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:-
Gold: Jan Hoffmann - East Germany
Silver: Robin Cousins - GBR
Bronze: Charles Tickner - USA
5th: Scott Hamilton - USA
Gold: Anett Pötzsch - East Germany
Silver: Dagmar Lurz - West Germany
Bronze: Linda Fratianne - USA
6th: Denise Biellmann - Switzerland
10th: Katarina Witt - East Germany
Gold: Marina Cherkasova & Sergei Shakhrai - USSR
Silver: Manuela Mager & Uwe Bewersdorf - East Germany
Bronze: Marina Pestova & Stanislav Leonovich - USSR
Gold: Krisztina Regőczy & András Sallay - Hungary
Silver: Natalia Linichuk & Gennadi Karponosov - USSR
Bronze: Irina Moiseeva & Andrei Minenkov - USSR
4th: Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean - GBR
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).