Retrospective: The 1978 World Championships

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Messages:
    5,564
    As a new season begins, its worth looking back at previous world championships in the lead up to the 2012 Worlds.

    Thought I would begin with the 1978 Worlds - perhaps remembered most for two skaters who didn't medal. Firstly, Vern Taylor, who performed the very first triple Axel in international competition, and secondly, Denise Biellmann, who despite another splendid free skate could still only finish fifth - showing once again that several years after Janet Lynn had retired, talented skaters were still being held back by the school figures. In my opinion, Denise Biellmann by today's standards was probably the best ladies singles figure skater of the late 1970's and early 1980's.

    These championships also marked the second consecutive year re the intense rivalry between Anett Potzsch and Linda Fratianne. On this occasion, Potzsch won. Ultimately, they would both end up with 2 world titles each and the rivalry would culminate in the highly controversial result at the 1980 Olympics - again won by Potzsch. However, there are many that argue that Fratianne should have won the Olympic title, and there are many others (me included) who believe that Biellmann should have won it. Biellmann actually won both the short program and the free skate during that Olympic competition, but because she finished 12th in the school figures - she didn't even get a medal!! Ludicrous. Hence, had the contest been held without the school figures, Biellmann would have won the Olympic title by a country mile.

    Here are some videos from the 1978 Worlds:-

    Mens

    Gold - Charles Tickner - USA

    Free Skate

    Silver - Jan Hoffmann - East Germany

    Free Skate

    Bronze - Robin Cousins - GBR

    Free Skate

    12th - Vern Taylor - Can

    Free Skate

    Ladies

    Gold - Anett Potzsch - East Germany

    Free Skate

    Silver - Linda Fratianne - USA

    Free Skate

    Bronze - Susanna Driano - Italy

    Free Skate

    5th - Denise Biellmann - Switzerland

    Free Skate

    Pairs

    Gold - Irina Rodnina & Alexander Zaitsev - USSR

    Long Program

    Silver - Manuela Mager & Uwe Bewerdorf - East Germany (No Video Available)

    Bronze - Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner - USA

    Long Program

    Ice Dance

    Gold - Natalia Linichuk & Gennadi Karponosov - USSR

    Free Dance

    Silver - Irina Moiseeva & Andrei Minenkov - USSR (No Video Available)

    Bronze - Krisztina Regőczy & András Sallay - Hungary

    Free Dance

    Hope you enjoy - as you will observe, figure skating was a completely different world back then!
     
  2. falling_dance

    falling_dance Bravo, Patrick.

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    23,364
    A minor correction to your excellent post: Fratianne won the short program at the 1980 Olympics. Her jump combination was slightly more difficult than Biellmann's (3s2r vs. 3t2r).
     
  3. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Away

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2011
    Messages:
    5,564
    Many thanks.

    Your absolutely right. Linda finished first and Denise second in the SP. Unfortunately, I used Wikipedia to remind me of the placings and that mistakenly shows them as having finished joint first.

    Although the event was over 30 years ago, never rely on Wikipedia to remind yourself of something!
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  4. Louise

    Louise Banned Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    Messages:
    560
    I actually loved David Santee's music that he skated to from "The Other Side of the Mountain". I could listen to that opening all day. Such a sad movie about Jill Kinmont the paralyzed would have been Olympic skier in 1956. Of course he also skated to his whole Rocky music which he did for I think the entire quad.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeM3NajNay8
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011
  5. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2004
    Messages:
    7,033
    Jutta Mueller's choreography + Anett Poetzsch = :scream:

    On a more serious note, that was probably her best performance, right? I think I counted 3 triples which was quite something back in the 70s
     
  6. skatemommy

    skatemommy Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2004
    Messages:
    3,215
    Many things would have changed without school figures. It was what we did back in the day. You can't say someone was better without them. Sorry.
     
  7. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,684
    Charles Tickner! His musicality is to die for! :swoon:

    http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/athletes/ti/charles-tickner-1.html

    :wideeyes:

    I had no idea.

    :respec:
     
  8. casken

    casken Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Messages:
    6,351
    I don't know why, but I've always liked Linichuk and Kapanosv's FD from that year, especially the last section.
     
