

Two of the three junior titles were claimed by members of the Skating Club Of New York. Beatrix Loughran and Raymond Harvey took the junior pairs title, while Julia Honan fended off a challenge from Grace Munstock to win the junior women's title. Roger Turner of The Skating Club of Boston was the victor in the junior men's event. The Waltz and Fourteenstep competitions were only allotted twenty minutes each. In her book "Figure Skating History: The Evolution Of Dance On Ice", Lynn Copley-Graves recalled, "The judging in the Fourteenstep was very close. Sydney Goode and James Greene regained the title they had held in 1923 and 1924. The wide swing of their free legs may have influenced the judges in their favour, because the defending champions, Virginia Slattery and Ferrier Martin, again skated with remarkable precision. The top two couples in the Waltz, both from the New York SC, gave the host club in Boston its best display of the Waltz to date. Sydney Goode and James Greene could not quite close in on Rosaline Dunn and Joseph Savage, who waltzed with a 'subtle yet distinct superiority' that was evident to judges and spectators alike. Edna Gutterman and Frederick Gabel, also from the New York SC, displayed good dancing for third place in both events." Though a fours event had been held the two years previous, there was no competition in 1926 due to a rule that said the event couldn't be contested unless there were entries from two or more clubs. Theresa Weld and Nathaniel Niles won an unprecedented eighth consecutive U.S. pairs title, defeating Sydney Goode and James Burgess Greene and Grace Munstock and Joel B. Liberman. The senior pairs had to perform a five minute program, which was a whole two minutes longer than the program the junior pairs were required to do.

Beatrix Loughran and Theresa Weld Blanchard in 1926

Beatrix Loughran defended her U.S. title with ease, defeating former U.S. women's champion Theresa Weld Blanchard for the second straight year. Maribel Vinson finished third, winning her first senior medal at the U.S. Championships. Sherwin Badger's business interests didn't allow him to compete in Boston in 1926. His absence allowed fifty one year old Chris I. Christenson of St. Paul - one of the judges in the senior women's event - to defeat hometown favourite Nathaniel Niles and Ferrier T. Martin. Of Christenson, an unattributed newspaper 1926 article cited in a 1996 "New York Times" piece published around the time of Rudy Galindo's U.S. title win reportedly noted, "His figures were smooth and precisely correct. He looped and spread-eagled with an unhurried calm that must have piled point after point in his favor on the score-pads of the judges. But his was an exhibition of mathematical certainty. It was a typically masculine performance, devoid of teeming nervous energy and one of cold and accurate calculation." Not only did Christenson make history as the oldest man ever to win a U.S. senior men's title, but he was the first man from the Midwest to lay his stake on U.S. gold as well.

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 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

A Forgotten Frau: The Ellen Brockhöft Story

"I adhere with body and soul to skating." - Ellen Brockhöft, 1926, "Die Dame auf Schlittschuhen"

Her name may be all but forgotten today but in the roaring twenties in Germany, Ella Gertrud Auguste 'Ellen' Brockhöft was the grand dame of German figure skating. Born April 29, 1893 in Berlin, she didn't begin skating until 1912 at the rather advanced age (by figure skating standards) of nineteen.

Photo courtesy Julia C. Schulze

Ellen was a member of the Berliner Schlittschuhclub and trained at the Berlin Sportpalast, which at the time was a brand new facility and the largest enclosed rink in the world.

Photos courtesy Julia C. Schulze

Though late to the game, Ellen very quickly became absolutely entranced with the sport and spent all of her free time on the ice tracing and retracing figures. However, during the Great War there were few trainers available. She looked to Gillis Grafström and Elli Winter as mentors and picked up what seeds of knowledge she could from them. Following the War, she went to Werner Rittberger and Andor Szende for advice and coaching.

Ellen made her debut at the German Figure Skating Championships in Berlin in 1920 and placed a strong second behind Elli Winter. The next year, she claimed her first of six German titles. Although Gaby Seyfert won ten East German titles and Katarina Witt eight, to this day no woman who has ever competed at either the West German or unified German Championships has since equalled or bettered her record of six national titles.

Left: Ellen Brockhöft and Paul Franke. Right: Illustration of Ellen Brockhöft spinning.

