Retrospective: The 1968 Olympics

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Jan 21, 2012.

  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Messages:
    5,564
    This retrospective features the 1968 Olympics Ladies competition - probably one of the most iconic Olympic figure skating events in history.

    The key facts are:-

    • Peggy Fleming wins the United States first Olympic gold medal since the Sabena Flight 548 air disaster which killed the entire US figure skating team (which was on its way to the 1961 World Championships) on the 15th February 1961. Fleming was only 12 years old at the time of the crash and her coach, Bill Kipp, was one of those who was killed. He was on the flight as he was also the coach to Dona Lee Carrier and Roger Campbell, and Rhode Lee Michelson, who were scheduled to compete at 1961 Worlds. As Nikki Nichols recounted in her book, Frozen in Time: "As the 1964 Nationals approached, the field still looked thin....Then, out of the shadows....Peggy Fleming....burst onto the scene, winning her first national championship at age fifteen. The title of national champion would belong to her for five more years." Fleming finished 6th at the 1964 Olympics (skating with a high fever) and then moved from California to Colorado Springs to train with her new coach, Carlo Fassi. He helped her to improve her school figures. She then won bronze at 1965 Worlds and a year later, in 1966, she became the world champion (a title she retained in both 1967 and 1968). In 1994, Sports Illustrated said of her 1968 Olympic gold medal winning performance: "She launched figure skating's modern era, Pretty and balletic, elegant and stylish, Fleming took a staid sport that was shackled by its inscrutable compulsory figures and arcane scoring system and, with television as her ally, made it marvelously glamorous." The same year, the magazine also named her one of its 40 individuals who had had the greatest impact on sport during the previous 40 years. Nikki Nichols concluded in Frozen in Time, that Fleming's victory "signalled that the [United States's] recovery [from the 1961 air disaster] was now complete."
    • Gaby Seyfert won the silver medal. She was coached by her mother, Jutta Müller, who would go on to coach 1980 Olympic champion, Anett Pötzsch, and 1984 & 1988 Olympic champion, Katarina Witt. After the 1968 Olympics, Seyfert went on to win the 1969 and 1970 World Championships, after which she retired. Had she not retired in 1970, she would almost certainly have been the favourite to win the 1972 Olympics. The reasons for her retirement are unclear, but were discussed recently in this thread here. The answer may be contained in her autobiography which I recently obtained a copy of. Its in German and no English language version was ever released. Hence, as my German is very poor, it will be some time before I find a possible answer in there!
    • Hana Maskova won the Bronze medal. Known for her jumping ability, like Seyfert she had the artistry to go with it. Sadly, she was killed in a car crash just 4 years later on the 31st March 1972 in France and was buried in prague. This article here contains an interesting account of her life. Somewhat chillingly, another great Czech skater, Pavel Roman had also been killed in a car crash just two months earlier on the 30th January 1972.
    • Just outside the medals in 4th place was Tina Noyes. Trained by Cecelia Colledge, Noyes had finished 8th at the 1964 Olympics and had finished 2nd four times behind Peggy Fleming at US Nationals. She now coaches at the Hayden Recreation Centre in Lexington. Like Fleming, Noyes skated in an era dominated by the aftermath of the 1961 air disaster. Indeed, in a 2001 interview with the Boston Globe, she recalled that during her early years as a novice and junior skater, due to the need to get US figure skating back on its feet, "There was a lot of publicity given to the junior and novice skaters...There were a lot of high expectations, a tremendous amount of pressure. [Barbara Roles] coming back was really huge....I remember when she came into the Skating Club to practice. Everything just stopped. It was almost like looking at a ghost.''
    • Trixie Schuba finished 5th, Karen Magnussen 7th, and Janet Lynn 9th.
    Here are the medal winning performances:-

    1968 Olympics - Ladies Competition

    Gold: Peggy Fleming - USA

    Free Skate

    Free Skate - 2nd Version

    Free Skate - 3rd Version

    Silver: Gabriele Seyfert - East Germany

    Free Skate

    Bronze: Hana Maskova - Czechoslovakia

    Free Skate - short clip at beginning of video

    If anybody knows of the whereabouts of a complete copy of the program on the net, do post a link to it.

