Over the last twelve months, Skate Guard blog has shared over one hundred and fifty fascinating stories from figure skating's rich and colourful history. It's been an absolute pleasure hearing from so many of you throughout the year. Learning about your own connections to and perceptions of these important stories has to be the best part of 'doing what I do' and I cannot wait to continue to share even more of these gems with you in 2018! To cap off what has certainly been in an interesting year in the world to say the very least, I wanted to share a perfect 10.0 of my favourite pieces from the past year that you may have missed. If you haven't read some of these yet, make the time... they're honestly just fascinating tales!
10. THE SMALLER TOLLER: THE DENNIS COI STORY
Dennis Coi was an extremely unique Canadian skater who claimed the World junior title in the late seventies. Tragically, he passed away at age twenty six in September of 1987, making him one of the very first figure skaters to succumb to HIV/AIDS. Learn more about his story in this July 2017 blog.
9. HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW: SKATING HAIR THROUGH HISTORY
From errant toupees to the infamous Dorothy Hamill wedge, figure skating hair-storyis a lot more fascinating a topic than you might think. Even if you enjoyed getting back to skating hair's roots the first time, you might want to go back for a touch up. You can find this January 2017 blog here.
8. THE JUBILANT JAKOBSSONS: FINLAND'S FIRST AND ONLY OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALLISTS
Walter Jakobsson met Ludovika Eilers in the spring of 1908 in Berlin. Three years later, the couple tied the knot and in 1920, they claimed the gold medal at the Summer Olympic Games in Antwerp, Germany. To this day, they are the only skaters from Finland to win Olympic gold. Learn more about their story in this January 2017 blog.
7. PUT YOUR HANDS TOGETHER FOR BIDDY BONNYCASTLE
Though she won twenty medals at the Canadian Championships and a North American title, Canada's Veronica Clarke - a.k.a. Biddy Bonnycastle - has received little attention historically. After connecting with her daughter Hilary Bruun and son Angus Bonnycastle, I had the opportunity to share her fascinating story on Skate Guard in August 2017.
6. BLADES IN THE BULLRING: MEXICO'S SURPRISING INTRODUCTION TO FIGURE SKATING
Mexico isn't just a paradise of cervesas in the sunshine... it is a country with a surprisingly unique figure skating history. In April 2017, I delved into this very topic!
5. THE LEGACY OF LUDMILA
The figure skating world has said goodbye to a host of legendary skaters in 2017, but one of the most heartbreaking was the loss of two time Olympic Gold Medallist and four time World Champion Ludmila (Belousova) Protopopov. In September 2017, I explored the fascinating story of Ludmila's defection from the Soviet Union and shared a long lost interview she and Oleg did with sports correspondent Gererd Zelensky.
4. THE CRYSTAL BALL
Without a doubt, my favourite edition of Skate Guard's monthly #Unearthed series in 2017 was The Crystal Ball. It consisted of a poem from 1968 and an article from 1972, both penned by skaters who were envisioning the future of the sport. The piece was released just days before Hallowe'en, when many skating fans were caught up in the drama of Skate Canada International. If you missed this one, you definitely want to make the time to check it out.
3. THE MAGNIFICENT MISS HOGG
Gladys Hogg, a feisty fencing instructor and ice dance coach from London, England, was easily one of my personal favourite skating personalities to research. You can learn more about her story in this August 2017 blog.
There's as much misinformation out there about spins as there is glorified obsession with jumps. In May 2017, I broke down many of aspects of the history and evolution of spinning on Skate Guard.
1. ALL THE BEST, BELITA: THE DEFINITIVE BIOGRAPHY OF BELITA JEPSON-TURNER
In June 2017, I released my most ambitious writing project to date - a full length biography of British figure skater, dancer and actress Belita Jepson-Turner. A unique and underappreciated talent, Belita is one skater whose story was absolutely worth revisiting. If you haven't given it a read yet, now's the time!
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.