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    Retrospective: The 1936 Olympics

    Retrospective takes a look back at the 1936 Olympics

    Sonja Henie won the third of her 3 consecutive Olympic titles at the 1936 Olympics. Nevertheless, she was very fortunate to win the 1936 title as Cecilia Colledge ran her a very close second. As Sandra Stevenson pointed out in her obituary on Colledge for the UK Independent on the 21st April 2008:-

    [after the School Figures], "the closeness [of the competition] infuriated Henie, who, when the result for that section was posted on a wall in the competitors' lounge, swiped the piece of paper and tore it into little pieces. The draw for the free skating [then] came under suspicion after Henie landed the plum position of skating last, while Colledge had to perform second of the 26 competitors. The early start was seen as a disadvantage, with the audience not yet whipped into a clapping frenzy and the judges known to become freer with their higher marks as the event proceeded. Years later, a fairer, staggered draw was adopted to counteract this situation".
    Furthermore, somewhat oddly, the start of Colledge’s free skate at the 1936 Olympics had to be delayed due to problems starting the music...... It so unnerved Colledge, that she almost fell during the early part of her free skate. However, Colledge recovered to score an average of 5.7, to Henie's 5.8

    In terms of medals, Sonja Henie is the most successful Ladies singles skater of all time - 3 consecutive Olympic titles, 10 consecutive World titles, and 6 consecutive European titles. She was renowned for her speed across the ice, her balletic choreography (connecting the elements of her program in a way that had not been done before), her artistry and grace, the quality of her spins, and her charisma and flair. She made short above the knee skirts the norm, which made it possible for female skaters to perform jumps and other elements that had previously only been performed by male skaters. Previously, long heavy black skirts had been the norm. Henie made an immense contribution to the sport in terms of raising its profile and popularity, and she went on to enjoy a highly successful Hollywood film and professional skating career after retiring after the 1936 World Championships.

    Nevertheless, Henie was an extremely controversial figure. Not only was the outcome of the 1936 Olympics controversial, but so was the result pertaining to her very first World title in 1927 (held in Oslo, Norway) in which she beat defending 5 time world champion, Herma Szabo, into 2nd place. Henie won the title by 3 judges to 2, but what caused consternation about that was that the 3 judges who gave Henie victory were all Norwegian! This led the ISU to introduce the rule shortly afterwards, that there could only be no more than one judge per country for each event.

    There were also suggestions that Henie was a Nazi sympathizer. At a Berlin show in 1936 just prior to the Olympics, she greeted Hitler with a Nazi salute and said "Heil, Hitler." Moreover, according to the book, 'Queen of Ice, Queen of Shadows: Unsuspected Life of Sonja Henie', Henie even visited Adolf Hitler. She was also criticised in Norway after the war for not having contributed to the war relief effort and for not having provided financial assistance for training resistance troops in Canada’s "Little Norway."

    There were also other criticisms of Henie. In a 1999 Newsweek article, Cecilia Colledge stated:

    "To her, there were no other skaters....Even on the podium after the Olympics, there were no kisses, no handshakes, not even a word."
    Also, in this obituary article on 1936 Olympic Bronze medal winner, Vivi-Anne Hultén, Dennis McLellan states:-

    "[In interviews], Hulten characterized Henie as a foulmouthed, self-centered and ruthless competitor.

    The rift began at the 1933 world championships, when Hulten finished only two-tenths of a point behind Henie. "You are not nearly good enough to get second next to me," Henie screamed afterward, pointing a finger at Hulten's nose. "I'm so much better that you are. You deserved to be fourth." At the 1934 world championship, Hulten came in fourth. "Her father arranged it," Hulten told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "She was afraid of me."

    Hulten asserted that Henie's father made deals with judges at world championships to ensure his daughter's victories and to thwart Hulten. "Papa Henie would go to these places and tell the organizers, 'You can have my daughter [for an exhibition]; come up to my hotel room and I'll tell you how we can arrange it,' " she told the Sporting News in 1994. "He played poker with them. If he won, he got an appearance fee for Sonja to skate and he got an agreement that the judges would place me no higher than third. I didn't have a chance. I know this is true because one of my best friends was the president of our club in Stockholm, and he told me about it. Back then the judges were always with the clubs."

    "Look, I have a great admiration for what Henie did," [Hulten] told Sports Illustrated. "On the ice she was terrific, a wonderful acrobat, just like a circus princess, a big smile, dressed perfectly. But she was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, a very nasty person off the ice.... I'm just telling it like it is."

