Category Archives: Figure skating

Medals changing hands after the Olympics

The Australian Athletics Federation is looking to overturn Olympic results from 1948 and 1980. It hopes to help Shirley Strickland to a bronze medal in the 1948 200 m and Ian Campbell to a gold in the 1980 triple jump. Although it’s not very likely that they will be successful, medal changes years after the fact are not without precedent in Olympic history. In fact, even if the 1948 result changes 67 years after the fact, it wouldn’t even be a record.

We’ve made a compilation of occasions in Olympic history when the medal results changed at least a month after the end of the Games. All doping related cases have been excluded – they warrant an article of their own.

1904

All Olympic record books list the silver medallist in the 1904 lightweight boxing event as Jack Egan (sometimes spelled Eagan). He lost the final on decision to Harry Spanjer, while Russell Van Horn took third place. But more than a year later, Egan was discovered to have been fighting under an alias. This was not uncommon at the time, as many more wealthy citizens did not want to be associated with sports. Egan’s real name was Frank Floyd, and he came from Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. While this may not seem serious, by the rules of the AAU it was illegal to fight under an assumed name, a so-called ringer. In November 1905, the AAU decided that Egan would be disqualified from all AAU competitions, and he would have to return his prizes. The Atlantic Association that had knowingly accepted Floyd’s application as Egan was also expelled from the AAU.

This late decision to revise the Olympic results in this event has, as far as we know, never been published since the events in 1905, and was only rediscovered in 2008 by Taavi Kalju (a member of the OlyMADMen, just like the authors of this blog). More than 100 years after the fact, Peter Sturholdt can be recognized as a new Olympic medallist – all the more remarkable considering he never won a single fight.

1912

The star athlete of the 1912 Olympics was American Jim Thorpe. He had overwhelmingly won both the pentathlon and the decathlon events.  The King of Sweden gave him his gold medals and told him, “You, sir, are the greatest athlete in the world.”

In early 1913, it was revealed that Thorpe had played minor league baseball in the United States. For this he was retroactively declared a professional by the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) and the IOC and his records at the 1912 Olympics were declared void. He had to return his gold medals. What is not so well known is that Thorpe should never have been disqualified in the first place.

An all-round athlete, Thorpe also played professional football, baseball and basketball

Over the years numerous attempts were made to get the IOC to reverse the decision, mostly started by Thorpe’s children. Some efforts succeeded gradually. In 1973, the AAU restored Thorpe’s amateur status for the years 1909-1912. This was followed in 1975 by the United States Olympic Committee making a similar restoration.

In 1982, the Thorpe family, aided by Bob Wheeler, one of Thorpe’s biographers, and his wife, Florence Ridlon, succeeded in their long struggle to have Jim Thorpe’s medals restored by the International Olympic Committee. It was revealed in Sports Illustrated that a key factor in this decision was a discovery by Ridlon, who found a pamphlet in the Library of Congress which gave the rules and regulations for the 1912 Olympic Games. It stated that the statute of limitations for a claim against any Olympic athlete’s eligibility in 1912 had to have been made within 30 days after the awarding of the prizes. The announcement of Thorpe’s professional baseball career occurred in January 1913. Thus it was almost six months after the end of the Olympics and his disqualification was completely unwarranted.

On 27 February 1982, Wheeler and Ridlon founded The Jim Thorpe Foundation, expressly for the purpose of moving to have his medals and honors restored. On 13 October 1982, only eight months after the formation of The Jim Thorpe Foundation, but fully 70 years too late, the IOC Executive Board approved, in a sense, the restoration of Jim Thorpe’s medals, declaring him co-winner with Sweden’s Hugo Wieslander (decathlon) and Norway’s Ferdinand Bie (pentathlon). At a meeting of the IOC Executive Board, this time on 18 January 1983 in Los Angeles, commemorative medals were presented to Bill and Gail Thorpe, two of Thorpe’s children.

1924

The inaugural Olympic ski jumping competition ended with a clean sweep for the Norwegians – or so it seemed.

Anders Haugen – Olympic medallist after 50 years.

Almost 40 years later, Thoralf Strømstad – a silver medallist in the cross country and Nordic combined at the 1924 Games – contacted Norwegian ski historian Jacob Vaage, claiming that the points from the ski jumping event for Thorleif Haug had been miscalculated, and that his final points should be behind Haugen’s. Vaage checked the case and had to agree with the 77-year-old Strømstad. In 1974 IOC decided to award the bronze medal to Haugen, at that time an elderly gentleman of 86. He was invited to Norway, and at a nice ceremony Haug’s bronze medal from 1924 was handed over to Haugen by Haug’s youngest daughter. Thorleif Haug himself died already in December 1934 from pneumonia at the age of 40. But Haugen was pleased to meet some of his Norwegian competitors from 1924: Narve Bonna, Einar Landvik and also Thoralf Strømstad, the man responsible for justice being made after 40 years.

