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    Retrospective: The 1980 World Championships

    Time now for a retrospective on the 1980 World Championships

    Most World Championships in Olympic years inevitably have a bit of an 'after the Lord Mayor's show' (apologies - a British expression meaning anticlimax!) feel about them and the 1980 Worlds were no different. However, unlike in recent years, at least all of the Olympic champions except for Irina Rodnina & Alexander Zaitsev competed. However, as many Olympic champions find after winning the Olympics, its extremely difficult to build yourself up mentally for a major event so soon after the Olympics, and I think that in part (but not in whole), that explains why Robin Cousins, and Linichuk & Karponosov, were unable to follow up there Olympic wins and only came away with Silver medals from the 1980 Worlds.

    Speaking personally, I think that one of the aspects which these championships will always be remembered for is the debut at Worlds of Katarina Witt. She was only 14 years old and finished a very creditable 10th and would of course go on to dominate ladies figure skating during the 1980's, winning 2 Olympic gold medals and 4 World titles. Here is a video which I think is from the 1978 Blue Swords trophy event (although I could be wrong) in which you will note that Katarina's gala skate is to a Father Abraham & The Smurfs number:

    Katarina Witt - 1978 - Gala (The Smurfs)

    Evidently, Katarina enjoyed skating to music relating to children's Film & TV characters at this time as her 1980/81 short program was the theme tune to 'The Muppet Show' as the following video of her short program from 1981 worlds highlights:-

    Katarina Witt - Short Program - 1981 World Championships

    Below, you will find Katarina's Free Skate from the 1980 World Championships.

    As usually happens at the end of the 4 year Olympic cycle, many of the top skaters call it a day and the 1980 Worlds marked the last hurrah (i.e. retirement from amateur competitive skating) for the likes of Anett Pötzsch, Linda Fratianne, Robins Cousins, Jan Hoffmann, etc.

    Hoffmann's victory at the 1980 Worlds was actually his second. His first was 6 years earlier in 1974.

    Scott Hamilton, after finishing 11th in the 1978 Worlds, and missing the 1979 championships, finished 5th in these championships and at the 1980 Olympics. He would go on to dominate men's figure skating over the next 4 years, winning the next 4 World Championships and the 1984 Olympics.

    In the absence of Rodnina & Zaitsev and Babilonia & Gardner, Cherkasova & Shakhrai finally become World champions. However, thereafter, Marina Cherkasova underwent a huge growth spurt and became so tall that Sergei Shakhrai could no longer effectively lift her. Hence, there partnership was dissolved in 1982 after only finishing 4th at the 1981 worlds and a disastrous 4th at the Soviet championships the following season.

    In the Ice Dance, Linichuk & Karponosov could only win silver behind Krisztina Regőczy & András Sallay. Hence, Linichuk & Karponosov became the only ice dancers to ever fail to retain their world title after having won the Olympics. The future in Ice Dance however would belong to Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean. They finished 4th in these championships (having finished 5th at the 1980 Olympics) and would go on to win the next 4 World Championships and the 1984 Olympics.

    Following her Olympic disappointment, Linda Fratianne finished her amateur career on a very low note - winning only Bronze and finishing behind both Anett Pötzsch and Dagmar Lurz. Denise Biellmann yet again finished out of the medals. However, on this occasion this was not entirely down to the compulsories as she also had a very disappointing free skate. Nevertheless, Biellmann gained a measure of justice the following season when she became the 1981 World Champion, following which she retired from amateur skating.

    Here are the videos from these championships of the gold, silver, & bronze medal winning performances from all 4 disciplines:-

    Mens

    Gold: Jan Hoffmann - East Germany

    Free Skate

    Silver: Robin Cousins - GBR

    Short Program

    Free Skate

    Bronze: Charles Tickner - USA

    Free Skate

    5th: Scott Hamilton - USA

    Free Skate

    Ladies

    Gold: Anett Pötzsch - East Germany

    Free Skate

    Silver: Dagmar Lurz - West Germany

    Free Skate

    Bronze: Linda Fratianne - USA

    Free Skate

    6th: Denise Biellmann - Switzerland

    Free Skate

    10th: Katarina Witt - East Germany

    Free Skate

    Pairs

    Gold: Marina Cherkasova & Sergei Shakhrai - USSR

    Long Program

    Silver: Manuela Mager & Uwe Bewersdorf - East Germany

    Long Program

    Bronze: Marina Pestova & Stanislav Leonovich - USSR

    Long Program

    Ice Dance

    Gold: Krisztina Regőczy & András Sallay - Hungary

    Free Dance

    Silver: Natalia Linichuk & Gennadi Karponosov - USSR

    Free Dance

    Bronze: Irina Moiseeva & Andrei Minenkov - USSR

    Free Dance

    4th: Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean - GBR

    Free Dance

    Hence, like most post Olympic world championships, as well as having a feeling of anticlimax about it, it also represented a beginning of a changing of the guard with the emergency of a new generation that would dominate skating over the coming years (i.e Scott Hamilton, Katarina Witt, Elaine Zayak (who finished 11th in these championships), Torvill & Dean, etc).
    Last edited by Maofan7; 10-07-2011 at 01:14 AM.

