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Megan Taylor: The Motivation Behind Jutta Müller

Discussion in 'The Trash Can' started by Maofan7, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    Back in September, I ran a poll on who was the best ladies singles figure skater of the 1930's - Sonja Henie, Cecilia Colledge, or Megan Taylor?

    The thread can be found at the following link: Best Ladies Figure Skater of the 1930's

    The following is the final paragraph from the initial post that set up the aforementioned thread

    It will be noted that I asked what had happened to Megan Taylor after Ice Capades and I have now been able to find out a little bit more from Katarina Witts book, Only with Passion. An excerpt from the book reads:-

    "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."

    Wow - I was never aware of this before and I had no idea that Megan Taylor took up a career as a coach in East Germany (does anybody know whether she coached elsewhere as well and what else she did post world war 2?). It also says a lot about what motivated Jutta Müller to become the great coach that she became. I've always noticed that with so many athletes and coaches, their drive and ambition emanates from a desire to prove wrong those that have slighted them at an early stage of their career.

    Of course, one of Müller's most successful students was her own daughter, double world champion and olympic runner up, Gabriele Seyfert. Here are some of her great performances:-

    Gabriele Seyfert - 1968 Olympics - Free Skate

    Gabriele Seyfert - 1970 World Championships - Free Skate

    Gabriele Seyfert - 1968 European Championships - Free Skate - features the first ever triple loop by a female figure skater

    Documentary on the 1967 European Championships - features both Müller & Seyfert

    Its still a mystery to me as to why Seyfert retired after the 1970 world championships. I think that one of the explanations, that Trixie Schuba's school figures were allegedly becoming too good to compete against is a complete nonsense. Seyfert also had very good compulsory figures and throughout the 3 years prior to her retirement, she had consistently beaten Schuba by getting close enough to her in the school figures to overtake her in the Free Program (indeed, Seyfert's free skating was almost in the same league as Janet Lynn's). Moreover, on several occasions, Seyfert had actually beaten Schuba in the compulsories. Hence, there is absolutely no reason why this trend would not have continued and in my view, had Seyfert not retired she would have gone on to win the Olympic title in 1972.

    About a year ago, Aliceanne in another thread provided the following explanation as to why Seyfert may have retired:-

    I've no idea whether this is true or not, but if it is then the GDR literally threw away a gold medal as they would not have another genuine female singles medal contender until Anett Pötzsch came onto the scene and won the 1980 Olympic title - 10 years after Seyfert's retirement.

    Whatever the reason's for her daughters premature retirement, Jutta Müller was certainly a force to be reckoned with and one superb coach. Ultimately, her student's would go on to win 3 Olympic gold medals and 10 world championships. Carlo Fassi's students, by contrast, won 4 Olympic gold medals and 8 world championship titles. Quite simply, Müller, by any analyses, was one of greatest coaches of all time. And it certainly came as a surprise to learn of Megan Taylor's role in her development.......!

    Here are some new videos I found of Megan Taylor & Cecelia Colledge:-

    Megan Taylor - Tour of Australia 1939 - Melbourne Ice Show

    Megan Taylor & Cecelia Colledge - 1937 World Championships (won by Colledge)
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  2. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    Good, for you, Frau Mueller. Nothing like someone's patronizing dismissal to light a fire under you. I wonder if there is any footage of her skating. It would be fascinating to see how closely her style resembled the East German assembly line she built (including Seyfert, Morgenstern, Poetzsch, Witt, Grossmann and Lang.)

    Taylor and Colledge (if I recall correctly) really do come off as a couple of venel b******. Wasn't Cecelia the trainer for a well - known US ladies' skater, making her training environment very uncomfortable complete with barbed remarks and criticisms.

    Who knows, maybe they thought that's what it took to build winners.
  3. Mafke

    Mafke Well-Known Member

    Not my impression at all. Can't speak for Taylor (though the supposed quote isn't nice) but Colledge always seemed (in later life interviews) like a person I'd really like to know. I'm sure she wasn't soft (being a competitive athlete and going thru a war at close quarters will do that) but I never detected any rhymes-with-witchiness in her. She always seemed more like a tough but fair school marm.
  4. snoopysnake

    snoopysnake Well-Known Member

    Christine Errath did win Worlds in 1974 and the Olympic bronze in 1976. Was she coached by U.M. too?
  5. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    I found the Witt book a fascinating tale of abuse. Lengthy descriptions of how mueller would destroy her confidence totally, followed by reassurance of how with muller's help and no other way, Witt could succeed. The Stockholm syndrome love letter tone only makes it scarier.

