Retrospective: The 1936 Olympics

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Oct 8, 2013.

  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    Retrospective takes a look back at the 1936 Olympics

    Sonja Henie won the third of her 3 consecutive Olympic titles at the 1936 Olympics. Nevertheless, she was very fortunate to win the 1936 title as Cecilia Colledge ran her a very close second. As Sandra Stevenson pointed out in her obituary on Colledge for the UK Independent on the 21st April 2008:-

    Furthermore, somewhat oddly, the start of Colledge’s free skate at the 1936 Olympics had to be delayed due to problems starting the music...... It so unnerved Colledge, that she almost fell during the early part of her free skate. However, Colledge recovered to score an average of 5.7, to Henie's 5.8

    In terms of medals, Sonja Henie is the most successful Ladies singles skater of all time - 3 consecutive Olympic titles, 10 consecutive World titles, and 6 consecutive European titles. She was renowned for her speed across the ice, her balletic choreography (connecting the elements of her program in a way that had not been done before), her artistry and grace, the quality of her spins, and her charisma and flair. She made short above the knee skirts the norm, which made it possible for female skaters to perform jumps and other elements that had previously only been performed by male skaters. Previously, long heavy black skirts had been the norm. Henie made an immense contribution to the sport in terms of raising its profile and popularity, and she went on to enjoy a highly successful Hollywood film and professional skating career after retiring after the 1936 World Championships.

    Nevertheless, Henie was an extremely controversial figure. Not only was the outcome of the 1936 Olympics controversial, but so was the result pertaining to her very first World title in 1927 (held in Oslo, Norway) in which she beat defending 5 time world champion, Herma Szabo, into 2nd place. Henie won the title by 3 judges to 2, but what caused consternation about that was that the 3 judges who gave Henie victory were all Norwegian! This led the ISU to introduce the rule shortly afterwards, that there could only be no more than one judge per country for each event.

    There were also suggestions that Henie was a Nazi sympathizer. At a Berlin show in 1936 just prior to the Olympics, she greeted Hitler with a Nazi salute and said "Heil, Hitler." Moreover, according to the book, 'Queen of Ice, Queen of Shadows: Unsuspected Life of Sonja Henie', Henie even visited Adolf Hitler. She was also criticised in Norway after the war for not having contributed to the war relief effort and for not having provided financial assistance for training resistance troops in Canada’s "Little Norway."

    There were also other criticisms of Henie. In a 1999 Newsweek article, Cecilia Colledge stated:

    Also, in this obituary article on 1936 Olympic Bronze medal winner, Vivi-Anne Hultén, Dennis McLellan states:-

    British skaters, Megan Taylor and Cecilia Colledge were Henie's closest competitors during the 1930's. Taylor and Colledge were both selected to compete for Great Britain at the 1932 Olympics - Colledge was 11 years and 68 days old at the start of the 1932 Olympics on the 4th Feb 1932 - 11 years and 73 days old at the start of the Ladies figure skating competition on the 9th Feb 1932, and Taylor was 11 years and 102 days old at the start of the Olympics - 11 years and 107 days old at the start of the Ladies figure skating competition. They were the youngest ever female competitors in any Olympic sport and the youngest ever competitors at the Winter Olympics. Taylor finished 7th and Colledge 8th. Taylor and Colledge went on to have a intense rivalry thereafter. Colledge finished a very close second to Henie at the 1936 Olympics (which Taylor unfortunately missed due to an accident). Colledge would then go on to become World Champion in 1937 (beating Taylor into second place), but Taylor famously beat her into second place to become World Champion in 1938. Colledge gained her revenge though by beating Taylor in the 1939 British and European Championships in 1939, but missed the 1939 Worlds (due to an achilles tendon injury), thereby allowing Taylor to retain her world title. Without doubt, either Colledge or Taylor would have become Olympic champion in 1940, but tragically World War 2 deprived them of that opportunity. An illustration of just how ardent the rivalry between Colledge and Taylor was, was that after Colledge beat Taylor into second place for the British title in 1938, Taylor congratulated Colledge and then immediately burst into tears - so upset was she! Their rivalry reached its zenith during 1937 - 1939. During this period, they competed against each other 8 times in British, European, and World Championships. Taylor finished second to Colledge on every occasion, except at the 1938 World Championships when she beat Colledge into second place (with Benjamin Wright calling it one of skating history's most controversial results in his book, 'Skating Around the World: International Skating Union , the One Hundredth Anniversary History 1892 -1992'), with Colledge losing on a split of the judges despite accumulating more points). Hence, the head-to-head between them during 1937-39 was 7-1 in Colledge's favour. This is in stark contrast to the period 1932-34 when the head-to-head between the two was 6-0 in favour of Taylor (who beat Colledge into second place at all 3 British championships during that period. At both the 1932 Olympics and Worlds, Taylor finished 7th and Colledge 8th, and at the 1933 Worlds, Taylor finished 4th and Colledge 5th).

