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Thread: Linda Fratianne Update

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  1. #1
    SkateFan4Life
    Guest

    Linda Fratianne Update


    The August 2003 issue of "Blades on Ice" has a very nice feature article on one of my favorite skaters, 1980 Olympic silver medalist Linda Fratianne. Linda is again performing in various ice shows, on a somewhat limited basis, but it's great to know she is out there on the ice performing again occasionally.

    The article mentioned that Linda has lived in Sun Valley, Idaho since her 1988 marriage to former ski racer Nick Maricich. Her daughter, Ali (Alexandra), was born in 1991 and is now 12 years old. Fratianne appeared in the Sun Valley summer and winter ice shows for many years, and she is now in her third year as head pro at the Sun Valley skating school.

    Sadly, Linda and her husband divorced in August of 2001, which resulted in a number of changes. They sold the family house, and Linda moved to a different neighborhood in Sun Valley. Apparently, Linda and Nick share custody of their daughter, and Ali is shuttled back and forth between her parents, two weeks at a time.

    Since her divorce, Fratianne has been spending time in Southern California working with her old coach, Frank Carroll. She teaches students side by side with Frank and sometimes takes over for him when he has to be away from the
    HealthSouth complex.

    Quite a lot of the article focused on Fratianne's still bitter memories of finishing second at the 1980 Olympics. She came into the Olympics as the defending World champion and finished second to East Germany's Annet Poetszch. In essence, Linda felt that she had let her family, country, and coach down, and she would not look at the silver medal for years.

    The spectre of politics was mentioned in the article:
    "I remember about a year before the Olympics, Carlo Fassi came to my mom and dad and said he wasn't sure Frank had the political connections to get me the gold - if they'd put me with him, he could almost assure you that their daughter would get that gold medal......My parents didn't even have to ask me about that, as I was completely loyal to Frank." She added, "Sometimes I wonder what would have happened back in 1980 if the USFSA had gotten behind me like the Canadian Association got behind their pair team. But back then, you just did your job and went home were glad you weren't third."



  2. #2
    Grgranny
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    Just an aside about split custody. They should leave the kids in one place and the parents should be the ones to move in and out.

  3. #3
    Lois
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    I haven't read this article yet, but as far as the 1980 Olympics is concerned it sounds like more of the same misleading sour grapes that Linda Fratianne and Frank Carroll spew out to the media whenever they have an opportunity. Just as a reminder to those who didn't see the 1980 Olympics or have forgotten the details, there are many people who do *not* think that Fratianne was robbed (she lost 7-2, so the judges were in fairly close agreement in favor of Anett), and it was *Denise Biellmann* who won the long program in Lake Placid, was 2nd in the short (and should have been first there as well, IMHO), and missed a medal entirely because Denise's 12th place in figures left her 4th overall. Denise was really the free skating star of the 1980 Olympics, not Linda, and I have never once seen an interview where Fratianne or Carroll acknowledge Denise's existence.

    Also, Anett Poetzsch was the 1978 World Champion and 1977 and 1979 World silver medalist, so her win in 1980 wasn't a big upset.

    Lois


  4. #4
    Joesitz
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    Lois - I fully understand the power of figures and if there was no hanky panky going on during the school figures (as was suggested by Scott Hamilton) then Anette could deserve the gold medal despite the extremely weak free skate.

    Denise Bielman winning the free makes sense but putting her back so far in figures does not.

    In the last analysis I think fans are disappointed the best free skater (Bielman or Fratianne - pick your choice!) lost out to a really incompetent free skater.

    Joe

  5. #5
    Show 42
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    Joe, this supports my position exactly. The importance of the Oly Gold has always been exaggerated and made to represent the owner of one as the "best" in the World instead of the "luckiest" at the time.........42

  6. #6
    GSK8
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    Sat near her at worlds. She looked great but had on a VERY low-cut, deep-V top which got a lot of attention - therefore obstructing some of my view from the ice as others were noticing - including my boyfriend....

