Another question about the 1961 Nationals.

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by FSWer, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. FSWer

    FSWer Well-Known Member

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    Say,this question just came to my mind. But does anyone know why ALL the Skaters got to go on the plane to Worlds (which was canceled)? Did Skaters not QUALIFY back in 1961? Or am I missing something? If so....do we have a history on the Podium?
     
  2. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    It wasn't all the skaters. It was all the skaters who had qualified for Worlds. Which is a lot when you throw in coaches and officials and a few family members. Plus, they were our top skaters.
     
  3. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    And now that I'm home, I can continue with who qualified:

    We had 3 entries in all 4 disciplines. The top 3 qualifiers (Gold, Silver & Bronze) at Nationals typically would be assigned but between Nationals and Worlds at least one entry dropped out and the 4th place skater went in his stead.

    Men:
    1- Bradley Lord
    2 - Gregory Kelley
    3 - Tim Brown
    But Tim dropped out and was replaced by Doug Ramsay. Tim is a member of my club and a nice guy so I'm glad he didn't die but I'm sure it was tough for him.

    Ladies:
    1. Laurence Owen
    2. Stephanie Westerfeld
    3. Rhode Lee Michelson
    All went and all died

    Pairs:
    1. Maribel Owen/Dudley Richards
    2. Ila Ray Hadley/Ray Hadley
    3. Laurie Hickox/William Hickox
    All went and all died

    Dance:
    1. Diane Sherbloom/Larry Pierce
    2. Dona Lee Carrier/Roger Campbell
    3. Patricia Dineen/Robert Dineen
    All went and all died

    Hope that answers your question.
     
  4. ~tapdancer~

    ~tapdancer~ Well-Known Member

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    I believe that was the last time the entire US team were allowed to fly on the same plane to competitions.
     
  5. Clay

    Clay Active Member

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    It was for a long time. I remember after Worlds one year (1996 or 1997) the US team flew from Worlds to a cheesefest in Boston.
     
  6. FSWer

    FSWer Well-Known Member

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    Ok,I wasn't sure. As there was no Podium in the 1961 Nationals when I watched it. BTW. if ALL Skaters didn't go. That would have ment there were some Skaters who got a blessing in disgise. Meaning...what COULD have happened to them. Do we have a list of the unqualifying Skaters? BTW. does anyone know if even back then..little kids skated at Nationals,just weren't shown on TV.?
     
  7. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    Here were the complete results from 1961 U.S. Nationals from Senior down to Novice: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1961_United_States_Figure_Skating_Championships
    The top Seniors were shown on TV, but not the Juniors or Novices, I assume - excerpt from wiki:
     
  8. FSWer

    FSWer Well-Known Member

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    Are you able to post a link to a seperate list of the non-qualifiers? All I see are the Skaters who went.
     
  9. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    The Senior level skaters not listed by MacMadame above are the ones who were not on the plane that crashed in 1961:
    Tim Brown, Bruce Heiss (2 men); Karen Howland, Vicky Fisher (2 ladies); Janet Browning / Jim Browning (1 pair); Jan Jacobsen / Marshall Campbell, Thomasine Pierce / Roy Speeg, Katrine Neil / Peter Betts (3 dance teams).
     
  10. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    If it makes it easier to understand:

    The way Nationals and Worlds were handled in 1961 is not all that different than it is now. Skaters had to qualify to go to Nationals in Novice, Junior and Senior. So only qualified skaters competed at Nationals. Only the Senior skaters were shown on tv and mostly only the top skates were shown. Only the top 2-3 skaters/team in each discipline were assigned to Worlds. Alternates were assigned and in this case one of the alternates did get to go.

    The main thing that was different then is that the whole team traveled together. So one plane crash could take out the top tier of US figure skating in one second. These days, while some skaters may be on the same plane, they all make their own arrangements and are coming from different parts of the country and flying back to different parts. So one plane crash could take out a few skaters and a few family members and maybe 1 or 2 coaches, but not 30+ people and not the entire top tier like that.

