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  1. #1

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    Retrospective: The 1981 World Championships

    Retrospective moves on to the 1981 World Championships. These championships of course were the first world championships of a new quad cycle which lead up to the 1984 Olympics. Hence, a lot of new faces

    The key facts in relation to these championships are:-

    • Scott Hamilton wins Worlds for the first time. He would also win the next 3 World Championships and the 1984 Olympics.
    • Brian Orser lands only the second ever triple axel at Worlds. The first was by another Canadian, Vern Taylor, at the 1978 Worlds. However, Brian Orser's was far better and he would finish 6th at the 1981 Worlds.
    • Justice finally for Denise Biellmann as she becomes world champion. Having achieved her goal, she promptly retired as an amateur and turned professional after these championships.
    • Elaine Zayak wins silver and would go on to become World Champion the following year. Great performance from her. As I have said before, 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). That undoubtedly affected 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
    • Great to see a Brit, Debbie Cottrill, finishing fourth. No British lady has finished as high as that since 1981, not even Joanne Conway whose highest placed finish at Worlds was 7th in the 1991 Worlds
    • Katarina Witt finished 5th. She won the Short Program, but could only finish 3rd in the Free Skate. But what really held her back was finishing 11th in the compulsories.
    • Irina Vorobieva & Igor Lisovsky become World pairs champions
    • Torvill & Dean become World Champions for the first time and like Scott Hamilton, would win Worlds for the next 3 years and become 1984 Olympic champions. Probably the most innovative ice dancers ever, although ironically a lot of their moves are now illegal in the present day and age! What made the difference for Torvill & Dean was that they both gave up their day jobs after the 1980 Worlds to concentrate on their skating full time.
    • Natalia Bestemianova & Andrei Bukin won Bronze and would also ultimately become Olympic champions in 1988.
    • Judy Blumberg & Michael Seibert were well in contention for a medal until they suffered a disastrous fall in their Free Dance.


    Mens

    Gold: Scott Hamilton - USA

    Free Skate

    Silver: David Santee - USA

    Free Skate

    Bronze: Igor Bobrin - USSR

    No Video Available - If anybody knows where one is or can upload one to YouTube, please post a link

    6th: Brian Orser - CAN

    Free Skate

    Ladies

    Gold: Denise Biellmann - Switzerland

    Short Program

    Free Skate

    Silver: Elaine Zayak - USA

    Free Skate

    Free Skate - 2nd Copy

    Bronze: Claudia Kristofics-Binder - Austria

    Free Skate

    4th: Deborah Cottrill - GBR

    Free Skate

    5th: Katarina Witt - East Germany

    Short Program

    Free Skate

    Pairs

    Gold: Irina Vorobieva & Igor Lisovsky - USSR

    Long Program

    Silver: Sabine Baeß & Tassilo Thierbach - East Germany

    No Video Available - If anybody knows where one is or can upload one to YouTube, please post a link

    Bronze: Christina Riegel & Andreas Nischwitz - West Germany

    Long Program

    Ice Dance

    Gold: Jayne Torvill & Christopher Dean - GBR

    Free Dance

    Silver: Irina Moiseeva & Andrei Minenkov - USSR

    Free Dance

    Bronze: Natalia Bestemianova & Andrei Bukin - USSR

    Free Dance

    4th: Judy Blumberg & Michael Seibert - USA

    Free Dance
    Last edited by Maofan7; 10-22-2011 at 11:47 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maofan7 View Post
    As I have said before, she [Zayak] 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). That undoubtedly affected her jumping ability.
    I disagree. Zayak would have been a much, much better skater if she and her team had concentrated on her lines, extensions, musical interpretations, choreography, etc. Zayak was already doing 3 different triples at this point. The only two missings were the flip and lutz, which almost no one was doing back then. And Elaine's double flip and lutz didn't really have that much lift in them, so I have doubt if she would've been able to rotate triples on those.

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    Regarding Zayak, after the accident, doctors suggested she try skating to improve her balance.

    So, if it hadn't been for that, she may not have got into skating at all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by orbitz View Post
    And Elaine's double flip and lutz didn't really have that much lift in them, so I have doubt if she would've been able to rotate triples on those.
    According to an article in SKATING magazine circa 1994, Elaine was considering staying eligible for one more year to try and make the 1995 World Team. At the time of the interview, she was doing both the triple flip and the triple lutz in practice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by essence_of_soy View Post
    According to an article in SKATING magazine circa 1994, Elaine was considering staying eligible for one more year to try and make the 1995 World Team. At the time of the interview, she was doing both the triple flip and the triple lutz in practice.
    That says a lot about her, her skating ability, and her fighting spirit, that she was able to overcome such a handicap

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    Elaine, to her credit, never made excuses because of the accident.
    What was truly affected was her ability to do figures.

    Please watch this, if you haven't seen it before.
    Prior to this, we didn't realize the extent of her injury.

    Elaine Zayak 1984 Olympics Up Close and Personal fluff
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3Eqk6PoS1M

    Pushing off; and moving from edge to edge, using that foot, was difficult for her,
    She depended even more than others, on her extraordinary jumps and vivacious personality in the SP and FS, as she was always trying to come from "back in the pack" after figures.
    Last edited by skatesindreams; 10-23-2011 at 12:18 AM.

  7. #7
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    Some other skating stories around the time of '81 Worlds -

    -Lisa Marie Allen made her final debut at '81 US Nats, but IIRC skated subpar ( I remember her falling in the LP) and ended up 3d there. So, the '81 Worlds team was Elaine and Priscilla Hill (yes. THAT Priscilla Hill). Any other year, Lisa would've made the team. But, I think this was the time frame where the ISU rules stated that only the previous world's medalist in addition to 2 other skaters could make World's teams? So in order to obtain 3 spots, Fratianne would've had to have stuck around thru '81.