Ellen also made history in Oslo, Norway in 1924 as the first woman from her country to win a medal at the World Championships in singles skating, a feat she repeated the following year in Switzerland for good measure. Both years, she lost to Austria's Herma Szabo but received first place ordinals from the German judge in the school figures. Ironic in spite of the help she received from her own judge in her first two trips to the World Championships, nationalistic judging proved to be her downfall on her third go around in 1927.

Herma Szabo and Ellen Brockhöft. Photo courtesy National Archives of Poland.

At those World Championships in Oslo, Herma Szabo controversially lost the gold medal to Norway's Sonja Henie. The fact that three of the five judges were Norwegian sparked a later rule change with the International Skating Union that only allowed one judge per country on a panel in international competitions. At that same event, Ellen lost the bronze medal in a three-two split to a second Norwegian skater, Karen Simensen. Neither woman ever competed at the World Championships again.

Ellen Brockhöft at the German Sports Press Ball in 1925. Photo courtesy Julia C. Schulze.

In 1925, Ellen attended the prestigious German Sports Press Ball in Frankfurt. An English account of the affair from the November 14, 1925 issue of "The Evening Independent" noted, "Germany's women athletic champions were brought together at a unique dinner party. Frau [Nelly] Neppach, holder of the woman's tennis title, who failed to wrest the world title from the great Suzanne Lengllen in the Vienna tournament recently, invited the following champions to dinner: Frau [Else] Samek, golf; Fraulein [Hertha] Aschenbacher, high jumping; Fraulein [Margarete] Rieve, javelin throwing; Frau [Ellen] Brockhoeft, ice skating; Frau [Any] Gordan, fencing; Fraulein [Cilly] Feindt, fancy riding. A record of this unusual gathering was made for posterity in the form of two contrasting, photographs, one showing the champions wearing highly fashionable dinner gowns, and the other depicting them in their athletic garb, each member of the party holding a symbol of her speciality, such as a tennis racquet, golf club or riding whip."

Although Ellen was not permitted to compete in either the 1920 Summer Olympics or 1924 Winter Olympics due to a ban on German athletes participating in the Olympics following the Great War, she finally make her one and only appearance at the Games in Switzerland in 1928 at the age of twenty nine.

Photo courtesy Nasjonalbiblioteket 

Ellen's skating at the 1928 Olympics was met with a mixed bag of reviews - her ordinals in both figures and free skating ranged from sixth through thirteenth - and she finished a disappointing ninth place overall. If it was any consolation, Karen Simensen - the Norwegian who had defeated her at the 1927 Worlds - finished a disastrous sixteenth.

Elisabeth Böckl, Herma Szabo and Ellen Brockhöft

Ellen later married and taught skating for a time in St. Moritz, Switzerland. She applied to the ISU for reinstatement as an amateur in 1936 and her request was granted on April 7, 1937 but she never competed again. She passed away in Bonn, Germany at the age of seventy nine on December 19, 1977.


Although Ellen's story has been largely forgotten today, there is truly something quite unique about any skater who takes up their sport in their late teens and goes on to make history... twice. Her story serves as yet another reminder that not every skater's story fits the usual script.

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 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

The 1960 World Figure Skating Championships

"We have been to Championships that have been well organized, but no better than here. We have been to Championships with a very fine welcome, but never to Championships where we have received the warmth of welcome that we have had in Vancouver." - Jacques Favart

Canadians had just won four medals at the Winter Olympic Games in Squaw Valley; two of them in figure skating. Women rushed to department stores to buy patterns for bell-shaped skirts and blouson silhouette dresses. A quart of milk cost twenty four cents; a dozen eggs was fifty five. John Diefenbaker was Canada's Prime Minister and everyone was bopping to Brenda Lee's latest hit "Sweet Nothin's". The year was 1960 and from March 2 to 5, Vancouver, British Columbia played host to the World Figure Skating Championships.

