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  1. #1

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    Jacqueline Du Bief

    Does anyone know anything about Jacqueline Du Bief, the 1952 Ladies World Champion? I can find only what little there is on the French version of Wikipedia. People like Dick Button praise her as being extremely entertaining--"The Wild One of the West (western France)." Thank you in any case.

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    Camel spin wiki says she accidentally invented the illusion spin when she lost control of a camel spin entrance.

    John Curry saw a video of her skating when he was six and told his mother he wanted to be a skater.

    From Figure Skating: A Celebration, by Beverley Smith:
    (speaking of poor judging) One example is the time that French skater Jacqueline du Bief won the 1952 world championship in Paris. There were no television cameras to record the action, but the spectators saw plenty: one judge gave du Bief a perfect mark of 6.0, even though she had fallen twice, once skidding across the width of the rink on her backside. When she won the event over Sonya Klopfer of the United States by only one judge, the crowd erupted noisly, throwing glass bottles and anything else at hand onto the ice. "The judges got away with it because those were the days before television," says Peter Dunfield, who later married Klopfer. "It was so crooked before television, you can't believe."

    Du Bief, who had no involvement in the incident, later wrote a book in which she conceeded the gold medal to Klopfer, now Sonya Dunfield, who today works as a coach in New York. The two have remained good friends. Du Bief later distinguished herself as an innovative, outstanding show-skater.
    The page prior has a photo of du Bief doing an inside spread eagle, with the caption reading:

    At an exhibition at Toronto's Maple Leaf Gardens, Jacqueline du Bief played the part of a statue coming to life, while the sculptor, played by Canadian Sheldon Galbraith, snoozed in a chair. In another memorable performance, she skated in a costume with red-and-white arm bands. When she spun, her arms appeared like a spiraling barber's pole.
    From Figure Skating, A History by James R. Hines:

    Following Altwegg as World champion was a popular French skater, Jacqueline du Bief (b 1930). Although she appeared internationally a year after Altwegg, she [ed: du Bief] retired the same year [ed: the same year as Altwegg - poor writing], never having defeated her. Competing at four European Championships, du Bief won one bronze and two silver medals. At four World Championships she won one silver and one gold medal. Becoming the World champion in 1952 was a significant accomplishment, and she remains the only French lady World Champion.

    Unlike the reserved Altwegg, the outgoing du Bief was always a crowd-pleaser and played to the audience; she readily answered the call of show skating. Turning professional after winning the World Championship, she moved to the United States and joined Ice Capades. The confidence and zeal she displayed whether skating as an amateur or a professional is evident also in her book Thin Ice, published just four years into her professional career.
    Some more info on her English wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacqueline_du_Bief

    A video on ina.fr: http://www.ina.fr/video/CPF86635600/...u-bief.fr.html

    Google turns up many photos including this nice one of the 1952 Olympic podium: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/32...Hulton-Archive
    Last edited by vesperholly; 08-29-2010 at 12:38 PM.

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    Fascinating video! Thanks for posting. Love the old parisian accents.

    It's a bit that the presenter's name is Joubert...
    Last edited by millyskate; 08-30-2010 at 05:33 PM.

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    Thanks for the viideo!

    More information - includes competition results, and scores, by judge:
    http://www.sports-reference.com/olym...du-bief-1.html

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    Quote Originally Posted by millyskate View Post
    It's a bit that the presenter's name is Joubert...
    Don't you know her ? She was Antoine de Caunes's mother.

    Jacqueline Du Bief was in Lyon in 2006 for the last Euros.
    Maybe she'll come to Nice.
    She is on some photos here with Jacqueline Vaudecrane, her coach (who must be a few years under 100 now).

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    Thank you to vesperholly and skatesindreams for your input. I'm currently downloading the complete video from ina.com (fortunately, I speak French). Sincerely, WC.

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    Vaudecrane died a few years ago I think.

    As for Mrs Joubert, she was the first female on french TV with some power.
    poths Void: MarieM carries a rusty old blade in her handbag!

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarieM View Post
    Vaudecrane died a few years ago I think.
    I don't think so. This is nowhere and I'm pretty sure someone from the FFSG would have modified her biography in Wikipedia.
    Plus I think the fed would have proposed her name for that figure skating world hall of fame or whatever. AFAIK they haven't.

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    French Wikipedia seems to think Jacqueline Vaudecrane is still alive: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacqueline_Vaudecrane

    And here's a link (probably old) that says she still skates and teaches for three hours every day: http://www.foudesport.com/patinage_vaudecrane.html.

    Best of all, if you click on the icon at the bottom right of the page, there's a video of her on the ice (teaching) at the age of eighty-seven (i.e., ten years ago).

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    I've probably got a few articles or pics of du Bief in some old magazines which I'll try to dig out. Thanks for the links of Jacqueline Vaudecrane. How old was she in Lyon? 92? Wow she looks AMAZING!

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    Jacqueline du Bief appears in this clip from an episode of "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" - the short film "Circus on Ice" preceding the sci fi movie.

    It's an old news film of the Toronto Cricket Club's end of season show, with satirical comedy from the mid 1990s added on. They've got Minnesota accents, so I'd guess that they went to some nutty ice shows when they were kids.

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    All very interesting. I downloaded the full 23 minute vid that vesperholly mentioned. It cost me 1.99 euro, which showed up on my bank account as, I think, $2.54, so I'm feeling like a bigshot.

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