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Thread: East German Figure Skaters

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life

    Of course, I shed no tears at the collapse of the Iron Curtain. One thing about the GDR that really annoyed me was the way in which their sports officials nitpicked over the rules, just to punish the athletes from other countries. At the 1988 Summer Olympics, the GDR technical judge marked down one of the American gymnasts, because his coach had been on the floor during his high bar routine. It was one of those teeny weeny rules that probably nobody else bothered to memorize - except for the East Germans. Ugh.
    I think that was an Iron Curtain thing in general. Sometime in the early 80s, Soviet officials were criticizing Torvill & Dean for having illegal moves in their free dances and T & D's coach, Betty Callaway, responded by saying, "Well, I'm delighted that the Russians have finally found the rule book".

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life
    IMHO, had the Berlin Wall not fallen and had the GDR continued on with its oppressive Communist rule, chances are that Frau Muller would have continued
    to coach skaters who would have continued to win Worlds and the Olympics.
    . Ugh.
    Are you sure they haven't continued? I would never trust that Jan Hoffmann. Hist teachings are ingrained in him.

    Johnny Coop - All that silly criticism of Torvahl and Dean and then they come up with a dumb American Jitterbug. Ugly as hell and win the Olys.
    Oh, the subjevitity of it all.

    Joe

  3. #18
    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ptichka
    Also, I don't think it's fair to compare GDR is either USSR or US -- the country is just not the same size, with so much potential skaters.
    True, but then again, the tiny island of England has produced world champs in all 4 disciplines and enough world and Oly medals to sink an armada. Take Witt out of the equasion and we wouldn't even be having this conversation.

  4. #19
    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFan4Life
    Maybe that's "kid stuff", but I would imagine that the skaters who lost to the East Germans - Linda Fratianne, Roz Sumners, Elaine Zayak, Debi Thomas, Jill Trenary, during those three Olympics - 1980, 1984, 1988, not to mention the Worlds in which the GDR skater won the gold medal, would disagree with that viewpoint.
    I'm not following you. You started out by calling the GDR a "dynasty". Now you're talking about individual events. Matched one on one, I'm not sure how a skater would feel about losing, especially with such controversial results. Would it be harder to lose to a skater from a true dynasty like Russia, or a skater who perhaps is the only skater of merit ever to come out of that country (the Neterlands for example, or Norway)? It probably makes no difference what so ever. So Poetzsch and Witt won back to back. So did Curry and Cousins, it doesn't mean that the UK owns the mens event.

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by berthes ghost
    I'm not following you. You started out by calling the GDR a "dynasty". Now you're talking about individual events. Matched one on one, I'm not sure how a skater would feel about losing, especially with such controversial results. Would it be harder to lose to a skater from a true dynasty like Russia, or a skater who perhaps is the only skater of merit ever to come out of that country (the Neterlands for example, or Norway)? It probably makes no difference what so ever. So Poetzsch and Witt won back to back. So did Curry and Cousins, it doesn't mean that the UK owns the mens event.
    Frankly, I'm not following you, either. My original post merely listed the East German women skaters who won World and/or Olympic gold, silver, and bronze medals during the period of 1966-1988. OK, 22 years may not qualify as a "dynasty", but during those years the East Germans successfully produced at least one quality woman figure skater. OK, they did not have the stable of talent that the USA has; however, given the small size of their country, their comparatively few training facilities, as compared to the USA, etc., they were highly successful, in my humble opinion.

  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyCoop
    I think that was an Iron Curtain thing in general. Sometime in the early 80s, Soviet officials were criticizing Torvill & Dean for having illegal moves in their free dances and T & D's coach, Betty Callaway, responded by saying, "Well, I'm delighted that the Russians have finally found the rule book".
    I remember that incident. It was obvious that everyone was not on the same page during the Cold War years. Bloc judging, etc. Ugh.

  7. #22
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    You mean people are on the same page now?????

    WHERE? WHEN?


    Just kidding. sort of.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by mpal2
    You mean people are on the same page now?????

