Wide World Figure Skating Milestones and Highlights
APRIL 1 -- Wide World of Sports broadcasts the World Figure Skating Championships for the first time from Prague, Czechoslovakia. Don Jackson of Canada completed the first triple lutz jump ever in world competition. In that same competition the Jelinek's, Maria and Otto, won the gold medal for Canada in the pairs. They remain one of the great stories in Wide World of Sports history, as they and their family had escaped from Czechoslovakia in 1949, but were celebrated in their return.
JANUARY 18 -- Peggy Fleming wins the first of five consecutive national titles at the age of 15 at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Cleveland, Ohio.
OCTOBER 8 -- The International Figure Skating Revue marks Wide World of Sports' first visit to Berlin...the Berlin Wall, of course, was built in August of 1961, after the debut of WWOS.
MARCH 4 -- Peggy Fleming wins the second of three ladies crowns at the World Figure Skating Championships in Vienna, Austria, the last World Championships to be held outdoors. Fleming won the hearts of the audience and was named the WWOS Athlete of the Year.
MARCH 2 & 9 -- Peggy Fleming wins ladies' title at the World Figure Skating Championships from Geneva. This competition came after her gold medal-winning performance at the 1968 Olympic Games in Grenoble and marked the end of her amateur career.
|Peggy Fleming won five consecutive national titles.|
FEBRUARY 8 -- Janet Lynn steps into the void left by the retirement from amateur skating of Peggy Fleming and captures the first of five national titles at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Seattle.
JANUARY 22 -- Ken Shelley wins the gold medal at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in the men's competition as well as the pairs with partner Jo Jo Starbuck.
FEBRUARY 9 -- The U.S. Figure Skating Championships features Dorothy Hamill winning the first of three national titles.
MARCH 17 -- Wide World of Sports coverage of the World Figure Skating Championships from Munich features one of the greatest non-winning performances in the history of the show. Dorothy Hamill stepped on the ice for her free program, but the crowd was still booing the marks that the previous skater received. Thinking the crowd was booing her, Hamill broke into tears, but she regained her composure and skated one of the most inspired performances of her career to win the silver medal.
MARCH 7 -- At the World Figure Skating Championships in Goteborg, Sweden, Dorothy Hamill wins the first and only world championship of her career, while in the same show Soviet greats Ludmilla Pakhomova and Alexandr Gorshkov win their sixth.
MARCH 11 -- The World Figure Skating Championships in Ottawa features a gold medal for Charlie Tickner in the men's competition and a 10th and final gold medal in pairs for Irina Rodnina.
MARCH 17 -- With Rodnina and Zaitsez taking the year off to have their first child, Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner become the first Americans to win the world pairs title in 29 years at the World Figure Skating Championships in Vienna, Austria.
DECEMBER 27 -- U.S. Figure Skaters in China: A Special Performance...this was the first trip to China by American skaters and included some powerful moments, including one with Linda Fratianne and young Chinese children and Elaine Zayak roller skating on the Great Wall.
FEBRUARY 7 & 8 -- The U.S. Figure Skating Championships crown a new set of champions: including Scott Hamilton in the men's, Peter & Kitty Carruthers in the pairs and Judy Blumberg and Michael Seibert in the dance. Each was undefeated over the next four years, documented on Wide World of Sports. The Hamilton story was particularly moving, since he almost died from a rare disease as a child and started skating as therapy.
MARCH 7-- Scott Hamilton wins the first of four consecutive world titles at the World Figure Skating Championships in Hartford, Connecticut.
FEBRUARY 6 -- Brian Boitano makes his debut on Wide World of Sports The show includes a highlight of Boitano's performance which includes a triple axel.
JANUARY 21 -- The men's and ladies' finals at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Salt Lake City, features Scott Hamilton and Rosalyn Sumners winning national titles as the final step to the Olympic Games. Hamilton, of course, went on to win the gold in Sarajevo, while Sumners settled for silver behind Katerina Witt.
FEBRUARY 8 -- Debi Thomas becomes the first African-American to win a national figure skating title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Uniondale, New York.
|Debi Thomas is the only African-American to win a medal in the Winter Olympics.|
FEBRUARY 7 -- Jill Trenary wins the first national title of her career at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Tacoma, Washington.
FEBRUARY 11 -- Kristi Yamaguchi wins the gold medal in the pairs competition with Rudy Galindo and the silver in the ladies' competition behind Jill Trenary at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Baltimore.
FEBRUARY 16 -- Tonya Harding becomes the first American woman to complete a triple axel jump in competition and upsets Kristi Yamaguchi to win the ladies' title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Minneapolis.
MARCH 14 -- The pairs figure skating team of Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov earn six perfect 6.0's for artistic impression to win the World Challenge of Champions.
JANUARY 6, 8, 15, 29 and FEBRUARY 5 -- WWOS begins its 34th season with a new host, Julie Moran, from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit. The entire event is overshadowed by the attack on reigning national champion, Nancy Kerrigan, at a practice rink. WWOS correspondents report on the story as it unfolds with exclusive interviews with Kerrigan and they examine Tonya Harding's role in the attack as it comes into question.
FEBRUARY 11-- U.S. Figure Skating Champs, Men's and Ladies. Richard Callaghan becomes the 1st coach since 1950 to train the men's and ladies national champions. Todd Eldredge's win makes him the first man in U.S. history to return to the medal platform after a three-year absence, while Nicole Bobek upsets much heralded 14-yr. old Michelle Kwan.
