Retrospective: The 1976 Olympics

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    Retrospective moves onto the 1976 Olympics.

    The key facts in relation to these Olympics are:-

    • The Men's competition had been promoted as a showdown between the superior artistry of John Curry and the greater athletic ability of Vladimir Kovalev. The then reigning world champion, Sergei Volkov, was also a factor, but his strength was in compulsory figures. By this time, the weight attached to school figures had been reduced to 30%. To win, therefore, Volkov either needed to up his level in the short and free programs, or needed the stronger free skaters to make mistakes. This had been the scenario that had enabled Volkov to win the 1975 World Championships. 1974 World Champion, Jan Hoffmann (known as 'The Professor'), was also a contender. However, he had missed the entirety of the 1974/75 season due to surgery on a meniscus injury and was still not back to his best. And then there was Toller Cranston. Like John Curry, he was renowned for his artistry and he was one of the great pioneers and innovators of the sport. However, as with Janet Lynn and Denise Biellmann, his bete noire was the compulsories. Time and again, he always had too much ground to make up after the school figures and but for them, he would have won the 1972 world championships (winning the free skating element) and the 1974 World Championships (as he won both the short program and the free skate). Nevertheless, John Curry dominated the 1975/76 season. His skating had been previously criticised as being too 'feminine' and of lacking technical content. However, for the 1975/76 season, he added additional jumps and technical content to his programs. In the run up to the Olympics, therefore, he won the European Championships for the first time. In the process, he beat Kovalev for the first time, and also beat Hoffmann and Volkov in the process. Hence, Curry arrived at the Olympics as the favourite. As expected, however, Volkov won the compulsories, with Curry finishing 2nd. Curry then took the lead after the short program, having finished 2nd in that element to Cranston. Curry then took the title by winning the free skate. Although Kovalev won the silver, he never seriously challenged Curry for the title, finishing only 6th in the short program and 4th in the free skate. Cranston won the bronze.
    • Like John Curry, Dorothy Hamill entered these Olympics having not previously won the World title. However, she had won the silver medal at both the 1974 and 1975 World Championships. The reigning world champion, Dianne de Leeuw, was the favourite entering the Olympic competition. De Leeuw was born and raised in the United States. However, her parents were Dutch and her grandfather wanted her to compete for the Netherlands. De Leeuw, moreover, had experienced difficulties in making it onto U.S. international teams early in her career. Hence, all in all, she ultimately decided to compete for the Netherlands. Nevertheless, given her American upbringing and background, this caused friction with the American press, especially when de Leeuw beat Hamill to win the 1975 World Championships. The other major contenders for the Olympic title were 1974 World Champion, Christine Errath, and Anett Pötzsch (trained by Jutta Müller), both from East Germany. Early in the quad cycle, it had been expected that East Germany's main challenger for the 1976 Olympics would have been Sonja Morgenstern (also trained by Jutta Müller). However, in 1973, she was forced to retire due to injuries. A strong free skater, Errath, like Cranston, struggled with the school figures and would need Hamill and de Leeuw to make serious mistakes to win the title. Pötzsch was the complete opposite to Errath - strong in the school figures, and a competent but not outstanding free skater (although she entered the competition with an outside chance of a medal). In the event, Isabel de Navarre (who was strong in the school figures, but a weak free skater) took the lead after the compulsories, with Hamill in 2nd and de Leeuw in 3rd. Errath was left with considerable ground to make up back in 5th. Hamill took a decisive lead after winning the short program, with de Leeuw in 2nd overall after finishing 4th in the short program. A second placed finish in the short program, moved Errath up into 4th place overall. Hamill then won the free skate to take the Olympic title. A 2nd placed finished in the free skate enabled de Leeuw to take the silver, with Errath taking bronze after finishing 3rd in the free skate. Pötzsch finished 4th overall
