View Poll Results: Who is your favorite old fashioned lady skater (from the pre-Janet Lynn era)?

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  • Sonja Henie, Norway

    2 3.13%
  • Cecilia Colledge, Great Britain

    5 7.81%
  • Megan Taylor, Great Britain

    0 0%
  • Jeanette Altwegg, Great Britain

    0 0%
  • Jacqueline du Bief, France

    0 0%
  • Barbara Ann Scott, Canada

    9 14.06%
  • Alena VrzŠňovŠ, Czechoslovakia/Czech Republic

    1 1.56%
  • Tenley Albright, USA

    10 15.63%
  • Carol Heiss, USA

    6 9.38%
  • Sjoukje Dijkstra, Netherlands

    0 0%
  • Peggy Fleming, USA

    28 43.75%
  • Gabriele Seyfert, East Germany

    3 4.69%
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  1. #1

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    Your favorite old fashioned lady skater (pre-Janet Lynn era)

    Some have passed on. Some remain happily with us. These female skaters cover a broad swathe of skating history, but they have one thing in common besides skating outdoors. They are less familiar to us today for their skating than for their personalities and legends. They also cover the decades when figures were preeminent in figure skating. Who is your favorite classical old dame? What makes her wonderful? For whom do you care the least? Are you offended by Cecilia Colledge's shimmering flapper dress?

    Sonja Henie, NOR, 1928

    Cecilia Colledge, GBR, 1936 Olympics

    Megan Taylor, GBR, 1942

    Jeanette Altwegg, GBR, 1948 Olympics

    Jacqueline du Bief, FRA
    In a dress that made British judges fan themselves and the mens' hearts race.

    Barbara Ann Scott, CAN
    This short video featuring 1948 Winter Olympics stars, such as Dick Button, is magnificent.

    Alena VrzŠňovŠ, TCH/CZE
    This beautifully narrated Dick Button video introduces us to the story of this Czech trendsetter who eventually escaped the tyranny of communism.

    Tenley Albright, USA, 1954 Nationals

    Carol Heiss, USA, 1960 Olympics

    Sjoukje Dijkstra, NED, 1964 Olympics

    Peggy Fleming, USA, 1968 Olympics

    Gabriele Seyfert, GDR, 1968 Olympics

    ETA: I should perhaps have made the cutoff prior to Peggy Fleming. She and Gabby Seyfert are kind of hard to compare with the others, since we have such better broadcast coverage of them. What do you think?
    Last edited by TheIronLady; 02-05-2013 at 01:21 AM.

  2. #2

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    Fleming is my favorite stylist of those listed, followed by Albright. Colledge gets the HM nod from me for her contribution of staple moves to the discipline and despite being so confident she'd win the silver medal that she brought a silver dress. (That's a joke.) I'm really not sure who is my least favorite.

  3. #3

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    It is sad to look back on skating history and see that Britain has not kept up with the times in ladies figure skating.

    The best thing a British lady can do today is seduce and marry a Belgian who, unlike herself, has charisma, crowd appeal, and fans.

    I think British skating should find inspiration in its past. As recently as the 60-80s, a British women placed well at Euros and respectably at Worlds.

    Jenna McCorkell had a couple of decent years at Euros, but then her low international standing become painfully evident at the Worlds.
    Last edited by TheIronLady; 02-05-2013 at 07:47 AM.

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    Joanne Conway finished fourth at 1991 Euros and seventh at that year's Worlds, so there's one success story in the 1990s.

    I didn't know until just now that Jenna McCorkell is a ten-time British champion. I admire her perseverance and double axel.
    I can call the moon a pear, but it doesn't make it so. -- kwanfan1818

  5. #5
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    I voted for Peggy F because she was the skater who really made me fall in love with the sport.

    As a person though, I think Tenley Albright has to be my favorite, overcoming polio as a child to become an elite athlete then going on to become a medical doctor and successful surgeon. She still looks beautiful and classy today. I remember reading her biography as a child and finding it pretty inspiring. I think she is so admirable in so many ways.

  6. #6

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  7. #7
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    The influence of Cecilia Colledge's skating is quite evident today.