    Compared to Henie, Colledge was the greater innovator. At the 1936 European Championships, Colledge became the first female skater to land a double jump (a 2S). She also invented the Camel Spin and the Layback Spin, and the 1-foot axel is named after her (i.e. "the Colledge")

    World War 2 practically finished both Colledge's and Taylor's competitive careers, although Colledge returned after WW2, but then turned professional after just 1 year. Colledge drove an ambulance in the Motor Transport Corps during the London Blitz, moved permanently to the United States in 1951 (saying of Britain that "there was nothing left for me there except unhappy memories" - due to her experiences during WW2 and the death of her brother during the war), and pursued a distinguished career as a coach with the Skating Club of Boston between 1952 and 1977, coaching skaters such as Ron Ludington. Taylor spent much of the early 1940's with Ice Capades. However, after finishing with Ice Capades, not much is known about what she did thereafter and she died in Jamaica in 1993. Nevertheless, Katarina Witt states in her book, Only with Passion that:-

    The men's event at the 1936 Olympics was won by Karl Schäfer from Austria. He was the defending Olympic champion as he had also won the Olympic title at the 1932 Olympics. He won the world title on 7 consecutive occasions between 1930-36. He was the first person to land a double loop (1925 - in practice, but never performed it in competition). He also invented the Schafer push (a school figures move now also used in free skating), in which a backward outside push is used to start loops. He retired after the 1936 World Championships, and created one of the first European ice shows, the Karl Schäfer Ice Revue. He was one of the original skaters to be inducted in to the Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1976. The Karl Schäfer Memorial event was held in his memory up until 2008 (having previously been known as the Vienna Cup up until 1996), serving as an Olympic qualifying event in 1997 and 2005. Whilst Schäfer's 1936 Olympic win was an easy and impressive one, his 1932 Olympic victory will be remembered far more. That's because in winning the title in 1932, he beat the legendary Gillis Grafström in the process, who was attempting to win a 4th consecutive Olympic title (having won the title at the 1920, 1924, and 1928 Olympics). Grafström collided with a photographer during his Olympic title defence, but even if he hadn't, Schäfer would still almost certainly have won, ultimately winning by a comfortable margin of almost 90 points.

    Great Britain's Graham Sharp was expected to win the silver medal at the 1936 Olympics (just as he had done at the 1936 European Championships, and would go on to do at the 1936 World Championships). However, he performed poorly at the Olympics, finishing a very disappointing 5th. The silver medal was instead won by Ernst Baier of Germany, whose main focus at the Olympics was on the pairs competition.

    The favourites for the pairs competition going into the Olympics were the 4 time and then current world champions, Emília Rotter & László Szollás, from Hungary. Their main rivals were expected to be European Champions, Maxi Herber & Ernst Baier (Rotter & Szollás had missed the 1936 European Championships). In the Olympic competition, Maxi Herber & Ernst Baier won comfortably, with 7 out of 9 judges placing them 1st. Herber & Baier went on to win 4 consecutive world titles (1936-39), and would almost certainly have won a 2nd consecutive Olympic title had the 1940 Olympics not been cancelled due to the outbreak of World War 2. They revolutionised pairs skating, performing the first SBS jumps in competition, and injected greater technical difficulty and artistry into their programs

    There is not a great deal of footage of the 1936 Olympics available. However, here is what there is:-

    MEN'S

    Gold: Karl Schäfer (Austria)

    Silver: Ernst Baier (Germany)

    Bronze: Felix Kaspar (Austria)

    5th: Graham Sharp (Great Britain)

    Footage of the 1936 Olympic Men's Competition from 1m 43 secs in

    Footage of the 1936 Olympic Men's Competition from 2m 35 secs in

    Karl Schäfer winning the 1936 Olympic title

    Footage of Karl Schäfer

    Brief footage of Karl Schäfer at 30 secs in



    LADIES

    Gold: Sonja Henie (Norway)