1952

America’s Ed Sanders created carnage in the heavyweight boxing division in Helsinki as he battered his way to the final with three brutal knockout victories. His opponent in the final, Sweden’s Ingemar Johansson, appeared to be completely intimidated by the American’s reputation and spent most of the fight backpedalling around the ring. When Sanders did get into range Johansson would simply grab hold of his opponent. Eventually an increasingly irate referee grew tired of warning the Swede and disqualified him for “not trying”. This also had the effect of denying Johansson his silver medal and the second step on the podium remained vacant.

Ingemar Johansson, who waited almost three decades to receive his silver medal.

Johansson did become a household name as a professional when he became the first European to win the World Heavyweight Championship for over 20 years after knocking out Olympic champion Floyd Patterson. In 1982, 30 years after his Olympic embarrassment, Johansson was finally awarded his silver medal after the IOC were persuaded to reverse their decision.

But Johansson was not the only boxer from 1952 to receive his medal late. In 1950, the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) had decided to eliminated the bronze medal match, having the losing finalists place an equal third. This was accepted by the IOC, on condition that they would not receive a bronze medal. This is indeed what happened in Helsinki.

But 1970, the president of the Finnish Boxing Association brought up the subject with AIBA, noting the absence of bronze medals in the boxing events to be an injustice. The AIBA President, Rudyard Russell, concurred and contacted the IOC. They received approval for the matter through IOC director Monique Berlioux, although no formal decision was made during an IOC Session. Six of the 20 losing semi-finalists received the medal in a ceremony in Finland on 2-3 April 1970, while the others received theirs in the mail.

1964

The pair’s competition at the Innsbruck figure skating was won by the Soviet husband-wife pair of Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov, beating the favored German pair of Marika Kilius and Hans-Jürgen Bäumler. Shortly after the Innsbruck Olympics, it was revealed that Kilius/Bäumler had signed a professional contract prior to the event to perform with Holiday on Ice. This should have disqualified them as professionals, but strangely no definite action was initially taken against them by the IOC or the International Skating Union.

Kilius and Bäumler (left) at the 1964 medal ceremony

A few weeks later they won the World Championships, defeating Belousova and Protopopov. It was felt that the West German Olympic Committee, lobbying the IOC for the 1972 Olympic bid, wanted to present themselves in the best possible manner and encouraged the German skaters to return their medals. The IOC formed a special sub-committee to examine the case, and the minutes of the Executive Committee note, “A special sub-committee under Ivar Vind had studied the case of the German figure skaters. They had been found ‘non-amateurs’. Willi Daume said that ‘The German NOC will do what is necessary.’

At the 65th IOC session the IOC passed a resolution, which was printed in the Olympic Review, volume 95, page 39, from 15 August 1966 which stated, “We have received the silver medals back, and we will award them to the original third-place finishers. The bronze medals will be awarded to the original fourth-place finishers.” In January 1966, Kilius/Bäumler returned their silver medals to the IOC. Silver medals were awarded to Wilkes and Revell by Canadian IOC Member James Worrall during the 1967 Canadian Figure Skating Championships, while the Josephs received bronze medals from USOC President Tug Wilson at a small private ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel in Chicago, during the 1966 USA Figure Skating Championships. However, no action was ever taken by the ISU, who continued to list Kilius/Bäumler as silver medalists and World Champions in 1964.

However, the controversy did not end there. In 1987, the German NOC rather surreptitiously requested the return of the silver medals to Kilius and Bäumler, which was in keeping with the ISU ruling as well. They asked the IOC to do this, stating that it was known that other skaters had signed similar contracts in that era. At the 1987 IOC Session in Istanbul, the IOC approved this request and the Germans received new silver medals on 5 December 1987, when German NOC president Willi Daume presented replicas of the originals to Kilius and Bäumler on the German television show “Sportstudio”.

Contacted in the late 90s, Debbi Wilkes and Vivian Joseph knew nothing of this, and still thought the German pair had been disqualified. Wilkes and Revell kept their silver medals, in fact, Revell’s medal was buried with him after his death, and the Josephs kept their bronze medals. Thus four silver medals were eventually awarded in this event. The IOC lists did not change the standings for many years, but recognizing that two sets of silver medals have been awarded in this event, now list Kilius/Bäumler and Wilkes/Revell as =2nd and as silver medalists, and have the Josephs in 3rd place with bronze medals. The ISU has never changed the original rankings, continuing to list Kilius/Bäumler 2nd, Wilkes/Revell 3rd, and the Josephs 4th.