    On a 1935 Olympic training trip to St. Moritz, Hulten told the Sporting News, she was detained at the German border for seven hours and searched "from head to toe," with no explanation from the guard, whose name was Ulrich Schmidt. Hulten said she later sought out Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels to complain. Goebbels, a skating fan, had Schmidt brought to him. "Goebbels made him get down on a knee and apologize to me," Hulten recalled. "[Schmidt] said, 'Well, a young lady came through before her whose name was Sonja Henie. She told me this girl here would be smuggling jewelry, so we stopped her.' "

    At the 1936 Winter Olympics in Germany, medal winners were told to give the Nazi salute to Hitler. Gold medal winner Henie saluted, but bronze winner Hulten refused.
    "
    British skaters, Megan Taylor and Cecilia Colledge were Henie's closest competitors during the 1930's. Taylor and Colledge were both selected to compete for Great Britain at the 1932 Olympics - Colledge was 11 years and 68 days old at the start of the 1932 Olympics on the 4th Feb 1932 - 11 years and 73 days old at the start of the Ladies figure skating competition on the 9th Feb 1932, and Taylor was 11 years and 102 days old at the start of the Olympics - 11 years and 107 days old at the start of the Ladies figure skating competition. They were the youngest ever female competitors in any Olympic sport and the youngest ever competitors at the Winter Olympics. Taylor finished 7th and Colledge 8th. Taylor and Colledge went on to have a intense rivalry thereafter. Colledge finished a very close second to Henie at the 1936 Olympics (which Taylor unfortunately missed due to an accident). Colledge would then go on to become World Champion in 1937 (beating Taylor into second place), but Taylor famously beat her into second place to become World Champion in 1938. Colledge gained her revenge though by beating Taylor in the 1939 British and European Championships in 1939, but missed the 1939 Worlds (due to an achilles tendon injury), thereby allowing Taylor to retain her world title. Without doubt, either Colledge or Taylor would have become Olympic champion in 1940, but tragically World War 2 deprived them of that opportunity. An illustration of just how ardent the rivalry between Colledge and Taylor was, was that after Colledge beat Taylor into second place for the British title in 1938, Taylor congratulated Colledge and then immediately burst into tears - so upset was she! Their rivalry reached its zenith during 1937 - 1939. During this period, they competed against each other 8 times in British, European, and World Championships. Taylor finished second to Colledge on every occasion, except at the 1938 World Championships when she beat Colledge into second place (with Benjamin Wright calling it one of skating history's most controversial results in his book, 'Skating Around the World: International Skating Union , the One Hundredth Anniversary History 1892 -1992'), with Colledge losing on a split of the judges despite accumulating more points). Hence, the head-to-head between them during 1937-39 was 7-1 in Colledge's favour. This is in stark contrast to the period 1932-34 when the head-to-head between the two was 6-0 in favour of Taylor (who beat Colledge into second place at all 3 British championships during that period. At both the 1932 Olympics and Worlds, Taylor finished 7th and Colledge 8th, and at the 1933 Worlds, Taylor finished 4th and Colledge 5th).

    Compared to Henie, Colledge was the greater innovator. At the 1936 European Championships, Colledge became the first female skater to land a double jump (a 2S). She also invented the Camel Spin and the Layback Spin, and the 1-foot axel is named after her (i.e. "the Colledge")

    World War 2 practically finished both Colledge's and Taylor's competitive careers, although Colledge returned after WW2, but then turned professional after just 1 year. Colledge drove an ambulance in the Motor Transport Corps during the London Blitz, moved permanently to the United States in 1951 (saying of Britain that "there was nothing left for me there except unhappy memories" - due to her experiences during WW2 and the death of her brother during the war), and pursued a distinguished career as a coach with the Skating Club of Boston between 1952 and 1977, coaching skaters such as Ron Ludington. Taylor spent much of the early 1940's with Ice Capades. However, after finishing with Ice Capades, not much is known about what she did thereafter and she died in Jamaica in 1993. Nevertheless, Katarina Witt states in her book, Only with Passion that:-