    4th: Albertina Noyes - USA

    Free Skate

    9th: Janet Lynn - USA

    Free Skate
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  2. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,125
    Fleming had it sewed up with the figures. IINM she had a huuuge lead and just had to not completely melt down to win. She won the freeskate (as it it mattered) but it was one of her weakest senior free skates (and IINM recycled from previous years).

    But for an audience that wasn't technically astute that didn't matter. She looked lovely and photogenic and that's all that mattered. She actually became a much better (and technically accomplished) free skater as a pro than she ever was as an amateur.

    Also Beatrix Schuba (if the 1968 free skating footage is any indication) wasn't at that time the leaden presence she later became. Did she have a growth spurt at 17? She wasn't a spectacular free skater by any means but much more pleasant to watch than she was in 71 or 72.
  3. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Messages:
    12,397
  4. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2004
    Messages:
    6,970
    I think Peggy was coached by Robert Paul [former CAN Pairs Champion skater] in 1965, just before going to Fassi?
  5. eurodance2001

    eurodance2001 Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    Messages:
    736
    I think Bob Paul choreographed for Peggy; I don't think he was her coach..
  6. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Messages:
    5,564
    Yes, he was her choreographer. I dont think he ever coached her? I think John Nicks was her coach during the period between the 1961 air disaster and her moving to Colorado Springs to be coached by Fassi. Nicks took over a lot of Kipp's students after Kipp's death.

    Just as an aside, I came across this video of John Nicks from his days as a pairs skater:-

    Jennifer & John Nicks - 1953 European Championships

    The 1953 European Championships were his penultimate competition as a skater. He and Jennifer retired after the 1953 World Championships and they won both the 1953 European and World championships.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  7. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,759
  8. BigB08822

    BigB08822 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2003
    Messages:
    20,747
    She could have worked on 3axels, no doubt. That thing was huge.
  9. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    9,822
    It's interesting to finally see a clip of Noyes skating. It's very easy to see why she never defeated Peggy. Her stroking was just bad.
  10. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Messages:
    5,564
    Another interesting aspect about this event was Great Britain's Sally-Anne Stapleford who finished 11th. Here are a couple of paragraphs from the Wikipedia article on Stapleford:-

    And here is an article about what happened to Stapleford as a result of the events at the 2002 Olympics:-

    Cracked Ice Excerpt

    Finally, some videos of Stapleford winning the 1967 British Nationals (also features 1952 Olympic champion, Jeannette Altwegg, presenting the trophy) and winning a Silver medal at the 1965 European Championships:-

    Sally-Anne Stapleford - 1967 British Championships

    Sally-Anne Stapleford - 1965 European Championships
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  11. giselle23

    giselle23 Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Messages:
    531
    I think Janet's free skate should have been second. She had an good attempt at a triple salchow (two-footed) and a beautiful double-axel-double loop combo. And at 14, she already had all the beautiful edge and flow and freedom of movement that would become her trademarks. I have watched this performance many times and each time, am amazed again at how good it is.
  12. matti

    matti Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Messages:
    377
    Audrey Hepburn, one of the biggest stars of the 1960s, apparently spent all day watching compulsory figures and making notes... according to an old newspaper story. :cool:
  13. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Messages:
    12,397
    Yes, I've read that she was there at every practice, on the outside rink.
  14. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2004
    Messages:
    6,970
    ^I just love the idea of Audrey Hepburn being a FS fan :)

    Thanks for posting a link to the pic above; Seyfert and Maskova were so athletically built!

