Ice Dance History Is Compulsory

Photo courtesy City Of Toronto Archives

"The compulsory dances are to the ice dancers what the scales of the piano are to the pianist. That's where you learn good technique and that's where you practice the basics." - Tracy Wilson

Though it's been over a decade since a full compulsory dance has been skated in an ISU Championship, compulsory dances play both an important part in ice dancing's history and future. Many of the sport's great champions were first introduced to the discipline by learning the steps of the Dutch Waltz, Canasta and Baby Blues... and until 2010, all of ice dancing's greatest champions showed off their finest footwork in complex compulsory dance patterns. 

When ice dancing was first introduced at the World Championships in 1950, couples had to perform no less than four compulsory dances, along with a free dance. In those days, dances were drawn from four groups: waltzes, foxtrots, fast dances like the Paso Doble or Quickstep and slower dances like the Tango or Blues. Interestingly, when ice dancing was first introduced at the Olympic Games as a demonstration event in 1968, couples had to skate a three and a half minute free dance, an Original Set Dance (precursor to the OSP) and no less than five compulsories! Two couples skated each compulsory dance at the same time, starting at opposite ends of the rink. 

1946 "Ice Skating" magazine article by Erik van der Weyden, inventor of the Westminster Waltz

By the luck of the draw, certain compulsory dances were skated at major events far more than others. The Argentine Tango and Paso Doble were skated at the World Championships more than fifteen times. The following tables highlight each compulsory dance's selection at the Winter Olympic Games and World Championships and the highest scoring compulsory dances skated under the IJS System.

Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean's Blues at the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer

COMPULSORY DANCES SKATED AT THE OLYMPICS AND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Three compulsory dances are missing from this listing. Through reports and discussions with former competitors, it was determined that 2/4 of the dances in 1963 were the Quickstep and Argentine Tango and 3/4 dances in 1967 were the Rocker Foxtrot, Tango and Paso Doble.

Compulsory Dance

Winter Olympic Games

World Championships

Fourteenstep

(dance not used)

1955, 1959

European Waltz

(dance not used)

1957, 1959

American Waltz

(dance not used)

1950, 1954, 1955, 1966

Kilian

1976, 1980, 1988

1953, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1978, 1980

Tango

(dance not used)

1950, 1951, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1960, 1967, 1969, 1971

Foxtrot

(dance not used)

1951, 1954, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1968

European Waltz

(dance not used)

1957

Argentine Tango

1968, 1998

1952, 1953, 1957, 1959, 1963, 1964, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1989, 1993, 1995, 2000, 2008

Blues

1992, 1994, 2002

1954, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1968, 1975, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1987

Rocker Foxtrot

(dance not used)

1950, 1952, 1953, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1970

Viennese Waltz

1976, 1988

1953, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1969, 1971, 1979, 1982, 1985, 1988, 1992, 2000

Paso Doble

1968, 1984, 1988, 1992

1950, 1951, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1975, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1999, 2009

Quickstep

1968, 1976, 2002

1952, 1954, 1955, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1977, 1988, 2002

Rhumba

1984

1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2007

Westminster Waltz

1968, 1984

1951, 1952, 1956, 1968, 1970, 1975, 1981, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1989, 1993

Silver Samba

(dance not used)

1970, 1996, 1998

Starlight Waltz

1968, 1980, 1994

1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1978, 1980, 1994

Yankee Polka

(dance not used)

1979, 1982, 1985, 1987

Ravensburger Waltz

2006

1977, 1983, 1991, 2006

Tango Romantica

1980, 2010

1978, 1980, 1988, 1990, 1992, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2001

Austrian Waltz

(dance not used)

2003

Golden Waltz

1998

1997, 1998, 2002, 2010

Cha Cha Congelado

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Finnstep

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Midnight Blues

(dance not used)

2004, 2005


Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon's Rhumba from the 2007 World Championships

HIGHEST SCORING COMPULSORY DANCES UNDER THE IJS SYSTEM


Compulsory Dance

Winter Olympic Games

World Championships

European Championships

Four Continents Championships

Argentine Tango

(dance not used)

Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder – 40.73 (2008)

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Paso Doble

(dance not used)

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin – 40.77 (2009)

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Rhumba

(dance not used)

Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon – 38.96 (2007)

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Yankee Polka

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder – 41.25 (2008)

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – 38.22 (2008)

Ravensburger Waltz

Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margalio – 38.78 (2006)

Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski – 38.46 (2006)

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Tango Romantica

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin – 43.76 (2010)

(dance not used)

Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin – 42.78 (2010)

Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto – 38.23 (2006)

Golden Waltz

(dance not used)

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – 44.13 (2010)

Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov – 44.19 (2005)

Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto – 44.00 (2005)

Finnstep

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski – 37.43 (2009)

Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir – 36.40 (2009)

Midnight Blues

(dance not used)

Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov – 45.97 (2005)

(dance not used)

(dance not used)

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' 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? 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.

Figure Skating And The Queen

Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip on their first Royal Visit to Canada. Photo courtesy Nova Scotia Archives.

In 1947, Barbara Ann Scott made history as the first Canadian figure skater to win both the European and World title. Dubbed 'The Queen of the Silver Blades', Barbara Ann made her triumphant return to Canada aboard the Cunard liner Queen Elizabeth, named after Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth (later The Queen Mother). Later that year, The Queen Mother's daughter Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten were married at Westminster Abbey in London. 

Left: Barbara Ann Scott aboard the RMS Queen Elizabeth. Photo courtesy Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec. Right: Princess Elizabeth. Photo courtesy Toronto Public Library, from Toronto Star Photographic Archive. Reproduced for educational purposes under license permission.

Seventy-nine days after The Royal Wedding, Barbara Ann Scott made history again in Switzerland as the first Canadian figure skater to win an Olympic gold medal. In London, enroute home to Canada, she received an urgent message to call Canada House immediately. Her Mother telephoned and was told that Princess Elizabeth had invited them to a private audience at Buckingham Palace.


Clippings from the "Framlingham Weekly News", "Western Mail"

Barbara Ann and The Queen talked about horseback riding and ice skating - interests they both shared. They were both accomplished equestrians and The Queen had learned to skate as a young girl on the balcony rink at the Park Lane Ice Rink at Grosvenor House in London. In her book "Skate With Me", Barbara Ann recalled, "We went into her sitting room, with a nice fireplace, and she came through the door opposite us. She walked over and shook hands. We, naturally, curtsied. I was so interested to see what she really looked like, having seen many photographs. The photographs certainly don't do her justice at all because she is perfectly exquisite, a lovely person with very pink-and-white skin and large, deep blue eyes, a beautiful smile, and the most interesting and prettiest soft voice I've ever heard... She dressed much as we do - she had on a yellow tweed suit. We stayed with her for about a half hour. It was a wonderful thrill to meet someone I had read about, seen pictures of, and heard about for so long... Then to find out she was so sweet, so nice! And that wasn't all. The Queen had read in the newspapers that I wanted to see the gifts and the dress. She requested an aide to show us through. We went to St. James's Palace and walked through those magnificent rooms. There were so many gifts, every kind you can imagine. The Princess even had a cookbook. I was amazed. She and the Prince had been given pairs of skates and boots. There were vast quantities of beautiful furniture. I was allowed to lift some of the gold trays; they were very heavy. All her jewels were on display as well as clothes, hats, furs, crystal and chinaware - great rooms and rooms full of presents. Her dress was in a glass case. It was all white satin embroidered in pearls with gold leaves. There were satin slippers and the veil. The bridesmaid's dress that Princess Margaret had worn was also in the case. They were both perfectly beautiful."

Her Majesty The Queen's Coronation in 1953. Photo courtesy City of Toronto Archives.

For her entire seventy year reign as Queen of the United Kingdom and The Commonwealth, The Queen served as the Royal Patron of Great Britain's National Skating Association and its successors National Ice Skating Association and British Ice Skating. It was a tradition that dated back to 1881, when the Prince of Wales (later His Majesty King Edward VII) accepted an invitation to be the National Skating Association's Royal Patron.

