Next up on the retrospective on World Championships in the lead up to the 2012 World Championships is the 1979 World Championships.
The low down on the key facts from these championships is as follows:-
- The fierce rivalry between Potzsch and Fratianne enters its third year - this time Fratianne came out on top.
- Vladimir Kovalev regains the world title (in a thriller, in a very closely fought 4 way competition with Cousins, Hoffmann, and Tickner), having won the title previously at the 1977 Worlds and having finished a disappointing fourth in 1978. Kovalev would enter the 1980 season as the favourite for the Olympic title (having won silver at the 1976 Olympics behind John Curry). However, he ended up having an absolute nightmare season and withdrew from the Olympic competition after only finishing 5th in the school figures.
- With Rodnina and Zaitsev missing from the 1979 Worlds, Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner stepped up to take the pairs title. This made Babilonia and Gardner the favourites for the 1980 Olympic title. However, Gardner was injured during the 1980 season and they had to withdraw from the Olympic competition. Babilonia was the first figure skater of Afro-American descent to win U.S. and World titles in figure skating.
- Natalia Linichuk & Gennadi Karponosov, having dethroned Irina Moiseeva & Andrei Minenkov as world champions the previous year, retained their world title. Indeed, they were the only gold medallists from the 1978 championships to retain their title. They would go on to become Olympic champions the following year, but surprisingly failed to retain their world title at the 1980 World Championships. Consequently, they became the only ice dancers to ever fail to retain their world title after having won the Olympics.
- Yet again, Denise Biellmann is held back by the school figures. Despite another fine free skate, she fails to win a medal and finished fifth. Nevertheless, her performance was not as good overall as the previous years as she could only finish 10th in the short program after suffering a fall. Still, had there been no school figures, she would have won the silver.
- Emi Watanabe became the first Japanese ladies singles figure skater to win a medal at worlds in these championships, inspiring Midori Ito in the process
Here are the videos from these championships of the gold, silver, & bronze medal winning performances from all 4 disciplines:-
Gold: Vladimir Kovalev - USSR
Silver: Robin Cousins - GBR
Bronze: Jan Hoffmann - East Germany
Gold: Linda Fratianne - USA
Silver: Anett Pötzsch - East Germany
Bronze: Emi Watanabe - JPN
5th: Denise Biellmann - Switzerland
Gold: Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner - USA
Silver: Marina Cherkasova & Sergei Shakhrai - USSR
Bronze: Sabine Baeß & Tassilo Thierbach - East Germany
Gold: Natalia Linichuk & Gennadi Karponosov - USSR
Silver: Krisztina Regőczy & András Sallay - Hungary
Bronze: Irina Moiseeva & Andrei Minenkov - USSR
Hope you enjoy!!