After a lengthy search, I found my highlight tape from the 1987 World Figure Skating Championships, which were held in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
Wow - these championships were chock-filled with GREAT performances!! The audience was huge, enthusiastic, and very receptive to all of the skaters. I remember watching much of the competition on live television.
Katarina Witt of East Germany regained the World title she had lost to Debi Thomas of the US the previous year. Kat skated what was perhaps her best-ever long program, and she convincingly won the title. She landed five strong triples to selections from "West Side Story", and she played the role of
"Maria" to the hilt. The number was filled with energy, speed, and Katarina looked absolutely stunning. It was obvious as she neared the end of her program that nobody was going to catch her. When she accepted the audience's cheers and left the ice, laden with bouquets, Scott Hamilton stated, "Katarina has just said, "Beat that!" to the rest of the field."
Scott had a very nice live on-the-air television interview with Katarina after she had received her winning scores. She said, "It was so hard for me to go out and skate after Debi. I was nervous, but I wanted to show the audience that I could skate my best under pressure and regain my title."
Debi Thomas skated well, but it wasn't good enough to catch Katarina. Debi was then attempting to juggle full-time pre-medical studies at Stanford University with her figure skating training, and she came to Cincinnati with loads of textbooks, homework, and assignments. That she won the silver medal was a tribute to her talent and competitive spirit, I think.
Caryn Kadavy of the US, the US bronze medalist, won the bronze medal at the Worlds with a lovely, graceful performance that was reminiscent of Peggy Fleming.
The sad note in the women's competition was the meltdown of
Elizabeth Manley of Canada, who had been red-hot during the practices and was in an excellent spot to challenge for the gold medal going into the long program. Elizabeth skated to selections from "Gigi", including "The Night they Invented Champagne", and she became unglued right from the start and missed several jumps. When she finished the long program, she was in complete shock. Her marks dropped her to fourth place, out of the medals.
Jill Trenary had upset Debi Thomas at the US Nationals and was making her first appearance at Worlds. Jill blew the compulsory school figures, finishing out of the top ten in that phase of the competition, so she did not have a realistic chance to medal at this Worlds. Jill's long program, however, was very strong and displayed her great potential.
This was the year that Brian Orser of Canada finally won the World title. He did so masterfully, with a two-triple axel long program and great choregraphy. Brian Boitano, the 1986 World champion, skated well but made a few errors, including a muffed quad attempt, and finished second. Alexandr Fadeev, the 1985 World champion, won the bronze medal.
When Brian Orser approached the podium to receive his gold medal, he stopped momentarily at the second-place spot and then slowly ascended to the gold-medal stand. In essence, he made a "that's one giant leap for mankind" statement. Good for you, Brian! Well done. When "O, Canada" was played for Brian, he became quite choked up. I was glad to see him win the World title, after so many close misses.
Christopher Bowman of the US wowed the audience with his energetic performances. Many proclaimed him as the "next US champion".
Ekatarina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov of the Soviet Union easily defended their World title. They were the class of the field, without question. They were then 15 and 20, and it seemed that a relationship was in the works, from their expressiveness and the emotion that filled their performances.
The silver medal was won by Elena Valova and Oleg Vasiliev, and the bronze medal was won by Jill Watson and Peter Oppegard of the US.
Natalia Bestimianova and Andre Butkin of the Soviet Union defended their world title, with Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomrenko defending their silver medal and Tracy Wilson and Robert McCall of Canada defending their bronze medal.
US Finishers at the 1987 World Championships:
Brian Boitano, 2nd
Christopher Bowman, 7th
Scott Williams, 10th
Debi Thomas, 2nd
Caryn Kadavy, 3rd
Jill Trenary, 7th
Jill Watson/Peter Oppegard, 3rd
Gillian Wachsman/Todd Waggoner, 7th
Suzanne Semanick/Scott Gregory, 5th
Susan Wynne/Joseph Druar, 12th
I remember reading newspaper articles that spoke of the huge traffic jams to and from the arena where the 1987 Worlds was held. So many tickets had been sold, and parking spaces were at a premium.