    • Carlo Fassi was coach to both the Men's and Ladies World Champions, John Curry and Dorothy Hamill
    • Irina Rodnina won her 2nd Olympic title in the pairs competition, this time with a new partner, Alexander Zaitsev. She had won the 1972 Olympic title with Alexei Ulanov. With Zaitsev, Rodnina won the World title on 6 consecutive occasions between 1973-78 (Rodnina had also won 4 successive world titles with Ulanov between 1969 and 1972, which meant that she had won the pairs world title on 10 consecutive occasions between 1969 and 1978). She married Zaitsev, and they took the 1978/79 season off as she was pregnant with their son. However, they returned for the 1979/80 season and went on to retain their Olympic title at the 1980 Olympics. Like Henie, therefore, this meant that Rodnina had won her 3rd consecutive Olympic title. The silver and bronze medals at the 1976 Olympics in the pairs competition went to 2 East German pairs. Romy Kermer & Rolf Österreich won the silver, and Manuela Gross & Uwe Kagelmann the bronze. Not only did Kermer & Österreich finish runners up to Rodnina and Zaitsev in this competition, but they also finished runners up to them at both the 1975 and 1976 World Championships. They retired after the 1976 World Championships.
    • Although Ice Dance had been in the World Championships since 1952, it was making its debut as an Olympic event at these Olympics. It had been a demonstration event at the 1968 Olympics (and prior to that, at the 1948 Olympics), which had been won by Great Britain's, Diane Towler & Bernard Ford (who were the great pioneers of the event during the 1960's, winning the world title 4 consecutive times between 1966-69). However, during the 1970's, with the retirement of Towler & Ford, the Soviet Union came to dominate the event, with Lyudmila Pakhomova & Aleksandr Gorshkov becoming the dominant couple. After having finished 2nd to Towler & Ford at the 1969 World Championships, with Towler & Fords retirement they would then win 5 consecutive world titles between 1970-74. They missed the 1975 World Championships, as Gorshkov required a lung operation after experiencing breathing problems during the first practice session at the championships. In fact, he almost died due to the underlying problems, with rumours circulating in the Soviet Union that he had actually died (prompting the worried Chairman of the Soviet Sports Committee, to telephone Gorshkov to check that he was still alive). Nevertheless, Pakhomova & Gorshkov returned for the 1975/76 season and easily won the 1976 Olympic title. Compatriots, Moiseeva & Minenkov, won the silver, and America's O'Connor & Millns, the bronze.
    • Pakhomova & Gorshkov had married in 1970. However, tragically, Pakhomova became ill with Hodgkin's lymphoma in 1979 and died of the condition in 1986, aged just 39. Unfortunately, she was not the only participant from these Olympics to die tragically young. Sergei Volkov died at the age of just 41 in 1990 of stomach cancer, and John Curry passed away in 1994 at the age of just 44 of an AIDS-related heart attack (sadly, the 1972 Men's Olympic Champion, Ondrej Nepela, also died of AIDS-related complications in 1989, at the age of just 38).
    • Gorshkov is currently the president of the Russian Figure Skating Federation
    • Emi Watanabe, who finished 13th in the Ladies competition, would go on to win Japan's first medal at a World Championships, a bronze at the 1979 World Championships.
    • Elena Vodorezova, who finished 12th in the Ladies event, was just 12 years old at the time and was thought to be a likely contender for medals at world level over the next two quads. However, she missed the 1980 Olympics due to severe Juvenile arthritis, but would recover to go on and win a bronze medal at the 1983 World Championships. She finished 8th at the 1984 Olympics, and then retired. Nevertheless, she has since forged a career as a successful coach, and is currently the coach to Adelina Sotnikova and Maxim Kovtun