    "Some coaches just teach to make a living. Other coaches, like Frau Muller, live for the sport. She skated in the 1950's, but was never a star herself. In those years the GDR never did well internationally. At one point they hired an English coach, Megan Taylor, to try to improve their performances at the World Championships, but she left after one season. "Those East German skaters have what it takes to go to the World Championships, all right," the Englishwoman told a reporter after she'd left. "But only as ticket takers." Frau Muller never forgot that slight, and it motivated her in her career as a coach. She proved the Englishwoman wrong, too. Under her tutelage, GDR skaters won ten World Championships between 1969 and 1980. Her daughter, Gabriele Seyfert, and Anett Potzsch and Jan Hoffmann all won twice, and I won four times. Frau Muller was the most successful coach of her generation."
    The men's event at the 1936 Olympics was won by Karl Schäfer from Austria. He was the defending Olympic champion as he had also won the Olympic title at the 1932 Olympics. He won the world title on 7 consecutive occasions between 1930-36. He was the first person to land a double loop (1925 - in practice, but never performed it in competition). He also invented the Schafer push (a school figures move now also used in free skating), in which a backward outside push is used to start loops. He retired after the 1936 World Championships, and created one of the first European ice shows, the Karl Schäfer Ice Revue. He was one of the original skaters to be inducted in to the Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1976. The Karl Schäfer Memorial event was held in his memory up until 2008 (having previously been known as the Vienna Cup up until 1996), serving as an Olympic qualifying event in 1997 and 2005. Whilst Schäfer's 1936 Olympic win was an easy and impressive one, his 1932 Olympic victory will be remembered far more. That's because in winning the title in 1932, he beat the legendary Gillis Grafström in the process, who was attempting to win a 4th consecutive Olympic title (having won the title at the 1920, 1924, and 1928 Olympics). Grafström collided with a photographer during his Olympic title defence, but even if he hadn't, Schäfer would still almost certainly have won, ultimately winning by a comfortable margin of almost 90 points.

    Great Britain's Graham Sharp was expected to win the silver medal at the 1936 Olympics (just as he had done at the 1936 European Championships, and would go on to do at the 1936 World Championships). However, he performed poorly at the Olympics, finishing a very disappointing 5th. The silver medal was instead won by Ernst Baier of Germany, whose main focus at the Olympics was on the pairs competition.

    The favourites for the pairs competition going into the Olympics were the 4 time and then current world champions, Emília Rotter & László Szollás, from Hungary. Their main rivals were expected to be European Champions, Maxi Herber & Ernst Baier (Rotter & Szollás had missed the 1936 European Championships). In the Olympic competition, Maxi Herber & Ernst Baier won comfortably, with 7 out of 9 judges placing them 1st. Herber & Baier went on to win 4 consecutive world titles (1936-39), and would almost certainly have won a 2nd consecutive Olympic title had the 1940 Olympics not been cancelled due to the outbreak of World War 2. They revolutionised pairs skating, performing the first SBS jumps in competition, and injected greater technical difficulty and artistry into their programs

    There is not a great deal of footage of the 1936 Olympics available. However, here is what there is:-

    MEN'S

    Gold: Karl Schäfer (Austria)

    Silver: Ernst Baier (Germany)

    Bronze: Felix Kaspar (Austria)

    5th: Graham Sharp (Great Britain)

    Footage of the 1936 Olympic Men's Competition from 1m 43 secs in

    Footage of the 1936 Olympic Men's Competition from 2m 35 secs in

    Karl Schäfer winning the 1936 Olympic title

    Footage of Karl Schäfer

    Brief footage of Karl Schäfer at 30 secs in



    LADIES

    Gold: Sonja Henie (Norway)

    Silver: Cecilia Colledge (Great Britain)

    Bronze: Vivi-Anne Hultén (Sweden)

    5th: Maribel Vinson (USA)

    Sonja Henie and Cecilia Colledge - 1936 Olympics

    Sonja Henie & Cecilia Colledge - 1936 Olympics

    Footage of the 1936 Olympic Ladies Competition from 2m 30 secs in

    Footage of the 1936 Olympic Ladies Competition from 2m 10 secs in

    Profile - Sonja Henie

    Sonja Henie - Mini Doc of career highlights

    Cecilia Colledge - 1936 Olympics

    Cecilia Colledge (montage of career highlights)

    Colour footage of Cecilia Colledge from 1939

    Megan Taylor & Cecelia Colledge - 1937 World Championships (won by Colledge)

    Megan Taylor - Ice Capades 1942

    Megan Taylor - Ice Capades 1942

    Sonja Henie - Film: One in a Million



    PAIRS

    Gold: Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier (Germany)

    Silver: Ilse Pausin/Erik Pausin (Austria)

    Bronze: Emília Rotter/László Szollás (Hungary)

    Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier winning the 1936 Olympic pairs title

    Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier winning the 1936 Olympic title

    Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier winning the 1936 Olympic title

    Footage of the 1936 Olympic Pairs Competition from 6m 48 secs in

    Footage of the 1936 Olympic Pairs Competition from 2m 50 secs in

    Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier - 1936

    Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier

    Maxi Herber/Ernst Baier training in St. Moritz in 1935


    As usual, many thanks to Floskate for many of the videos featured
    Last edited by Maofan7; 10-08-2013 at 08:04 AM.

