Your favorite old fashioned lady skater (pre-Janet Lynn era)

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by TheIronLady, Feb 5, 2013.

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Who is your favorite old fashioned lady skater (from the pre-Janet Lynn era)?

  1. Sonja Henie, Norway

    2 vote(s)
    3.1%
  2. Cecilia Colledge, Great Britain

    5 vote(s)
    7.8%
  3. Megan Taylor, Great Britain

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Jeanette Altwegg, Great Britain

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. Jacqueline du Bief, France

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  6. Barbara Ann Scott, Canada

    9 vote(s)
    14.1%
  7. Alena Vrzáňová, Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic

    1 vote(s)
    1.6%
  8. Tenley Albright, USA

    10 vote(s)
    15.6%
  9. Carol Heiss, USA

    6 vote(s)
    9.4%
  10. Sjoukje Dijkstra, Netherlands

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  11. Peggy Fleming, USA

    28 vote(s)
    43.8%
  12. Gabriele Seyfert, East Germany

    3 vote(s)
    4.7%
  1. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    Some have passed on. Some remain happily with us. These female skaters cover a broad swathe of skating history, but they have one thing in common besides skating outdoors. They are less familiar to us today for their skating than for their personalities and legends. They also cover the decades when figures were preeminent in figure skating. Who is your favorite classical old dame? What makes her wonderful? For whom do you care the least? Are you offended by Cecilia Colledge's shimmering flapper dress?

    Sonja Henie, NOR, 1928

    Cecilia Colledge, GBR, 1936 Olympics

    Megan Taylor, GBR, 1942

    Jeanette Altwegg, GBR, 1948 Olympics

    Jacqueline du Bief, FRA
    In a dress that made British judges fan themselves and the mens' hearts race.

    Barbara Ann Scott, CAN
    This short video featuring 1948 Winter Olympics stars, such as Dick Button, is magnificent.

    Alena Vrzáňová, TCH/CZE
    This beautifully narrated Dick Button video introduces us to the story of this Czech trendsetter who eventually escaped the tyranny of communism.

    Tenley Albright, USA, 1954 Nationals

    Carol Heiss, USA, 1960 Olympics

    Sjoukje Dijkstra, NED, 1964 Olympics

    Peggy Fleming, USA, 1968 Olympics

    Gabriele Seyfert, GDR, 1968 Olympics

    ETA: I should perhaps have made the cutoff prior to Peggy Fleming. She and Gabby Seyfert are kind of hard to compare with the others, since we have such better broadcast coverage of them. What do you think?
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
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  2. falling_dance

    falling_dance The Scarlet Unlettered

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    Fleming is my favorite stylist of those listed, followed by Albright. Colledge gets the HM nod from me for her contribution of staple moves to the discipline and despite being so confident she'd win the silver medal that she brought a silver dress. (That's a joke.) I'm really not sure who is my least favorite.
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  3. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    It is sad to look back on skating history and see that Britain has not kept up with the times in ladies figure skating.

    The best thing a British lady can do today is seduce and marry a Belgian who, unlike herself, has charisma, crowd appeal, and fans.

    I think British skating should find inspiration in its past. As recently as the 60-80s, a British women placed well at Euros and respectably at Worlds.

    Jenna McCorkell had a couple of decent years at Euros, but then her low international standing become painfully evident at the Worlds.
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2013
  4. falling_dance

    falling_dance The Scarlet Unlettered

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    Joanne Conway finished fourth at 1991 Euros and seventh at that year's Worlds, so there's one success story in the 1990s.

    I didn't know until just now that Jenna McCorkell is a ten-time British champion. I admire her perseverance and double axel.
  5. Susan M

    Susan M Well-Known Member

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    I voted for Peggy F because she was the skater who really made me fall in love with the sport.

    As a person though, I think Tenley Albright has to be my favorite, overcoming polio as a child to become an elite athlete then going on to become a medical doctor and successful surgeon. She still looks beautiful and classy today. I remember reading her biography as a child and finding it pretty inspiring. I think she is so admirable in so many ways.
  6. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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  7. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    The influence of Cecilia Colledge's skating is quite evident today.

    I wonder about her rivalry with Megan Taylor. It seems like those two were pretty competitive with one another. I wonder why Megan Taylor did not compete at the 1936 Olympics, as Taylor won the silver at the 1934 Worlds (Colledge did not compete) with Colledge winning the silver at the 1935 Worlds and 1936 Olympics (Taylor did not compete in both). However, Taylor won the silver at the 1936 Worlds with Colledge not competing this time. In 1937, Colledge finally wins a World title, with Taylor placing second. Then Taylor wins the 1938 Worlds with Colledge winning silver, then Taylor repeats as World Champion in 1939, but this time, Colledge does not compete.