    Here are videos of the medal winning performances:-

    MEN'S

    Gold: John Curry (Great Britain)

    Short Program, Free Skate, Exhibition

    Silver: Vladimir Kovalev (USSR)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    Bronze: Toller Cranston (Canada)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    4th: Jan Hoffmann (East Germany)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    5th: Sergei Volkov (USSR)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    6th: David Santee (USA)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    7th: Terry Kubicka (USA)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    LADIES

    Gold: Dorothy Hamill (USA)

    Compulsory Figures, Short Program, Free Skate, Exhibition

    Silver: Dianne de Leeuw (Netherlands)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    Bronze: Christine Errath (East Germany)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    4th: Anett Pötzsch (East Germany)

    Free Skate

    5th: Isabel de Navarre (West Germany)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    6th: Wendy Burge (USA)

    Free Skate

    7th: Susanna Driano (Italy)

    Free Skate

    8th: Linda Fratianne (USA)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    9th: Lynn Nightingale (Canada)

    Free Skate

    10th: Dagmar Lurz (West Germany)

    Free Skate

    11th: Marion Weber (East Germany)

    Free Skate

    12th: Elena Vodorezova (USSR)

    Short Program, Free Skate

    13th: Emi Watanabe (Japan)

    Free Skate

    PAIRS

    Gold: Irina Rodnina & Alexander Zaitsev (USSR)

    Short Program, Long Program, Exhibition

    Silver: Romy Kermer & Rolf Österreich (East Germany)

    Short Program, Long Program

    Bronze: Manuela Gross & Uwe Kagelmann (East Germany)

    Short Program, Long Program

    5th: Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner (USA)

    Short Program, Long Program

    ICE DANCE

    Gold: Lyudmila Pakhomova & Aleksandr Gorshkov (USSR)

    Compulsory Dance, Free Dance, Exhibition

    Silver: Irina Moiseeva & Andrei Minenkov (USSR)

    Compulsory Dance

    Bronze: Colleen O'Connor & James Millns (USA)

    1st Compulsory Dance, 2nd Compulsory Dance, Free Dance

    4th: Natalia Linichuk & Gennadi Karponosov (USSR)

    Free Dance
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  2. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the newest links to videos.
     
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  3. LilJen

    LilJen Well-Known Member

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    Great review! It was seeing Dorothy Hamill on TV that made me want to skate (never did get to, except recreationally, until I hit my 30s). In her book, Dorothy shared mother's response to hearing that she'd had won gold; it kind of summed up their (sad) relationship: "Oh, that's nice, dear."
     
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  4. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I wonder why when people talk about the best female skater ever they talk about Kwan, Lynn, Yu Na Kim, and Ito, but never talk about Hamill as possibly the best female skater ever. The pure quality of her skating was superior to virtually everyone else, she was probably the best spinner ever not from Switzerland, and I am sure she could have done triple jumps when one looks at the height and quality of her doubles but felt she didnt need it.
     
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  5. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    I've read somewhere - perhaps it was her own biography that Dorothy did practice the triple sal at least but never did it in competition because she never needed it. I think Hamill suffered a little bit from the moniker of being the last Olympic singles champion to win without triples which has been mentioned in a number of historical works on skating. But you are right, her skating was just beautiful in every way. Best back in the business and her layback and scratch spins were really among the greatest ever seen in the sport, in terms of position and speed. A lot of people seem to find her skating boring, but I could watch her all day :)
     
  6. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Too bad there's no video of Pakhamova&Gorshkov's Quickstep on Youtube. I'm still shocked by this dance. So amazing.
     
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  7. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry that we have no video of Toller's EX.
    I've always wanted to see that; and the audience's reaction to him.
     
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  8. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

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    Wendy Burge was the #3 American lady in '76, but finished 6th ahead of #2 lady Fratianne. IIRC, she was very close to Hamill during '75 Nats and was also 4th at '77 Worlds (?). What was she known for? Figures? LP? Any triples? She's not talked about too much ...
     
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  9. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

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    Seriously, give her 1 or 2 token triples (sal, toe) and I swear her '76 programs would be competitive today. Her skating is nothing short of spectacular.

    I remember hearing how she had to make all these "improvements" when she turned pro, but I don't see it. That's just amazing skating she showed at the '76 Games.
     
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  10. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    I don't really have much to add to the thread, but thank you so much for taking the time to provide the videos & summaries. I love these retrospective threads, I've discovered and rediscovered so many excellent routines & skaters through them. :)
     
  11. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    Linda's SP dress was the same design and color as the one she wore in Lake Placid. She skated really tentatively here. Contrast that with Potzsch who skated with speed and attack. Linda also used Carmen, which was reused in 79 and 80. Ugh.

    Dianne's 3t looked surprisingly good. All her other jumps, especially the 2a, were very awkward looking though, and her spins weren't that good either.

    Elena V. was like the Elaine Zayak of her days: a young girl that can out jumped all of the big girls. She did two different triples here and landed three total. I thought Linda was credited as the first woman to perform two different triples?

    I like how close the spectators were to the ice. It had a very intimate arena feeling.
     
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  12. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

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    I dont like DeLeeuw's skating even on a good day, but her short program was definitely off. It looks like her both her double flip combination and combination spin had a small mistake and real hesitation on. I knew she had to have some kind of problem to even have a judge having her 11th, and below someone like De Navarre, and been only 4th in the short. Definitely a case of the nerves, I dont know why, since once Hamill beat her in figures nobody expected her to win so the pressure should have been off her in a sense, but maybe she was scared about losing the silver too by that point.
     