During Queen Elizabeth II's reign, five British skaters won Olympic gold medals. Jeannette Altwegg was the first, just seventeen days Elizabeth was proclaimed the monarch. As Great Britain was in a national period of mourning, Jeannette wore a black armband honouring His Majesty King George VI. On the recommendation of Sir Winston Churchill, Jeannette was invested by The Queen as a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) at a ceremony in Buckingham Palace in 1953. The British Olympic Gold Medallists in figure skating that followed were all honoured similarly by Her Majesty: John Curry (OBE, 1976), Robin Cousins (MBE, 1980) and Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean (MBE, 1981; OBE, 2000).

Excerpt from "Skating Worldjk" magazine, 1953

In the years following her Coronation, Elizabeth II made several trips to Canada, including a whirlwind forty-five day tour that saw her visit every Canadian province and territory in 1959. Barbara Wagner and Bob Paul, the reigning Canadian, North American and World Champions, were invited to dine with Her Majesty and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh during The Royal Tour.

Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh during their Royal Tour of Canada in 1959.  Photo courtesy City of Toronto Archives.

World Champion Frances Dafoe was a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 for her services to skating. Bernard Ford, a four-time World Champion in ice dancing who taught a who's who of Canadian skaters, was inducted as a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1969. Jean Westwood, another World Champion from Great Britain who left an indelible mark on Canadian skating, was presented to The Queen as well. 

Her Majesty The Queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.  Photo courtesy Toronto Public Library, from Toronto Star Photographic Archive. Reproduced for educational purposes under license permission.

In 1982, Olympic Silver Medallist Liz Manley (then the silver medallist at the Canadian Championships) was one of a number of "young achievers" selected by a local Liberal Member of Parliament to attend a special dinner with Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. Liz was seated at the table next to The Queen and was introduced to her afterwards. In her autobiography "Thumbs Up!", she recalled, "The dinner was wonderful. I was seated at table 3, right in front of the Queen's table. I had a clear view and was fascinated by her - she was more beautiful than she looks in photographs, with a flawless skin and very clear blue eyes. After dinner, Prime Minister Trudeau accompanied the Queen as she moved through the guests. When they got to me, he introduced me to her, and she gave me one of her rare dazzling smiles. It was an evening I shall remember forever."

Prime Minister Brian Muloney, Her Majesty The Queen and Kurt Browning. Victor Pilon photo.

Kurt Browning had the honour of meeting Her Majesty at a concert in Calgary in the spring of 1990, shortly after winning his second World title in Halifax. She congratulated him on his skating successes to which Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who was accompanying her, interjected and said, "Yep! Taught him everything he knows!" Kurt later recalled, "The Queen looked totally bewildered by this. I wanted to laugh, but I didn't think it would be acceptable under the circumstances... There used to be an aerial photograph of the family farm hanging on the wall above the kitchen table. Today, there's a shot of me, Mom, Queen Elizabeth and the Prime Minister, who taught me everything I know." Five years later, another Canadian skating great, Elvis Stojko, won a gold medal at the first World Championships held in Great Britain during Queen Elizabeth II's reign.

Her Majesty The Queen with Don and Barbara Jackson. Photo courtesy Rideau Hall.

On October 14, 2002, World Champion Don Jackson had the privilege of meeting Her Majesty in Ottawa. Don recalled, "She came for a visit to Canada in honour of her Golden Jubilee and hosted a beautiful luncheon at Rideau Hall. One Canadian representing each year of her reign was invited with their spouse to join her.  I was honoured to be her choice for 1962. We were all presented to her and had a chance to chat individually with Her Majesty and Prince Philip. They were charming! After that the luncheon was held in the ballroom of Rideau Hall followed by time outside in the garden for a meet and greet and a royal tree planting. An incredible day and lifetime memory for myself and my wife Barb. I was given the official group photo with Governor General Adrienne Clarkson as a keepsake. We were personally saddened to hear of Queen Elizabeth's passing. She was a remarkable woman."

The Queen's resiliency, dedication and ability to embrace change are all admirable qualities that have served as an inspiration to figure skaters for decades. May she Rest In Peace.

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' 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? 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.