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    The scores for Henie vs Colledge during the 1936 Olympics are fascinating. Among the most interesting points is that the Austrian judge tied Henie and Colledge across both segments.

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    Thank you very much for yet another fascinating thread. British Pathé has some footage too:

    http://www.britishpathe.com/search/q...e+skating+1936


    More or less the same.
    Last edited by sadya; 10-08-2013 at 09:23 AM.

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    Article Highlighting the Impact World War 2 Had on Figure Skating (which also includes a section on Freddie Tomlins who finished 10th in the Men's competition at the 1936 Olympics. He was killed whilst serving in the RAF in 1943, at the age of just 23).

    1969 New York Times Obituary for Sonja Henie

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    Epic stories, thank you for posting!
    Keeper of Nathalie Pechelat's bitchface.

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    As this article highlights, the 1940 Olympics was originally going to be held in Sapporo in Japan. However, due to the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, in July 1938 the Japanese relinquished the opportunity to hold the Games. The IOC then passed the Games to St Moritz, Switzerland, who had hosted the Games in 1928, but that fell through. Consequently, in spring 1939, the Games were passed back to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany (who had hosted the 1936 Games), to host the Games for the 2nd consecutive time (scheduled to take place between the 3rd - 12th February 1940). However, when Germany invaded Poland on the 1st September 1939, the Games were cancelled altogether.

    Sapporo, Japan, ultimately hosted the 1972 Olympics.

    Germany was the last Country to hold both the summer and winter Olympics in the same year (1936). Japan was scheduled to do the same in 1940 as Tokyo was scheduled to hold the summer Olympics. Its forfeiture of the summer Olympics occurred at the same time as the winter Olympics (July 1938) and the summer Games were then passed to Helsinki, Finland, before being cancelled altogether with the outbreak of World War 2. Tokyo eventually hosted the summer Olympics in 1964, and will host the Games for a second time in 2020.



    Article on Figure Skating between World War 1 and World War 2 (also has several other very interesting articles on the history of figure skating. All compiled by and contained on the website of early British skaters, Fred & Joan Dean - Editors of Ice & Roller Skate Magazine). Here are a few excerpts from the article:-

    "When [Grafstrom], as a man already past the competitive age, was beaten by young Karl Schafer of Vienna in the 1932 Winter Games at Lake Placid, I remember so well Karl saying to me: Yes, I beat him, but he is still the worlds greatest skater. A fine and generous tribute by a wonderful sportsman and skater, who went on to win another Olympic Crown at Garmisch in 1936 and who had seven World and eight European, together with many Austrian victories to his credit. Grafstrom became a legend just as did Nijinski and there are many stories of this extraordinary man who was an architect by profession, a poet, painter and etcher as well as a superbly built athlete and the outstanding skater of his time. Competition, and the honours to be gained, meant little to him. He just loved skating. Entered for a championship, if he didn’t feel like it, or if the weather was bad, he would shrug his shoulders and say: No, I don’t think I skate, much to the joy of the others who then had a chance!"

    I once described [Schafer] as the man with an extra foot always ready to pop down. Karli was a great joker. The tricks that he and Grafstrom played on the judges were wonderful. I dont mean that they did anything wrong. I mean that they pulled the judges legs unmercifully.

    I remember in 1934, when the European should have been held at Innsbruck, owing to a thaw, we had to go up to Seefeld, a small resort 3,000 ft. up in the mountains. Unfortunately, the ice there was very bumpy and for once surely the only time in competition Karli fell on a back-change-loop. Instead of meekly going on, he played merry hell with the referee, Ulrich Salchow (who was also the high panjandrum, i.e. President of the International Skating Union), and with the whole panel of judges, for asking him and his rivals to skate on such appalling ice! The referee thereupon allowed him a re-skate, influenced of course by the fact that Schafer was reigning World, European and Olympic Champion. Shortly afterwards, the late Jack Dunn had a similar mishap. He was ordered peremptorily to finish out the figure which he did, and he received very, very low marks in consequence. Then I, who had taken Dunn to the championship, knowing Karli extremely well suggested to him that this was not quite fair. He agreed, went on the ice, holding up the whole competition, and demanded a re-skate for his British friend. He stayed on the ice until he got his way, and then, on to the ice went Dunn, completely out of turn, re-skated the figure and obtained quite good marks. So much for reputation, a personality and superb audacity! I always had the feeling that both Grafstrom and Schafer were judging the judges, instead of being judged!
    Here I must tell a little story about [Henie]. At Chamonix in 1924, on account of the rain and sleet and generally shocking weather, the big rink was completely out of action, and all of us, speed skaters, about thirty in number, figures-skaters, perhaps about fifty, and the hockey players, teachers, coaches, trainers and so on, were compelled to use the Curling Rink, which was about 50 by 15 yards (at the most). The reason there was a curling rink at these Winter Games was that the country holding them is always entitled to include a sport of its own choosing. In 1924 the French chose Curling and for another more recent example let me give the year 1952, when Finland held their Winter Games in Oslo, the Norwegians, exercising their prerogative, gave us their modern version of the old game of Bandy, from which modern ice hockey has sprung, and which is a pretty accurate translation of land hockey to ice. Anyway, there we all were, cautiously trying out the ice, when to everyones consternation into the midst of this tightly packed, adult, rather austere assembly there rushed and I mean really rushed this plump, apple-cheeked child, dressed in a very short, red, fur-trimmed outfit. Full of unbounded confidence Papa and Mamma standing proudly at the side in she bounced, bang into the middle, and leaping in the air came down on the most glorious sit spin imaginable. Consternation reigned! What is this? some of us said. Is it the Olympic Winter Games or is it a kindergarten? Some created quite a fuss, and a few of us, looking on at this amazing child, tried to see into the future.

