The Best Of 2019: A Skate Guard New Year's Spectacular


Over the last twelve months, Skate Guard blog has shared over one hundred 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 the coming year! I'll be on a short break and will resume with the usual schedule of two new blogs a week on January 14, 2020.

To cap off what has certainly been in an interesting year in the skating world, I wanted to share a perfect 10.0 of my favourite pieces from 2019 that you may have missed. If you haven't read any of these yet, make the time... they're honestly just fascinating tales!

10. A HAWAIIAN DOUBLE FEATURE


In December 2019, we 'headed' to an unlikely skating destination - Hawaii - and explored The Aloha State's unique connections to the sport and Sonja Henie's famous Hula acts. These stories were great reminders that no matter where you go in the world, there's a skating connection!

9. LEADVILLE'S CRYSTAL PALACE

Photo courtesy Denver Public Library

In 1895, the gold boom town of Leadville, Colorado constructed a very unusual winter attraction - a giant ice palace. In August of 2019, we took a trip back in time and looked at just what happened inside.

8. THE 1953 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine

In 1953, the World Figure Skating Championships were held on outdoor ice in Davos, with weather conditions so dire that skaters actually collapsed on the ice. We reflected on the incredible stories from this competition on the blog in March of 2019.

7. MARCELLA MAY WILLIS AND JIMMY LOCHEAD JR.

Photo courtesy Don Willis

Californians Marcella May Willis and Jimmy Lochead Jr. rose to prominence as America's top ice dancers in the height of World War II, making history as the first couple from the West Coast to win the national crown. We explored their fascinating story in June of 2019.

6. LORNA DYER AND JOHN CARRELL


In the sixties - an era when British couples utterly dominated the international ice dance scene - Lorna Dyer and John Carrell rose to prominence with their technically precise and forward take on ice dancing style. We explored their story on the blog in June of 2019.

5. THE 1995 CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

Netty Kim. Photo courtesy Toronto Public Library, from Toronto Star Photographic Archive. Reproduced for educational purposes under license permission.

Many of Canada's top amateur skaters had turned professional and were cashing in on 'the boom' of interest in skating that followed the Lillehammer Olympics. In July of 2019, we looked back at the the 1995 Canadian Championships in Halifax - the first Canadians of a new Olympic cycle. Rare videos of this event donated by Skate Guard reader Maureen added to the fun. 

4. WHY SKATING SHOWS WITHOUT BOOZE DON'T MIX


During the Great War, New Yorkers were treated to a novel summer attraction - the ice show. Thomas Healy's Golden Glades was a huge hit for several years until prohibition (temporarily) put the kybosh on martinis and mohawks. We explored this story on the blog in May of 2019.

3. CAMEL SPINS IN THE CARIBBEAN

Performers in "Broadway On Ice" in Trinidad and Tobago. Photo courtesy The National Library and Information System of Trinidad and Tobago.

Like Hawaii, the Caribbean is probably not exactly the first place you'd think of when it comes to figure skating. In June of 2019, we explored the fascinating footnotes and fabulous figures that comprise the region's unique skating heritage.

2. GÖSTA SANDAHL


Sweden's Gösta Sandahl is perhaps one of the most overlooked World Champions in the history of figure skating. We explored his unique story on the blog back in February of 2019.

1. THE BARON VON PETERSDORFF


In January of 2019, we explored the engrossing story of the Baron von Petersdorff. He travelled the world as an acclaimed professional skater but the mystery surrounding his tragic death is like something out of a detective novel.

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