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Thread: Retrospective Look at 1987 Worlds

  1. #1
    SkateFan4Life
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    Retrospective Look at 1987 Worlds

    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.


    The WOMEN:
    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.

    The MEN:
    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".

    The PAIRS:
    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.

    Ice DANCE:
    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:
    MEN:
    Brian Boitano, 2nd
    Christopher Bowman, 7th
    Scott Williams, 10th

    WOMEN:
    Debi Thomas, 2nd
    Caryn Kadavy, 3rd
    Jill Trenary, 7th

    PAIRS:
    Jill Watson/Peter Oppegard, 3rd
    Gillian Wachsman/Todd Waggoner, 7th

    DANCE:
    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.

  2. #2
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    I don't think I saw this one...I hope I can get a tape somewhere!

  3. #3
    SkateFan4Life
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    If I remember this correctly, Christopher Bowman lingered for several minutes on center ice when he finished his long program, blowing kisses to the audience, bowing, and waving. The audience really seemed to love him - "Bowman the Showman".

    Jill Trenary left the arena in tears when she finished 12th in the school figures - a result that took her out of the hunt for the medals in that competition.

    Katarina Witt was one of the toughest women competitors ever.
    She wanted to regain her World title, and she skated what was probably the best long program of her life to do it. She told the press, "I was first at the Worlds, and also second in the Worlds.
    When I go to Cincinnati, I want to win my title back." Simply spoken, and she backed it up with great skating.

  4. #4
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    The story of Christopher Bowman is so sad...so much unrealized potential.

  5. #5
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    It was a great Worlds. I was there, so I don't have the tapes.
    So wonderful that Brian Orser at last won a World's.

    Another highlight for me was Watson and Oppegard's exciting performance to Firebird. Great adaptation to their problem of being opposite direction jumpers with the prince trying to catch the firebird. Tiny Jill in the red feathers, and Peter a too die for gorgeous prince. Probably their lifetime best performance. The audience went crazy!!

    dpp

  6. #6
    SkateFan4Life
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    Yes! Jill and Peter skated a great long program, and the crowd went wild with their bronze medal win.

    Hopefully, the Ice Channel will broadcast extensive reptrospective
    programs on many of the past World Championships. There are so many wonderful performances for us to enjoy, as well as moments that were heartbreaking. Talk about drama!

  7. #7
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    I don't care about any of it save for Brian Orser winning the world title... that would have been something to see... I love Brian! :D

  8. #8
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    Well, the 1987 Worlds had many wonderful moments aside from Brian Orser's gold medal win. Gordeeva and Grinkov's magical precision and partnership, Katarina Witt's excellent long program, and other strong performances, plus Orser's victory, really made this a tremendous Worlds.

  9. #9
    and... World Peace! Tonichelle's Avatar
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    I came out sounding really stupid LOL

    I meant to say while I'd love to see it all... if I could only see one thing from that year THAT's what I'd want to see... Brian Orser worked hard for that one title...

  10. #10
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    When I had my real estate license in the late 1980s/early 1990s I showed several houses to a woman who was relocating to this area from Cincinnati. I mentioned the 1987 Worlds and said I had tremendously enjoyed watching the competition on television.

    She told me she attended the men's long program and the women's long program and had been screaming her lungs out at the great performances. She added that the crowd was very unbiased - and the huge audience cheered just as loud for Brian Orser as it did for Brian Boitano, and the crowd was very, very responsive towards Katarina Witt. Witt was the best, and the crowd acknowledged that fact.

  11. #11
    SkateFan4Life
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    The 1987 Worlds were one of the first to be aired on live television, and, boy, was it ever fantastic to watch the men's and women's long programs "LIVE".

    Fast-forward to the 2003 Worlds, held in Washington, D.C. We've become so accustomed to watching sporting events unfold on live television, that it was just expected and assumed that all of the figure skating competitions would be televised live at this year's Worlds. Actually, quite a lot of the action was taped, but the men's and women's long programs were broadcast live to the US East Coast, where I live.

  12. #12
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    '87 worlds

    YES '87 worlds was AWESOME. I highly suggest you new fans get a copy. The ladies were great and Katerina Witt was magical!!! Debi was great too!! Re-live some of their greatest moments!! Kadavey was a plesent suprise too( IMHO it was a fight for silver between her and debi as Katerina was obviously the best that night) Also it is nice to see skaters you hear about but never see like Kira Ivovna(sp?) I actually liked her program. Kira Rest in peace!! One more thing Midori attempeted a program that would be respectable even today. That Midori Ito was something else wasn't she!!! Her jumps has sooo much power and hight!! Just an Awesome worlds!!

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