    I well remember Pierre Brunet, now one of the great teachers in the U.S. of whom I shall write later on in this chapter, saying to me: That is the future. And how right he was! She completely dominated women’s skating for a decade. She revolutionised it, refashioned and remodelled it. She gave it an entirely new style which demanded clothes quite different from those that had been de rigueur for the thirty odd years of womens participation in first-class skating. Ankle-length skirts, toques and all the charming, very feminine folderols of the Edwardians, disappeared overnight with the arrival of the new ladies World Champion, Sonja Henie who, in her home town, Oslo, in 1927, gained a highly controversial decision over the great Jaros-Szabo. The period of her reign was one rich in talent, with such famous names as Maribel Vinson, Constance Wilson, Cecil Eustace Smith, Fritzi Burger, Melita Brunner, Andree Joly, Kathleen Shaw and later on, towards the end, Cecilia Colledge and Megan Taylor. But, until after the 1936 Olympic Games when she turned professional, went to Hollywood, and made not only a name in films but a vast fortune, she was the brightest star of a brilliant galaxy. Her success was due not only to her wonderful technique, poise and ability as a skater, but also to her outstanding personality, both forceful and arresting. No one could be more charming and delightful a companion but let things go wrong, no matter whose fault, her own or anybody elses, and my word, didn t the feathers fly! Nevertheless she is most assuredly a very great artist, a great athlete and a great skater and her name will endure as long as there is ice for man to skate upon.

    After she left the amateur arena, two British skaters, Cecilia Colledge and Megan Taylor, ruled womens skating and, by their duels, in which no quarter was asked or given, captured the imagination not only of the skating, but of the whole sport-interested world. These two girls were, to within a month or two, the same age & in 1932, when both were eleven, they went to the Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid in the U.S. which Henie, at eighteen, won. In the British Championships, Megan won in 1932, 1933 and 1934 with Cecilia as runner-up. Then Cecilia won in 1935 and 1936 (Megan did not skate in these two events) and then in March, 1937, again in December, 1937 (after it had been decided to change the. time of year so that the reigning Champion could go abroad to international competitions usually held in January and February as champion), & again in 1938. These three, Megan was runner-up.

    Incidentally, Cecilia won the first postwar championship in 1946 and then the Open Professional Championship in 1947 and 1948. Cecilia had been second to Sonja in the 1936 Olympic at Garmish and as was expected won the Worlds in 1937 and the European in 1937, 1938 and 1939, while Megan won the Worlds in 1938 and 1939: in this last event Cecilia had an accident and was unable to skate. Both girls were possessed of exceptional ability and whenever they met it was a battle royal. Some favoured one, some the other. I think the fairest thing I can say is, that Cecilia was the better pure-technician, the skaters skater; and that Megan seemed to appeal more to the general public, but when Cecilia became a professional show skater, she completely overcame her amateur diffidence and developed an artistry and sense of presentation that rendered her performances quite delightful.

    Cecilia Colledge scored a remarkable personal success [at the 1936 Olympics], not only with the leading Nazis (Goering in particular could not keep his eyes off her, he asked me all about her on several occasions), but with the general public which regarded her as the typification of fresh and charming British girlhood, which indeed she was. The crowd of 40,000 gave her a tremendous ovation at the finish of her show, quite putting her rivals in the shade. In fact the whole British team was definitely the favourite of the crowd.