1968

In a similar case to the 1952 boxing, American featherweight Al Robinson was disqualified in the final against home fighter Antonio Roldán. In a dubious decision, Robinson was disqualified for head butting. As in 1952, this officially ruled him out of a silver medal. However, US officials protested the decision and Robinson received the medal after returning home. He did not enjoy it for long, as he fell into a coma during training in 1971, and eventually died three years later.

1984

The women’s 100 m hurdles, severely hurt by the Soviet boycott, saw Benita Fitzgerald-Brown edge out Shirley Strong (GBR). Third-place was announced at first as a dead heat between Kim Turner (USA) and France’s Michele Chardonnet, but after reviewing photos of the finish, the judges reversed themselves and gave the bronze medal to Turner. But Chardonnet was not informed of this until she was standing on the infield awaiting the medal ceremony, and she left the field sobbing. The French Athletics Federation protested and 3½ months later the decision was reverted to a dead-heat. Chardonnet received her bronze medal six months after the Olympics ended.

Kim Turner (right) on her way to a shared bronze.

 

1992

Canadian Sylvie Fréchette, the 1991 World Champion and World Cup Champion was favored to win the women’s solo synchronized swimming event at the Barcelona Games. She was expected to be challenged by American Kristin Babb-Sprague, who was stronger in the freestyle final routine. Fréchette was expected to open a lead in the technical figures. But in that segment, Brazilian judge Maria de Silveira gave Fréchette an unaccountably low score of 8.7. De Silveira maintained that she had made a mistake and hit the wrong button, and meant to give her a score of 9.7. But the score could not be changed, per the FINA rules. The Canadians appealed the decision after the technical figures, but this was overturned 11-2, the two dissenting votes coming from the Canadian members of the Jury of Appeal. This let Babb-Sprague take the lead after the technical figures, and Fréchette was unable to overcome that lead, as Babb-Sprague seemingly won the gold medal.

Fréchette hugs Babb-Sprague from the silver medal section of the podium.

But that would not be the end of it. Dick Pound, powerful Canadian IOC Member, led a further appeal to have the results overturned. FINA eventually caved to the pressure and elected to declare Fréchette and Babb-Sprague as co-champions, and awarded Fréchette a gold medal in October 1993.

2000

Dong Fangxiao, who was only 14 years old at the time of the Sydney Olympics

 

As a member of the Chinese women’s gymnastics team at the Sydney Olympics, Dong Fangxiao earned a bronze medal. Eight years later, she was entered as an official for the Beijing Olympics. The birth information she used for that application – stating a birth year of 1986 – was different from the one used at the Sydney Games, when she claimed to have been born in 1983.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) launched an investigation, as a birth year of 1986 would have made Dong only 14 at the time of the Sydney Olympics, two years under the age limit of 16. The FIG concluded 1986 was Dong’s actual birth year, and disqualified her from the 2000 Games. The IOC went along with that verdict, and handed the bronze medal from the team all-around to the United States.

USA Event Factsheets for 12 February – Wednesday

USA Sports Factsheets

We’ll now deviate a bit for a few days. To date, all of our posts have been somewhat “general,” giving information about athletes or interesting facts from all nations. The Factsheets by sports that were posted were also general, with data for all nations and all athletes.

For the next few days, I will include USA-oriented Factsheets by sports, for our US Media. After we finish this (hopefully by Wednesday, 22 January), we will return to more general information.

Entries close for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games tomorrow, the 19th January. Thus the next set of information to be sent out will be Factsheets by nations. We will be publishing information for every NOC competing in Sochi, as well as those who have previously competed at the Olympic Winter Games, but will not be attending.

Today, the USA Factsheets will be for the “Big Medal Sports” – Alpine Skiing, Figure Skating, and Speed Skating – the sports in which US Winter Olympic teams have won the most medals, by far.

Figure Skaters in Singles and Pairs

In our Figure Skating Factsheets we gave a list of the Olympic figure skaters who have competed in both singles and pairs at the same Olympic Winter Games, since World War II.

In that list we noted that it used to be much more but it has been done only 12 times since 1948, and only three times since 1972, the last by Australian Stephen Carr in 1994. It has not been done by a woman since West German Tina Riegel in 1980, and prior to that, the last women did it in 1952

But prior to World War II it did occur a bit more often. In all it has been achieved 44 times, 19 by women and 25 by men. Here is the entire list of figure skaters who have competed in singles and pairs at the same Olympic Winter Games, all-time.