    Not to mention the spins. The LP was up and down - she had a cool 2x-2x seq. at the beginning, but she had a few step-outs in that performance
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  15. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,759
    This!
  16. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,125
    Isn't Stapleford also in the Eismuttis documentary?
  17. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,349
    I would have had her 2nd in the free skate too, but 2nd to Seyfert. Fleming should have been about 4th in the free skate with that totally lame performance (although she still would have won easily overall).
  18. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    4,891
    Grenoble was the 60s version of a splatfest: albertville without all the triples. Watching the clips i easily lost count of all the nerve-induced botched landings and wonky spins. Is there something about France that makes it impossible for ladies to skate a clean lp? :p
    Oh, and LOL at the suggestion of Fleming down in 4th! I needed a good laugh.
  19. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2003
    Messages:
    12,397
    Though at the Olympics (and Euros), not at Worlds ! 2000 Worlds in Nice showed some perfect LP's ! ;)
  20. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    7,900
    :D One with dramatic music, lots of speed, a triple-triple, decent layback spin, and lovely spirals comes to mind.
  21. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Messages:
    5,564
    She was in this documentary.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  22. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,441
    Peggy Fleming would have needed something like 12th place marks in the LP for Seyfert to have even a chance to beat her (yikes). Furthermore, the judges were more than willing to give Fleming high presentation scores in spite of any technical mistakes she might have had (she got straight 5.9s from all 9 judges)
  23. pollyanna

    pollyanna Don't blink

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    Messages:
    8,970
    Not to mention the double salchow in both directions. And she reportedly was sick with the flu during these Olympics.
  24. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Messages:
    5,564
    Here are some other videos from the other competitions at the 1968 Olympics:-

    Gary Visconti (USA) - 1968 Olympics FS - he finished 5th in the free skate and 5th overall

    Cynthia Kauffman & Ronald Kauffman - 1968 Olympics Pairs LP - finished 7th in the FS and 6th overall. They skated to Gone With The Wind!!

    Ludmila Belousova & Oleg Protopopov - 1968 Olympic Pairs LP - winning the Gold medal. Ludmila kept her maiden name after she married Oleg, but that didn't stop the media referring to them as 'the Protopopovs'.

    Tim Wood won the Silver medal. Whilst there is no video available of his Olympic free skate, here is the video for his 1968 Worlds Long Program:-

    Tim Wood - 1968 Worlds LP

    Tim also finished 2nd at Worlds, this time to Emmerich Danzer of Austria who had finished 4th at the Olympics. Wolfgang Schwarz, another Austrian, won the Olympic Gold medal and promptly retired. Tim, like Gaby Seyfert, went on to win Gold at both the 1969 and 1970 World Championships and retired, not hanging around for the 1972 Olympics
  25. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    4,891
    The men's event was weird. On paper, danzer should have coasted to gold. I never really understood the whole scoring debacle. If a calculation error really cost wood the gold, why wasn't it corrected? And we're scuba and nepala that big a threat that two champs just had to get out of the way or been run over? And then there's the whole "human trafficking" scandal.....
  26. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,759
    I remember feeling very sorry for Tim Wood.
  27. Yazmeen

    Yazmeen Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    Messages:
    3,257
    Can one of you explain the scoring issue surrounding Tim Wood at the Olympics? Thanks in advance, I don't know this story.
  28. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,759
  29. matti

    matti Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Messages:
    377
  30. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    4,891
  31. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2004
    Messages:
    6,970
    Gaby Seyfert's retirement in 1970 has been discussed.