  13. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

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    Well this was Fratianne's first big international competition while Potzsch had been to three previous world (and european) championships. That could have had something to do with it.
     
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  14. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

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    ^^Yes, Linda looked nervous. She nearly did a Wowchow at the beginning of her LP. It's interesting to see how how her dresses stood out from all the other ladies, who all wore what looked like practice dresses.

    I didn't realized Annette was already such an experienced skater at that young age in 76.
     
  15. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    She was a reliable "all-around" skater.

    Wendy's father was a respected leader/judge in USFS.
    Wendy, later, was the female "lead" in Toller Cranston's "The Magic Planet".
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2012
  16. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    I uploaded everything I had to my YouTube account (gem7ini) so as to make this Retrospective as complete as I could make it. Unfortunately, however, there are still gaps. But, hopefully, one day they will be filled. It would be absolutely fantastic to see Toller's Ex. program and P&G's Quickstep CD :)

    I am also on the lookout for videos and DVD's of the 1972 Olympics so that I can compile a Retrospective on that as well. Unfortunately, despite years and years of searching, I have never been able to find anything to add to my collection, other than what is already on YouTube. Hence, if anybody knows of any collectors that may have any footage of the figure skating events at that Olympics, please could you PM me. Thanks
     
  17. Clay

    Clay Active Member

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    Thanks. Great job! I enjoyed seeing the "never-before-seen" John Curry encore....then another encore! Any new footage is always a treat.

    Good luck finding the '72 Olympics. Finding a complete, unedited version of Janet Lynn's '72 free skate would be the ultimate gift. Given her popularity in Japan, I'm surprised it was never shown again in its entirety.
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2012
  18. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    Janet Lynn 1972 FS(COMPLETE)

    The whole programme - with swans flying in the background. This is from the official film.
     
  19. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    Thanks. I'm sure further footage of the 1972 Olympics will turn up eventually. Sooner rather than later I hope!
     
  20. giselle23

    giselle23 Active Member

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  21. Judge Dred

    Judge Dred New Member

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    Dianne de Leeuw actually carried the Dutch flag during the opening ceremony.

    Did de Leeuw actually compete for the United States during the early years or was she just not able to make it on to the team due to the strength in depth?
     
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  22. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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  23. seaner00

    seaner00 New Member

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    Wow, thanks for linking the 1976 videos :cool:
     
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  24. lulu

    lulu New Member

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    Thanks for the sports illustrated article, really interesting. I had no idea that Priscilla Hill was also known as "Tinker Bell" :lol: :)
     
  25. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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  26. manleywoman

    manleywoman podcast mistress

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    I have been so swamped I haven't been able to watch or review any of these materials, but am hoping to do so soon, I love these retrospecitves! Thanks so much for putting them together!
     
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  27. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    The following video features Dianne de Leeuw receiving an award for having won the silver medal at the 1976 Olympics, followed by a show held in Amsterdam featuring many of medallists from the Olympics:-

    Video

    Here also is a video in 2 parts of an interview John Curry gave in 1976:-

    Part 1, Part 2
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  28. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

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    two tidbits from Canadian skaters:

    1) 3 time national silver medalist Ron Shaver was 6th in figures and 3rd in the short program but withdrew before the long program (and did not compete in Worlds that year in Goteberg)

    2) Lynn Nightingale had been top 5 in every short program and long program segment in 1973/1974/1975 worlds but by 1976, she was seeing herself overtaken in the free skating by ladies with dependable triples (Fratianne and Vodorezova). 9th overall was her lowest result in any Worlds/Olympics, and Canada wouldn't have any top 10 placements until Elizabeth Manley's silver in 1988.
     
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  29. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

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    Why did Ron Shaver withdraw before the long program?
     
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  30. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

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    As the following article highlights, he tore an adductor tendon in his groin during practice for the free skate and ended up in hospital. He asked for a cortisone injection to enable him to skate his free program, but the doctors refused. The injury was so serious, he remained in hospital for 4 months and it almost ended his skating career. Shame what happened, as he had an outside chance of a medal:-

    http://www.cambridgesportshalloffame.ca/images/shaver.pdf
     
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