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Thread: Janet Lynn, "Angel on the Ice"

  1. #1
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    Janet Lynn, "Angel on the Ice"

    One of my all-time favorite skaters was American Janet Lynn of Rockville, Illinois. Janet burst into prominence on the US skating scene at the 1967 Nationals, where at the age of 13 she landed a triple salchow - a move that was practically unheard of then in women's skating. Janet won the bronze medal at the 1968 US Nationals and competed at the Olympics, where she finished a respectable ninth. Janet finished sixth in the long program, and she delighted the crowd with her strong technical moves and her brilliant smile.

    Janet then won five successive United States titles. She typically finished at least in the top three in the long program of every Worlds from 1969 through 1973 and the 1972 Olympics, and she won that phase of the competition a number of times. Unfortunately, Janet was relatively weak in the school figures, which comprised 60 percent of the overall score, with the long program counting for only 40 percent. You simply could not win a championship if you had weak figures, and at every Worlds and the Olympics she competed in, Janet always had to work her way up in the standings after the figures. Janet did not win a World medal until 1972 - the bronze - the year she also won the Olympic bronze medal.

    In 1973 the ISU initiated the short program which supposedly would give great free skaters like Lynn more of an edge. Janet fell twice in the 1973 Worlds short program, yet she won the long program, and she won the silver medal that year.

    What made Janet Lynn a great skater, in my opinon, was not the medals or titles, but her magical, angelic quality. She had a smile that reached the top seat of the ice rink. She had a brilliant feel for the music, and her choreography was "a strand of seamless silk", as Dick Button used to say. Lynn was a skater's skater, and she became the skater that many young American women wanted to emulate. She was a joy to watch.

    I had the privilege of seeing Janet compete at the World Professional Championship. She was the class of the field, and she easily won the title.

    Janet skated with Ice Follies for several years, then left the show to get married. She has four sons. Occasionally she shows up as a judge at a pro skating event, but other than that, she's "MIA" from the figure skating world.

    I saw a recent profile of Janet Lynn, and, believe it or not, Janet recently turned 50. She has gained a considerable amount of weight, too, but that smile is still there.

    Janet has been quoted as saying, "My parents never pressured me to win skating competitions. The purpose of my skating was not to win medals. I believe that God gave me the talent to skate, and I wanted to express God's love by skating."



    :D

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    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Acording to International Figure Skating magazine, here's what she said when she was honored at Worlds as a recent inductee into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame:

    "My life in skating has been a story, a story of how someone ordinary can do something extraordinary with the help of a personal God. My skating was never meant to win medals. But because of God's grace, it was meant to touch souls. I only know this because people have told me their stories."

    Mathman

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    Janet Lynn, "Angel on the Ice"

    SkateFan4Life:

    Janet was a good skater, but not good at figures. Actually, in 1973 - Karen Magnussen of Canada edged Janet out in all three disciplines - figures, short program and long program. Karen won the World title and the free skate and figures. That was in Bratislava - 1973.

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    I sure wish those performances were available on tape. I have a very grainy copy of the 1961 Nationals someone transfered to VHS from reel. It is amazing to watch, even if it's not as clear as you'd like.

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    Ladskater, as I wrote, Janet's competitive weakness was in the compulsory school figures. She was always several places from the top after the figures, and she always had to play catch up to make it to the podium.

    As for the 1973 Worlds, Janet finished a dismal 12th in the short program, after she fell twice. However, she won the long program. I've seen tapes of her long program, and her scores.
    They were first-place marks, and she pulled up to win the silver medal. Karen Magnussen skated well, but, frankly, in my opinion of course, Karen wasn't quite the free skater that Janet was.
    Karen was strong and competent, but she did not have the kind of magical quality that Janet had. Again, this is just my opinion.
    I know you consider Karen to be one of the all-time great skaters, and of course I respect your opinion.

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    I also wish that Janet's performances were available on tape. She was so magical to watch. I think she was the cause for my becoming a figure skating addict. She just got so much joy out of skating. You could see it on her face when she was out there skating her short and free skates. There's never been another skater quite like her.

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    I remember both Lynn and Magnussen, really liked their skating very much. Prefered Magnussen though. The freeskates were magnificient, never saw their short programmes.