    Keep in mind that from 1936-1939, Colledge places ahead of Taylor at Europeans (winning every year except 1936) and at the British Championships, Taylor won from 1932-1934 (besting Colledge each time) then from 1935-1939, Colledge wins the title (1935 and 1936, Taylor does not compete).

    Of course, World War II happened. I wonder who would've been on top had there been an Olympics in 1940.
  8. skateboy

    skateboy Well-Known Member

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    This was fascinating. I didn't know of her. Thanks for sharing!
  9. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    It's quite the story isn't it? Lots of :drama: here but their friendship survived the decade. They made their debut together in Lake Placid in 1932 as tiny little girls. 1938 in Stockholm was the controversial one. Colledge had more points but Taylor won by the placement of one judge. All sorts of stuff was reported at the time - both girls regularly made front page news in the UK, but things got so bad that a judge and NSA representative had to write to the Times to refute allegations of bad sportsmanship!!! (Supposedly Cecilia and her Mother stormed out of the closing banquet but this has never been proved). They didn't speak for over 6 months after that and Mama Colledge had to get them together to sort it out. In 1939 Cecilia had an achilles injury. It was reported that she didn't go to Prague Worlds but actually she did but withdrew there. And who tended to her at her bedside in between winning her second world title? Megan Taylor :)

    BTW my favourite ladies skater pre: Janet Lynn is....Cecilia Colledge :lol: If I ever write a book on skating it will be her story. Forever she will be the worlds youngest winter Olympian and of course her impact on the sport is huge. Honourable mention to Gaby Seyfert who was a fabulous skater and hugely underrated IMO.
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  10. DarrellH

    DarrellH New Member

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    Easily (for me) Peggy F.
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  11. VIETgrlTerifa

    VIETgrlTerifa Well-Known Member

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    ^ What Mama Colledge did should be the model for any skating parent. That's excellent to hear. Thank you for the information, floskate. I knew I should have just asked you personally. ;)

    We should write a screenplay about Cecila Colledge's life. It'd make a fascinating bio-pic with the dramatic build-up to the 1940 Olympics...then the climax...Britain declares war on Germany in September 1939! However, I think the final scene should be the 1946 British Nationals where Cecilia comes back and wins the title after a six year or so hiatus to declare skating is back.

    We could make Megan Taylor's role juicy as well.
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  12. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Without all the early pioneering innovators; skating as we now know it, would not exist.
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  13. briancoogaert

    briancoogaert Well-Known Member

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    Jacqueline Du Bief was very classy. I like her a lot.
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  14. Vagabond

    Vagabond Well-Known Member

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    Your wondering made me wonder if she did it for political reasons, even though she was still quite young (15) at the time. But no:

    Figure Skating at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Winter Games: Women's Singles

    They ran a tight ship back then, those NISA officials.
  15. floskate

    floskate Vacant

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    I agree it is a great story and what Mrs Colledge did was great and actually very British....she invited Megan to afternoon tea with herself and Cecilia. :lol: However thie is the same Mama Colledge who marched Cecilia to Jacques Gerschwiler's house in 1928 asking 'how one turned one's daughter into a skating champ' and - so the story goes - didn't bat an eyelid while he told little Cecilia to strip to her underwear to 'ascertain' if her physique would be suitable for skating. In fact Gerschwiler was installed in the Colledge house on Upper Wimpole Street (mega rich London address) and basically brought her up supervising everything she did from eating to sleeping. A different era for sure! :eek:
  16. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    That approach would surely be "questioned" and regarded differently, now!
  17. Katarzyna

    Katarzyna Well-Known Member

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    TheIronLady - thank you for starting this thread and for the video links. I didn't vote on this poll, I'm to young and therefore didn't see the named skaters competing. But I'm always fond to get some lessons in figure skating history. :)
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  18. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    Katarzyna, I am glad you enjoyed these links! I doubt any of us were old enough to see any of these ladies complete. I could be wrong, but I assume most people here are under 40.
  19. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    I feel I have to vote for Peggy. When I watch the video of Grenoble 1968, I see a turning point. Skating seems to transition from a beautiful outdoor sport to an indoor contest where the female skater appears to make you think she is a model or a rock star and you forget there is anything but her body floating and defying gravity.