Year     Gdr   Name                                                 NOC     ###

1908     F       Madge Syers                                  GBR       1

1920     F       Theresa Weld-Blanchard       USA       1

1920     F       Phyllis Johnson                            GBR       1

1924     F       Theresa Weld-Blanchard       USA      2

1924     F       Andrée Brunet-Joly                   FRA       1

1924     F       Ethel Muckelt                                GBR       1

1924     F       Cecil Smith                                      CAN      1

1928     F       Elvira Barbey                                 SUI         1

1928     F       Theresa Weld-Blanchard       USA       3

1928     F       Melitta Brunner                           AUT      1

1928     F       Andrée Brunet-Joly                   FRA       2

1928     F       Beatrix Loughran                         USA      1

1932     F       Constance Wilson-Samuel     CAN     1

1936     F       Maribel Vinson                              USA      1

1948     F       Grazia Barcellona                         ITA        1

1948     F       Suzi Morrow                                   CAN      1

1948     F       Yvonne Sherman                          USA      1

1952     F       Sissy Schwarz                                 AUT      1

1980     F       Tina Riegel                                       FRG      1

1920     M      MacDonald Beaumont             GBR      1

1920     M      Nathaniel Niles                             USA      1

1920     M      Basil Williams                                GBR      1

1924     M      Pierre Brunet                                 FRA      1

1924     M      Nathaniel Niles                             USA      2

1924     M      Jack Page                                          GBR     1

1924     M      Melville Rogers                             CAN     1

1928     M      Sherwin Badger                             USA     1

1928     M      Pierre Brunet                                  FRA     2

1928     M      Jack Eastwood                               CAN    1

1928     M      Nathaniel Niles                             USA      3

1928     M      Jack Page                                          GBR     2

1928     M      Robert Van Zeebroeck             BEL      1

1928     M      Ludwig Wrede                               AUT     1

1932     M      Bud Wilson                                      CAN    1

1936     M      Ernst Baier                                       GER     1

1936     M      George Hill                                      USA     1

1948     M      Wallace Diestelmeyer              CAN    1

1948     M      Carlo Fassi                                       ITA       1

1948     M      Ede Király                                        HUN     1

1948     M      Helmut Seibt                                 AUT      1

1952     M      Kurt Oppelt                                   AUT      1

1972     M      Ken Shelley                                    USA      1

1994     M      Stephen Carr                                 AUS      1

It has never happened that an ice dancer has competed in singles at the Winter Olympics. If we suspect the above combination of singles / pairs may never happen again, I’ll state categorically that no figure skater will ever compete in singles and dance at the Olympics – the dancers don’t do enough jumps.

In the above list two skaters did this 3 times and they were partners – Nathaniel Niles and Theresa Weld-Blanchard skated pairs at the 1920/1924/1928 Winter Olympics, and both also competed in singles at those Olympics. This was also done twice by the husband/wife team of Pierre Brunet and Andrée Brunet Joly at the 1924 and 1928 Winter Olympics.

Finally British skater Jack Page did this twice as well in 1924 and 1928, skating both times with Ethel Muckelt. Muckelt competed in singles in 1924 but not in 1928.

A most unusual scenario, however, has occurred more recently in the case of Japanese-American figure skater Rena Inoue. Born in Japan, Inoue competed in both singles and pairs in her native country. She skated pairs at the 1992 Winter Olympics alongside Tomoaki Koyama, placing 14th. Inoue then returned to the Olympics at Lillehammer in 1994, but competed in singles, finishing 18th. She moved to the United States in 1996 at her father’s urging after he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Inoue herself developed cancer in 1998 but it was cured by chemotherapy and she returned to figure skating in 2000. In 2006, by then skating with John Baldwin, Inoue competed in her third Olympics, again in pairs, and they finished 7th. Baldwin and Inoue became engaged in 2008 and later married.

Don’t look to see anything like this happening in Sochi. But hey, they gave the singles skaters a team trophy for 2014 so they’ll have something else to do.