    WHERE? WHEN? Just kidding. sort of.
    Oh well, I can dream, can't I?

  9. #24
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    Just a question...what is Frau Muller doing now? Last time I saw her was with Kat @ 94O.

    I always enjoyed watching her with her skaters in the K&C, especially with Kat after the SP in Calgary (and people comment on Robyn Wagner's OTT touchy-feely "exuberance"!).....

    Still, I'm glad Fr Muller wasn't my coach - she has the look of a seriously hard taskmaster....

  10. #25
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    The latest issue of IFS had a blurb about Mueller being inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame at the last Worlds, and she was there (along with her most famous pupils) to accept the award, but there was no mention of whether or not she is still coaching. Given the current state of Ladies figure skating in Germany right now, I would have to guess that she probably is not.

  11. #26
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    Frau Muller was inducted into the HOF in Dortmund. When that happened, I expected the horses ouside the stadium to whinny loudly.

    Joe

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joesitz
    Frau Muller was inducted into the HOF in Dortmund. When that happened, I expected the horses ouside the stadium to whinny loudly.

    Joe
    Oh, boy! All kidding aside, Frau Muller was one tough taskmaster who excelled in bringing up a steady stream (granted, only one skater per "stream") of top-ranked female figure skaters. She seemed to have a good relationship with all of her students, and she seemed to enjoy her role as the mother figure of East German figure skating.

  13. #28
    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonnyCoop
    The latest issue of IFS had a blurb about Mueller being inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame at the last Worlds, and she was there (along with her most famous pupils) to accept the award, but there was no mention of whether or not she is still coaching. Given the current state of Ladies figure skating in Germany right now, I would have to guess that she probably is not.
    One of my favorite things about that induction was that Toller Cranston was inducted at the same time. It was probably thier professionalism that kept the two from scratching each others eyes out during the ceremony.

    Anyway, for at least one person's opinion on what became of Frau Muller, Toller writes in Ice Cream :

    Quote:
    " Peter Crick, long-time head of the West German figure-skating association, told me an anecdote that I took great pleasure in hearing. It related to the political demise of Jutta Muller.
    When a German television network mounted a skating show in the small town of Weiden, FRG, Frau Muller as was her habit, demanded to personally receive any fees owed to East German skaters. Peter told her, in essence, to take a hike. That practice was no longer current. Skaters' money would be given directly to individual skaters. That was the beginning of the end of an internationally important career, and it had arrived none too soon, in my opinion."
    Last edited by berthes ghost; 08-25-2004 at 04:37 AM.

  14. #29
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    Hmm..... I would of course never defend the East German politics - but I think you have to take into account that Mrs. Müller lived in those circumstances for most of her life. I know several people of different ages from the former East Germany and depending on age they had more or less difficulties to adapt to this new life style they suddenly were thrown into.

    She was certainly used to deal with all things around her skaters including the money. But that doesn't mean she only would earn the money - she would also deal with all they need for practice and competitions. It was just the system before and I think a woman of her age will need time to accomodate. Give her a chance.

    Listening to Witt's comments about her just some weeks ago I have the impression that she still has a lot of respect for Jutta Müller, even though her lifestyles are surely a lot different. And I don't think you can reduce this just to the fact that Müller helped her to win gold or something. Those two worked together for many years and I doubt Witt would have such good words about her if Müller would have not done a lot for Witt besides just pushing her in the practice.

    May I add - it seems so easy to just put down everything East German athletes and coaches did just because the system was indeed politically wrong imho. But I'd say one has to look a bit closer who did what in which ethic and with which means. Don't put all athletes under the same maldiction. I try to do the same e.g. with people in US athletics these days even though many (too many) were found to use doping.......

  15. #30
    Keeper of Michelle's Nose berthes ghost's Avatar
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    ITA.

    I assume that you mean "- but I think one has to take into account..." rather than "- but I think you, BG have to take into account...". I wasn't putting forth my own opinion, just repeating Toller's for people's information.

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