The I.P.S.A. World And British Open Professional Championships


The first professional figure skating competitions in Great Britain were the Open Professional Championship Of Great Britain In The International Style, organized by the National Skating Association and first held in 1932. The first winners were Howard Nicholson, Melitta Brunner and Sadie Cambridge and Albert Enders. Singles competitors performed both school figures and free skating, and there was no prize money at all, which may surprise you. These were professionals competing for a title out of pure love for the sport!

Sadie Cambridge and Albert Enders

In April 1933, an ice dance competition open to both amateurs and professionals was held at the Westminster Ice Rink in London. Married couple Eva Keats of Great Britain and Erik Van Der Weyden of Belgium took home the gold. Two months later, a competition for professional ice dancers only was held at the Queen's Ice Club in London. Perhaps controversially dancing with a woman other than his wife, Van Der Weyden and Elsie Heathcote won this particular competition.

Things got much more organized in 1936. The British Ice Teachers Association was founded that year as the Ice Teachers Guild. It was one of the first coaching associations formed in the world and played an important role in organizing competitions for professionals both pre-World War II and after, under the name the Imperial Professional Skaters Association. That year, before Great Britain even had an amateur ice dance competition, a professional competition for ice dancers called the British Pro Waltz Championships was won by Lesley Turner and Robert Dench. Skaters like Hope Braine, Nate Walley, Pamela Prior, Joan Dix and pairs team Sadie Cambridge and Albert Enders took home titles in singles and pairs skating during this period. In April 1937 at the Harringay Ice Arena, Pamela Prior was the only entrant in the women's event but was still expected to achieve specific scores in both compulsory figures and free skating to earn the crown. She was only seventeen years old.

Mostly show skaters competed in these events from early on but many bigger names like Cecilia Colledge and Swiss brothers Jacques and Arnold Gerschwiler dipped their foot in the water. Also competing were Herbert Alward, Marilyn Hoskins, Ronnie Baker, Len Liggett and Pamela Murray and Muriel Roberts and Walter Gregory, the inventors of the Rhumba compulsory dance. Often, the Championships were held in conjunction with other events organized by the National Skating Association, such as amateur junior competitions.

These events came to a halt during World War II. Some rinks remained open, others were taken over, damaged or closed and the ones that were opened served double duty as bomb shelters with gas masks in the cloakrooms. By 1947, the Professional Championships had returned.

In her formidable textbook of ice dance history, Lynn Copley-Graves explained how the free dance, part of a May 1949 proposal by Reginald Wilkie and Bill Hickok to the International Skating Union, got its trial start in professional and not amateur competition: "Great Britain held a yearly Open Professional Ice Dance Championship. On December 9, 1949, two professional couples tried out the new ISU rules in England, the first reported use of the rules in a major competition. The free dancing of Gladys Hogg and Bernard Spencer won both acclaim and the title. Gladys and Bern, already two of the finest British dance trainers of the era, set a standard for what free dancing could be." Finishing second behind Hogg and Spencer but also noteworthy in their contribution to skating history by performing one of the first two ISU free dances in the world were another British couple, Violet Thomson and Kenneth Vickers.

Moira June MacDonald, Open Professional Champion in 1949, 1951 and 1953

In 1957, the National Skating Association relinquished control of the Open Professional Championships to the Imperial Professional Skating Association of Great B
ritain, and a Championship Committee consisting of Roy Callaway, Joan Hawkins, Don Crosthwaite and Peggy Tomlins set to work revamping the event. The 1957 Championships marked the first time that skaters would compete for prize money - a total purse of two hundred pounds. T.D. Richardson noted that there was initially a lot out doubt as to whether or not the event would work out under the organization of I.P.S.A., and when there were no international entries in 1957, there were "a lot of 'I told you so's'."

The judging system was revamped, with six judges (five in dance) and marks given on a 10.0 scales. The total points, not ordinals, decided the winners, and each judge presided over one aspect of the skater's performance. In singles skating, there was a judge apiece for spins, jumps, steps, general performance, musical interpretation and artistic conception. In pairs, judges looked at spins, jumps and lifts, steps, performance, musical interpretation and artistic conception. In compulsory dances, they assessed correct edges, correct pattern style, correctness of footwork, rhythm and timing and interpretation of music, and in the free dance contents and difficulty, rhythm and timing, unison and co-ordination and musical interpretation. The competition were then titled at the World's and British Professional Championships. "Skating World" magazine noted, "Should a British competitor place first in any event, then he or she would become both British and World Champion. The highest placed British skater would take the national title in any event, regardless of World placings."


A hugely important development for the competition came on May 31, 1958, when the BBC televised all four disciplines of the event held at Nottingham Ice Stadium, allowing television audiences in England their first glimpse at professional competition. With Alan Weeks and Max Robertson as commentators, this television coverage continued well into the sixties.