The First Olympic Winter Sports Champions

The first thing you may have noticed about this blog entry is the title. Not “The first Winter Olympic champions” but specifically “The first Olympic winter sports Champions”. The reason is simple – before the creation of the Winter Games some of the events that were to become part of the winter Olympic programme were held at the Summer Games. Figure skating first appeared at the 1908 Games in London but all winter sports were dropped from the 1912 programme following protests by Scandinavian nations who wished to promote their own Nordic Games. Figure skating returned in 1920 alongside the new sport of ice hockey and this paved the way for the Chamonix Winter Olympics of 1924 to happen.
But who were those first figure skating champions of 1908? Take a look at their biographies below.
Full results from the 1908 Olympic figure skating tournament can be found at http://www.sports-reference.com/olympics/summer/1908/FSK/

Ulrich Salchow (SWE)
Olympic champion – men

Ulrich Salchow was one of the most successful figure skaters of all-time and dominated figure skating in the early 1900s. His name was given to the figure skating jump “Salchow” that he performed for the first time in 1909. He was a specialist of the now defunct compulsories, which accounted for a large percentage of the total marks.
Salchow won 10 World Championships, 1901-05 and 1907-11. He did not compete in the 1906 World Championships that were held in Munich, as he feared that he would not be judged fairly against Gilbert Fuchs of Germany. His 10 titles are still a record, which he shares with Sonja Henie and Irina Rodnina. When figure skating was first contested at the Summer Olympics in London in 1908, Salchow won the title with ease. In addition, Salchow won the European Championships a record nine times (1898-1900, 1904, 1906-07, 1909-10, 1913), placed second in the World Championships three times (1897, 1899-1900) and once at the European Championships (1901). In his early career he was Swedish national champion in 1895-97. In 1976, he was inducted into the Figure Skating World Hall of Fame.
Salchow could not defend his Olympic gold medal at Stockholm in 1912 because organizers opted out of holding skating contests. When he made one last attempt at the Olympics in 1920, it ended in a fall, ironically while attempting his own jump, the Salchow. Despite this, the then 42-year-old managed to place fourth. In 1906, he published a handbook of skating, which was translated into several languages. He was also active in other sports, including cycling and bobsledding.
After his active career Salchow was President of the International Skating Union from 1925-37 and Chairman of the AIK in Stockholm from 1928-39. He was also chairman of the Swedish Cycling Association (1904-07), Swedish Skating Association (1917-20, 1923-32, 1935-38), and helped to found the Swedish Boxing Federation, where he was chairman from 1919-32, and he was a member of the board of the National Sports Confederation (1911-28).
Salchow was an active yachtsman and worked for the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter and Associated Press as a journalist. He was on the board of the Swedish Radio and a successful merchant and radio pioneer.

Nikolay Panin (Kolomenkin) (RUS)
Olympic champion – men’s special figures

As a youth Nikolay Kolomenkin did rowing, cycling, athletics and gymnastics and was introduced to figure skating after 1893, when he enrolled at St. Petersburg University (now St. Petersburg State University). Kolomenkin was fascinated by this new sport and soon became the top Russian figure skater at the turn of 20th century. But for fear of fellow student’s mocking him, Kolomenkin competed in figure skating under the pseudonym Nikolay Panin and used this name throughout his competitive figure skating career.

In 1908 Kolomenkin became the first Russian Olympic winner when he won the special figures event at the London Olympics. Kolomenkin also won silver at the 1903 World Championships in singles, another silver at the 1908 European Championships, and bronze at the 1904 European Championships. He also won the Russian singles title from 1901-05 and 1907. While studying at university, Kolomenkin was an all-around athlete, competing in cycling, rowing, athletics, swimming, skiing and played football and hockey.

After graduating university with a mathematics degree in 1898, Kolomenkin became a competent sports shooter, winning 23 Russian titles in pistol shooting (1906-17). He also competed at the 1912 Olympics as a shooter, finishing eighth in individual free pistol and fourth in team pistol. After winning his Olympic title, Kolomenkin retired from competitive figure skating and worked as a figure skating coach. From 1915-17 Kolomenkin was general secretary of the Russian Olympic Committee and from 1919-30 worked in various financial positions with the Petrograd (later Leningrad) province and oblast governments. From 1933 until his death, Kolomenkin worked as head of the figure skating department at the Lesgaft State Institute of Physical Culture (now Lesgaft National State University of Physical Education, Sport and Health).