  7. #7
    SkateFan4Life
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    Here's another section of the article I'd like to share with you.
    Linda Fratianne states, in reference to the 1980 Winter Olympics, in which she finished second to Annet Poetszch,
    "My older sister told me something she'd never told me before.
    She said that our mom was in one of the bathrooms at the Olympic rink the night before the long programs, and there were two international judges in the bathroom. Obviously, they didn't see her. They were talking, and one of them said,
    'I guess tomorrow night we're going to have to put Fratianne second.' My mother called my sister and was just devastated,
    but they never told me. And I'd never heard it from my sister except for this situation."

    Frankly, if this story is true, I have to wonder why Mrs.
    Fratianne did not immediately report this to the US Olympic delegation. This sounds as if some sort of deal had been made
    between the judges that would have relegated Fratianne to the silver medal position, regardless of how well she skated in the long program.

    Certainly, that was a different time. The Cold War was on in all its hostility, the US was threatening to pull out of the 1980
    Moscow Summer Olympics - and the USOC announced during the Winter Olympics that, indeed, the US team would stay home from those Games. Wheeling and dealing among the judges had been going on for decades, much to the disgust of skaters, coaches, families, and fans alike, but it was a thing that people accepted as "the way it was".

    Perhaps Mrs. Fratianne did not want to say anything for that might result in other judges voting against her daughter.

    Still, I certainly wish that Mrs. Fratianne had said something!!
    At this late date, there's nothing that could be done to change the results of the competition.

    In any case, the best skater at the 1980 Winter Olympics was Denise Biellman, who finished fourth, thanks to a 12th place finish in the school figures. Denise was second in the short, and she won the long program, but she finished out of the medals. Linda Fratianne was third in the figures, first in the short, and second in the long. Annet Poetszch won fairly and squarely, according to the rules of the time, with a first place finish in the school figures, fourth in the short, and third in the long program.

  8. #8
    SusanBeth
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    I remember it well. I think, there is a valid reason for believing something was going on behind the scenes. Both Linda and Denise had great free skates. Annett, to put it kindly, wasn't in their league as a free skater. Even if she managed to get through her long, it never looked good.

    It's true. In those days, figures made it harder to prove that a fix was in. Every clunky skater on the podium was said to have an extraordinary gift (in some cases- a seemingly superhuman gift) for figures. Who could argue with that?

    IMO, the bottom line is that I saw nothing in the short or long program that would justify Annett winning the gold medal.

  9. #9
    Glacierskater
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    SKATEFAN:
    Thanks for sharing this. I have read about this issue in various skating books. I will be getting the Blades to check this out.

  10. #10
    Jaana
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    >I remember it well. I think, there is a valid reason for believing something was going on behind the scenes. Both Linda and Denise had great free skates. Annett, to put it kindly, wasn't in their league as a free skater. Even if she managed to get through her long, it never looked good.>

    Well, I remember these skaters. In those days the school figures were a part of the competitions, and many good skaters in short programme or especially in freeskate suffered because they were not so good in school figures. That was of course for the audience hard to grasp, because they did not see as the skaters performed those figures (at least I never did, LOL, in any broadcast). Earlier the school figures counted even more!

    Denise was really great and although I was not a fan of Annett, I had no problems that she won. That´s just the way the matters were in those days because of the school figures, and besides Annett´s freeskate was nothing like that of Schuba... I have a vague remembrance that I was no special fan of Linda´s skating.

    Sometimes in near past (before the qualification rounds became obligatory for all skaters) a few skating fans had problems with the results as their favourite did a great freeskate, but had failed in some jump in the short programme. Somebody else won the competition because she/he was perfect in short programme and good enough in freeskate to win the whole competition. To win a skater has to succeed well in all areas which are included in the competition, in that particular time they are/were competing.

    Marjaana

  11. #11
    Lois
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    I find it very interesting that Fratianne and Carroll have started telling some of these stories only after Carlo Fassi's death, when he can no longer defend himself (Linda Fratianne's mother is also dead, so Virginia Fratianne can't be questioned about her daughter's latest 2nd hand allegations). There's almost certainly no way to prove or disprove Fratianne's latest stories in Blades, but given her and Frank Carroll's history of bitter lies and distortion and their opportunism at SLC in 2002 (trying to gain publicity by claiming that 1980 was the same story as the very real 2002 pairs scandal, when the facts were *very* different in many critical respects in 1980), I can't help being cynical about her ever-so-convenient and impossible-to-verify charges. As I posted earlier, Fratianne lost 7-2 in 1980, so either she really wasn't that great (as a lot of knowledgeable skating people think, though she has her fans) or there were a *lot* of corrupt or incompetent judges in 1980.