    Silver: Cecilia Colledge (Great Britain)

    Bronze: Vivi-Anne Hultén (Sweden)

    5th: Maribel Vinson (USA)

    Sonja Henie and Cecilia Colledge - 1936 Olympics

    Sonja Henie & Cecilia Colledge - 1936 Olympics

    Footage of the 1936 Olympic Ladies Competition from 2m 30 secs in

    Footage of the 1936 Olympic Ladies Competition from 2m 10 secs in

    Profile - Sonja Henie

    Sonja Henie - Mini Doc of career highlights

    Cecilia Colledge - 1936 Olympics

    Cecilia Colledge (montage of career highlights)

    Colour footage of Cecilia Colledge from 1939

    Megan Taylor & Cecelia Colledge - 1937 World Championships (won by Colledge)

    Megan Taylor - Ice Capades 1942

    Megan Taylor - Ice Capades 1942

    Sonja Henie - Film: One in a Million



    PAIRS

    Gold: Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier (Germany)

    Silver: Ilse Pausin/Erik Pausin (Austria)

    Bronze: Emília Rotter/László Szollás (Hungary)

    Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier winning the 1936 Olympic pairs title

    Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier winning the 1936 Olympic title

    Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier winning the 1936 Olympic title

    Footage of the 1936 Olympic Pairs Competition from 6m 48 secs in

    Footage of the 1936 Olympic Pairs Competition from 2m 50 secs in

    Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier - 1936

    Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier

    Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier training in St. Moritz in 1935


    As usual, many thanks to Floskate for many of the videos featured
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
  2. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    The scores for Henie vs Colledge during the 1936 Olympics are fascinating. Among the most interesting points is that the Austrian judge tied Henie and Colledge across both segments.
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  3. sadya

    sadya Active Member

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    Last edited: Oct 8, 2013
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  4. Maofan7

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  5. Maofan7

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  6. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

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    Epic stories, thank you for posting!
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  7. Maofan7

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    As this article highlights, the 1940 Olympics was originally going to be held in Sapporo in Japan. However, due to the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, in July 1938 the Japanese relinquished the opportunity to hold the Games. The IOC then passed the Games to St Moritz, Switzerland, who had hosted the Games in 1928, but that fell through. Consequently, in spring 1939, the Games were passed back to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (who had hosted the 1936 Games), to host the Games for the 2nd consecutive time (scheduled to take place between the 3rd - 12th February 1940). However, when Germany invaded Poland on the 1st September 1939, the Games were cancelled altogether.

    Sapporo, Japan, ultimately hosted the 1972 Olympics.

    Germany was the last Country to hold both the summer and winter Olympics in the same year (1936). Japan was scheduled to do the same in 1940 as Tokyo was scheduled to hold the summer Olympics. Its forfeiture of the summer Olympics occurred at the same time as the winter Olympics (July 1938) and the summer Games were then passed to Helsinki, Finland, before being cancelled altogether with the outbreak of World War 2. Tokyo eventually hosted the summer Olympics in 1964, and will host the Games for a second time in 2020.



    Article on Figure Skating between World War 1 and World War 2 (also has several other very interesting articles on the history of figure skating. All compiled by and contained on the website of early British skaters, Fred & Joan Dean - Editors of Ice & Roller Skate Magazine). Here are a few excerpts from the article:-



    Photograph of Karl Schäfer & Sonja Henie (taken February 1932 after they had they won their 1932 Olympic titles)

    New York Times Obituary on Ernst Baier (who died on the 8th July 2001 at the age of 95). ESPN Obituary on Maxi Herber (who died on the 20th October 2006 aged 86)
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2013
  8. sadya

    sadya Active Member

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    Thank you very much for more interesting articles.
  9. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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  10. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    Profile - Maribel Vinson: Part 1, Part 2 (winner of the bronze medal at the 1932 Olympics, and who finished 5th at the 1936 Olympics)

    Maribel Vinson - Training Footage

    Maribel Vinson - Practice (1932 Olympics)

    Sports Illustrated article on Maribel Vinson. It reads:-

    Reflections on Ice - Sonja Henie
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  11. Scrufflet

