Here's another recap, thanks to the videotapes I recorded while watching the network television coverage of the 1990 World Figure Skating Championships, which were held in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
"Goodbye School Figures" - Women's Competition
This was the last time the compulsory school figures were contested at Worlds. As in so many previous Worlds, the figures either gave some skaters a great start prior to the short and long programs, or they completely took the skaters out of the running for the medals.
In Halifax, Japan's Midori Ito, the wonderful high-jumping reigning World champion, had a disastrous performance in the school figures. I remember watching the coverage that showed Ito tracing one of her figures -- she completely stopped while turning around and nearly fell forward. The tracings were terribly wobbly and uneven. Midori's scores on that particular figure ranged from 10th to 24th (!). She finished 10th in that phase of the competition. A showing this poor would have finished the chances of most skaters, but not Midori. She rebounded with great short and long programs, the latter of which featured her beautiful, soaring triple axel. Midori pulled up to win the silver medal. The competition was so close that had Midori finished ninth in the school figures, she would have won the gold medal.
America's Jill Trenary won the school figures with very solid tracings. However, she made a major mistake in the short program - skating a double toe/double toe instead of her triple toe/ triple toe. Her technical marks were low enough to place her fifth in the short program. Still, after her excellent showing in the school figures, she, along with Holly Cook and the USSR's Natalia Lebeva, were all in a position to win the World title. Either of these three ladies could win if they finished first or second in the long program and Midori finished no higher than third.
Trenary skated a strong long program, with one slip-up on her single axel/triple salchow combination. She received a slew of 5.9s for presentation and finished second in the long program - and that won her the 1990 World title.
America's Holly Cook, who had won the bronze medal at Nationals
was a very strong school figures skater. Her competent free skating brought her the bronze medal at her first appearance at Worlds. Her reaction in the kiss 'n cry area was priceless.
"I'm third? I'm third? I'M THIRD!!!!"
Kristi Yamaguchi was still competing in both singles and pairs, the latter with Rudy Galindo. Yamaguchi and Galindo finished fifth in the pairs competition, and Kristi finished fourth in singles, just missing the podium. She fell twice in the beginning of her long program, and those mistakes prevented her from receiving high technical scores. The camera showed Mrs. Yamaguchi's reaction to her daughter's falls -- with her hands covering her face and a
When Jill realized she had won the gold medal, she embraced her father. Mr. Trenary said, "Don't do this to me again!" Then, while holding her face with his hands, he said, "Not bad for fat kid."
Commentator Pat O'Brien asked Jill how she felt about winning her first World title. Jill replied, "I don't feel anything yet. It hasn't sunk in." She told Pat that she would take some time off after the COI tour to assess her skating and make the decision as to whether she would turn pro or continue on as an eligible skater. Clearly, the elimination of the school figures would hurt Jill's chances at any future Worlds/Olympics, as she typically finished very high in that discipline and could use that lead as a cushion, in case she made mistakes in the short program. As it happened, the 1990 Worlds was Jill Trenary's last appearance at a major eligible skating competition. She had foot surgery during the 1991 season, and she turned pro in the fall of 1991.
Kurt Browning defended his World title, much to the delight of the huge audience, many of whom appeared to be screaming teenage
girls. Kurt had missed his triple axel in the short program and did some quick-thinking improvisation to place the triple axel at the end of his program. However, he neglected to add the connecting
steps that should have proceeded the triple axel. The judges,
apparently, overlooked that omission. Kurt skated to the same music as he did in 1989, and his program, while very similar, had some choregraphic changes and some refining touches. It was a great program. Browning played to the crowd towards the end of his program, and when he finished, he exclaimed, "Yes!". He skated to a crowd of young women and was enveloped in a huge bear hug.
Perhaps the funniest aspect of the men's competition was the
cat and mouse relationship that was shown between Christopher Bowman and his coach, Frank Carroll. Apparently, they were barely on speaking terms (Bowman's free spirit attitude constantly
collided with Frank's disciplinarian approach). When Bowman arrived to compete in the school figures, he tried to find his coach,
who, presumably, would help him select a good patch of ice.
Carroll was nowhere to be found. After Bowman competed in the figures, Frank suddenly appeared. Christopher asked his coach where he had been, and Frank said, "Well, I can't always be with you. I was busy." Yeech! Bowman improvised towards the end of his "Tico, Tico" long program and threw in a triple toe. His marks were good enough to win him the bronze medal.
The Soviet Union's Viktor Petrenko won the silver medal with very strong figures, winning the short program, and finishing second in the long program. Viktor had the unfortunate habit of running out of steam towards the end of his long programs, and his lack of stamina was clearly evident - singling and doubling planned triples, and skating with little speed. Still, Petrenko's programs were well skated, classical, and world-class.
A "wait until your turn" issue arose. Todd Eldredge, had won his first US title at the age of 18 and had skated strong school figures. The judges gave him relatively low marks that pretty much took him out of the running for a medal. Still, Todd skated very strong short and long programs and finished fifth in his first Worlds.
Paul Wylie made several errors in his short and long programs and wound up in 10th place.