    I wonder about her rivalry with Megan Taylor. It seems like those two were pretty competitive with one another. I wonder why Megan Taylor did not compete at the 1936 Olympics, as Taylor won the silver at the 1934 Worlds (Colledge did not compete) with Colledge winning the silver at the 1935 Worlds and 1936 Olympics (Taylor did not compete in both). However, Taylor won the silver at the 1936 Worlds with Colledge not competing this time. In 1937, Colledge finally wins a World title, with Taylor placing second. Then Taylor wins the 1938 Worlds with Colledge winning silver, then Taylor repeats as World Champion in 1939, but this time, Colledge does not compete.

    Keep in mind that from 1936-1939, Colledge places ahead of Taylor at Europeans (winning every year except 1936) and at the British Championships, Taylor won from 1932-1934 (besting Colledge each time) then from 1935-1939, Colledge wins the title (1935 and 1936, Taylor does not compete).

    Of course, World War II happened. I wonder who would've been on top had there been an Olympics in 1940.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheIronLady View Post
    Alena VrzŠňovŠ, TCH/CZE
    This beautifully narrated Dick Button video introduces us to the story of this Czech trendsetter who eventually escaped the tyranny of communism.
    This was fascinating. I didn't know of her. Thanks for sharing!
    "I hit him with my shoes... if he had given me the medal like I told him to, I wouldn't have had to hit him!" -- 8-year-old Rhoda Penmark in "The Bad Seed"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    The influence of Cecilia Colledge's skating is quite evident today.

    I wonder about her rivalry with Megan Taylor. It seems like those two were pretty competitive with one another. I wonder why Megan Taylor did not compete at the 1936 Olympics, as Taylor won the silver at the 1934 Worlds (Colledge did not compete) with Colledge winning the silver at the 1935 Worlds and 1936 Olympics (Taylor did not compete in both). However, Taylor won the silver at the 1936 Worlds with Colledge not competing this time. In 1937, Colledge finally wins a World title, with Taylor placing second. Then Taylor wins the 1938 Worlds with Colledge winning silver, then Taylor repeats as World Champion in 1939, but this time, Colledge does not compete.

    Keep in mind that from 1936-1939, Colledge places ahead of Taylor at Europeans (winning every year except 1936) and at the British Championships, Taylor won from 1932-1934 (besting Colledge each time) then from 1935-1939, Colledge wins the title (1935 and 1936, Taylor does not compete).

    Of course, World War II happened. I wonder who would've been on top had there been an Olympics in 1940.
    It's quite the story isn't it? Lots of here but their friendship survived the decade. They made their debut together in Lake Placid in 1932 as tiny little girls. 1938 in Stockholm was the controversial one. Colledge had more points but Taylor won by the placement of one judge. All sorts of stuff was reported at the time - both girls regularly made front page news in the UK, but things got so bad that a judge and NSA representative had to write to the Times to refute allegations of bad sportsmanship!!! (Supposedly Cecilia and her Mother stormed out of the closing banquet but this has never been proved). They didn't speak for over 6 months after that and Mama Colledge had to get them together to sort it out. In 1939 Cecilia had an achilles injury. It was reported that she didn't go to Prague Worlds but actually she did but withdrew there. And who tended to her at her bedside in between winning her second world title? Megan Taylor

    BTW my favourite ladies skater pre: Janet Lynn is....Cecilia Colledge If I ever write a book on skating it will be her story. Forever she will be the worlds youngest winter Olympian and of course her impact on the sport is huge. Honourable mention to Gaby Seyfert who was a fabulous skater and hugely underrated IMO.

  10. #10
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    Easily (for me) Peggy F.

  11. #11
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    ^ What Mama Colledge did should be the model for any skating parent. That's excellent to hear. Thank you for the information, floskate. I knew I should have just asked you personally.

    We should write a screenplay about Cecila Colledge's life. It'd make a fascinating bio-pic with the dramatic build-up to the 1940 Olympics...then the climax...Britain declares war on Germany in September 1939! However, I think the final scene should be the 1946 British Nationals where Cecilia comes back and wins the title after a six year or so hiatus to declare skating is back.