    The whole GDR sports machine is a testament to mind over matter positive thinking. Not a single one of muller's champions were unbeatable, yet somehow they all managed to pull it off when more talented skaters faltered.
  6. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    No - she was coached by Inge Wischnewski. For some reason, I always keep forgetting about Errath (Errath put up a solid showing at the 72 Olympics by finishing 8th. Hence, the fact remains that Seyfert was the GDR's only serious hope of winning the 72 Olympic title in the Ladies competition). Muller was coaching Sonja Morgenstern at the time and was also in the process of taking over as the coach of Potzsch from Seyfert.

    Interestingly, Morgenstern, the skater who replaced Seyfert as Muller's main hope for the 72 Olympics, finished 6th.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  7. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    ok, who am I blanking on? 1. Peggy 2. Peggy 3. Peggy 4. Curry 5. Hamil 6. Trenary 7. ______? 8. _______?
  8. VALuvsMKwan

    VALuvsMKwan Wandering Goy

    Robin Cousins, according to Wikipedia but that makes only 7 (oops Olympic champ).
  9. Maofan7

    Maofan7 Member

    Yikes :yikes: - I can't count

    Sorry - I read somewhere (specifically, this wiki source here) that it was 8 without double checking myself (the moral of the story being - never rely on Wikipedia!). Just makes Frau Muller's achievements even more impressive (apologies also for the typo - Muller's students won 3 olympics and 10 worlds between 1969 - 1988 (not 1980) i.e. Katarina's 1988 world and olympic wins. I put a zero in instead of an eight)

    Terrible thing, statistics. You rely upon what others have compiled as being correct as it saves on time. However, unless you go though it yourself in a forensic manner, you can never truly rely upon them. That's what politicians are able to exploit. Hence, the phrase - 'lies, damn lies, and statistics'
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2011
  10. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Very interesting thread, thanks for starting it. Unfortunately I don't know any more about Taylor's career than you have posted here.

    I think that's a bit strong. The skater you were referring to is the 1963 US Champion Lorraine Hanlon who published a memoir on her amateur career here. There was a thread on it at the time and I was disturbed by what I read. But when you consider Cecilia's own childhood and training, a lot of it makes sense. Mrs Colledge wanted her daughter to be the next Sonja Henie and took her to Jacques Gerschwiler asking, 'what does one have to do to make one's daughter into a skating champion'. So the story goes, Gerschwiler conducted a number of physical assessments on Cecilia - for some of which she was stripped naked - all infront of Mrs Colledge who did not bat an eyelid.

    Gerschwiler was eventually installed in the Colledge family home where he was put in total control of Cecilia's training, diet and daily routine. I suppose it was no different to other upper class children who saw more of their governesses than their parents, but it's certainly not what we would perceive as a healthy upbringing today. We all teach what we ourselves learnt whether it be right or wrong and clearly Colledge's teaching methods were based on what she knew from Gerschwiler

    Megan was coached by her father Phil Taylor who was a well known show skater. We've seen time and again that skaters coached by parents doesn't make for a happy training ground so who knows what Taylor did with the GDR skaters.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  11. berthesghost

    berthesghost Well-Known Member

    ^ both Brits seem to share a barbed style of witticisms. I actually think the ticket holder comments is funny, but can see how not everyone would share the same sense of humore.

    CC is always like this IMO. Like vah she's always first inline to tell anyone with a microphone about what a bitch from hell Henie was or what a bitch from hell her own mother was, usually leaving me thinking "guess it takes one to know one" :lol:
    I think other skaters ( Fleming, Kirk, etc... Are more diplomatic or fair in describing life with a skating mom )

    I also think muller was more inspired than is being let on. Her style seems to revolve around constant verbal criticism of her skaters, and a good smack if need be. Unless of course they win, then she'll practically Frech them in the k&c :lol:
  12. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    Wasn't Tina Noyes (Peggy Fleming's contemporary) also coached by Colledge? She medaled at U.S. Nationals several times and made 2 Olympic teams.
  13. leapfrogonice

    leapfrogonice Active Member

    Fascinating. The family ties go beyond and many ways in this sport.