When Georg Häsler travelled to Colorado Springs to meet with Thayer Tutt at the Broadmoor Hotel to discuss the planning of the 1957 World Championships, his old friend Dr. Hellmut May invited him to the CFSA's AGM at the Hotel Vancouver. Häsler's talks with CFSA executives, Billie Mitchell and June Pinkerton sparked interest in bringing the world to Canada. Häsler sent Mitchell all of the necessary information pertaining to the organization of the event. She went to Granville Mayall, a CFSA executive member from Vancouver, with the idea of hosting the World Championships in Vancouver. He suggested Calgary take on the event but she persisted and he finally agreed to help make it happen. Mitchell and Mayall then enlisted the help of George Sherwood of the Capilano Winter Club. A CFSA committee was formed, chaired by Herbert Crispo. He estimated that over twenty eight thousand dollars was needed to cover the costs of advertising, transportation, publicity and room and board for the judges. The fact that the 1960 Winter Olympics were in Squaw Valley and some of the competitors actually made the long drive up the Pacific Coast instead to attend helped lower transportation costs significantly. Rather than place the burden of hosting the event on one club, Mitchell, Mayall and Sherwood devised a plan where the Burnaby, Capilano, Connaught, Kerrisdale, Vancouver and Totem clubs would share the hosting duties. Over two hundred volunteers were recruited and  the CFSA enthusiastically applied to the ISU to host the 1960 World Championships in 1957. They were provisionally awarded the event the following year, and given the official nod a year later. Though the Figure Skating Department of the Amateur Skating Association of Canada had hosted the 1932 World Championships in Montreal, figure skating was a completely different beast some twenty eight years later. The showmanship of Sonja Henie had been replaced by the athleticism of Dick Button. Outdoor competitions were slowly becoming a thing of the past and the introduction of open marking in the thirties had led to the almost instant computation, tabulation and printing of marks by 1955.

The interior of the the Vancouver Forum. Photo courtesy City Of Vancouver Archives.

Ultimately, the 1960 World Figure Skating Championships were held just after the Closing Ceremonies of the 1960 Winter Olympics. "Most of the competitors came directly from Squaw Valley, wearing their Olympic uniforms and looking tanned and healthy," recalled Patricia Shelley Bushman in her book "Indelible Tracings". Upon arriving in Vancouver, the skaters - who were relieved to be at sea level after competing at an altitude of six thousand feet at the Olympics - received welcome baskets, which included boot polish, Coca Cola soft drinks, skate laces and fresh fruit. Practice sessions were held at the Capilano Winter Club. The host venue, the Vancouver Forum on the grounds of the Pacific National Exhibition, had a dark history. During World War II it was used as an internment and processing camp for Japanese Canadians.

Left: Program for the 1960 World Championships. Right: Advertisement for Harlick & Co. Photo courtesy "World Ice Skating Guide".

The Vancouver World Championships marked and inspired an important series of firsts. Johnny Esaw, then with CFTO (a precursor of CTV) was contacted by ABC to negotiate the television rights for the event. He bought the North American rights for ten thousand dollars and turned them over to Roone Arledge, the President of ABC. Though the competition was ultimately only broadcast down in the States, it was the first World Championships broadcast in North America. Esaw's involvement led to Canadian figure skating's first televised broadcast the following year - a series of exhibitions featured on "On The Scene", a program sponsored by Simonize Wax Of Canada. The event also marked the first time that the number of entries per country per discipline was limited to three by the ISU.

Editorial cartoon from the "Vancouver Sun" in 1960: "All right Carol Heiss... never mind the fancy figure skating... just serve the tea." Photo courtesy Library And Archives Canada, Estate Of Leonard Norris.

The event drew standing room only crowds and brought in an impressive seven thousand, seven hundred and eighty three dollar profit, which went to back into the five British Columbian clubs who hosted the event. Canadian skaters enjoyed their best showing at the World Championships in many years, trumping the Americans in medal wins for the first time. Let's take a look back at how things played out in Vancouver!


Nine teams representing six nations vied for gold in the ice dancing competition in Vancouver. Though Courtney Jones forgot his skates for one of the compulsory dances - causing great distress to the Canadian referee - he and partner Doreen Denny easily took the lead after the Foxtrot, Viennese Waltz, Quickstep and Tango were completed. Writing in "Skating" magazine, Edith Ray lamented, "Dance followers saw excellent dancing [from Denny and Jones] and not-so-excellent dancing by some in the field. The general fault in the compulsory dances was the lack of individual flavour. There was bad timing, many flats and much two-footing displayed in the Viennese; the Tango was executed with some badly flatted mohawk sequences, and two couples skated this dance on the weak or secondary beat."