    I thought Denise Biellmann was far and away the best free skater in 1980, but IMHO Anett Poetzsch was usually a better free skater than Linda, because ever since I first saw her skate in 1976 I found Linda to be appallingly and utterly unmusical, a problem compounded by strong background music like Carmen and Firebird that she skated against, not with. That always grated on me, and I thought that Linda was grossly overmarked for artistic impression. I found Linda competent and robotic technically, but IMHO undistinguished in that area except for a nice tuck sit spin and triple jumps that were advanced when she was hitting the international scene (two triples in a program, the toe loop and salchow) but were no longer exceptional by 1980, when Denise had landed triple lutzes in competition and quite a few of the women, including Anett, also had multiple triples. Personally, I thought that another American, Lisa-Marie Allen (who should have beaten Linda at 1980 Nationals--now *that* was a *genuine* judging scandal that Carroll and Fratianne never mention, of course) was a much better free skater than Linda when she was on, though Lisa-Marie blew it in Lake Placid.

    Anyway, Anett was sort of a pre-Katarina Witt from Jutta Mueller in some ways, but I thought that Anett had personality and did a respectable job with the music she had (selections from musicals in Lake Placid, IIRC). Anett was not a Trixie Schuba as far as free skating was concerned, but she was described in articles in the skating magazines of the period as being exceptionally good in figures, and for the entire 4 or 5 years that she and Linda competed against each other Anett always beat Linda in figures, as did Olympic bronze medalist Dagmar Lurz. Linda's figures placement at the 1980 Olympics was completely consistent with the 3rd or 4th that she'd always received in figures since 1977, and I am not aware of her complaining about her earlier figures placements.

    Incidentally, Sports Illustrated's 1980 coverage had no complaints about Anett beating Linda (unlike the pairs in 2002), nor did the skating magazines of the time. Linda skated a competent but not brilliant long program--she didn't fall apart, but it wasn't a perfect all-time best from her, either, despite the way that she's portrayed it to the media in the past (I don't know what, if anything, she said about that in the Blades article).

    I actually hated the influence of figures on competitions, because IMHO the best free skaters were almost never the best in figures, and there were all sorts of injustices resulting from having figures (12th in figures keeping Denise out of the medals in Lake Placid despite her brilliant free skating, for instance), but to me Fratianne's loss was fair. Regardless of where she ought to have placed, it's sad that she has been so unhappy and bitter about Lake Placid for nearly a quarter of a century now, and has clearly still not come to terms with her silver medal.

    Lois
    ************************************************** ******
    The Robin Cousins Page
    members.aol.com/loisy/cousins/index.htm
    ************************************************** ******



  12. #12
    Verbalgirl77
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    Right. I didn't see the competition, but from what I understand Anett wasn't that bad. I think she placed 3rd in the SP or LP which I don't think is too shabby. She may have been underwhelming, but she didn't 'bomb' during either skate. I personally think anyone compared to Denise in her prime (which still may be going on ) would look like a underwhelming free skater.

    Those who saw it firsthand can feel free to correct me there.

    The whole situation can be viewed in reverse in context. If you're a brilliant compulsory figure skater, do you necessarily need to train to be the best free skater in the world, if that is not required for you to be Olympic champion? It's just part of what you had to be successful at to be a championship skater back then.

  13. #13
    SusanBeth
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    <blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>I find it very interesting that Fratianne and Carroll have started telling some of these stories only after Carlo Fassi's death, when he can no longer defend himself [/quote]

    Linda gave an interview a day or 2 after the final and Fassi's name was brought up. She said, he had taken some part in results. There was also a comment made that, she didn't think Fassi would try anything at worlds.

    She also talked about the figure portion of the competition. She had seen Annett's figures and hadn't thought much of them. She said something about one being off axis? (I don't know a great deal about figures.)