    -Priscilla Hill had probably her best international showing ever by finishing 7th.

    -Anyone remember Carola Paul from the DDR? How did she finish. She seemed to disappear after '81 Worlds ...

    -Claudia Kristofics Binder (another Austrian like Trixi Schuba) was queen of figures for this short time '81 - '82, but struggled usually in SPs and LPs

    -David Santee was leap-frogged by Scott Hamilton in the US this year, Even if David Santee was consistently ranked above Scott Hamilton thru the '77 - '80 quadrennial. But, was Scott an all-around better skater? I don't remember much about David's skating, jump arsenal or consistency. He was a silver medalist here. But, I remember him skating endless times to the theme from 'Rocky' :lol

    -Igor Bobrin was 3d and he also disappeared afterwards. What happened to him?

    - Didn't Blumberg / Seibert crash in the FD, and thus finish in 4th off the podium?

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    Bobrin married Bestemianova, and is a well known choreographer.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Igor_Bobrin

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natalia_Bestemianova

    In 1983, Bestemianova married Igor Bobrin. After she finished her career she performed in the Ice Miniature Theater, led by her husband.[2]

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    Here's more about Igor Bobrin's Ice Theatre/Moscow Stars on Ice
    http://www.ice-theatre.com/

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    Blumberg/Seibert did finish fourth and off the podium; he stumbled badly on their signature stepover move. This opened the door for B & B and when they came out to skate she had a look of fire in her eyes; I'll never forget that look - it plainly said 'you opened the door, now watch me kick it in'. It was clear they were going to go for broke and not hold back.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maofan7 View Post
    [*]Torvill & Dean become World Champions for the first time and like Scott Hamilton, would win Worlds for the next 3 years and become 1984 Olympic champions. Probably the most innovative ice dancers ever, although ironically a lot of their moves are now illegal in the present day and age!
    On the other hand, many ice dance moves that are allowed now were illegal in 1981-84.

    The innovators, Torvill & Dean chief among them, kept trying new moves.

    Then the rulemakers would decide whether to pass a rule against new moves that didn't fit their vision of ice dance or change the existing rules to explicitly allow them. And sometimes the rules about whether something was allowed would be changed yet again a few more years down the line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maofan7 View Post
    [*]Justice finally for Denise Biellmann as she becomes world champion. Having achieved her goal, she promptly retired as an amateur and turned professional after these championships.
    I dont' get this. I'm as happy as anyone (besides the lady herself) that Biellmann won a WC. But how is this doing 'justice'?

    This implies that her receiving low scores for a part of the competition that she wasn't very good at was an injustice, how is that?

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    Reports were that the ladies SP wasn't skated well - 2 lutz was the required double, and the combination required a 2 loop jump. Of the main contenders, only Witt managed to go completely clean with a triple combination.

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    I think Zayak landed her jumps but missed the flying spin. I'd have to verify.

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    Quote Originally Posted by olympic View Post
    -Anyone remember Carola Paul from the DDR? How did she finish. She seemed to disappear after '81 Worlds ...
    Yes, I'm pretty sure that she landed the first triple flip ever by a woman at that Worlds. Witt also attempted a triple flip, but Paul's was cleaner as I think Witt's was two-footed. Paul also skated before Witt, so would get the credit in any event.

    Quote Originally Posted by gkelly View Post
    I think Zayak landed her jumps but missed the flying spin. I'd have to verify.
    Yes, that's my recollection too.

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    Carola Paul finished eighth in Hartford. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1981_Wo...onships#Ladies

    She continued skating during the 1981-82 season and finished third at East German Nationals, seventh at Europeans and eleventh at Worlds

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Ge...onships#Ladies
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1982_Eu..._Championships
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1982_Wo...onships#Ladies

    I haven't been able to find any record of her competing after that season, so I expect she retired. In fact, considering that she was apparently the first woman to land a triple flip in international competition, there's remarkably little about her on the Internet. I did find a photo of her, though, on this webpage: http://old.dresdner-eislauf-club.de/ehemalige.php

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    I clicked on the wiki link for '81 Worlds. I see that Robert Wagenhoffer finished in the top 10. Didn't he also skate pairs? And wasn't he an incredible jumper? I think he also made '82 Worlds team ahead of a very young Brian Boitano and finished top 10 there. I know Santee retired after '82 Worlds. What happened with Wagenhoffer?

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    Robert Wagonhoffer later became world pro champion.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8VpRLVzvT8s

    He died untimely in December of 1999.

    http://www.plover.com/rainbowice/wagen.html

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    Doris, I was trying to post some links/info about Robert last night.
    The post got "lost in the ether".
    His abilities were the envy of his fellow skaters.

    Another of my favorite performances:

    Robert Wagenhoffer - 1990 U.S. Open "Birdland"
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wB5jselJ_Fo

    I was fortunate to see him skate in the "Gershwin on Ice" tour.
    He choreographed that excellent production, as well.
    Last edited by skatesindreams; 10-25-2011 at 03:20 PM.

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    He was one of my favorites, always. 1981 was the first live competition I ever attended. It was in Hartford, and I was going to grad school at UConn at the time. Robert really stood out, even though he was only 10th.

    He stood out as in 1984 Worlds in Ottawa that Gary Beacom stood out, although he did not finish high.

    Robert's jumps were huge and his flow across the ice incredible.

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