Madge Syers (GBR)
Olympic champion – women

Florence Madeline Cave, known to her friends “Madge” was one of fifteen children of Edward Jarvis Cave, a gentleman of independent means. Like many young girls in her position, she joined fashionable London Society at the Prince’s Skating Rink in Knightsbridge, but unlike most of her contemporaries, Madge took her skating seriously and it was through the sport that she met her future husband, Edgar Syers. Syers, who was 19 years her senior, wielded a considerable influence on Madge Caves development as a skater. He encouraged her to forsake the outdated “English” style with its minimal body movement, and in which she had won the 1899 Challenge Shield, and adopt the free and flowing “International’ style of skating. Madge Caves soon became the world’s leading woman skater. She won the first British pairs competition in 1899 with her future husband. The following year Madge and Edgar Syers were married and soon afterwards they finished second in one of the first international pairs competitions in Berlin.
Although the newly married couple was a formidable combination in pairs competitions, it was in individual events that Madge Syers really shone. As there was no rule prohibiting women from competing, she created a sensation by entering the World Championships in 1902 where – even more sensationally – she finished second to the great Ulrich Salchow of Sweden. The authorities immediately barred women from the championships, but in 1905 the ban was rescinded and the following year a separate ladies’ event was introduced at the world championships. Madge easily won this event in 1906 and 1907, but it was not until 1920 that these events were retroactively recognized as official world championships. She also won the first British singles championship in 1903, finishing ahead of Horatio Torromé, and in 1904 she defeated her husband to retain the title. With this record, Madge Syers was a clear favorite for the 1908 Olympic women’s singles and with all five judges placing her a clear first in both the compulsory figures and the free skating, she was an undisputed winner of the gold medal. She also won a bronze medal partnering her husband in the pairs event. After the 1908 Olympics, Madge Syers, who was also a prize winning swimmer and equestrienne, retired because of ill health and she died at the early age of 35.

Annie Hübler and Heinrich Burger (GER)
Olympic champion – pairs

In 1908 Annie Hübler and Heinrich Burger were the first Germans to won the pairs World Championship and they were the first German winter-sport Olympic Champions. They repeated as World Champions in 1910, and won German titles in 1907 and 1909.
Burger was also successful as a singles skater, winning three German Championships in 1904, and 1906-07. He was also runner-up at the World Championships in 1904 and 1906, and third in 1908. In 1905 he was runner-up at the European Championships. Burger later became a figure skating judge, serving on the jury at the 1928 Winter Olympics. He was a lawyer by profession.
Hübler later became an actress and a singer at the Bremen Town Theatre and the München Chamber Theatre. After her marriage to Ernst Horn, she managed the major department store “Horn” in München at the famous town square “Stachus”, which, with more than 1,000 employees, was the third largest catalogue company in Germany in that era. In 1969 she was awarded the Officer’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Figure Skating Olympic Record Scores – All the 6.0s

Olympic writer Alan Abrahamsson talked about the problems with figure skating, and noted in there that people do not understand the new scoring system, in place since the 2002 pairs figure skating controversy. Here are the records for Olympic figure skating, both under the current system, and a listing of all the perfect 6.0 scores, under the old system – that people understood. This can also be found in our Figure Skating Factsheets – just posted today.

Olympic Records for Scoring (Current System since 2006)

Men’s Total                    258.33  Yevgeny Plyushchenko (RUS-2006)

Men’s Short                     90.85  Yevgeny Plyushchenko (RUS-2010)

Men’s Free                    167.67  Yevgeny Plyushchenko (RUS-2006)

Women’s Total           228.56  Kim Yu-Na (KOR-2010)

Women’s Short            78.50  Kim Yu-Na (KOR-2010)

Women’s Free           150.06  Kim Yu-Na (KOR-2010)

Pairs Total                    216.57  Shen Xue / Zhao Hongbo (CHN-2010)

Pairs Short                      76.66  Shen Xue / Zhao Hongbo (CHN-2010)

Pairs Free                     141.81  Pang Qing / Tong Jian (CHN-2010)

Dance Total                 221.57  Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir (CAN-2010)

Dance Compulsory   43.76  Ok. Domnina/Mak. Shabalin (RUS-2010)

Dance OSP                     68.41  Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir (CAN-2010)

Dance Free                  110.42  Tessa Virtue / Scott Moir (CAN-2010)

 

Perfect 6.0s at the Olympics (old system – 1908-2002)

From 1908-2002 scoring in figure skating at the Olympic Winter Games was done on a basis of 0-6 points for each performance, with 6.0 being a “perfect” score, considered the ultimate performance. Following is a listing of the 55 times this was done at the Winter Olympics, fully 19 times by the British ice dance couple of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, 16 of them in 1984. The next most are 7 by Heinrich Hübler and Annie Burger in 1908 pairs figure skating. (Note that in 1908 scoring was only by ½-points, so the only score above 5.5 was 6.0, which slightly devalues those scores.) This is followed by 4 by Russian singles skater Aleksey Yagudin in 2002, and by the Soviet ice dance couple of Natalia Bestemianova and Andrey Bukin in 1988.