    I remember it so well, because I was shocked to hear a figure skater drop the "nice sweet" and say what they meant. I thought, she was setting herself up for more trouble.

    I wanted to clarify my statement about Annett's skating. She wasn't a bad free skater. She just wasn't all that good. It was clear to anyone watching, her win had nothing to do with what the audience had seen. So, it was only natural for people to be suspicious.

  14. #14
    SkateFan4Life
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    We've heard the Fratianne/Carroll camp hash and rehash the supposed "fix" and/or "deal" that was made at the 1980 Olympics to give Robin Cousins and Annet Poetszch gold medals. Whether or not that's true is pretty much besides the point at this late date.

    It does seem rather crass that Fratianne continues to harp on this subject, especially since both her mother and Carlo Fassi are deceased and cannot tell their side of the story and/or elaborate on what they think happened.

    In my opinion, both Fratianne and Poetszch were pretty robotic on the ice. There was little musical interpretation from either of them - just a lot of jumps and attempts at being graceful. While Poetszch wasn't a clunky free skater in the mold of Trixi Schuba (my apologies to her fans, but the girl finished 7th in the freeskate at the 1972 Olympics and still managed to win the gold medal, thanks to her huge lead in the schooll figures), she (Poetszch) surely wasn't a spectacular skater.

  15. #15
    Lois
    Guest

    Re: Linda Fratianne Update


    I agree with everyone who's posted that both Linda and Anett were robotic and not particularly artistic. I'd definitely give Anett the edge musically, if only because she didn't skate so glaringly against her music, but neither would have made a great or memorable Olympic champion, IMHO. Because of Anett's nationality, she wasn't able to have a pro career that could have given her more publicity over time. My strongest memory of Anett is her Cowboy City comedy exhibition in 1978, which included a cantilever move (pretty much the only time I've seen a woman do a cantilever) and to me was charming and had personality and wasn't your paint-by-numbers female exhibition, so she might have had some aptitude for show skating, had she been given the opportunity. Anyway, as things worked out, Anett vanished after '80 Worlds as far as US audiences were concerned, apart from a Skates of Gold appearance in '93.

    As far as the figures results are concerned, figures are the black box of skating at that time, but, despite Fratianne's claims that she wuz robbed in figures, when Lake Placid came up online in a previous thread (RSSIF newsgroup, I think) someone posted that they had been present at figures and had thought that the figures marks were fair. I wasn't there, and couldn't have judged that anyway, but the figures results were completely consistent with the previous 3 years, actually better for Linda than some years.

    In the days of figures, I read different types of stories about figures complaints. One type was with skaters complaining that they were undermarked or their rivals overmarked to hold them up or down to be in or out of contention overall, and another was that figures judging was reputation-based and good figures skaters who were relatively unknown wouldn't get high marks as a result. There were some skaters who very consistently won or did extremely well in figures but not in free skating, and usually finished out of the medals, such a Jean-Christophe Simond and Claudia Kristofics-Binder, but being really far back in figures, as Denise Biellmann was in '80 and Brian Orser in '84, or Midori Ito some years, was usually too much of a handicap to overcome.

    Fratianne and Carroll did complain about her loss right away, but they waited until after Carlo Fassi died to start telling some of the specific nasty stories to the press that he could have denied (and, in some cases, disproved) had he been alive. Carlo did deny being involved in any anti-Fratianne conspiracy on the record during his lifetime. One of the more outrageous charges that Carroll and Fratianne made was that Carlo hadn't lobbied *for* Fratianne--why *should* he have, when he had 2 World bronze medalists, Emi Watanabe and Susan Driano, who were Olympic contenders going in?! They also made false claims about the judging panel (ie eastern bloc claims when she lost 7-2 with only a minority of Eastern Bloc judges on the panel), and outrageous claims involving the men's judging that can be shown to be false. There's a grasping-at-straws attitude, combined with a desire to lash out in anger and blame someone else, because Linda could only have lost because of cheating, in their minds. My impression was that neither of them could ever accept that maybe Linda *wasn't* that wonderful and had lost fairly, and that denial has been poisoning both of them ever since. I don't think it's been a mentally healthy situation for either of them.

    Lois

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