Born in 1874, Nikolay Aleksandrovich Panin-Kolomenkin was not only Russia's first Olympic champion but a jack of all trades. In winning the first and only 'Special Figures' competition held at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, England, the athletic Russian not only excelled at figure skating, but was an accomplished shooter as well, competing in the 1912 Summer Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden and finishing 8th in the 50 meter pistol competition. He was also an avid rower, cyclist, gymnast and track and field athlete. His career was remarkably unique in that he was a well known and respected skating coach both before and after his win at the Olympics, defying the terms of "professional skating" today, where coaches are grouped with professional athletes. Panin-Kolomenkin was definitely a figures specialist as opposed to a strong free skater, and did not place in the men's figure skating competition at those same 1908 Summer Olympics, which comprised of compulsory figures and free skating. With his Olympic gold medal and medals at the Russian, European and World Championships to his credit, Nikolay retired from athletics and focused on writing several biographical and reference books, continuing to coach and judging international competitions until his death in Leningrad in 1956, at the age of eight three.
Available records show that Julin competed in many Nordic figure skating events during her era, but only competed at one World Championships, in 1913, some seven years before her trip to the 1920 Summer Olympics where she won the ladies figure skating event while pregnant (!) over Sweden's Svea Noren and America's Theresa Weld Blanchard.
Julin, who was born in 1894 and lived until the age of ninety six, could be seen skating at the public outdoor ice rink in Kungsträdgården in central Stockholm at the age of ninety. If that's not love of the sport, I don't know what is. Julin had two sons and spent the last years of her life in an old age home in Stockholm.
SISSY SCHWARZ AND KURT OPPELT
HELENE ENGELMANN AND ALFRED BERGER
Photo courtesy Bibliothèque nationale de France
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