In matching gray outfits, Denny and Jones were the class of the field in the free dance, earning first place marks from all seven judges on the way to their second World title. It was Jones' fourth, as he had of course struck gold in 1957 and 1958 with June Markham. Edith Ray noted, "Their program was better constructed than last year, and showed masterful composition, with moves flowing into one another in kaleidoscopic variety. They covered the surface with these interesting moves and dance steps. into which they wove their highlights... although, just as everyone else does, they wasted time and motion on a few 'cutenesses'."

Canadians Virginia Thompson and William McLachhlan surprised many by finishing a decisive second behind the British favourites in their international debut, much to the delight of the Vancouver crowd. Moving up three places from the year previous, France's Christiane and Jean-Paul Guhel claimed the bronze with a free dance Ray described as "refreshing". The other two Canadian teams entered, Ann Martin and Gille Vanasse and Svata and Mirek Staroba, placed sixth and seventh.

Margie Ackles and Chuck Phillips Jr., the American team who placed fourth, earned the USFSA's new Hickok Memorial Trophy as the top placing American pair. Placing fifth and eighth were Ackles and Phillips' American teammates Larry Pierce and Roger Campbell. Though they skated with Marilyn Meeker and Yvonne Littlefield in Vancouver, they'd both team up with new partners the following season... and perish in the Sabena Crash.


Alain Giletti

With Olympic Gold Medallist David Jenkins telling the USFSA to go ahead and "suspend him" for opting to return to his studies at Western Reserve University rather than competing in Vancouver and Olympic Silver Medallist Karol Divín withdrawing due to the same hip injury he'd endured in Squaw Valley, the men's competition in Vancouver was set to be a showdown between the two French Alain's - Calmat and Giletti - and Canada's Donald Jackson. All three men were superb skaters who had studied under Pierre Brunet.

Though Donald Jackson was clearly favoured by the Canadian crowd, it was twenty one year old Giletti who amassed a thirty-three point lead and placed unanimously first in the school figures. An Associated Press writer noted, "Opportunity finally beckons for the 21-year old Giletti after 14 years of skating. Eight times he has been champion of France; four times champion of Europe. But in world skating there has always been a Dick Button, Hayes [Alan] Jenkins or David Jenkins to win for the United States."

Donald Jackson

It was standing room only for the men's free skate, and Assistant Referee Alec Gordon surprised many by insisting on doing his job despite having a temperature of one hundred and three. Though Giletti landed two double Axels, he fell twice - once just after the landing of one of the Axels and once on the entrance to a flying camel spin. Donald Jackson, who landed two double Axels and a triple Salchow, was placed unanimously first in the free skate. However, hampered by his showing in the figures, he lost the gold by one tenth of a point to Giletti, who made history as the first skater from France to win a World men's title. After the results were announced, Jacqueline Vaudecrane threw her arms around both Alain Giletti and Donald Jackson and said, "Now we have two champions; one in figures and one in free skating." In his November 2013 interview on The Manleywoman SkateCast, Jackson surmised, "Maybe it was good that [I lost] because I stayed in for another two years."

British Champion Robin Jones practicing for the event at Queen's Ice Club. He finished fourteenth. 

Moving past Austria's Norbert Felsinger, Alain Calmat claimed the bronze despite falling on a double Axel early in his program. Canada's other two entries, Donald MacPherson and Louis Stong, placed eighth and eleventh. Bradley Lord and Gregory Kelley, the American men who placed sixth and ninth, were both victims in the Sabena Crash the following year in Belgium.

Video courtesy Frazer Ormondroyd


Vancouver airport policeman Ed Perry and Carol Heiss

A whopping twenty four entries made the women's field in Vancouver the largest of the four disciplines. The start of the school figures was delayed by five hours when it was learned several competitors would arrive later than planned. To the surprise of absolutely no one, twenty year old Olympic Gold Medallist Carol Heiss took a commanding early lead ahead of Holland's Sjoujke Dijkstra and America's Barbara Roles, the silver and bronze medallists from Squaw Valley.

Video courtesy Frazer Ormondroyd

The weather, which had been beautiful, took a turn for the worse just prior to the women's free skate. A rare snowstorm prevented Frank Ross, the Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, and his wife from attending, but the rink proved to be standing room only anyway.

