Retrospective takes a look back at the 1964 Olympics.
The key facts are:-
- The ladies competition was won comfortably by then 2 time and reigning world champion, Sjoukje Dijkstra. Dijkstra would then go on to retain her world title later in 1964 (winning it for a 3rd consecutive time), and then retired to tour with Holiday on Ice. She is the last ladies skater to win an Olympic gold medal, having won a silver or bronze medal at a previous Olympics (she won the silver medal at the 1960 Olympics, the gold having been won by Carol Heiss).
- The bronze medal in the ladies competition was won by Canada's Petra Burka. She would go onto win the world title in 1965
- One intriguing aspect about the ladies competition is the great 'what if', in terms of who would have won the gold medal had Laurence Owen not been killed as a result of the crash of Sabena Flight 548 in 1961. One yardstick by which to gauge how things may have panned out is Wendy Griner. Owen had just beaten Griner into second place to win the 1961 North American Championships. Griner then went on to take the Silver medal at the 1962 World Championships, finishing second to Dijkstra. Hence, even as early as 1962, it would appear as though Owen would have been challenging Dijkstra for supremacy.
- The pairs competition was won by the Protopopovs. They would retain their Olympic title at the 1968 Olympics, and win 4 consecutive world titles from 1965-68.
- The pairs silver medal was won by Marika Kilius & Hans-Jürgen Bäumler, who had also won silver at the 1960 Olympics. However, in 1966, it was alleged that they had signed a professional contract prior to the 1964 Olympics. Consequently, they were stripped of their 1964 Olympic silver medals. Nevertheless, the charges against them were dropped by the IOC in 1987, and they were therefore given their silver medals back
- The gold in the men's competition was won by Manfred Schnelldorfer. He was a surprise winner, as the favourite going into the competition had been Alain Calmat. However, Calmat was notoriously inconsistent, and he fell 3 times during his free program (Calmat would, nevertheless, go on to win the 1965 World title, before retiring). Schnelldorfer was also a pop star at the time. This is one of his tunes from 1964.
- The winner of the bronze in the men's competition was America's Scott Allen. This was an important medal for the United States, as it was their first Olympic medal following the 1961 air disaster. Allen was only 14 years old at the time, and he still holds the record as the youngest ever male skater to win an Olympic medal (unlikely to ever be beaten given that the current age restrictions are likely to remain in place)
- It will be noted that the German competitors are listed as having represented 'Germany' in these Olympics, as opposed to 'West' or 'East' Germany. This is because they competed as part of a unified team at these Olympics
Here are some videos of the medal winning performances:-
Gold: Manfred Schnelldorfer (Germany)
This video features clips from the free programs of all 3 medallists
Silver: Alain Calmat (France)
As well as the clip from the above video, there is also this video of his free program from the 1965 world championships, which he won
Bronze: Scott Allen (USA)
See video above for clip
Gold: Sjoukje Dijkstra (Netherlands)
Short Clip from Free Skate + Medal Ceremony
1964 Post Olympic ISU Tour of Champions
1963 Tour of Champions
Silver: Regine Heitzer (Austria)
Bronze: Petra Burka (Canada)
No video available. However, this video features her free program from the 1965 world championships, which she won.
Gold: Ludmila Belousova & Oleg Protopopov (USSR)
Silver: Marika Kilius & Hans-Jürgen Bäumler (Germany)
Bronze: Debbi Wilkes & Guy Revell (Canada)
No video available