Tensteps And Torches: The Frederick Goodridge Story


"Everything that is skating - good form, sureness, rhythm, and music." - Frederick Goodridge, "Skating" magazine, 1932

Frederick 'Teddy' Goodridge was born September 2, 1906 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His mother, Susan Blake McPherson hailed from Nova Scotia and his father Dr. Frederick James Goodridge was a physician and Harvard graduate. 

Frederick and his younger sister Elizabeth grew up in the family home on Appian Way, just around the corner from Brattle Street, where George 'Geddy' Hill lived. Like Geddy, Frederick attended Browne and Nichols school, where he was mentored by George Henry Browne, who played an instrumental role in bringing the Continental or International Style of skating to America.

Frederick, George and Elizabeth all became regulars at the Cambridge Skating Club, where Freddy won his first competition - the club's Tenstep competition - in 1922 with partner Rachel Winlock. The Club's President was Freddy's uncle Arthur. Rachel and Frederick defended their Tenstep title the following year, and he took home top honours in the club's men's free skating competition as well. Those were just the first of his many competitive achievements.

Left: Ten year old Frederick Goodridge, Right: Group of young skaters at the Cambridge Skating Club, circa 1919. To the right is Elizabeth Goodridge.

Three years after he graduated from Harvard University himself, Frederick claimed the U.S. junior men's title in New York City. In the years that followed, he claimed eleven more gold medals at the Cambridge Skating Club's Championships in singles and ice dancing events and twice finished second in the senior men's event at the U.S. Championships behind Roger Turner. He also won a fourteenstep contest with a fourteen year old Maribel Vinson.

James Lester Madden, Frederick Goodridge and Roger Turner at the 1929 U.S. Championships. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine.

Frederick also finished third at the 1929 North American Championships in Boston behind Montgomery 'Bud' Wilson and Roger Turner. His biggest successes arguably came in 1933 and 1934, when he won the Original Dance event at the U.S. Championships twice with Suzanne Davis and the fours title with Davis, Theresa Weld Blanchard and Richard L. Hapgood.

James and Grace Madden, Frederick Goodridge, Maribel Vinson and Geddy Hill

Interestingly, the 'Boston four' (with Geddy Hill replacing Hapgood) was invited to skate in a carnival in Baltimore during this period. When Geddy (who was to act as Susie's partner) was unable to attend, Theresa Weld Blanchard and Frederick were forced to come up with a pairs act at the last minute. They stole the show, performing an eerie number in a darkened arena where the carried flaming torches as props.

Frederick Goodridge and Suzanne Davis' "A Bicycle Built For Two" act. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine.

Frederick also excelled as an ice comedian in carnivals and performed a duet in shows with Suzanne Davis set to "A Bicycle Built For Two" where they "gave their interpretation of skating as it was done in the Gay Nineties."

Suzanne Davis and Frederick Goodridge's winning Original Dance in 1933

Frederick retired from competitive skating in the mid-thirties, but remained incredibly active in the skating world, mentoring many skaters including a young Benjamin T. Wright. He taught Wright the loop jump, spread eagle and grapevine. Both he and his father acted as Incorporators of the Cambridge Skating Club, and he served as both Secretary and Treasurer of the other club he held a membership with, the Skating Club of Boston. He also served as a member of the USFSA Executive Committee from 1933 to 1938 and as the chairman of the Competitions and Rules Committee from 1934 to 1935. By the early forties, he was certified by USFSA as National, International and World Judge and Referee. Unfortunately, he never got to test his judging mettle due to the cancellation of ISU Championships during World War II.

The Boston Twelve: Olivia Stone Holmes and Frederick Goodridge, Polly Blodgett and Richard L. Hapgood, Leslie Eustis and Bernard Fox, Grace and James Lester Madden, Joan Tozzer and Geddy Hill, Bunty McKaig and William Penn Gaskell-Hall. Photo courtesy "Skating" magazine.

In August of 1952, Frederick married Meriale Catherine Lund in Boston. Though he had remained active 'behind the scenes' in U.S. figure skating following the War, much of his later life was devoted to taking care of his mother and working as a statistician for an investment firm. He passed away on November 3, 1967 in Haverford, Pennsylvania at the age of sixty-one, never losing his love of skating for one minute.

Skate Guard is a blog dedicated to preserving the rich, colourful and fascinating history of figure skating. Over ten years, the blog has featured over a thousand free articles covering all aspects of the sport's history, as well as four compelling in-depth features. To read the latest articles, follow the blog on FacebookTwitterPinterest and YouTube. If you enjoy Skate Guard, please show your support for this archive by ordering a copy of the figure skating reference books "The Almanac of Canadian Figure Skating", "Technical Merit: A History of Figure Skating Jumps" and "A Bibliography of Figure Skating": https://skateguard1.blogspot.com/p/buy-book.html.

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