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Thread: Retrospective Look at the 1982 Worlds

  1. #1

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    Retrospective Look at the 1982 Worlds

    My memories of the 1982 World Figure Skating championships, held in Copenhagen, Denmark include some remarkable skating by the women and by "Their Greatnesses", Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean.

    The Women:
    Elaine Zayak of the United States, the 1981 World silver medalist, had been in seventh place after the school figures and the short program, and it seemed pretty unlikely that she would be able to medal in that competition. Elaine had fallen several times at the 1982 US Nationals, where she lost her title to Roz Sumners.
    I recall a bio on Elaine in which she said that she had become almost "spooked" concerning her ability to land her jumps. For Elaine Zayak to not be able to land triples, it was a disaster, as multiple triples - four triple toes and two or three triple salchows - where the bread and butter of her long programs. Elaine had a long talk with one of her coaches on this subject, and that enabled her to regain some of her confidence. Her coach told her (to paraphrase), "If you're nervous about landing your jumps, that's a normal pre-competition feeling, but if you're fearful about landing your jumps, that's an indication that you doubt your ability. What you're feeling is nerves, not fear, and you'll be OK."

    Zayak skated a six-triple jump long program at the 1982 Worlds that completely blew away the competition. None of the women came close to matching her, jump for jump. She won the long program and won the World title. It was amazing.

    The ISU, however, wasn't quite as thrilled, as it saw this as the dawning of a "jumping bean" syndrome for the women in which the women would focus primarily on landing triples and ignore or at least place less emphasis on artistry and presentation. The ISU instituted the ruling that became known as the "Zayak Rule", whereby a triple jump could be repeated in the long program only once, and if a triple jump was performed twice, one of those times it had to be landed in combination. This ruling took away much of Zayak's competitive edge, and effectively prevented her from winning another World title.

    Katarina Witt of East Germany skated to the soundtrack from the movie "Superman" and won the silver medal. Peggy Fleming, commentating, remarked that Katarina was "such a pretty girl. She's just adorable on the ice". This was Katarina's first World medal.

    Rosalyn Sumners, who had won her first of three US titles that season, was skating with an injured hip. She was unable to perform some of her triples, but she skated a respectable competition and finished sixth.

    The Men:
    Scott Hamilton won his second World title. One of the more interesting skaters in the men's field that year, in my opinion, was Norbert Schramm of West Germany. Norbert struck some very unusual positions in his spins and jumps, and, well, some people thought his style was quite bizarre. The judges liked his skating, though, and he won the silver medal. Canadian Brian Pockar won the bronze medal.

    In the exhibition, Norbert skated over to the King and Queen of Denmark and said hello to them. Dick Button asked Norbert what he had said to the royal couple. Norbert said, "I just said hello to them". When asked what the King and Queen said in response, Norbert said, "They said hello to me". Both of them had a good laugh.

    Ice Dancing:
    Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean won their second World dance title to a terrific "Mack and Mabel" program. Their choregraphy was absolutely stunning, and the judges gave them a slew of 6.0s for presentation. Natalia Bestimianova/Andre Bukin of the USSR won the silver medal, and Judy Blumberg/Michael Siebert of the United States won the bronze medal.

    The Pairs:
    Sabine Baess/Tassilo Theirbach of East Germany won the gold medal with strong technical programs. Marina Pestova/
    Stansilav Leonovich of the Soviet Union won the silver medal, and Kitty and Peter Carruthers of the United States won the bronze medal.


  2. #2
    Da' Spellin' Homegirl Grgranny's Avatar
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    I always thought it was amazing that Zayak could skate as well as she did since she was missing toes. I don't remember how
    many. Seems as if it was a lawn mower accident but then I don't really have a remember.
    Grgranny, DEFINITELY!

  3. #3
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    What a shame that the ISU chose to put this rule into place before the Sarajevo Olympics. But, I do understand the reasoning. Elaine was so talented and had such a sweet, peppy personality. Did she ever have any other triples besides the toe loop and salchow? At least she ended her career with a bronze medal at the 1984 Worlds.

  4. #4
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    Elaine also had a triple loop, although she usually only included one in her long programs, not always successfully.

    She did complete it successfully in both the short and long programs at 1994 Nationals when she reinstated.

  5. #5

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    Sometimes I simply do not understand the ISU's thought processes. They instituted the short program in 1973 in order to give the strong free skaters (some of whom were relatively weak in the school figures) more of a fighting chance to medal at Worlds and Olympics. That's OK -- the school figures were reduced to 30 percent of the overall score, with the short program carrying 20 percent, and the long program carrying 50 percent of the weight. So far, so good.....

    Then in 1983 they instituteda ruling that slapped the wrists of those talented free skaters who were capable of performing mutliple triple jumps! Elaine Zayak had an incredibly strong and consistent triple toe and triple salchow. Granted, her artistry wasn't nearly as strong as her jumping, but she presented a terrific overall competitive program. The "Zayak Rule" insured that Elaine could only perform the triple toe and the triple salchow
    twice in her programs - and one of the times she had to attach a double toe or another jump to make a combination. That rule effectively eliminated Zayak as a serious contender for World and Olympic titles, as her school figures weren't that strong, and she needed those multiple triples to get high technical marks.

  6. #6
    On the Ice
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    I just love these recaps!

  7. #7

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    Thanks again, NanSinger2, for your nice comments.

    Elaine Zayak did have a strong triple loop - which she landed successfully in both her short and long programs at the 1994, when she made a wonderful competitive comeback.

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