Though the Italian judge gave a lone first place vote to Sjoukje Dijkstra in the free skate, Carol Heiss' four-minute free skating effort was more than enough for her to claim her final World title... at the stroke of midnight in front of three thousand spectators. Though she played it a little safe and left out her double Axel, sportswriter Jack Hewin noted, "People who saw both performances said this was better than the free skating effort that helped win Miss Heiss an Olympic gold medal." In her December 2012 interview on The Manleywoman SkateCast, Heiss reminisced, "Worlds was a very hard competition, because you’re so excited from the Olympics, and there’s an exhaustion that sets in. And I don’t think there’s an Olympic gold medal winner who doesn’t say that. There’s such excitement winning the gold medal, and the interviews, and the crowds, even back then. It was sort of a whirlwind and it was hard to keep training, even though Mr. [Pierre] Brunet was very good about trying to keep me on the ice and keep me training. And then going to Worlds for the fifth world title - I never went in for the record, that never dawned on me. It was just finishing my career. And I probably would have gone on to Nationals, but that was the first year that they put nationals before Worlds and Olympics, and it’s stayed that way ever since. And after that, I just wanted to get married, and there was a ticker tape parade in New York. They just couldn’t have treated me better. Carol Heiss Day, the key to the city, and then Long Island did the same thing. But then the offers came in and there were decisions. The first decision was, I said, I want to get married and make the decisions together. So we managed with good friends and my dad and the Brunet's to put my wedding together in six weeks."

Barbara Roles somewhat outshone Sjoukje Dijkstra in the free skate, but the Dutch Champion bested her for the silver on the strength of her showing in the figures. Canada's three entries, Wendy Griner, Sonia Snelling and Shirra Kenworthy, placed seventh, thirteenth and fifteenth. Japan's Miwa Fukuhara placed only fourteenth, but garnered considerable attention by skating to 'Oriental' music and landing a superb double Axel.

The judges didn't know what to do with the second American woman, young Laurence Owen. Her ordinals in the figures ranged from fifth to fourteenth; in the free skating from fifth to thirteenth. She ended the competition in a disappointing ninth, and perished the following year in the Sabena Crash before her natural talent was ever rewarded on the World's biggest stage.


Maria and Otto Jelinek

Capping off an incredible career with a flawless final competitive performance, Olympic Gold Medallists Barbara Wagner and Bob Paul delighted the Vancouver audience and judges alike by claiming the gold in the pairs competition. They did so with unanimous first place marks from all nine judges and a smattering of 5.8's and 5.9's.

Finding redemption after their disappointment in Squaw Valley, siblings Maria and Otto Jelinek claimed the silver in a six-three split over West Germans Marika Kilius and Hans-Jürgen Bäumler, making it one-two for Canada. Nancy and Ron Ludington, who had won the bronze at the Olympics, had an off night and placed only sixth. The Jelinek's didn't skate as well in Vancouver as they did in Squaw Valley either, but they placed higher. Muriel Kay, who covered the event for "Skating World" magazine, was impressed though. She wrote, "The young Jelineks skated the most thrilling and dynamic programme of the evening - it was fast and sure, with exuberant vitality. Maria missed landing her double loop, and there were a few other minor faults - but for this, the judges would have been hard put to make their decision for first place. A year ago they were two youngsters skating very well - now they have matured and gained poise and a depth of feeling for their music which led to this first-class performance."

Oleg Protopopov, Maria Jelinek, Ludmila Belousova and Otto Jelinek

Ludmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov were competing in only their second Worlds but were already garnering considerable consideration for their virtuosity. Unfortunately, a fall from Ludmila on the side-by-side double flips kept them down in eighth. Muriel Kay wrote in  "Skating World" magazine, "Their opening music sounded like the cascading of fountains, and their interpretation was exquisite and beautifully flowing... Their lifts were some of the best in the entire competition, with that quality of hovering for a long second at the peak... For those who really wondered just what 'light and shade' really means, it was demonstrated here superbly. It was just not interpretation as dictated by loudness and softness, crescendo and diminuendo and change of speed, but all the subtle variations of the moods of the music, born of the soul and not merely of the intellect. Once they perfect their skating movements and lengthen their stroke, which is still a little choppy in places, they will be serious challengers for the title."

Maribel Yerxa Owen and Dudley Richards

The American teams who finished tenth and twelfth, Maribel Yerxa Owen and Dudley Richards and Ila Ray and Ray Hadley, were among the Sabena Crash victims in 1961.