    I hope that made sense.
     
  11. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    Also, I would say that, for the majority of skaters going to Nationals, there was never any idea that they would be going to Worlds. None of the Junior or Novice skaters were going to Worlds as Worlds was just for Seniors. All the lower level Seniors knew they had no chance of making the team as well. Then there were some who thought maybe, on a good day, they could make the team. So those skaters might have grown up thinking "I was so lucky. I could have died."

    Obviously, Tim Brown was in that position. He made the team. He was all set to go. Then he got injured and withdrew and Doug Ramsey went in his place. Doug died and Tim didn't. Tim has talked about how this made him feel guilty even though he didn't do anything wrong.

    Some of the 4th place skaters/teams talked about that as well. About how they were disappointed not to make the team but then, when the team died, they felt lucky but also guilty because their friends were dead and they weren't.
     
  12. OldGuy

    OldGuy New Member

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    As I recall, the communist Czech government issued a "blanket" visa for the US Team which meant they had to travel as one group. They left from Philadelphia following the North American Championships. This visa restriction apparently only applied to the US Team as the Canadian team flew on different flights, several stopping off in England. I was in London on my way to Prague when we got the news of the crash - devastating.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2013
  13. leafygreens

    leafygreens Well-Known Member

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    If you watch the Rise movie, it explains about all the people who went or almost went. I'm sure someone will correct me because I can't remember off the top of my head. But Tim I believe got sick suddenly and couldn't go. There was also a female skater who injured herself severely and had to drop out of Worlds. So their disappointments ended up being a blessing. I think Tim apologized to Doug's mom for getting sick, because he felt so guilty. Really a tragic story and documentary.
     
  14. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

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    One Canadian couple had a near-miss, didn't they? The Czech-born brother and sister team (who were already worried about going back because of the risk of arrest or detention) were going to change plans and fly with the US team, but were told "You're Canadian, you travel with us." And then when they arrived in Europe they heard what happened...

    Working at SCOB that was always kind of sad, going up and down the stairs past the poster from Maribel Vinson's show days and the photos and plaque for the skaters and coaches...
     
  15. FSWer

    FSWer Well-Known Member

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    I thought I read that the Senior Skaters you have listed there went. How could no one have any idea they are going to Worlds? What are the names of the Novices? Were are all the Skaters that didn't go now?
     
  16. Sylvia

    Sylvia On to Nationals!

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    Here's the list of the Novice men and ladies and their results at 1961 U.S. Nationals: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1961_United_States_Figure_Skating_Championships#Novice-level_results
    Some of them later became well-known coaches, such as 5th place finisher Richard Callaghan (he coached Tara Lipinski to her 1998 Olympic gold medal) and pewter medalist/4th place finisher Christine Haigler - Christy Krall is her married name and she coaches several top skaters in Colorado Springs now, including Agnes Zawadzki (2012 & 2013 U.S. Senior ladies' bronze medalist) and Joshua Farris (2013 U.S. Senior men's pewter medalist).
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  17. MacMadame

    MacMadame Cat Lady-in-Training

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    I didn't say no one knew they if were going to Worlds. After the team was announced, everyone knew who was going. I said there were a lot of skaters at Nationals who weren't thinking about Worlds and were never in contention to make the team. Either they weren't eligible to go because they weren't Senior or they knew they weren't good enough to make the team.
     
  18. Habs

    Habs Well-Known Member

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    Debbi Wilkes wrote about the plane crash in her book Ice Time. Her mother had a near-miss as well.... she had a passport/ticket issue and was going to go on the flight with the American team instead. At the last minute, she was able to stay with Debbi and the Canadian team.
     
  19. johndockley92

    johndockley92 New Member

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    Does anyone know the former international competitive career of these skaters? Curious if we lost any world medalists and such