Retrospectiv Look at the 1974 Worlds
One more trip down memory lane -- the 1974 World Figure Skating Championships, which were held in Munich, West Germany.
My memories of this Worlds centered primarily on what happened to 17-year-old Dorothy Hamill during this competition. Dorothy had recently won the first of three consecutive US titles and came into the long program with a strong chance to medal. The West German champion, Gertrude Schundrel (sp?) had just skated a good program, but since she was in 11th place after the school figures and short program, she was not given very high marks. The audience erupted in an uproar of boos, catcalls, and whistles. Dorothy was next to skate, and she took to the ice to warm up while all of this was going on. She was announced as the next skater, and the audience again erupted in more boos and catcalls. Dorothy thought the audience was booing her, and she burst into tears, fled from the ice and ran, sobbing, into the arms of her father.
At this point, Dick Button, who was commentating, said (to paraphrase), "Oh, come now, that's nothing to be upset about. She's an emotional girl." Jim McKay, also commentating said, "Believe me, Dick, if I was competing for a World title and the audience reacted that way to me, I'd be just as upset. This is a miserable way for this audience to behave."
The referee approached Dorothy and told her she could take a short rest period to regain her composure. At that point, she straightened up, told the referee, "No, I don't need any extra consideration", marched onto the rink like a soldier and took her starting position at the center of the ice. The announcer stated her name, and this time the audience responded with a huge ovation.
Dorothy Hamill then skated one of the best long programs of her life - athletic, aggressive, confident, and artistic. She won the long program and the World silver medal.
You go, girl!
You have spoiled me! I linked to read all about 74 worlds with your usual great reporting and only got the Dorthy story!
I remember seeing a clip of the Dorthy during this competion. She handled it like a champ.
More, more, more! What else happened???
I also enjoy these World recaps, Skatefan4life. Thanks so much for posting them. I've only been watching skating seriously (alright, more like obsessively) since 1994 and only have World competitions back to 1991. Could you possibly do something on the 1975 and 1985 Worlds? I know what the podiums looked like but little of what actually took place performance wise. Thanks again!
Dorothy Hamill earned one 6.0 for presentation for her 1974 Worlds long program, which was skated with great skill to "Firebird". Go, Dorothy, Go! She won the silver medal, her first medal at Worlds.
The gold medal was won by Christine Errath of East Germany.
I've described Christine as a "sturdy" skater in the "East German Women" thread, and she has always struck me as being a strong, athletic, but not especially artistic skater. Christine did skate a great competition, however, and she deserved the title. In those days you had to be skilled in the school figures, the short, and the long program. One serious slip-up in any of the three phases, and you'd be in serious trouble to win a medal.
The bronze medal was won by Diane de Leeuw who represented the Netherlands. Diane, a native of Paramount, California, had dual citizenship. Why she chose to skate for the Netherlands is beyond me - she obviously would have qualified for the US World and Olympic teams. Oh, well.
Jan Hoffmann of East Germany won his first World title. Jan was another "sturdy" skater who was far from exciting to watch, but he had excellent school figures, and he made few mistakes.
His overall package was good enough to win. He was coached by Gaby Seyfert's mother, Mrs. Mueller (who later became the coach of Annet Poetszh and Katarina Witt).
The silver medal was son by Soviet Sergei Volkov. I barely remember watching him skate. He was kind of stiff-limbed, but he was another skater who made few mistakes, and his overall
performance was strong.
Canadian Toller Cranston won the bronze medal. Toller was a real maverick on the ice - very innovative choreography that was sometimes not well understood by the judges. At least that's the impression I used to have of Cranston vis-a-vis the international judges. Toller was a true artist on the ice. It seemed that he was painting a canvas with his programs.
Irina Rodnina/Alexandr Zaitsev won yet another World title.
Irina was a firey skater - petite, strong, gutsy, and always right on the money. I can't remember seeing Irina ever miss a jump or spin in competition (although I remember her coming out of a lift awkwardly at the 1980 Olympics). Rodnina/Zaitsev were so powerful! Could they ever cover the ice.
Ludmila Smirnova/Alexsei Ulanov of the USSR won the silver medal. Ulanov had been Rodnina's partner for several years and had won several World titles and the 1972 Olympic gold medal with her. Alas, he fell in love with Smirnova and broke the partnership with Rodnina. However, Rodnina's partnership with Zaitsev was extremely successful - World titles between 1974-1978 and the 1976 and 1980 Olympic gold medals.
Romy Kermer and and Rolf Osterreich of East Germany won the bronze medal. I liked their style - very speedy, lots of expression and joy.
Ah! The wonderful dance team of the late Liudmila Pakhomova and Aleksandr Gorshkov won the gold medal. This husband and wife team really dominated ice dancing in the 1970s. Liudmila was by far the strongest member of the pair, with great technical skills and a natural way of relating to the audience. Aleksandr was pretty wooden as a skater; however, he presented his wife beautifully.
In second place was Hilary Green and Glyn Watts of Great Britain.
The bronze medal was won by Soviets Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov.
Still, what I remember most is Dorothy Hamill's gutsy long program. She went out there and skated like a champion.
Thank you so much for responding back! I've been checking everyday.:D