Year  Phase/Judge        ScoreType      Skater(s)                        NOC    Judge

1980 Singles-SP; J#7   Req. El’m’ts    Xu Zhaoxiao               CHN    GBR

1998 Singles-SP; J#3   Presentation  Elvis Stojko                CAN    CAN

1936 Singles-FS; J#2   Total Score     Verners Auls              LAT     GBR

1936 Singles-FS; J#7   Total Score     Verners Auls               LAT     TCH

1948 Singles-FS; J#3   Total Score     Per Cock-Clausen    DEN    USA

1988 Singles-FS; J#9   Tech. Merit     Brian Orser                 CAN    TCH

1994 Singles-FS; J#1   Tech. Merit     Viktor Petrenko       UKR    ROU

1998 Singles-FS; J#9   Tech. Merit     Philippe Candeloro FRA     FRA

2002 Singles-FS; J#3   Tech. Merit     Aleksey Yagudin       RUS    USA

2002 Singles-FS; J#4   Tech. Merit     Aleksey Yagudin       RUS    ROU

2002 Singles-FS; J#6   Tech. Merit     Aleksey Yagudin       RUS    GER

2002 Singles-FS; J#9   Tech. Merit     Aleksey Yagudin       RUS    AZE

1984 Women -FS; J#4 Tech. Merit     Rosalyn Sumners     USA    ITA

1908 Pairs-FS; J#1       Sport. Merit     Hübler / Burger        GER    GER

1908 Pairs-FS; J#2       Sport. Merit     Hübler / Burger        GER    SUI

1908 Pairs-FS; J#2       General Imp.  Hübler / Burger         GER    SUI

1908 Pairs-FS; J#2       General Imp.  Johnson / Johnson   GBR    SUI

1908 Pairs-FS; J#2       Sport. Merit     Syers / Syers               GBR    SUI

1908 Pairs-FS; J#3       Sport. Merit     Hübler / Burger        GER    ARG

1908 Pairs-FS; J#3       Sport. Merit     Syers / Syers               GBR    ARG

1908 Pairs-FS; J#4       Sport. Merit     Hübler / Burger        GER    GBR

1908 Pairs-FS; J#4       General Imp.  Hübler / Burger          GER    GBR

1908 Pairs-FS; J#5       Sport. Merit     Hübler / Burger        GER    RUS

1976 Pairs-SP; J#3       Req. El’m’ts    Rodnina / Zaytsev     URS    TCH

1994 Pairs-FS; J#8       Tech. Merit     Gordeyeva/Grinkov RUS   RUS

1998 Pairs-FS; J#6       Tech. Merit     Kazakova/Dmitriyev RUS   CZE

1984 Dance-OSP; J#1 Artistic Imp.    Torvill / Dean              GBR   HUN

1984 Dance-OSP; J#1 Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean               GBR   HUN

1984 Dance-OSP; J#7 Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean               GBR   ITA

1984 Dance-OSP; J#8 Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean               GBR   CAN

1988 Dance-OSP; J#9 Tech. Merit     Bestiamanova/Bukin URS FRA

1994 Dance-OSP; J#3 Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean               GBR   GBR

1994 Dance-OSP; J#5 Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean               GBR   UKR

1998 Dance-OSP; J#7 Tech. Merit    Krylova/Ovsyannikov RUS RUS

2002 Dance-OSP; J#1 Tech. Merit     Lobacheva/Averbukh RUS  POL

1976 Dance-FD; J#3    Tech. Merit     Pakhomova/Gorshkov URS URS

1984 Dance-FD; J#1    Artistic Imp.    Torvill / Dean               GBR  HUN

1984 Dance-FD; J#1    Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean                GBR  HUN

1984 Dance-FD; J#2    Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean                GBR  URS

1984 Dance-FD; J#3    Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean                GBR  FRG

1984 Dance-FD; J#4    Artistic Imp.    Torvill / Dean                GBR  GBR

1984 Dance-FD; J#4    Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean                 GBR  GBR

1984 Dance-FD; J#5    Artistic Imp.    Torvill / Dean                GBR  JPN

1984 Dance-FD; J#5    Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean                  GBR    JPN

1984 Dance-FD; J#6    Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean                  GBR   TCH

1984 Dance-FD; J#7    Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean                  GBR    ITA

1984 Dance-FD; J#8    Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean                  GBR  CAN

1984 Dance-FD; J#9    Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean                  GBR  USA

1988 Dance-FD; J#1    Tech. Merit     Bestiamanova/Bukin  URS  URS

1988 Dance-FD; J#5    Tech. Merit     Bestiamanova/Bukin  URS   ITA

1988 Dance-FD; J#9    Tech. Merit     Bestiamanova/Bukin  URS   FRA

1994 Dance-FD; J#1    Tech. Merit     Grishchuk / Platov       RUS   RUS

1994 Dance-FD; J#3    Tech. Merit     Torvill / Dean                  GBR   GBR

1998 Dance-FD; J#8    Tech. Merit     Grishchuk / Platov       RUS   ITA

1998 Dance-FD; J#9    Tech. Merit     Grishchuk / Platov        RUS   FRA

 

Perfect 12.0s at the Olympics (Both Scores) (old system – 1908-2002)

And under the old system, there were six occurrences when skaters received a perfect score of 12.0 for their performance, with perfect 6.0 score on both measured elements (which have differed over the years). This was done twice by the German pair of Heinrich Hübler and Annie Burger in 1908 (again with the caveat that scoring was only by ½-points), and four times by the British dance couple of Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean in 1984.