    [The 1936 Olympics] was the first big skating meeting where the Hollywood talent scouts came into the open: they infested the stadium, and they certainly were rewarded, for it was here that they acquired Sonja Henie and Jack Dunn.
    It was during this inter-war period that great strides were made in the beautiful and difficult art of pair skating. Since the days of Burger-Hubler, the Johnsons and the Syers, pair skating had been nearer in conception to modern ice dancing in that movements apart were not done; with the exception of one recognised essential known as Movements in field, wherein the pair, separated completely, performing identical evolutions at opposite sides or ends of the rink. Now there came into being a new method. In it, both partners had to be skaters of individual ability. In the past, by holding on to one another, it had been possible to create a pair with one partner, to say the least, a very indifferents skater. But except for the years immediatel after the First World War when Herr and Frau Jacobsson of Finland, who incidentally were excellent solo performers, won the Olympic pairs at Antwerp and the World pairs in 1923 in what one may call the old method, by the time of the 1924 Olympic Winter Games there had sprung up new conception, one which demanded equal prowess on the part of both as a skater, as opposed to one being a mere partner. For a long time the old brigade oppose the change, but not all of them. Mrs. J.H. Johnson saw it as performed by my wife and me and liked it so much that she had us first on her card in the 1923 Championship, and no one could dispute her knowledge of both skating and pairs; and the late Kenneth Dundas in the Manchester Guardian called our exhibition Shadow Skating.

    On the other hand, no less an authority than the late Mr. H. R. Yglesias said to me, on the night before the pairs at Chamonix: I don’t call it pair skating and I cannot mark it as such, therefore I regret that you will be last on my card!

    When I had worked out shadow skating, I had modelled it on the prototype pair performed by the brothers Adams. But it was the Brunets who brought it to perfection and established it as the routine for future pairs. All these early inter-wartime pairs developed one of the great features of modern pair skating, namely, lifts.

    It was in 1936 that the next advance was made, by the wonderful German pair Maxi Herber and Ernst Baier, winners of the 1936 Olympic & 4 World Competitions. They were a product of the Nazi regime. Cared-for and looked after by the Reich Sport Commission, which was presided over by a remarkable man (Nazi or no Nazi, I really never found out although I knew him very well), Herr von Tschammer and Osten, who came from one of the oldest Baltic families. Sufficient resources were placed at their disposal, so that for the first time we heard music composed by a first-class musician specially for pair skating, with every note and every movement blended and synchronised into a complete symphony, after the manner of Diaghilev and Stravinsky. These great skaters, once again both solo skaters of the highest ability, and blessed with an acute creative, artistic sense, established a criterion for all future pairs.


    Photograph of Karl Schäfer & Sonja Henie (taken February 1932 after they had they won their 1932 Olympic titles)

    New York Times Obituary on Ernst Baier (who died on the 8th July 2001 at the age of 95). ESPN Obituary on Maxi Herber (who died on the 20th October 2006 aged 86)
    Last edited by Maofan7; 10-11-2013 at 06:29 AM.

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    Thank you very much for more interesting articles.

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    Profile - Maribel Vinson: Part 1, Part 2 (winner of the bronze medal at the 1932 Olympics, and who finished 5th at the 1936 Olympics)

    Maribel Vinson - Training Footage

    Maribel Vinson - Practice (1932 Olympics)

    Sports Illustrated article on Maribel Vinson. It reads:-

    A Radcliffe graduate who was the first female sportswriter to be published by The New York Times, in the 1930s, Owen was a rarity in skating, a great champion who became a great coach—indeed, one of the most influential figures in the history of her sport. Perhaps that was because she had unfinished business as a skater: She'd never won Olympic gold or a world championship. She had the misfortune of competing her entire career against Norway's peerless Sonja Henie, who won three Olympic gold medals (1928, '32 and '36) and 10 straight world championships. Maribel Vinson finished fourth in the 1928 Olympics, won a bronze medal in '32 and was fifth in '36. She was second to Henie at the 1928 worlds, her highest finish. "Sonja's routine is not as hard as mine," she once said, "but she seldom makes a mistake."

    Still, in the U.S., Maribel was without peer. Both her parents had been skaters—Thomas Vinson, a lawyer and Boston city alderman, was a skating champion in the 1890s, and he met her mother while skating on the Charles River. Maribel got her first pair of double-blade skates at age three and graduated to single-blade a year later. When she was nine she came under the tutelage of the German coach Willie Frick, known as the Boy Wonder of Berlin, who was hired in 1920 by the Skating Club of Boston. In 1924 Maribel won the U.S. junior title at age 12, and four years later she won the first of nine U.S. ladies' titles, a total only Michelle Kwan has equaled.