Rest In Peace Her Majesty The Queen


Don't Go Bacon My Heart: The J.F. Bacon Story


"In the primitive age, when skates consisted of pieces of bone bound to the feet with strips of hide, figure skating could hardly have reached the dignity of an art; but the light, strong and keen-bladed skates of recent years have made the possibilities of execution almost without limit." - John Franklin Bacon, "Outing" magazine, 1902

The son of Emeline (Sherman) and John Favor Bacon, John Franklin Bacon was born September 29, 1857 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bacon's - John, his parents and brother Harry - grew up in a modest home on Washington Street. John's father worked as a carpenter and ship joiner to make ends meet, and when John was a teenager he began apprenticing as a watchmaker and jeweler in Cambridge. During the long winters, he took to Spy Pond in Arlington to skate. Though he received no formal instruction, he became obsessed with the intricacies of the craft and quickly developed a reputation as one of Boston's finest 'fancy' skaters.


In 1888, John travelled to New York City to compete in a figure skating competition held at Fleetwood Park. He lost that competition to Frank P. Good and George Dawson Phillips, but was undeterred. Enroute to a victory at the Championships of America on February 22, 1893 over Herbert S. Evans and Thomas Vinson (Maribel Vinson Owen's father), John claimed the New England 'fancy' skating title. His 'secret weapon' during this period was the fact he had laid claim to a private seventeen by twenty three foot rink in Boston, giving him "a great deal more practice than any of his opponents who weren't similarly equipped."


Baron Nils Posse, one of the judges at the latter competition, was quite critical of John's skating. Quoted in February 26, 1893 issue of "The New York Times", he remarked, "Bacon relied more on acrobatic feats, such as spread eagles, rather than upon legitimate figure designs... There is about as much sense in marking a man up for turning handsprings on the ice in a figure skating contest as in crediting for spread eagles or shooting ducks... Bacon's [figures] were ragged and small and made on spots that had previously been used, so that they did not show up well... Bacon has a bad habit of watching his feet too closely... [Herbert S.] Evans, with a little more practice, could make a good showing with the best skaters in Europe, but [I] would not risk Bacon with them."

Left: George Henry Browne and John Franklin Bacon at the Cambridge Skating Club in 1928. Right: Etching of John Franklin Bacon.

Unlike many of his contemporaries, John was more interested in the athletic side of free skating than carving out figures or waxing poetic about skating's artistic possibilities. His specialities were spread eagles, shoot-the-ducks and two foot whirls.


George Henry Browne remarked, "When one sees a skater like Mr. Bacon of the Cambridge Skating Club - American champion, 1893 - who in his field skating is almost never on his balance, whose movements are vigorous and rapid, whose arms and unemployed leg swing with rhythmic precision, who can spin like a top and fly like a bird, yet can hardly tell you how he does it all - though he, too, has perfect control of his edge - one sees the balance style and the swing style admirably adapted to the American conditions of small curve skating." John recognized that "in no sport is greater stress laid on good form than in figure skating", but chose to sacrifice form for athleticism. His biggest tricks may have only been waltz jumps and upright spins, but his athletic style stood out at a time when many free skating performances were particularly stoic and methodical.



After his competitive victories in 1893, John joined the Cambridge Skating Club. Arthur M. Goodridge recalled, "J. Frank Bacon was at the Club a lot... with silver plated skates that had been given him with his name engraved on them. He was a small man - shorter than Mr. Browne - and he always brought his tiny skates wrapped up in chamois in a little mahogany box." When the club established the first skating tests in America, John served as one of the judges. He went on to judge many other American skating events during the first decade of the twentieth century.

On February 22, 1908, John participated in the first demonstration of figure skating in the Continental or International Style at the club, alongside Irving Brokaw and Karl Zenger. His performance wasn't in the Continental Style, but rather in the American 'fancy' style that had been most popular at the time he won the Championships of America. He later remarked that at the time he viewed the Continental Style as nothing more than "exaggerated posing", but that his views had "undergone quite a change."


Top: John Franklin Bacon's counter cross cut grapevine figure. Bottom: Advertisement for John Franklin's shop in Cambridge.

When he wasn't skating, John could be found at his shop in Porter Square or at meetings of the North Cambridge Business Men's Association. He worked as a jeweler and watchmaker for some fifty years. He married Elizabeth Ward in 1900, and the happy couple took up residence on Mystic Valley Parkway in Medford City. They didn't have children. During The Great War, John briefly managed an ice rink converted from a roller rink in Albany. He passed away on December 19, 1932 in Medford City at the age of seventy-five, his legacy as one of Boston's first great champion skaters obscured by the sands of 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.