Year   Phase/Judge           Type    Skater(s)                NOC     Judge

1908  Pairs – FS; J#2         Both      Hübler / Burger     GER      SUI

1908  Pairs – FS; J#4         Both      Hübler / Burger     GER      GBR

1984  Dance – OSP; J#1   Both    Torvill / Dean         GBR      HUN

1984  Dance – FD; J#1      Both    Torvill / Dean         GBR      HUN

1984  Dance – FD; J#4      Both    Torvill / Dean         GBR      GBR

1984  Dance – FD; J#5      Both    Torvill / Dean         GBR      JPN

 

Figure Skating Factsheet

Olympic History:          Figure skating began in the mid- to late-19th century in Europe, but two Americans are responsible for major developments in its history.  In 1850, Edward Bushnell of Philadelphia revolutionized skating technology when he introduced steel-bladed skates.  This allowed the creation of fancy twists and turns on the ice.  Another American, Jackson Haines, a ballet master, lived in Vienna in the 1860’s and added the elements of ballet and dance to figure skating.

Figure skating competitions were held in the 1880s and the International Skating Union was formed in 1892, the first true international governing body of any sport.  Originally men and women competed together, with the first world championship being held in what was then and is now St. Petersburg, Russia (formerly Leningrad) in 1896.  The first women’s championship was held in 1906.  Originally free skating was completely subordinate to the school figures, which entailed tracing pretty figures on the ice.

Figure skating is the oldest sport on the Winter program.  It was contested at the London Olympics of 1908 and again in 1920 at Antwerp.  Events for men, women, and pairs were contested through 1972, when in 1976, ice dancing, long a popular event, was added to the program as a fourth event.  It had been a demonstration event in 1968 at Grenoble.

Scoring has evolved during the century also, as the former predominance of school figures in the scoring gave way in the early 1970s.  In 1972, Janet Lynn of the United States finished third in the Olympics despite being the best free skater by a significant margin (some experts consider her the greatest free skater ever, relative to her era).  This gave impetus to the movement to decrease the importance of school, or compulsory, figures.  In the mid-1980s the ISU ruled that school figures would no longer be held at international competitions.  They last were contested at the 1990 World Championships and were not a part of the figure skating Olympic program beginning in Albertville.

At the 2002 Winter Olympics, a great controversy occurred in the pairs competition, in which the Canadian team of Jamie Salé and David Pelletier was originally placed second behind the Russian pair of Yelena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze.  But it developed that the French judge had colluded to score the Russians higher in exchange for her French dance team being scored higher in that event.  The ISU and IOC intervened and declared the two teams co-champions.  But this led to a complete overhaul of the figure skating scoring system that was gradually put into place over the next four years.  The scoring moved away from an ordinals system, with places determined by majority ordinal placement, to a point-scoring system in which skaters received points for difficulty and execution.  Deductions were more mandatory and the entire system was very different.  It was used in 2006 for the first time at the Winter Olympics, but has remained very difficult for the public to understand, much more so than the old perfect 6.0 score system, and because of the emphasis on scoring points, some critics say it has turned all events into jumping competitions.

Figure skating is governed internationally by the International Skating Union (ISU), which was founded in July 1892, making it the oldest winter sport IF. The ISU governs all skating on the Olympic Program – figure skating, speed skating, and short-track speed skating.  As of November 2013, the ISU lists itself as having 87 affiliated national federations, but this is only technically correct.  There are actually only 68 nations affiliated with the ISU, as follows: Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, DPR Korea (North), Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Grenada, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, and Uzbekistan.

Seventeen nations have two federations – one for figure skating, and one for speed skating.  These seventeen nations are:  Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, Sweden, Ukraine, and the United States.  This would make 85 affiliated federations, but the ISU also recognizes two “Club” members, who were among the earliest members of the ISU.  These “Club” members represent Stockholm, Sweden (Stockholms Allmänna Skridskoklubb) (1892) and Davos, Switzerland (Internationaler Schlittsschuh-Club Davos) (1896).