    Maribel turned professional in 1937 and produced and starred in a skating tour called Gay Blades—An International Ice Ballet with two-time gold medalist Karl Schafer of Austria. One of the other skaters on that tour was a former Canadian junior champion named Guy Owen, whom Maribel married in 1938. She gave birth to Little Maribel in 1940, prompting her and Guy to settle down and coach at a new skating center in Berkeley, Calif. One of her early students was six-time U.S. ladies' champion Gretchen Merrill.

    The marriage ended in 1949, when Maribel divorced Guy after he had become an alcoholic. (He died three years later while being operated on for a bleeding ulcer.) Maribel's father died in 1952, setting in motion her decision to drive back East with her two daughters to live with her widowed mother in the family mansion in Winchester, the Captain Josiah Locke House, a grand estate built in 1803 that had fallen into disrepair. Maribel Owen would support her family by giving skating lessons.

    Owen taught skating as if she were trying to change the world. By her own estimation she instructed more than 4,000 students, old and young, beginner and expert. She wrote three books on figure skating and numerous magazine and newspaper articles. She was often on the ice from 5 a.m. till midnight. "She used to drive her car with her skates on," recalls Tenley Albright, 75, who would win the '56 gold medal under Owen's tutelage. The coach's gruff, salty language was new to Albright. "When I was 11," she says, "I somehow got up the nerve to say to her, 'I can't skate when you call me bad names.' After that she never did.

    "She was ahead of her time in so many ways. She was a person of courage and conviction who would stand up for people. When someone said something about Jews, Maribel said, 'How would you feel if I told you I was Jewish?' She wasn't, but she wouldn't put up with any nonsense. She stood for what was right—always."

    Owen was, in fact, a thoroughly modern woman: tough, independent, open-minded and driven. "If there was one way to hurt her," says Ron Ludington, who won a bronze medal in pairs in the 1960 Olympics while being coached by Owen, "it was to say to her, 'Why don't you act more like a woman?' That would kill her. She was a woman in a man's world."
    Reflections on Ice - Sonja Henie
    Last edited by Maofan7; 10-13-2013 at 05:10 AM.

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    Thanks, Maofan7! Fascinating thread!

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    Footage of the 1937 British Figure Skating Championships - features Cecilia Colledge and Megan Taylor (1st and 2nd respectively), and Graham Sharp (1st in the Men's competition)

    Cecilia Colledge winning the 1939 European Championships (many thanks to Floskate in post 13 below for pointing out that although British Pathe state that it is Megan Taylor featured in the video, it is in fact Cecilia Colledge)
    Last edited by Maofan7; 10-14-2013 at 08:52 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maofan7 View Post
    Footage of the 1937 British Figure Skating Championships - features Cecilia Colledge and Megan Taylor (1st and 2nd respectively), and Graham Sharp (1st in the Men's competition)

    Megan Taylor winning the 1939 European Championships
    Great thread Maofan7. I've loved re-watching a lot of this footage as it is an era that intrigues me and I've done quite a bit of research on this decade of skating. The young Japanese girl featured in a couple of my videos is Etsuko Inada. She was the 12 year old phenom of 1936 and some felt that she could have medalled in 1940. I doubt she would have been a serious contender to the Colledge v Taylor showdown though. Britain was very much the dominant nation in singles skating by the late 1930's with Sharp, Tomlins, Colledge, Taylor and Daphne Walker. One of my most treasured possessions is a medal awarded to Freddie Tomlins for his 2nd place finish at the 1939 Europeans by the championship hosts, Davos International Skating Club; a very lucky eBay find.

    By the way, that Pathe clip of the 1939 Europeans is mis-labelled by Britishpathe. It is definitely Cecilia Colledge in that clip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    By the way, that Pathe clip of the 1939 Europeans is mis-labelled by Britishpathe. It is definitely Cecilia Colledge in that clip.
    Your absolutely correct. Moreover, British Pathe also incorrectly state in the labelling that it was Taylor who won Europeans in 1939. However, Colledge won, with Taylor finishing second. Moreover, Daphne Walker (who turned 88 this year) won the Bronze medal to make it a British 1-2-3 (the only occasion that has ever happened in the Ladies event at Europeans, although it occurred on a number of occasions in Ice Dance during the 1950's and 1960's).
    Last edited by Maofan7; 10-14-2013 at 08:59 PM.

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    One of my most treasured possessions is a medal awarded to Freddie Tomlins for his 2nd place finish at the 1939 Europeans by the championship hosts, Davos International Skating Club; a very lucky eBay find.
    floskate, you found that on eBay?
    Wow!