Fresh off Olympic victory, Barbara Wagner and Bob Paul

Canada's third team, thirteen year old Debbi Wilkes and fifteen year old Guy Revell, placed eleventh in their debut at Worlds.  In her book "Ice Time", Wilkes recalled, "The championships were the culmination of my Dad's dreams for me and, for one of the few competitions of my career, both my parents came... I had a great time. I tried to make friends with a Soviet pairs skater, [Ludmila] Belousova, who was skating with Oleg Protopopov... I thought [Ludmila] was my age and that we'd have great fun together. She turned out to be twenty-five. I also got word from the CFSA through my mother that I should watch out who my friends were... I was very happy about [the Canadian one-two finish], not only because of Otto and Maria, but because Marika Kilius, the German ice princess, was the most hateful person I had ever met. Years later, when Marg [Hyland] thought my competitive instinct needed a boost, she just whispered in my ear, 'Marika Kilius.'"

Postcard of the Hotel Georgia. Photo courtesy City of Vancouver Archives.

Following the competition, a who's who of figure skating gathered at the Hotel Georgia for an afternoon awards banquet. The over three hundred attendees each received a small silver maple leaf and a small slate totem pole with a silver medallion as keepsakes. The Japanese team all wore traditional costumes from their home country, and the Russian Federation presented the CFSA with a pennant of goodwill. Following the banquet, attendees went on a pleasure cruise of the Vancouver harbour and Howe Sound on a privately owned yacht and attended a cocktail party and buffet dinner and ice dancing session at the Capilano Winter Club. By this time, noted June Pinkerton, the chair of the Entertainment Committee, "It was evident... that the language barrier was no obstacle. Farewells were said, and with the end of another World Championship it was felt that a lot of new friends had been made."

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 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

What Did They Do In '62?

1962 World Champions Maria and Otto Jelinek. Photo courtesy Toronto Public Library, from Toronto Star Photographic Archive. Reproduced for educational purposes under license permission.

The cancellation of the 2020 World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal, Quebec due to the COVID-19 pandemic marks the first time in history a major ISU Championship has been cancelled specifically due to a global health emergency. As we all know though, this wasn't the first time the World Championships have been cancelled. The Great War and World War II forced the cancellation of Worlds from 1915 to 1921 and from 1940 to 1946. In 1961, the ISU (despite protestations from the Czechoslovakian organizers) cancelled the Worlds in Prague after the tragic Sabena Crash that killed the entire U.S. figure skating team, along with coaches, officials and members of their families. The cancellation of the 2020 Worlds has left many speculating as to how the ISU will handle entries for the 2021 World Championships, slated for Stockholm, Sweden. Some have wondered what they did back in 1962.

Oleg Protopopov, Maria Jelinek, Ludmila Belousova and Otto Jelinek in 1962

In the fifties, the number of entries at ISU Championships was growing by leaps and bounds. The number of entries in the women's event more than doubled from fourteen in London in 1950 to twenty nine in Paris in 1958. A big part of the problem at the time wasn't the number of federations sending skaters, but the number of skaters each federation sent. The United States, for instance, sent no less than five men and women to the 1951 Worlds in Milan. At a time when strict rules of amateurism were very much at play, it often came down to who could afford to pay their own way.

Nobuo Sato, Marika Kilius and Donald Jackson in 1962

Hoping to curb the number of entries at its Championships, the ISU passed a rule change at its 1959 Congress in Tours, France allocating each member federation two entries in each discipline, with a third spot available "if such Member had a representative in the first twelve in the same event in the preceding Championship." The catch was the skater or team who earned their country a third spot had to be the one(s) to return the following year to use it. If not, they lost it.

Though the ISU based entries for the 1962 Worlds on the results of the 1960 Worlds in Vancouver, their 'use it or lose it' policy for a third spot cost the Americans (who were still grieving from the Sabena Crash) entries at the 1962 Worlds because the skaters who had earned a third spot had well, died. At the 1960 Worlds, every single American skater or team had placed in the top twelve in their respective discipline, earning a maximum of three spots for the 1961 Worlds in Prague - but one of each of those three spots would have 'belonged' to the highest finishing returning skaters or teams - Bradley Lord, Laurence Owen, Maribel Yerxa Owen and Dudley Richards and in dance, either Larry Pierce or Roger Campbell with their new partners. Rather than allowing the USFSA to send three entries per discipline as a courtesy, the ISU ruled that they could send only two entries per discipline because the skaters who earned third spots weren't returning. An exception was made for Barbara Roles Pursley, who was a past Olympic and World Medallist and had earned a spot by placing third in 1960 but took a year off in 1961.