    Scrufflet Active Member

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    Thanks, Maofan7! Fascinating thread!
  12. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    Footage of the 1937 British Figure Skating Championships - features Cecilia Colledge and Megan Taylor (1st and 2nd respectively), and Graham Sharp (1st in the Men's competition)

    Cecilia Colledge winning the 1939 European Championships (many thanks to Floskate in post 13 below for pointing out that although British Pathe state that it is Megan Taylor featured in the video, it is in fact Cecilia Colledge)
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  13. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    Great thread Maofan7. I've loved re-watching a lot of this footage as it is an era that intrigues me and I've done quite a bit of research on this decade of skating. The young Japanese girl featured in a couple of my videos is Etsuko Inada. She was the 12 year old phenom of 1936 and some felt that she could have medalled in 1940. I doubt she would have been a serious contender to the Colledge v Taylor showdown though. Britain was very much the dominant nation in singles skating by the late 1930's with Sharp, Tomlins, Colledge, Taylor and Daphne Walker. One of my most treasured possessions is a medal awarded to Freddie Tomlins for his 2nd place finish at the 1939 Europeans by the championship hosts, Davos International Skating Club; a very lucky eBay find.

    By the way, that Pathe clip of the 1939 Europeans is mis-labelled by Britishpathe. It is definitely Cecilia Colledge in that clip.
  14. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    Your absolutely correct. Moreover, British Pathe also incorrectly state in the labelling that it was Taylor who won Europeans in 1939. However, Colledge won, with Taylor finishing second. Moreover, Daphne Walker (who turned 88 this year) won the Bronze medal to make it a British 1-2-3 (the only occasion that has ever happened in the Ladies event at Europeans, although it occurred on a number of occasions in Ice Dance during the 1950's and 1960's).
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013
  15. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    floskate, you found that on eBay?
    Wow!
  16. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    Quite astonishing. Floskate, you must be one of the worlds foremost collectors of figure skating memorabilia, as well as having one of the largest video collections out there. Congratulations on a great find!
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2013
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  17. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    Cecilia Colledge & Daphne Walker - 1945 Wembley Ice Gala

    Cecilia Colledge and Daphne Walker competing at the 1946 British Figure Skating Championships (won by Colledge). Footage also features Violet Cliff/Leslie Cliff who had finished 7th in the pairs competition at the 1936 Olympics.

    Daphne Walker in a 1938 Exhibition, winning the 1947 British title (also featured in this clip as well), and finishing 3rd in the 1947 European Championships. She retired after the 1946/47 season (her final competition being the 1947 World Championships, in which she won the silver medal) and turned professional. She married American skater, Bill Keefe, in 1948. The couple had met for the first time when Keefe saved Walker from drowning. Walker correctly predicted that Barbara Ann Scott would go on to win the 1948 Olympic title, and Walker also features in this 1953 clip about her Elephant mascot collection. Like her British contempories, Cecilia Colledge and Megan Taylor, Daphne Walker's career was severely curtailed by World War 2, and she would have undoubtedly have added to the 1939 World bronze and 1947 World silver medals that she won, with additional World and Olympic medals.

    Clip also features Daphne Walker finishing 3rd.

    Footage of Hedy Stenuf who finished 6th at the 1936 Olympics, and later won bronze at the 1938 World Championships and Silver at the 1939 World Championships. She competed for her home country, Austria, at the 1936 Olympics, but later switched to competing for the United States (after a brief period competing for France) given the then impending, and later actual, Nazi annexation of Austria (which ultimately occurred on the 12th March 1938). She passed away on the 7th November 2010, aged 88.
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  18. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    Last edited: Oct 16, 2013
  19. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    This is a photograph of Jack Dunn of Great Britain from the 1936 Olympics where he finished 6th. The previous year he had won the silver medal at the 1935 World Championships. Dunn's Wikipedia entry reads:-

    Louis Hayward took over the lead role in The Duke of West Point following Dunn's death. It would be another 13 years before the film, Valentino (1951), was made. Anthony Dexter played Valentino, beating over 2000 other candidates who were auditioned for the role.

    Ladies Medal Ceremony (1936 Olympics) + plus many other photographs from the games
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  20. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    Superb new article on Sonja Henie. Reads:-

    .
  21. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

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    Hear, hear!
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  22. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    Great article, thanks so much for sharing. I wondered why I'd had a spike in youtube subscribers lately. Both this and the NYT Dick Button article have links to my videos :rollin:
  23. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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