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    Quote Originally Posted by floskate View Post
    One of my most treasured possessions is a medal awarded to Freddie Tomlins for his 2nd place finish at the 1939 Europeans by the championship hosts, Davos International Skating Club; a very lucky eBay find.
    Quote Originally Posted by skatesindreams View Post
    floskate, you found that on eBay?
    Wow!
    Quite astonishing. Floskate, you must be one of the worlds foremost collectors of figure skating memorabilia, as well as having one of the largest video collections out there. Congratulations on a great find!
    Last edited by Maofan7; 10-15-2013 at 09:07 AM.

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    Cecilia Colledge & Daphne Walker - 1945 Wembley Ice Gala

    Cecilia Colledge and Daphne Walker competing at the 1946 British Figure Skating Championships (won by Colledge). Footage also features Violet Cliff/Leslie Cliff who had finished 7th in the pairs competition at the 1936 Olympics.

    Daphne Walker in a 1938 Exhibition, winning the 1947 British title (also featured in this clip as well), and finishing 3rd in the 1947 European Championships. She retired after the 1946/47 season (her final competition being the 1947 World Championships, in which she won the silver medal) and turned professional. She married American skater, Bill Keefe, in 1948. The couple had met for the first time when Keefe saved Walker from drowning. Walker correctly predicted that Barbara Ann Scott would go on to win the 1948 Olympic title, and Walker also features in this 1953 clip about her Elephant mascot collection. Like her British contempories, Cecilia Colledge and Megan Taylor, Daphne Walker's career was severely curtailed by World War 2, and she would have undoubtedly have added to the 1939 World bronze and 1947 World silver medals that she won, with additional World and Olympic medals.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maofan7 View Post
    Footage of the 1937 British Figure Skating Championships - features Cecilia Colledge and Megan Taylor (1st and 2nd respectively), and Graham Sharp (1st in the Men's competition)
    Clip also features Daphne Walker finishing 3rd.

    Footage of Hedy Stenuf who finished 6th at the 1936 Olympics, and later won bronze at the 1938 World Championships and Silver at the 1939 World Championships. She competed for her home country, Austria, at the 1936 Olympics, but later switched to competing for the United States (after a brief period competing for France) given the then impending, and later actual, Nazi annexation of Austria (which ultimately occurred on the 12th March 1938). She passed away on the 7th November 2010, aged 88.
    Last edited by Maofan7; 10-16-2013 at 03:19 AM.

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    As well as being a singles skater, Maribel Vinson skated pairs with George Hill. They finished 5th at the 1936 Olympics. This is
    photograph of Vinson & Hill from 1931. And here are some others:-

    From Skating Magazine

    From About Figure Skating
    Last edited by Maofan7; 10-16-2013 at 10:45 PM.

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    This is a photograph of Jack Dunn of Great Britain from the 1936 Olympics where he finished 6th. The previous year he had won the silver medal at the 1935 World Championships. Dunn's Wikipedia entry reads:-

    John "Jack" Edward Powell Dunn (28 March 1917 – 16 July 1938) was a British figure skater who competed in the 1930s. His best finish was a silver medal at the 1935 World Figure Skating Championships.

    Dunn was a close friend and lover of Sonja Henie, who was training in London towards the end of her competitive career. Following Henie's victory at the 1936 Winter Olympics, where Dunn placed sixth in the singles event, he accompanied the Henie family to the United States and became her professional skating partner in her touring ice show for the next two years. Their relationship ended when Henie became involved with Tyrone Power. Shortly afterward, in 1938, Dunn died from tularemia contracted from handling a rabbit while on a hunting trip in Texas. He died in Hollywood.

    At the time of his death, Dunn had...been cast by producer Edward Small in the lead of The Duke of West Point (1938) and was in the running to play Rudolph Valentino in a film based on that actor's life.
    Louis Hayward took over the lead role in The Duke of West Point following Dunn's death. It would be another 13 years before the film, Valentino (1951), was made. Anthony Dexter played Valentino, beating over 2000 other candidates who were auditioned for the role.

    Ladies Medal Ceremony (1936 Olympics) + plus many other photographs from the games
    Last edited by Maofan7; 10-18-2013 at 03:17 AM.

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    Superb new article on Sonja Henie. Reads:-

    Beginning in 1927, at just 14 years old, figure skater Sonja Henie glided onto the world stage and dominated the ice—not only revolutionizing her sport with 10 consecutive world championships and an Olympic record that has been nearly impossible to match, but also making millions with hit Hollywood films and sold-out ice shows in the 30s and 40s. As the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi get underway, Laura Jacobs turns the spotlight toward the first international athlete-actress-superstar of modern times, charting Henie’s rapid rise to fame and the legacy she left behind
    .

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