    We could make Megan Taylor's role juicy as well.

  12. #12

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    Without all the early pioneering innovators; skating as we now know it, would not exist.

  13. #13
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    Jacqueline Du Bief was very classy. I like her a lot.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    I wonder why Megan Taylor did not compete at the 1936 Olympics, as Taylor won the silver at the 1934 Worlds
    Your wondering made me wonder if she did it for political reasons, even though she was still quite young (15) at the time. But no:

    Figure Skating at the 1936 Garmisch-Partenkirchen Winter Games: Women's Singles

    Sonja Henie continued to dominate the figure skating scene after her second Olympic gold medal in 1932, winning all World and European Championships in the years between the 1932 and 1936 Olympics. At the European Championships in Berlin, three weeks before the Olympics, Cecilia Colledge, now 15, impressed the audience by being the first female figure skater to perform a double jump in competition, when she successfully landed a double Salchow. Colledge was a creative figure skater, introducing two new elements in her program, the camel and layback spins, but still she had to be satisfied with the silver medal in Berlin behind Henie. Bronze medalist Megan Taylor was not selected for the British Olympic team. An accident in the summer of 1935 prevented her from competing in the Olympic trials.
    They ran a tight ship back then, those NISA officials.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by VIETgrlTerifa View Post
    ^ What Mama Colledge did should be the model for any skating parent. That's excellent to hear. Thank you for the information, floskate. I knew I should have just asked you personally.

    We should write a screenplay about Cecila Colledge's life. It'd make a fascinating bio-pic with the dramatic build-up to the 1940 Olympics...then the climax...Britain declares war on Germany in September 1939! However, I think the final scene should be the 1946 British Nationals where Cecilia comes back and wins the title after a six year or so hiatus to declare skating is back.

    We could make Megan Taylor's role juicy as well.
    I agree it is a great story and what Mrs Colledge did was great and actually very British....she invited Megan to afternoon tea with herself and Cecilia. However thie is the same Mama Colledge who marched Cecilia to Jacques Gerschwiler's house in 1928 asking 'how one turned one's daughter into a skating champ' and - so the story goes - didn't bat an eyelid while he told little Cecilia to strip to her underwear to 'ascertain' if her physique would be suitable for skating. In fact Gerschwiler was installed in the Colledge house on Upper Wimpole Street (mega rich London address) and basically brought her up supervising everything she did from eating to sleeping. A different era for sure!

  16. #16

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    That approach would surely be "questioned" and regarded differently, now!

  17. #17
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    TheIronLady - thank you for starting this thread and for the video links. I didn't vote on this poll, I'm to young and therefore didn't see the named skaters competing. But I'm always fond to get some lessons in figure skating history.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by Katarzyna View Post
    TheIronLady - thank you for starting this thread and for the video links. I didn't vote on this poll, I'm to young and therefore didn't see the named skaters competing. But I'm always fond to get some lessons in figure skating history.
    Katarzyna, I am glad you enjoyed these links! I doubt any of us were old enough to see any of these ladies complete. I could be wrong, but I assume most people here are under 40.

  19. #19

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    I feel I have to vote for Peggy. When I watch the video of Grenoble 1968, I see a turning point. Skating seems to transition from a beautiful outdoor sport to an indoor contest where the female skater appears to make you think she is a model or a rock star and you forget there is anything but her body floating and defying gravity.

    AndyWarhol and I once had a discussion about the changes IJS has brought. She told me she was watching the videos of Peggy and she said to herself, "I don't care if I ever master all my jumps and levels. If I could just learn to move anything like her, I would be an amazing skater."
    Last edited by TheIronLady; 02-08-2013 at 11:38 PM.

  20. #20

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    Every time I watch Sonja Henie, I wonder about her Nazi sympathies. She was a determined and unstoppable lady, so she may have been for anyone or anything that supported her. Unfortunately, like many in Europe in those times, she did not seem to view Nazism as totally abhorrent-- or perhaps she just saw it as inevitable. Either way, it was not her best moment.
    Last edited by TheIronLady; 02-08-2013 at 11:39 PM.

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