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    Regarding Ladies -

    I remember Fratianne having trouble in the Figures {4th I think} and SP, then skating lights out in the LP. Weren't her marks really close or even better than Lurz, but lost on Ordinals? Does anyone recall?

    I also remember Poetzsch's LP being more subpar than her Olympic LP.

    Zayak was also a fresh new face at '80 Worlds. You forgot about her BTW, I wonder why Lenz didn't go to Worlds?

    BTW, I always thought Witt's and Zayak's careers very closely tracked one another from this time period 'til about '83: '80 Worlds, both sucked at figures but pulled up quite dramatically to finish 10th and 11th respectively. '81 Worlds; Zayak -2d, Witt 5th. '82 Worlds; Zayak - 1st, Witt 2d; '83 Worlds; Zayak injured but in 9th after the figures and withdrawing, Witt 8th after the figures and finishing off the podium

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    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    Zayak was also a fresh new face at '80 Worlds. You forgot about her BTW, I wonder why Lenz didn't go to Worlds?

    BTW, I always thought Witt's and Zayak's careers very closely tracked one another from this time period 'til about '83: '80 Worlds, both sucked at figures but pulled up quite dramatically to finish 10th and 11th respectively. '81 Worlds; Zayak -2d, Witt 5th. '82 Worlds; Zayak - 1st, Witt 2d; '83 Worlds; Zayak injured but in 9th after the figures and withdrawing, Witt 8th after the figures and finishing off the podium
    Refer to Zayak right at the very end, that she finished 11th, and was one of the new generation of skaters who would take over in the coming years, etc

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    The ladies event was a story of two generations - outgoing and incoming. You can't even begin to consider the ladies result without considering this:

    Emi Watanabe LP She was totally robbed here IMO.

    Also as has been mentioned, Elaine Zayak made an even bigger impression to many than Witt did

    Elaine Zayak LP

    It was always going to be the case that Zayak went to Worlds and Lenz got the Olympics as decided after the 1980 US Nationals. Hence Lenz was in the unique position of having competed at an Olympics but never a Worlds.

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    Personally, I was never a great fan of Elaine Zayak. Yes, she would have been an even greater skater than she was had she not lost part of her left foot in a lawn mower accident (when she was two and a half - which required her left boot to be stuffed to compensate) and that undoubtedly effected her jumping ability. Perhaps, that is why she overused the triple toe loop (4 of the 6 triples she landed in the 1982 Worlds were triple toe loops). Hence, the reason why they brought in the so called 'Zayak Rule' after the 82 Worlds which limited the use of any one jump to 2. As I highlighted, Zayak was one of the new generation to emerge from these championships and she would enjoy great success over the next couple of years. However, ultimately Katarina Witt would eclipse her

    Nevertheless, I should point out that I am probably not the most impartial observer on this subject as I was an absolutely huge Katarina Witt fan!
    Last edited by Maofan7; 10-07-2011 at 02:21 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    The ladies event was a story of two generations - outgoing and incoming. You can't even begin to consider the ladies result without considering this:

    Emi Watanabe LP She was totally robbed here IMO.
    Even if she had won the long program she probably wouldnt have medalled overall though it seems. Linda was ahead of her going into the long and had an excellent long, and still stayed only 3rd. Maybe if she had gotten straight 5.9s or something she could have moved up to 2nd or 3rd, I am not sure how far back she was in cummulative points exactly.

    She finished behind Poetzsch in the long program though. That is funny since Annett had just a lame performance that night.

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    Emi was also 2nd in the SP behind Biellmann and second in combined free skating behind Fratianne. Personally I would have her winning the LP over Linda - exact same tech content but Emi is waaaaaay faster with better line, execution, musicality etc etc. And that was one of Linda's best ever LP's. Damage was done in the figures again. I don't know what the points totals were but I do know that Anett's figures were apparently amazing in Dortmund according to those who were there and witnessed the CF portion of the competition. Linda was bumped down to 4th in figures by Binder and Emi was 5th.

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    No way to get Watanabe on the podium probably. Sad, but ....

    After the figures portion (where Poetzsch knocked it out of the park) the gold was basically settled she just had to skate and land a few doubles to win and that's what she did. A boring performance.