    AndyWarhol and I once had a discussion about the changes IJS has brought. She told me she was watching the videos of Peggy and she said to herself, "I don't care if I ever master all my jumps and levels. If I could just learn to move anything like her, I would be an amazing skater."
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  20. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    Every time I watch Sonja Henie, I wonder about her Nazi sympathies. She was a determined and unstoppable lady, so she may have been for anyone or anything that supported her. Unfortunately, like many in Europe in those times, she did not seem to view Nazism as totally abhorrent-- or perhaps she just saw it as inevitable. Either way, it was not her best moment.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  21. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    Tenley Albright was a great influence in the 1950s, but does anyone else find her skating pretty boring? Also, why does Tenley always makes public appearances wearing a flower in her hair, like she thinks she is a 1980s Hawaiian woman?

    To me, Barbara Ann Scott looks like Hollywood on ice. Like a 1950s Julia Roberts, Marilyn Monroe, and Sandra Bullock rolled into one. I can see how she warmed the hearts of the weary postwar world. In her interviews, both as a young woman and an old lady, she had such charm and humor. I wish she had not left us recently. She was funny, simple, and sincere, and Canada may never make another lady star so charming and beloved (the sport may never make another star so beloved!).

    Carol Heiss in 1960 looks wild in her skating, but the video of 1960 shows serious athleticism. Her jumps and spins, unlike Tenley's, do not look like academic exercises or math problems. They really have punch and oomph.
  22. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    What was Jacqueline du Bief's skating like? The only videos I've seen are grainy show performances from the 1960s. I would like to see what she was doing competitively in those outfits exposing her arms and thighs? Heaven forbid we see nude arms!. Did she have good jumps? Or did she win that world title by her French charms?
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  23. falling_dance

    falling_dance The Scarlet Unlettered

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    Have you ever seen any grainy show performances of hers from the 1950s? :saint:

    I read somewhere that she was a better at compulsory figures than free skating, but I can't remember where.
  24. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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  25. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    ^ That was certainly a controversy.
  26. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    I wonder how Sonja Klopfer (later a well-known coach) felt!
  27. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    Isn't Sonja Klopfer inducted into both the US and Canadian Hall of Fames?
  28. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    Thank you for that great du Bief article!

    And thank you falling_dance for the video. She was definitely in the that long French tradition of exotic skating that Dick used to mention during Joubert programs. This is alive and well today with Mae Berenice Meite, Yretha Silete, and crazy Nadjma Mahamoud.
  29. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
  30. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    I'm guessing her Canadian Hall of Fame honor was earned for her coaching in Canada.
  31. TheIronLady

    TheIronLady New Member

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    This is such a good idea. It totally sounds like something Academy voters would eat up.
  32. sadya

    sadya Active Member

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    They said in a skating documentary that being a ladies champion also meant representing your skating club or country off the ice. So apparently even how skaters dressed and ate was important.

    Sjoukje Dijkstra talked in her autobiography about her time with Gerschwiller. When he coached her, she lived in his house with his family. Off ice both Gerschwiller and his wife were strict about the behaviour and habits of Dijkstra and that meant everything in daily life. (and he almost never gave compliments, Dijktra wrote that her winning worlds was 'not bad' according to Gerschwiller, that was a huge compliment coming from him. I remember footage of an interview where the press was very happy with the winning performance of Dijkstra and when they asked Gerschwiller about her performance all he said was she had some mistakes they'd work on, the reporters were surprised and said there were no mistakes in that program, 'yes, you wouldn't notice them, would you' said Gerschwiller, I can't remember the exact words he used though]

    Chan once talked about Osborne Colson also commenting on his behaviour off ice, he gave an example of Colson dining with Chan's family and correcting the behaviour of Chan even then. It was probably very normal for athletes all those decades ago when Colson was younger to be completely moulded in a certain person with certain behaviour on and off the ice.
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  33. SkatingLover

    SkatingLover New Member

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    Gabby Seyfert forever!!
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  34. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    I wish coaches would do this today in all sorts of sports. I hear the word "character" constantly in sports commentary, yet I rarely see anything except athletes displaying interest in themselves. This is quite scary consider the amount of trouble an athlete can get into with the amount of money running through their hands.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  35. sadya

    sadya Active Member

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    I forgot to add I voted for Colledge because I loved her in a documentary where she talked about how she learnt to bend backwards from a circus performer and so developped the layback en she almost beat Henie, I enjoyed listening to her stories very much and of course she had more interesting ice moves.
  36. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

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    Tres voidy! What are those jumps at 3:35 called?
  37. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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  38. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    I believe they are one footed Waltz jumps, that is, an Axel take off with a half rotation landed on the same foot.

    Rarely the case, but, in this context, you are so WRONG, skateindreams ;) . . . the proper name for those jumps are COLLEDGEs.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
  39. skatesindreams

    skatesindreams Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the correction!
  40. bardtoob

    bardtoob Well-Known Member

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    For all I know, I probably learned it from you :D