  9. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    8,797
    The mens event was amazing at this championships. The result was so close. Robin Cousins and Fumio Igarashi also had outstanding freeskating performances. Linda versus Anett was only noteworthy because Anett skated way better than anyone expected, but the best skating came from others including Biellmann, Lisa-Marie Allen and Elena Vodorezova.

    Anett skated even better at the 1980 Europeans This is IMO the best performance of her career.
     
  10. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    8,797
    The whole dance event was filled with :drama: Min & Mo's dramatik West Side Story FD with equally dramatik collapse to the ice on their final pose. Linichuk & Karponosov overhauling them for the gold and Regoezscy & Sallay coming through. A changing of the guard like this before an Olympics was very rare. Plus T&D made their Worlds debut at this event. That FD is still one of my holy grails!
     
  11. casken

    casken Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2004
    Messages:
    6,351
    Found it here. http://video.mail.ru/mail/magvalentinamag/3692/6421.html.

    It cuts off before that though. :(
     
  12. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    8,797
    Yes my tape does too but I know I've seen it and it was well documented in skating magazines at the time as well as subsequent books. Now where did I see it? :confused:
     
  13. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,125
    IIRC Fratianne also won the SP+LP combined at Lake Placid (which was also calculated back then with mini-medals being awarded at non-olympic competition.

    So if there had been no figures there Biellmann still wouldn't have won (according to the ordinal system in place at the time).

    Biellmann was not the "best ladies singles figure skater" of her time. Since figures were part of the criteria you couldn't finish 12th in them and have any credibility to the title 'best'.

    She is the free skater of her time who's skating is most in tune with modern standards. By the standards of the time she was a very, very strong (but inconsistent) free skater. Fratianne was the most 'complete package' of the time with Poetzsch being a close second.

    Fratianne was hampered by not being especially outgoing (she didn't reach out to the audience much - they had to reach out to her). Also she was trying to play by the unspoken rules of the sport which at the time lived in a retrograde bubble a good 15 years behind the times in terms of aesthetics. This meant dowdying it up rather than letting loose - the PTB _hated_ letting loose back then.

    Poetzsch was a very good free skater with nice musicality but was hampered by wonky jump technique (lot of that going around back then) being stuck in the grim DDR and having Jutta Muller as a choreographer. As great an overall coach as she was, her aesthetics were roughly "Show tunes are the new black!" and "every lady needs to skate as much like Gaby as possible". Poetzsch would have been better with softer more .... lilting(?) music.
     
  14. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    8,797
    Fratianne's 'stagnation' as a senior is interesting to look at. Her LP at the 1976 Nationals was electrifying. There's a nonchalance to the way she does the triples and those incredible double axels - which would look equally impressive today IMO - that really got the crowd going and set a standard which she seemed unable to repeat.

    Her Olympic LP was nothing like it - she doubled both triple jumps and skated very cautiously it seemed - which is odd considering she was not in the running and had little pressure on her. Had she skated in Innsbruck the way she did in Colorado Springs, then in the long run things could have been very different.

    From there she won 1977 Worlds but seemed to be upstaged at every turn. At Nationals she was outskated in 1977 by Wendy Burge and Lisa Marie-Allen in 1978 and 1980. Linda seemed on top of her game in 1979 at Nationals but the totally OTT beaded dress was gone come Worlds in Vienna.

    She was consistent at what she did but never seemed to push herself, or perhaps wasn't pushed to try new things. Watch her skating in 1977 and then her Olympic LP - there's no real growth there in her skating. That's a shame as, considering how late she started skating, she was prodigiously talented.
     
  15. Seerek

    Seerek Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2002
    Messages:
    3,477
    Is it true that Linda Fratianne would have won all 4 World Championships between 1977-1980 and the 1980 Olympics had factored placements been used at that time?
     
  16. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    9,899
    Fratianne only won when Poetzch really screwed up her SP and LP as in 77 and 79; Otherwise, Annett's free skating was usually adequate enough to maintain the overall lead she had in the figures to win the title as she did in 78 and 80.