    Anyone know why Tim Wood retired in 1970, not going on to 1972 Sapporo? He would definitely have contended. Also, US men were fine in 1972, but maybe not quite as strong as Olympics past.
  32. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    9,822
    I agree with Button's comment that Tim's skating needed more variety of tempo. Tim skated with the same fast speed for the entire 5 minutes regardless if the music playing was slow or fast. It's interesting that he only attempted one triple. Did the men back in those days only do a 1 triple max program? Who was the first man to do multiple triples in a LP ?
  33. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    8,781
    Regarding Tina Noyes, she is right in that a lot of pressure was placed on young juniors in the aftermath of the 1961 crash. Tina was one of those skaters and actually performed in the skating benefit held in Boston which was hosted by Dick Button and had Ted KEnnedy in attendance reading a message from his brother JFK (you've probably seen clips of that). Tina was only 12 at the time but she was already landing huge double axels and did so in that exhibition. Remember that ladies double axels in the early 60's were not common. A lot of top ladies never had that jump. She was the chosen one I think; she was the one with all the pressure heading up into seniors and that had to have had an impact. Fleming was barely on the radar back in 1961.

    ETA: Gary Visconti really was one terrific free skater. His LP from Worlds just two weeks after this was even better!!
  34. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,759
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2012
  35. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    4,891
    If you search the archives, there was a thread a while back that discussed gabby and Tim both. Very similar situations iirc.

    1972 men's was similar to ladies. Nepala was 4th in the fs but won due to his big lead in figures. John misha petkovich was the Janet Lynn of us men, stunning free skater, always behind in figures. He was 2nd in fs but 6th in Figures and finished 5th. Ken Shelley was 3rd in fs but 5th in figures so ended up 4th, like he did in pairs, but I think there was a much stronger wuz robbed case to be made for him in pairs.
  36. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,544
    http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/wo/tim-wood-1.html

    That was still the true amateur era of Olympic sports (in the West, at least). Training cost money, and there was money to be made by turning professional.

    Also, staying amateur meant committing to many hours of training figures. If you follow the first link in skatesindreams' post upthread, you'll see he was spending four hours a day doing figures before the Olympics.
  37. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    8,781
    Tim did do triple toe loop as well in 1969 and 1970 Worlds. Petkevich could do sal, loop, toe and apparently lutz but never did it in competition. He planned it at Worlds in 1970 but doubled. He usually stuck with sal and loop and usually botched one or the other. He was still incredible though. Even Nepela had a consistent sal and toe. I think the real race for triples started in the early 1970s with skaters like Kubika who was the first afaik who landed four different triples in a LP (1974 US Nationals). Ronnie Shaver, Gordie McKellen and Jan Hoffmann had 3 different triples in their LP's in the 1972 - 76 quad (including triple lutz for Hoffmann which he landed in 1974). McKellen also tried triple axel at the 1974 Worlds. Curry and Cranston had sal and loop and both added the toeloop for the 1976 season. After that Minoru Sano landed 5 triples at the 1977 Worlds, Taylor had all 6 triples (including his wonky 3x at 1978 and 1979 Worlds) but never really landed all of them consistently in the same program and Hoffmann stayed in and had 4 triples excluding flip but even then you could get by on sal, loop and toe (see Cousins 1980). I think it was the changing of the guard in 1980 that ushered in the lutz era and by 1983 Worlds most of the guys were doing triples through lutz. Orser and Boitano changed all that again after Hamilton retired and by 1988 triple axel was a must and the quads had started. :)
  38. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    4,891
    Before the 80s guys were really discouraged from doing a lot of triples. Button is famous for pulling off the first ever and at an Olympics, but legend has it that the judges advised him not to risk it. A lot of the "pioneers" who did land them often ended up way down in the standings and top skaters like David Jenkins who could land a beauty of a 3x never dared include them in competition. Figures were king and it wasn't until 1984 that the habit of each oly champ landing harder and harder jump content took off. Casey Edwards would have had an absolute breakdownback in the 50s 60s 70s :lol:
    jamesy and (deleted member) like this.
  39. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    13,759
    The USFSA discouraged men from doing triples as being too flamboyant - only appropriate for "shows"/exhibitions.
    David Jenkins has talked about how he became an "outcast" in the sport for many years.
    Listen to his interview in Manleywoman's skatecasts.
  40. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2005
    Messages:
    4,891
    Allison's podcast with rob Paul also confirmed that he did indeed coach Peggy as well as choreograph.