The 1935 World Figure Skating Championships

The judges of the women's competition in Davos, 1935

In early 1935, the first canned beer was sold in Chicago, the FBI killed 'Ma' Barker in a shootout, Amelia Earhart became the first person in history to complete a solo flight from Hawaii to California Cole Porter's "Anything Goes" blared on gramophones and the world's best figure skaters convened in two European cities to compete in the 1935 World Figure Skating Championships. 


The women's competition was held on February 8 and 9, 1935 at the Engelmann rink in Vienna, Austria. The pairs and men's events were held on February 16 and 17, 1935 at the Városligeti Műjégpálya in Budapest, Hungary. Today, we'll take a look back at the skaters, scandals and stories that made these competitions so memorable!

THE WOMEN'S COMPETITION

Women's competitors in Vienna. From left to right: Hedy Stenuf, Vivi-Anne Hultén, Gweneth Butler, Sonja Henie, Helga Schrittwieser-Dietz, Bianca Schenk, Grete Lainer, Nanna Egedius, Cecilia Colledge, Hertha Dexler. Photo courtesy National Archives of Poland.

Of the thousands of spectators that showed up to watch Sonja Henie vie for yet another title in Vienna, perhaps the most surprising was Olympic Gold Medallist Herma Szabo, who bitterly retired after losing the 1927 World title to the Norwegian darling. Reigning World and European Medallist Liselotte Landbeck - considered by some as one of Henie's chief challengers - was bedridden with a high fever and under doctor's orders not to participate. The school figures were delayed significantly for two reasons. French judge Charles Sabouret was more than an hour late and referee Fritz Kachler and ISU Vice-President Herbert J. Clarke busily deliberated over what to do with a Hungarian judge and a ninth competitor, Nadine Szilassy, who arrived in Vienna but had not registered with organizers fourteen days in advance per the competition rules. Everything was more or less sorted out by ten o'clock. The Hungarian judge was sent packing but Szilassy was permitted to compete. Despite a frost, the ice conditions were good and the wind was still. The Engelmann rink was divided lengthwise into three sections - one for each of the first three figures - and when each section was used it was sprayed and resurfaced. 

Early in the figures, Szilassy withdrew, recognizing she was not up to the competition. Austria's Bianca Schenk also withdrew, suffering from a leg injury. An exhausted Grete Lainer also withdrew in tears. She'd arrived in Vienna after midnight and had very little sleep but was pushed by Austrian officials to compete. With Schenk, Lainer and Landbeck out, the Austrian team was at a significant disadvantage on home ice. Despite losing one figure to fourteen year old Cecilia Colledge, Henie was able to play catch-up and secure a narrow lead over her young British rival. After the figures, Great Britain's Gweneth Butler stood third, followed by Vivi-Anne Hultén of Sweden and Austria's Hedy Stenuf.

Sonja Henie training in Prague prior to the 1935 World Championships. Photo courtesy National Archives of Poland.