    Fratianne's triples looked awesome at the 76 Nationals: light, airy, high, feather light landings; A really WOW element. But from 77 onward her triples looked tiny and lost the WOW factor. I liked her 77 SP a lot also (jump combo was an impressive 3s-2lp). The 77 LP was a really strange mix of music and choreography. She did a lot of the stop-and-start on the toe-picks in that program that I found annoying, LOL. But technically it was a strong LP, so I'm surprised she was outskated by Wendy. I have to search for Wendy's performance for comparison.

    Her 78 LP was a disappoinment. I thought it was ill-advised to reuse her 77 Schez music, because the choreography and performance was inferior. I noticed her landings on the triples weren't that great; No extended free leg or free foot. It looked like she came down on the flat of the blade also, so the triples didn't have the smooth flow out of them. By this time Linda also stopped doing the front split-back split-3toe sequence and substitued the 2a for the toe instead. Wonder why she and Frank did that? Interestingly the required SP jump combo that season was a flip, so a lot of the ladies went for 2flip-2toe.

    Carmen was ok as a LP. Nothing special. She had a turned out of the 2flip-2t combo at Worlds but still won the title overall.

    The 80 Olympic LP was supposed to be Sleeping Beauty, but Linda was superstitious and kept Carmen since she had good luck with it in 79.

    Linda was my favorite skater in the early 80s. Something about her back then caught my eyes and got me hooked on skating. However, when I watch her performances on utube now, I just don't get it. I see too much that was wrong with it. I think a major reason why Frank didn't push Linda artistically and technically from 77-80 was because her only rival back then seemed to be Annette, who was inconsistent on the triples and had those wacky (although sometimes charming) Frau Mueller's programs. Frank was simply maintaining what Linda had and just set it to different music. Imagine how Linda would've developed if she was directly battling Denise and Emi Wantanabi for the gold.
     
  17. Mafke

    Mafke New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2006
    Messages:
    1,125
    In broad terms I kind of agree. I think there were a couple of issues.

    1. I think she psyched herself out afer 76 nationals. Had she gone to Innsbruck as the third US lady she might have been more confident but having the olympics be your first big international competition (and coming in as a surprise second US lady) has got to be .... intimidating. She probably thought she did have a lot to lose. She started her international career in 1976 as the US's best hope for 1980 and that probably weighed on her a lot.

    2. She was naurally shy on the ice and music/choreography standards didn't help much.

    3. Backward looking aesthetic of skating. I remember the first skating competitions I followed on tv seemed very old fashioned to me at the time (I think skating didn't really start to catch up with what was going on in popular culture until the 90's). The dull old-world atmosphere was no place for a California girl. I always thought her heavily beaded look was a kind of rebellion - sparkles were pretty racy for late 70's skating.

    4. She had to spend a lot of time on figures to be competitive. Poetzsch was dominant in figures and she had to stay close to her to have any chance of catching up in the free skating. If she hadn't been pushed so hard on figures front her free skating might have developed more.

    She did progress and had some great performances, but her style is not so in line with current tastes. Still, her last amateur LP at 1980 worlds had a lot of the same spark her 76 breakthrough had.
     
  18. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    14,106
  19. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    9,899
    correction: I meant the SP combo in 79 must include a 2flip. I don't know what the combo requirements in 78 ws.
     
  20. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    8,797
    Interesting; I remembered her 1980 Worlds performance as I was writing my original post and thinking it was my second favourite of hers. Linda had a horrible warm up in Dortmund - couldn't land a thing. She was injured, she popped her combo in the SP (as did Anett - again) and Dagmar was being pushed up to silver after somehow landing her triple loop again with zilch speed. She just went out and skated with a total f*** this attitude.

    BUT - she should have been sheltered from any pressure in Innsbruck. Not her fault, but Frank's and the USFSA's 'if' that was the case. Being naturally shy wasn't exactly a hindrance back then. It's not as if Allen, Poetszch and even Biellmann were like Liza Minnelli out there and selling their choreography to the nth degree.

    Yes she had to spend more time on figures because of her late start in the sport and competing against Anett, but she WAS capable of so much more in terms of free skating and it never materialised. Same elements shoe-horned into dreary programs year after year. No haircut, nose job or audience relation coaching could disguise the fact that technically and artistically she never really progressed.
     
  21. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,466
    Had there not been no figures the scoring of the short and long programs would have been totally different for skaters who were well back after figures.
     