Carol and Michaele, Rosina and Raymond Lockwood and Peri Horne and Basil Cudlipp-Green, pairs medallists in 1958

Though British skaters dominated the event in the sixties, the pendulum often swung in favour of international skaters as well. Italy's Anna Galmarini and Japan's Miwa Fukuhara managed to claim international titles that had eluded them as amateurs, while four time World Champions Eva Romanová and Pavel Roman of Czechoslovakia showed they were every bit as talented as pros when they took the title in 1965.

In 1969, another pair of four time World Champions, Diane Towler-Green and Bernard Ford, claimed the World Professional Championship - now billed as the W.D. and H.O. Wills Championships at Wembley - defeating Yvonne Suddick and Malcolm Cannon and Vivienne Dean and John Phillips for the win. Perhaps the most compelling winner that came out of this event was 1965 pairs winner Marianne Althammer of West Germany, who tours later would spend eighteen days in jail in Poland after getting into a fight with Warsaw police while touring with Holiday On Ice.

The men's podium in 1970: Michael Edmonds, Donald Jackson and Paul McGrath.

In 1970, the event was again held at Wembley and with Towler and Ford not returning to defend their title, Yvonne Suddick teamed up with her competition from the previous year, John Phillips, to take the ice dance crown. In the men's event, World Champion Donald Jackson of Canada managed to hold off some strong competition from American Paul McGrath for the win, receiving first place marks from every judge and the only three perfect marks of the entire competition. In my interview with Lorna Brown, who won her World Professional title in Jaca, she recalled finishing second in Wembley: "I then competed in the World Championships in Wembley the first time and came second to a European Champion who was also an Olympic and world bronze medallist by 0.2 and the pro marks were out of ten. I skated to 'On The Waterfront' and I remember the ice was liquid blue so I was in my element." By 1974, the competition moved to Jaca, Spain and rebranded itself as the Campeonatos del Mundo de Patinaje Artístico Professional sobre Hielo or in English, the World Professional Championships.

RESULTS AND VIDEOS BY YEAR 
*denotes British Professional Champion (top British finishers)

1932 (men - Oxford, women and pairs - Streatham)

Men:

1. Howard Nicholson (USA)
2. Walter Arian (AUT)
3. Ernst Hartung (GER)
Other entrants included Albert Enders (AUS), Sidney Charlton (GRB), Walter Gregory (GRB), Armand Perren (SUI), F. Mattauch (AUT)

Women:

1. Melitta Brunner (AUT)
2. Joyce Macbeth (GRB)*
3. Sadie Cambridge (AUS)
4. Miss Watkins (GRB)
5. Pearl Kelly (GRB)
6. C. Muller (AUT)

Pairs:

1. Sadie Cambridge and Albert Enders (AUS)
2. Trudy Harris and Paul Kreckow (GRB/GER)*

1933 (men - Purley, women and pairs - Manchester, dance - Queen's)

Men:

1. Howard Nicholson (USA)
2. Jacques Gerschwiler (SUI)
3. Walter Arian (AUT)
4. Otto Gold (CZE)
5. Walter Gregory (GRB)*

Women:

1. Joyce Macbeth (GRB)*
2. Melitta Brunner (AUT)

Pairs:

1. Sadie Cambridge and Albert Enders (AUS)
2. Mr. and Mrs. Len Stewart (GRB)*
3. Kathleen Shaw and R. Crook (GRB)

Dance:

1. Elsie Heathcote and Erik van der Weyden (GRB)*

1934 (men - Hammersmith, women - Purley, pairs - Birmingham)

Men:

1. Nate Walley (USA)
2. Howard Nicholson (USA)

Women:

1. Joyce Macbeth (GRB)*

Pairs:

1. Sadie Cambridge and Albert Enders (AUS)
2. Fredi Meerkamper and Eugene Mikeler (SUI/AUT)
3. Phyllis Smiles/Orrin Markhus (GRB/USA)*

1935 (men - Richmond, women - Queen's, pairs - Manchester)

Men:

1. Nate Walley (USA)
2. Hope Braine (GRB)*
3. Helmut Rolle (GER)

Women:

1. Joyce Macbeth (GRB)*

Pairs:

1. Sadie Cambridge and Albert Enders (AUS)
2. Fredi Meerkamper and Eugene Mikeler (SUI/AUT)
3. Madge Austin and Colin Ford (GRB)*

1936 (Empress Hall, Earl's Court)

Men:

1. Hope Braine (GRB)*
2. Helmut Rolle (GER)
3. Arnold Gerschwiler (SUI)

Women:

1. Joan Dix (GRB)*
2. Marit Klem (NOR)
3. Kathleen Shaw (GRB)

Pairs:

1. Sadie Cambridge and Albert Enders (AUS)
2. Madge Austin and Colin Ford (GRB)*
3. Mr. and Mrs. Len Stewart (GRB)

Waltz:

1. Lesley Turner and Bob Dench (GRB)*

1937 (Harringay)

Men:

1. Hope Braine (GRB)*
2. Helmut Rolle (GER)

Women:

1. Pamela Prior (GRB)*

Pairs:

1. Sadie Cambridge and Albert Enders (AUS)
2. Andrée and Pierre Brunet (FRA)

1938

(no information)

1939

Dance:

1. Muriel Robert and Walter Gregory (GRB)*

(no information on singles or pairs events)

1940-1946

(not held)

1947 (Empire Pool, Wembley)

Women:

1. Cecilia Colledge (GRB)*

Pairs:

1. Gladys Hogg and Ronnie Baker (GRB)*
2. Joy Ricketts and Jimmy Macaulay (GRB)

Dance:

1. Gladys Hogg and Ronnie Baker (GRB)*

1948 (Empire Pool, Wembley)

Men:

1. Herbert Alward (AUT)

Women:

1. Cecilia Colledge (GRB)*
2. Valerie Moon (GRB)
3. Shirley Burke (IRL)

1949 (Brighton)

Men:

1. Herbert Alward (AUT)
3. Ian Currie (GRB)

Women:

1. Moira June MacDonald (GRB)*
3. Shirley Burke (IRL)

Dance (May):

1. Marjorie Taylor and Ronnie Baker (GRB)*

Dance (December):

1. Gladys Hogg and Bernard Spencer (GRB)*
2. Violet Thomson and Kenneth Vickers (GRB)

1950

(not held)

1951 (Richmond)

Women:

1. Marilyn Hoskins (GRB)*
2. Moira June MacDonald (GRB)
3. J. Cox (GRB)

Dance:

1. Gladys Hogg and Bernard Spencer (GRB)*

1952 (Brighton)

(no information)

1953 (Nottingham)

Men:

1. Reg Park (AUS)

Women:

1. Moira June MacDonald (GRB)*

Pairs:

1. M. Pain and Bill Hinchy (GRB)*
2. Mr. and Mrs. Monty Readhead (GRB)

1954

(no information)

1955 (Richmond)

Men:

1. Jack Lee (AUS)

Dance:

1. Joan (Dewhirst) and Joan Slater (GRB)*

1956

Dance:

1. Joan (Dewhirst) and John Slater (GRB)*
2. Rosina Blackburn and Raymond Lockwood (CAN)
3. Betty Loach and Len Sayward (GRB)
4. Wendy Mann Parnell and Harry Parnell (GRB)

1957

(no information)

1958 (Nottingham)

Men:

1. Ronnie Robertson (USA)
2. Martin Minshull (GRB)*
3. Douglas Chapman (GRB)

Women:

1. Catherine Machado (USA)
2. Patricia Edwards (GRB)*
3. Toni Congdon (GRB)
4. Jill Paterson (GRB)
5. Audrey McColl (GRB)
6. May Johnstone (GRB)
7. Margaret Sclare (GRB)

Pairs:

1. Rosina and Raymond Lockwood (CAN)
2. Peri Horne and Basil Cudlipp-Green (GRB)*
3. Carol and Michaele (GRB)

Dance:

1. Rosina and Raymond Lockwood (CAN)
2. Joan (Dewhirst) and John Slater (GRB)*
3. Betty McLeod and Len Sayward (GRB)
4. Anne Palmer and Roy Lee (GRB)
5. June Mann and John Pearce (GRB)

1959 (Nottingham)

Men:

1. Martin Minshull (GRB)*
WD. Ronnie McKenzie (GRB)

Women:

1. Patricia Edwards (GRB)*
2. Jill Patterson (GRB)
3. Susan Judge (GRB)
4. Audrey Bailey (GRB)

Pairs:

1. Lesley Norfolk and John Pearce (GRB)*
2. Suzanne Park and Kevin McGrath (GRB)
3. Peri Horne and Basil Cudlipp-Green (GRB)
4. Margaret Bessell and Michael Marians (GRB)

Dance:

1. Joan (Dewhirst) and John Slater (GRB)*
2. June Markham and Ron Barnett (GRB)
3. Betty Loach and Len Sayward (GRB)
4. Anne Palmer and Roy Lee (GRB)

1960

Men:

1. Martin Minshull (GRB)*

1961

Men:

1. Michael Carrington (GRB)*

1962 (Nottingham)

(no information)

1963 (Empire Pool, Wembley)


Men:

1. Michael Carrington (GRB)*

Women:

1. Jacqueline Harbord (GRB)*

Pairs:

1. Margret Göbl and Franz Ningel (FRG)

Dance:

1. Heather Hibbert and Christopher Robin Jones (GRB)*
2. Betty Loach and Keith Kelley (GRB)
3. Iris Lloyd-Webb and David Clements (GRB)
4. Gillian Thorpe and Len Sayward (GRB)
5. Peri Horne and Bobby Thompson (GRB)
6. Sally Sweeting and Michael Abbott (GRB)

1964 (Empire Pool, Wembley)

Men:

1. Martin Minshull (GRB)*
2. Michael Carrington (GRB)
3. Ronnie McKenzie (GRB)

Women:

1. Jacqueline Harbord (GRB)*
2. Inge Paul (FRG)
3. Ursula Barkey (FRG)

Pairs:

1. Diane and John Hulme (GRB)*
2. Joan and Red Humphries (GRB)
3. Vera Jeffrey and Peter Webb (GRB)

Dance:

1. Heather Hibbert and Christopher Robin Jones (GRB)*
2. Linda Shearman and Michael Phillips (GRB)
3. Betty Loach and Keith Kelley (GRB)
4. Gillian Thorpe and John Phillips (GRB)
5. Thérèse Lassalle and Jean-Pierre Faugère (FRA)

1965


Women:

1. Anna Galmarini (ITA)
2. Karin Frohner (AUT)
Dany Rigoulot (FRA) also competed

Pairs:

1. Marianne Althammer and Karl-Heinz Kramer (FRG)

Dance:

1. Eva Romanová and Pavel Roman (CZE)
2. Heather Hibbert and Christopher Robin Jones (GRB)*
3. Gillian Thorpe and John Phillips (GRB)
4. Carol Windebank and Bernard Spencer (GRB)
5. Anne Palmer and Roy Lee (GRB)

1966

Men:

1. Derek James (GRB)*
2. Eddie Grill (USA)
3. Reg Park (AUS)
4. Robert McKay (GRB)
5. Jim Keller (USA)
6. Ricki Gray (GRB)

Dance:

1. Marjorie McCoy and Ian Phillips (GRB)*
2. Gillian Thorpe and John Phillips (GRB)
3. Betty Loach and Howard Richardson (GRB)

1967


Men:

1. Bodo Bockenauer (FRG)
2. Allan Williamson (GRB)*
*These two men actually tied, and the judges had to decide upon a winner. This was the closest result since 1937, when Sadie Cambridge and Albert Enders defeated The Brunet's by 0.5.

Women:

1. Regine Heitzer AUT

Pairs:

1. Gertrude Desjardins and Guy Revell (CAN)

Dance:

1. Betty Loach and Howard Richardson (GRB)*
2. Marjorie McCoy and Ian Phillips (GRB)
3. Peri Horne and Patrick Dean (GRB)
4. Dianne Peach and Anthony Beresford (GRB)

1968 (Empire Pool, Wembley)

Men:

1. Emmerich Danzer (AUT)
2. Wolfgang Schwarz (AUT)

Women:

1. Miwa Fukuhara (JPN)
2. Helli Sengtschmid (AUT)
3. Nicole Erdos (FRA)
4. Margaret McKone (GRB)*
5. Marei Langenbein (FRG)
6. Isabel Bremner (GRB)
7. Sandra Joyce (GRB)

Dance:

1. Iris Lloyd-Webb and Michael Webster (GRB)*
2. Gabriele and Rudi Matysik (FRG)
3. Marjorie McCoy and Ian Phillips (GRB)
4. Pamela Davies and Bernard Spencer (GRB)
5. Dolly Rodenbaugh and Thomas Lescinski (USA)
6. Peri Horne and Patrick Dean (GRB)
7. Alison Smith and David Gregory (GRB)

1969 (Empire Pool Wembley)




Men:

1. Gary Visconti (USA)
2. Paul McGrath (USA)
3. F. Dedovich (AUT)

Women:

1. Wendy Jones (USA)
2. Linda Davies (GRB)*
3. C. Jones (GRB)

Pairs:

1. Gudrun Hauss and Walter Häfner (FRG)
2. Margaret Godfrey and Alain Herminjard (AUS/SUI)
3. M. Mason and P. Martin (GRB)*

Dance:

1. Diane Towler and Bernard Ford (GRB)*
2. Yvonne Suddick and Malcolm Cannon (GRB)
3. Vivienne Dean and John Philips (GRB)


1970 (Empire Pool, Wembley)


Men:

1. Donald Jackson (CAN)
2. Paul McGrath (USA)
3. Michael Edmonds (GRB)*

Women:

1. Hana Mašková (CZE)
2. Lorna Brown (GRB)*
3. Karin Frohner (AUT)

Pairs:

1. Linda Bernard and Ray Wilson (GRB)*
2. Edith Sperl and Heinz Wirz (SUI)
3. Margret (Göbl) and Franz Ningel (FRG)

Dance:

1. Yvonne Suddick and John Phillips (GRB)*
2. Vivienne Dean and Jon Lane (GRB)
3. Gabriele and Rudi Matysik (FRG)

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