If weather conditions were ideal for the school figures, the skate Gods weren't smiling when it came time for the eight women who remained in the competition to take the ice to perform their free skating routines. It was fiercely cold and the ice was hard and brittle. The February 11, 1935 issue of the "Wiener Sporttagblatt" recalled the competition thusly: "The first skater was the Englishwoman Miss Butler. She skated to a slow foxtrot in a dark red velvet ballet dress. She was extremely elegant but her program offered little difficulty. The jumps were missing almost completely; the Englishwoman left the ice surface very little... Nevertheless, the spectators did not lean against the guest with applause. To the music of 'Faust' next came the youngest competitor, Hedy Stenuf. She wore the white silk dress and drew the viewer's interest from her first movement. She performed a series of jumps and wonderfully turned pirouettes and excellent ballet steps and received tremendous, enormous applause. She did come to one small catastrophe. After two Axel Paulsen jumps one after another, Hedy set for a third, but she ended with a fall but quickly raised back to her feet. Without being disturbed by the accident, she skated her program further and finished to the tumultuous exultation of the spectators. Next was the Norwegian Egedius, who had chosen a waltz her musical accompaniment. She was very elegant and her program did not lack difficulties, but there was something lacking in the natural charm that the viewer tries to capture. Next came the great moment: Sonja Henie from the Oslo Skating Club was called. She wore a blue-green cargo shipyard dress with a slip in the same colour.  She began with modern music, then went to a Viennese waltz. On this day, Sonja Henie offered everything and her difficult figures seemed easy. Her chief opponent, the Englishwoman Colledge, came next. She wore a white velour shipyard dress with Bandeau and had chosen a march for her program. Her performance was as a whole breathtaking. It certainly contained more difficulty than Sonja's, especially in jumps... She was a darling of the enthusiastic masses but had the back luck of the English in the second minute, not on a difficult figure but with a simple one: a bow. The applause she received at the end was the most powerful that any competitor was offered. The 'Radetzky March' sounded and Frau [Helga] Schrittwieser, the only married woman in the competition rushed on the ice rink. She loves vibrant colours and skated in a light red dress with the same cap and around the neck a glittering necklace. She was already bold, but her a brown jersey and white skates made the costume too much. The performance was undoubtedly good ice skating. The pace was fast, the jumps pure and powerful and the pirouettes were perhaps among the best of the evening. But in the third minute, Frau Schrittwieser had a fall and remained sitting on the ice for a very long time. Fraulein Hertha Dexler was a very pleasant surprise. Dressed in her elegant white dress to the sound of a foxtrot, she looked graceful in appearance. But one was more than amazed when Fraulein Dexler gave a performance really no world champion would need to be ashamed of. She did not suffer from difficulties, and showed absolutely secure body control and soft, rounded edges. An interesting completion of the competition was the Swede Hultén. She wore a white dress with bandeau and skated to a quite varied selection of music. First an English march, then a little gypsy music and finally a bunch of Austrian music. The construction of the program was certainly extraordinary and interesting and though she completed her performance with musical nuances, she was not always in full agreement with the music. The performance was not as good as Sonja Henie, Colledge or Stenuf."


Ultimately, Sonja Henie was first on every judge's scorecard. With five second place ordinals, Cecilia Colledge settled for silver, ahead of Hultén, Stenuf, Butler, Dexler, Egedius and Schrittwieser. In her book "Wings On My Feet", Henie recalled how things behind the scenes in Austria were far from rosy for her: "Arriving in Vienna, a city that had always before given me a warm reception, I found the press none to friendly and the atmosphere in general one of having forgotten me. Thanks to the fact that some of my many friends in Vienna were true ones, I soon discovered the cause. Jan Kiepura, the singer, had been a staunch part of the Viennese skating group for many years and, I had thought, had been a good friend of mine. I had seen him often during training periods, and sometimes during competitions. He had been at St. Moritz. Burning with a desire to boost his compatriot, little Hedy Stenuf, he had hurried back to Vienna with the story that my fall [at the 1935 European Championships] indicated the end of the career of Sonja Henie, skater. I became, as the rumour grew, practically a thing of the past... It was bitter cold in the city when I went to the Engelmann Rink for the competition... The ice, as expected, had been prepared in the old way. It was far from smooth. Despite the zero temperature, the Vienna public was there, hailing their Hedy and anticipating the realization of Kiepura's prediction. I was glad to be going on after her and so have a chance to adapt myself to her technique. Wild ovations greeted her as she skated out on the wavy ice. Hedy was the soloist, we the additions. The music began. She was really splendid. But her program was too much for her. It was obvious from her first moment that, popular favourite though she was, I needn't fear her as a competitor. It was so obvious, in fact that I had time to get over my sense of relief and begin to feel sorry for her. Taking Kiepura's story for the truth, she had become over-confident and had permitted a top-heavy program to be pressed on her. She fell, right at the climax. This was competition, world competition. And the fall was due to loss of control. The public's enthusiasm, to say nothing of the judge's rating, fell with her. When it was time for me to appear, a number of thoughts were struggling for mastery within me, but I held one on top - that I must not fall. Suddenly I was in the spotlight, the music was playing, and I was drifting over the ice waves. I had perceived in advance that the corners were best for my performance, the center too risky, and all went well... There have been many championships that were hard-earned, and many that I cherished, but none that gave me the elation of that one. The Kiepura story had haunted me and my family and those who were my real friends. We knew it was foundationless, but it had not been pleasant to see that questioning look in people's faces - was Sonja Henie through? Now the expression had vanished."