  22. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2004
    Messages:
    7,033
    As it stands, Poetzsch won.

    If the system of factored placements from '81 - '90 had been in place, Fratianne would've won.

    If no figures and the system of factored placements from '91 on had been in place, Biellmann would've won.

    ETA - the discussion above re Fratianne is intriguing. Does anyone think FC held her back technically? I'm not talking about poor coaching. I'm talking about playing it safe in the LP; doing what was necessary to win. Remember, there were rumblings of something similar with Kwan in '01
     
  23. gkelly

    gkelly Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2003
    Messages:
    10,619
    Looks like double toe: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BGnQHdfr10

    And required cross-foot spin for the men
     
  24. judgejudy27

    judgejudy27 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Messages:
    13,466
    I am not sure why Carroll would think Fratianne wouldnt benefit from continuing to improve her free skating. As it was Poetzsch was close enough to her in free skating ability the only way she won is if Poetzsch bombed like the 77 and 79 Worlds. Had she improved her free skating further she could have made up the points she trailed after figures more easily.
     
  25. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2003
    Messages:
    8,797
    To be fair to FC, Linda had won two out of three world championships doing the same content. She lost in '78 due to figures and a more consistent Poetszch so presumably the focus after Ottawa was figures, figures, figures. After 1979 worlds, everything indicated Linda was the favourite for the OGM. I DO think she should have developed her free skating further, but they were given no indication that what she had wasn't good enough. Play it safe didn't work for Kwan (if that was even the strategy in Nagano) but it certainly did work for Lysacek and I was as happy as the next person to see Frank finally get his skater that OGM. Any competition strategy has a risk and it didn't pay off for Linda when it counted most but, as I said, the powers that be hadn't indicated that anything needed fixing.
     
  26. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2004
    Messages:
    7,033
    In fact, she went to Fassi after '79 worlds sometime to get help on figures, didn't she? And that is where the infamous Fassi to Linda - 'Come to me, I'll make you Olympic champion' conversation transpired, right?

    As discussed above, Linda's jumps were big and light in '76. She still had nice transitions into triples in '77, but she seemed a little clunky in '78 and '79 [lost in '78 when Poetzsch was clean and she had a turn-out or two; won in '79 when she stayed solid and Poetzsch tanked somewhat]. her '80 performances were overall better IMO than the '78 and '79 performances, but she was only doing 2 triples w/ no transitions and 2 double axels. I think in '78 she was still doing 2 triples and 3 double axels, despite the clunkiness.
     
  27. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    9,899
    ITA with floskate. It would've helped Linda and Frank if there were more head-to-head competitions between she and Annette leading up to Worlds though. But there weren't that many Grand Prix events back in those days; In the few pre-World competitions that existed, Linda and Annette never went head-to-head.

    It's curious why Frank never had Linda spread out her two triples. They were always the first two elements. Annette was the more inconsitent jumpers, yet she always did the triples much later in her programs (would've gained bonus points under IJS :) ) and planned 3 of them.

    Technically I was disappointed that Linda took out the split/back split/3toe sequence and the 2a-2t in her LP.


    Annette is now a technical specialist. In a recent interview, she said that when she sees Frank at competitions now, she always asked how's Linda doing. Back in the days, it was discouraged to socialize with your rivals and vice versa. So I think it's very nice that Annette still think of Linda.
     
  28. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Messages:
    9,899
    Love Robin Cousin. Great Britain produced two of the best male free skaters ever.

    Does anyone know if Linda did a triple-double for her SP combination in 78?

    You have to wonder what would've happened at Lake Placid if Linda had decided to dump FC for Fassi. Maybe he could've gotten her a 2nd place finish in the figure portion.
     
  29. olympic

    olympic Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2004
    Messages:
    7,033
    That is intriguing. It would depend on what 'pull' Fassi had. But, also, would he have challenged Linda in her skating in a different way than FC??
     
  30. TwizzlerS

    TwizzlerS Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2002
    Messages:
    1,484
    What was the alleged "deal" Fassi made to ensure Robin Cousins got the gold according to Carroll? If Fassi had both Fratianne & Cousins, whom would he have thrown under the bus? Probably Fratianne, is my guess, and then the results would have been the same.