    Marjaana

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    In my opinion, some of today's skaters could take a lesson from Janet Lynn, when it comes to relating to an audience. Some of today's top skaters seem to be skating in an emotional vacuum, and they show absolutely no joy from skating. Perhaps they're so busy setting up for their next triple jump that they forget to relax a little and ENJOY the experience. Janet just flew across the ice like an angel, with a smile that reached everyone in the audience. She was a jewel in the sport of figure skating.

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    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Janet Lynn, "Angel on the Ice"

    SkateFan4Life:

    I don't know where you get your facts from, but I have Karen Magnussens' biography complete with her marks and she definitely beat Lynn in the long program - Her marks were:

    Technical merit

    5.8 5.8 5.9 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.9 5.9 5.9

    Artistic Impression:

    5.9 5.9 5.9 5.9 5.9 5.8 5.8 5.9 5.8

    I know Janet Lynn was the media sweetheart and Karen Magnussen did not get the big profile that Janet got, but that was Canada's fault and does not demean Karen's place in the history books. Karen was a wonderful skater and competitor. Karen had a special gift and a great raport with the audience.

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    Ladskater:

    Well since you have Karen Magnussen's biography, complete with her marks from the 1973 Worlds, I'll take your word for it. I'm sure Karen would not print that she had won the long program of Janet Lynn if she had not won the long program.

    I have an ABC Wide World of Sports book, published in the mid-1970s, that contains pictures of Janet and Karen at the 1973 Worlds. It mentioned that Magnussen was awarded the Order of Canada at a victory luncheon in Ottawa, following her return home from Bratislava. Very nice.

    The oddball thing about all of this is that Janet signed a
    $2-million contract to skate professionally, while Karen signed a
    $100,000 contract with Ice Capdes. Frankly, that's quite a large disparagy, considering that Karen and Janet's careers were very similar - national, World, and Olympic medals. The difference, I believe was that Janet was an American - the darling of the media - while Karen, as a Canadian, did not receive the adulation she deserved.

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    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    Missed her totally! Damn! If I were to live my life over, that is the one skater I would want to see.

    Joe

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    I do have a question (born in 1977, so forgive my ignorance).

    IIRC, Janet Lynn skated the best figures of her life at that competition. I think she was 2rd behind Karen in the compulsories. She then completely blows her SP, but then comes back in the LP and wins (IIRC) the silver medal (2nd place).

    I don't know what her placement was in the SP (anyone remember?) but from a mathmatical standpoint, wouldn't Janet need to win the LP to rocket all the way to 2nd place from her low post-SP placement?

    I'm not saying she deserved first or not (obviously from Karen's marks she is superb as well), but I'm just curious, from a mathmatical standpoint, how that jump to silver could happen if Janet didn't get first in the LP?

    ETA - I just found my copy of "On Thin Ice" and Brennan writes the following:

    "Twelfth in the short program (!) Lynn again pulled herself together in the long program, received two 6.0's, kissed Button on the cheek as he interviewed her, and won the silver medal behind Magnussen."

    Obviously, it seems both skaters had great programs, and Janet was happy with her skate. Karen also received excellent marks (and apparently won the LP). It sure sounds like it was quite a ladies' competition!

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    Custom Title IDLERACER's Avatar
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    Strangely enough, all I can remember about this person is that flying sitspin at the '72 olympics that completely careened out of control. Back in those days, it was still possible to do an in-your-face fumble of that magnitude and still medal.


  14. #14
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    Janet Lynn captivated the Japanese crowd at the 1972 Winter Olympics with her brilliant free skating and her smile that reached the top row of the arena. Yes, Janet fell on her flying sit spin, but she got right up, still with a smile, and she kept going. That mistake did not detract from the overall high quality of her skating
    and the judges awarded her marks that won her the Olympic bronze medal.

    Pictures of Janet Lynn were everywhere in Japan. She received huge numbers of fan mail, and she was mobbed whenever she ventured out in the Olympic village.

  15. #15
    Custom Title Joesitz's Avatar
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    given the judging of today, Janet would have to be among the top contenders for gold - no figures! She had that 'je ne sais quoi" that grabs the audience.

    Joe

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