    Also the competition was almost across the street from Dagmar Lurz's apartment so the home ice issue came into play big time. Judges probably wanted her on the podium after her olympic medal.

    Now had Watanabe skated better at Lake Placid and/or Lurz not made it back onto the podium (bronze in 77 and off until bronze in Lake Placid) then maybe she would have had a better chance but as it was ...

    Also Fratianne was too good in the LP (skating with an injury no less) to overcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    The ladies event was a story of two generations - outgoing and incoming. You can't even begin to consider the ladies result without considering this:

    Emi Watanabe LP She was totally robbed here IMO.
    She sure did all she could.

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    One way to tell Poetzsch did even better than usual in the figures is it is one of the few times Frank Carroll didnt whine about the size of Poetzschs lead in the figures.

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    Thanks much for all of these links.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maofan7 View Post
    Bronze: Charles Tickner - USA

    Free Skate
    Wow, Cousins' FS was just as great as expected, but that from Tickner was friggin' [and for me unexpectedly] brilliant! Loved the choreo, with axel jumps and walleys and unique jump entries ... and the performance was fantastic.

    Hoffman's FS was great too ... strong, masculine, fast ... Eldredge and Stojko are obviously his love children.

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    ...

    It was always going to be the case that Zayak went to Worlds and Lenz got the Olympics as decided after the 1980 US Nationals. Hence Lenz was in the unique position of having competed at an Olympics but never a Worlds.
    Do you recall how close it was between Lenz and Zayak at US Nats? Was it a heartbreaking 4th for Zayak, or was Lenz firmly in control of 3d?

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    An AP account of 1980 U.S. Nationals: Fratianne Retains Title

    Apparently, Lenz placed higher overall because two judges lowballed Zayak in the Free Skate. The crowd gave Zayak a minute-long standing ovation.

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    Sandy Lenz was such a mature beautiful skater. I'm glad she had her Olympic moment and even there I felt she was low-balled. I just NEVER got Linda Fratianne. Sure, she did triples, but she was never the 'curtain closer', the way I define a performer that goes out and everyone is happy and satisfied. Elaine was WAY too rough around the edges, even with six triples to Lenz's none. I could watch 1980 Lenz all day, 1980 Zayak, EEK!

    It made sense for Lenz to go to Olys and Zayak Worlds.

    Wasn't it hard being an American skatefan after Lynn and Hammill, and then go through four years of Fratianne? I never took to her skating, and that she would always just open up with her two triples as her two first elements. Talk about unbalanced. Also, her PR did her no favors. When it was written that she had to take lessons to learn how to smile for the judges, I think everyone in 1978 barfed a little in their mouths.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vagabond View Post
    An AP account of 1980 U.S. Nationals: Fratianne Retains Title

    Apparently, Lenz placed higher overall because two judges lowballed Zayak in the Free Skate. The crowd gave Zayak a minute-long standing ovation.
    ooh. According to the article, Fratianne had a subpar '80 Nats, it seems

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    Linda, Charlie and Tai & Randy had very poor Nationals performances making many mistakes. Charlie's figures held him up, Tai & Randy didn't really have much competition and irony of ironies, Linda won because of her figures She lost the SP and LP to Lisa Marie Allen!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    ooh. According to the article, Fratianne had a subpar '80 Nats, it seems
    That quote from Frank reminds me of him with Mirai a la 2011 Nationals.

    "Her coach, Frank Carroll, then chimed in: " I don't want to make it sound like an excuse for her not skating well - which she didn't."

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    Linda, Charlie and Tai & Randy had very poor Nationals performances making many mistakes. Charlie's figures held him up, Tai & Randy didn't really have much competition and irony of ironies, Linda won because of her figures She lost the SP and LP to Lisa Marie Allen!!
    I was there; and thought that Lisa Marie should have won.
    Linda did not skate up to her usual standard in Atlanta.
    Elaine Zayak was the "sensation" of the Championships.

    I suspect that the Nationals which gets you to an Olympics is the most pressure-filled event of all. Everyone wants to be there so much; and it's a once every four year opportunity to do so,

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    So was that Carlo Fossi I saw at the end of Emi Watanabe's skate? Gorgeous skating skills on that woman!!
    Keeper of Nathalie Pechelat's bitchface.

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    This was one of the first competitions that ESPN Classic Canada aired when the network became a reality (too bad they stopped doing this). I loved watching all the footage. I remember Johnny Esau predicting Robin Cousins getting 6.0s 20 seconds into his long program--and he did get 6.0s!

    Another up and coming skating tandem to emerge from these 1980 Championships was Blumberg/Siebert. Their athletic style really shaped NA ice dancing for many many years.

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