This Retrospective looks back at the 1968 World Championships.
The key facts in relation to these championships are:-
- Peggy Fleming wins her 3rd consecutive (and final) World title. She turned professional after these championships. As at the 1968 Olympics (which Fleming also won), Gabriele Seyfert won the silver and Hana Maskova the bronze. A highlight of these championships was Fleming's gala performance of 'Maria' from West Side Story
- Having suffered the disappointment of only finishing 4th at the 1968 Olympics, Emmerich Danzer came back to win his 3rd consecutive world title in these championships. Like Fleming, he also turned professional after this competition. Tim Wood had won the silver medal at the 1968 Olympics, and he again had to settle for the silver at these championships.
- Both Gaby Seyfert and Tim Wood would go on to win the World Title in 1969 and 1970, before turning professional (i.e. without staying on to compete at the 1972 Olympics - a situation similar to Carolina Kostner, who is now herself contemplating competitive retirement just 2 years away from an Olympics)
- The Protopopov's, having just won their 2nd Olympic title at the 1968 Olympics, win their 4th consecutive World title. It was their final World title. They did come back the following year, but could only finish 3rd (the 1969 World title being won by Irina Rodnina & Alexei Ulanov).
- At the 1968 Olympics, Ice Dance had only been a demonstration event. It was won by Bernard Ford & Diane Towler. Nevertheless, the event had been a part of the World Championships since 1952. Between 1952 and 1969, the World title was won by a British couple on all but 4 occasions (1962-65: Eva Romanová & Pavel Roman). The 1968 World title was won, like the Olympic demonstration event, by Ford & Towler (leading an all British podium, with all 3 couples being coached by Gladys Hogg). It was their 3rd of 4 consecutive world titles. They were the great innovators within the ice dance event of their era (just as Torvill & Dean were during the 1980's), with their Zorba The Greek FD program from the 1968 World Championships representing their pinnacle (it was even included within the BBC's '100 Greatest Sporting Moments' series). Ford & Towler retired after winning the 1969 World title. The silver medal at the 1968 World Championships was won by Yvonne Suddick & Roger Kennerson. As well as being coached by Gladys Hogg, they were also coached by Betty Callaway at one stage, who would of course go on to coach Torvill & Dean. The bronze medal was won by Janet Sawbridge & Jon Lane. Sawbridge was Torvill & Dean's very first coach. Betty Callaway took over as their coach in 1978. Ice Dance would not become an Olympic event until 1976, and the World title would not be won by another British couple until Torvill & Dean won the 1981 World title.
Here are some videos of the medal winning performances:-
Gold: Emmerich Danzer (Austria)
Silver: Tim Wood (USA)
Bronze: Patrick Pera (France)
No video available
4th: Scott Allen (USA)
Gold: Peggy Fleming (USA)
Silver: Gabriele Seyfert (East Germany)
Bronze: Hana Maskova (Czechoslovakia)
4th: Beatrix Schuba (Austria)
Gold: Ludmila Belousova & Oleg Protopopov (USSR)
Silver: Tatyana Zhuk & Aleksandr Gorelik (USSR)
No video available. This video is their free program from the 1968 Olympics in which they also finished 2nd to the Protopopovs.
Bronze: Cynthia Kauffman & Ronald Kauffman (USA)
No video available. This video is their 1968 U.S. Nationals LP
Gold: Bernard Ford & Diane Towler (GBR)
Silver: Yvonne Suddick & Roger Kennerson (GBR)
No video available. This video shows them competing in the British Figure Skating Championships during the mid 1960's.
Bronze: Janet Sawbridge & Jon Lane
No video available