Announcement of the 1962 U.S. World team. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine.

The Americans weren't the only ones to get dinged by the rule. Great Britain, a powerhouse in ice dance in the sixties, was only able to send two couples after the retirement of Doreen Denny and Courtney Jones. Denny and Jones were the World Champions in 1960... but they were the only British couple entered that year.

The men's podium (Alain Calmat, Donald Jackson and Karol Divín) and the women's podium (Regine Heitzer, Sjoukje Dijkstra and Wendy Griner) at the 1962 World Championships. Photos courtesy "Skating" magazine.

If entries for the next World Championships were based on the system that was in place in 1962, here's what we'd be looking at, taking into account retirements, skaters not entered to compete at the 2020 Worlds, etc.


USA - 3 spots (1 reserved for Nathan Chen, Vincent Zhou or Jason Brown)
JPN - 3 spots (1 reserved for Yuzuru Hanyu or Shoma Uno)
CHN - 3 spots (1 reserved for Boyang Jin)
ITA - 3 spots (1 reserved for Matteo Rizzo)
CZE - 3 spots (1 reserved for Michal Březina)
FRA - 3 spots (1 reserved for Kévin Aymoz)

- Russia would lose a third spot if Alexander Samarin, Mikhail Kolyada or Andrei Lazukin weren't sent.

*All other countries would have 2 spots.


JPN - 3 spots (1 reserved for Rika Kihira, Kaori Sakamoto or Satoko Miyahara)
USA - 3 spots (1 reserved for Bradie Tennell or Mariah Bell)

- Canada would lose a third spot if Gabby Daleman wasn't sent
- Russia would lose a third spot if Evgenia Medvedeva or Sofia Samodurova weren't sent
- Kazakhstan would lose a third spot if Elizabet Tursynbaeva wasn't sent.
- Belgium would lose a third spot if Loena Hendrickx wasn't sent
- Korea would lose a third spot if Eun-soo Lim wasn't sent.

*All other countries would have 2 spots


CHN - 3 spots (1 spot reserved for Wenjing Sui and Cong Han or Cheng Peng and Yang Jin)
RUS - 3 spots (1 spot reserved for Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov or Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitrii Kozlovskii)
CAN - 3 spots (1 spot reserved for Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro or Evelyn Walsh and Trennt Michaud)
ITA - 3 spots (1 spot reserved for Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise)
USA - 3 spots (1 spot reserved for Ashley Cain and Tim LeDuc)
AUT - 3 spots (1 spot reserved for Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer)

- France would lose a third spot if Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès weren't sent.
- North Korea would lose a third spot if Tae-ok Ryom and Ju-sik Kim weren't sent.

*All other countries would have 2 spots

Ice Dance:

FRA - 3 spots (1 spot reserved for Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron)
RUS - 3 spots (1 spot reserved for Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov or Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin)
USA - 3 spots (1 spot reserved for Madison Hubbell and Zach Donohue, Madison Chock and Evan Bates or Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker)
CAN - 3 spots (1 spot reserved for Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier or Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen)
ITA - 3 spots (1 spot reserved for Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri)
POL - 3 spots (1 spot reserved for Natalia Kaliszek and Maksym Spodyriev)

- Spain would lose a third spot if Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin weren't sent.

*All other countries would have 2 spots

As you can plainly see, if the rules at play in 1962 were reintroduced to address the entries to the World Championships, the number of entries in every discipline would swell dramatically - perhaps to the point that the ISU would have to reinstitute qualifying rounds unless the 'two slot' rule for all other countries was reduced to one.

While it is entirely unlikely the ISU would ever consider going back to a system used to address the cancellation of the World Championships from decades past, it is interesting to consider how the worldwide popularity of the sport and increased number of member federations would substantially increase the number of entries at Worlds if this system was reintroduced today.

Now that we've talked history, I want to just say that I hope all of you are hanging in there. Whether you're in self-isolation, have lost your job or are forced to continue to work for any number of ridiculous reasons, take care of yourself. Rather than focus entirely on the present, embrace the past and look forward to a brighter future. The world may be on pause, but it is not over. Stay happy, healthy and for the love of Sonja Henie, wash your hands.

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 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