THE PAIRS COMPETITION


Pairs competitors in Budapest. From left to right: Piroska and Attila Szekrényessy, Lucy Gallo and Rezső Dillinger, Liese Kianek and Adolf Rosdol, Emília Rotter and László Szollás, Zofia Bilorówna and Tadeusz Kowalski, Barbara Chachlewska and Alfred Theuer, Wally Hampel and Otto Weiß, Ilse and Erik Pausin. Photo courtesy National Archives of Poland.

With Maxi Herber and Ernst Baier not in attendance, many believed the young Pausin siblings to be the biggest threats to Emília Rotter and László Szollás on home ice. The Austrian press was quick to point out that many of the male pairs skaters competing in Budapest were far from spring chicken. One reporter from the "Wiener Sporttagblatt" mused, "It was certainly funny that almost every [male] pair skater, such as Szollás, Kowalski, Theuer, Rosdol, Dillinger had thinning hair. The Polish man is something of an obese gentleman and the Hungarian Dillinger bespectacled." Decades before the Twitter and YouTube, cattiness was alive and well in the media.

Ilse and Erik Pausin in Budapest. Photo courtesy Bildarchiv Austria.

Though the Pausin's put on quite a show, they struggled somewhat on the solo elements in their program. To the surprise of few, Rotter and Szollás were first on every judge's scorecard and handily won their fourth and final World title to the delight of the Hungarian audience. The Pausin's settled for silver and Hungary's Lucy Gallo and Rezső Dillinger took the bronze.


The reporter who covered the event for the "Wiener Sporttagblatt" remarked, "Though Rotter and Szollás skated the usual standard program, they were by far the best. Everything went fine, there was good attitude and swing and thought was deliberately put into their skating. But it was, as said, the normal average program. It did not inspire... Seven of the eight pairs skated about the same program, the same figures, even the order was absolutely the same for some. This has aroused a bit of disgust for this [branch of] the sport has been around for nearly twenty or thirty years... [Liese] Kianek and [Adolf] Rosdol were totally unjustly judged. The two have momentum, they have musical sentiment, they can dance, and when they can make their program more original - this is the first condition for all couples - they will surely make their way."

THE MEN'S COMPETITION

Jackie Dunn, Karl Schäfer and Henry Graham Sharp in Budapest. Photo courtesy Bildarchiv Austria.

Just hours prior to the school figures, for the first time in his career Karl Schäfer and coach Rudolf Kutzer sat down with a piece of paper and a pencil and choreographed a five minute free skating program. It featured all manner of dance steps, three Axels, two Lutzes, two loops (one in each direction) and various spins and non-rotational jumps. He told an Austrian journalist that challenging himself to duplicate the program he'd designed on paper would "be fun".

In the figures, Karl Schäfer was in a class of his own. Winning every figure on every judge's scorecard, he amassed such a large lead that he could have just more or less improvised as he often did in the free skate and even played it safe or made a few mistakes. Instead, he delivered yet another outstanding free skating performance and again first place ordinals from every judge. A reporter from the "Wiener Sportaggblatt" remarked, "At the beginning of his career, people were delighted by Schäfer's colossal momentum. Later it was said that Schäfer was jumping too much and in doing so his program was unbalanced. According to the will of the people, he showed them he could dance like a master. Then the people came and said that Schäfer was dancing too much, he must bring more difficulties. Again Schäfer has changed. He has that right thing - difficulties and dance mixed." Only a difference of 0.78 separated the four men in places second through fifth. Eighteen year old Jackie Dunn of Great Britain tied in ordinal placings with Hungary's Dénes Pataky but narrowly prevailed in a three-two split of the judging panel. Henry Graham Sharp tripped early on in his program but rebounded with several clean loop jumps and his "peculiar zigzag steps" to finish fourth, ahead of Markus Nikkanen, Elemér Terták and Erich Erdös, who struggled on the landing of his Axel.

THE AFTERMATH

Sonja Henie, Cecilia Colledge,Vivi-Anne Hultén, Hedy Stenuf and others at the closing banquet with Prince Ernst Rüdiger Starhemberg. Photo courtesy National Archives of Poland.

At a banquet following the competition hosted by the Budapest Skating Club, Count Joszef Hunyady de Kéthely and Herbert J. Clarke gave speeches. Karl Schäfer received a beautiful, large silver cup and returned to Vienna by train where he was greeted by Eduard Engelmann Jr., his mother and Professor Margarethe Holtz - the head of the Austria-America Student Exchange Committee - who was an ardent supporter of the Viennese star. Rumours later swirled that Sonja and Jackie Dunn were engaged. She snapped at one reporter and told them, "If you are determined to print something about marriage and me, you may be interested to know that I receive offers of marriage from all sorts of people. I get them by letter from people I've never seen. Furthermore, I have had a few from people I really like. Now make what you can of that, but at least do me and my friends the grace of keeping it general."

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

Exploring The Collections: Magazines

Every Skate Guard blog that is put together draws from a variety of different sources - everything from museum and library holdings and genealogical research to newspaper archives and dusty old printed materials I've amassed over the last ten years or so. This year, I thought it would be fun to give you a bit of a 'behind the scenes' look at the Skate Guard Collections, which include books, magazines, VHS tapes, show and competition programs, photographs and many other items. These Collections date back to the nineteenth century and chronicle figure skating's rich history from the days of quaint waltzes in coats and tails to quadruple toe-loop's. Whether you're doing your own research about a famous 'fancy' skater in your family tree or a long-lost ice rink in your community or just have a general skating history question you can't find the answer to online, I'm always happy to draw on these resources and try to help if I can.


This month, I'd like to talk about one of my favourite part of the Collections, which also happens to be one of the biggest: magazines! Skating-specific periodicals date back to the Victorian era, when a small handful of European publications like "Le Patineur: journal illustré spécial" entertained skaters with essays about the health benefits of the sports, poetry, news and advertisements for the latest on-ice garments from Parisian fashion houses. Over the years, dozens upon dozens of skating magazines have made their mark - "The Canadian Skater", "Skating", "Blades On Ice", "International Figure Skating", "Patinage", "Pirouette" and "Skating World" proving to be some of the most popular.


In the Skate Guard Collections, there is almost a complete set of U.S. Figure Skating's magazine "Skating", dating back to the roaring twenties, a large collection of British skating magazines including issues of "The Skating Times", "Skating World", "Ice Skating", "Winter Sports" and "The Skater" dating back to the forties, issues of "American Skating World" from the 1990's and 2000's and several other titles. These magazines are literally a fountain of information, chronicling competitions and shows and providing crucial details about the careers and lives of skaters that you simply won't find by plopping their names in a search engine. Most importantly, I think, skating magazines act as a sort of a time capsule. The advertisements, articles and photographs in each issue offer a real sense of what was relevant and important in the sport where they were published at that point in history.


As an example, an issue of "The Skater" published in England in October of 1949 includes an article on winter skating holidays in Switzerland, an advertisement for a gala ice show in Belfast starring Jeannette Altwegg, calendars of upcoming competitions and shows, an editorial on the Stoll Theatre by Howard Bass, skating tips from World Champion Henry Graham Sharp and N.S.A. Gold Medallist and instructor Myrtle Leeds, a 'personality parade' outlining what skaters were up to, an article on ice dancing by N.S.A. Ice Dance Committee member and judge Alex D.C. Gordon, a fashion spotlight, photographs and skate advertisements. In contrast, the November 1949 issue of the American magazine "Skating" offered news about summer schools, coaching changes and skating clubs, a biography of the new USFSA President Harry N. Keighley, an article on being a skating parent by Ginny Baxter's mother Margaret, changes to competition and ice dance rules, a report on the ISU Congress, a list of births, engagements and marriages, obituaries for Paul Armitage, John S. MacLean and Sandy Macdonald and a list of new skating merchandise on the market, including two new models of Strauss skates, Barnard skate guards and Peggy Tomlins' book on her talented brother Freddie, who was killed during World War II. 


Without question, I wouldn't be able to do what I do without access to these wonderful magazines which - let's face it - were never intended to survive as long as they have! For a list of the magazines already in the Skate Guard Collections, click here. If you've got magazines collecting dust in your attic or basement that you'd like to donate, I'd love to hear from you!

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' 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? 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.