FEBRUARY 18 -- Renée Roca and Gorsha Sur defeat Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow for the U.S. Ice Dance title. Punsalan and Swallow admit in an exclusive ABC interview that, in '94 they lobbied Congress to not grant Sur, a native Russian, U.S. citizenship, so that he could represent the U.S. in the '94 Olympics.
January 20 -- Rudy Galindo, defeats Todd Eldredge the reigning world silver medalist, to win the men's title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in his hometown of San Jose, California. Third after the short program, Galindo is the final skater to take the ice in the free skate. He hits 8 triple jumps to win the free skate and he at the age of 26 he becomes the oldest men's champion in 70 years. San Jose was Galindo's 8th appearance in a senior nationals.
February 27 -- 16-year old Irina Slutskaya upsets Surya Bonaly, the 5-time and reigning European Ladies' champion, to win the European Figure Skating Championships in Sofia, Bulgaria. Slutskaya, 2nd at the '96 Russian nationals, becomes the first Russian (or Soviet) to win a major international ladies' figure skating title (Worlds, Europeans or Olympics).
MARCH 21 - 23 -- The World Figure Skating Championships live from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Three-time US champion Todd Eldredge wins his first world championship, while the newest US champion, Rudy Galindo earns the bronze. Michelle Kwan's wins her first world championship.
|Rudy Galindo won his only national men's championship in front of his hometown crowd in San Jose, California.|
JANUARY 11 -- National figure skating champion Rudy Galindo wins his first professional title at the Nutrasweet World Challenge of Champions in Innsbruck.
JANUARY 25 and FEBRUARY 1 -- Russia sweeps all four events at the European Figure Skating Championships in Paris--a feat unprecedented by any other nation since ice dancing was added to the championships in 1954. The winners: Irina Slutskaya, Alexei Urmanov, Oksana Grischuk & Yevgeny Platov, and ice dancers Marina Eltsova & Andrei Bushkov.
FEBRUARY 15 - 16 -- Fourteen-year-old Tara Lipinski becomes the youngest US figure skating champion in history by upsetting the reigning national and world champion Michelle Kwan. Also in Nashville, World Champion Todd Eldredge wins his fourth national title.
MARCH 20 and 22 -- The World Figure Skating championships are beset by sadness when Nicole Bobek's coach Carlo Fassi (who had also coached Olympic gold-medalists Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, John Curry, and Robin Cousins) dies of a massive heart attack in Lausanne. Shortly after the world learns that the four-time world champion Scott Hamilton has to undergo chemotherapy for testicular cancer which had spread to his lower abdomen. Tara Lipinski, 14, becomes the youngest World Figure Skating Champion in history. Canada's Elvis Stojko wins the men's title with a quadruple toe loop-triple toe combination, plus seven other triples.
JANUARY 8 -- Todd Eldredge wins his fifth U.S. Figure Skating Championship in Philadelphia and placing him second all-time behind Dick Button's seven titles. Eldredge led after the short program and was a shoo-in to make the Olympic team. Instead of sitting on his lead, Eldredge tried to build on it in the free skate, attempting a quad in competition for the first time. He completed four rotations but fell on his landing. When Michael Weiss two-footed the landing of a quad Lutz in the free skate, Eldredge won the national title and a berth on his second Olympic team. Weiss finished second, making his first Olympic squad.
JANUARY 10 -- With the opening ceremony of the Olympics less than a month away, the Michelle Kwan (1996 U.S. and World Figure Skating Champion) and Tara Lipinski (1997 U.S. and World Figure Skating Champion) rivalry heated up on the ice in Philadelphia. Both would make the team, but the winner at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships would be the odds-on favorite for gold in Nagano. Skating with a stress fracture on the second toe of her left foot, Kwan earned a total of 15 perfect 6.0s for presentation (7 in the short program and 8 in the free skate). Lipinski finished second on her way to winning the Olympic gold medal. Kwan would win silver at the Olympics.
APRIL 2 -- Competing in his final world championships before a live national audience, 26-year-old Todd Eldredge staged one of the most brilliant comebacks of his career. He won the free skate and captured the silver medal, the fifth world medal of his career at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
He had been fourth after the short program after he put his hand down one a triple axel, and no one knew what kind of performance he'd deliver Thursday. The answer started forming in the morning practice, when Eldredge began to practice his quadruple jumps. He had told his coach, Richard Callaghan, that he was going to attempt the quad no matter what. Eldredge nearly landed it but caught the landing wrong and fell.
As Eldredge wore a smile on the medal podium, tears streamed down the face of the winner, 18-year-old Alexei Yagudin of Russia. After his mistake-filled long program, Yagudin, winner of the short program, could have surrendered the title to Eldredge had 15-year-old Evgeni Plushenko -- Yagudin's training partner in St. Petersburg, Russia -- beaten him in the free skate.
But Plushenko, who skated after Eldredge's fine performance, fell three times and couldn't recover. He happily settled for the bronze, and Russia had two world medalists for the first time since 1975.
FEBRUARY 13 -- State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships
Michelle Kwan won her third national title over newcomer Naomi Nari Nam, a 13-year-old from Irvine, Calif. Michael Weiss became the first father since Roger Turner in 1934 to win the U.S. title.
MARCH 25 -- The World Figure Skating Championships (by MasterCard) were swept by Russia, the first country to sweep gold at Worlds since Austria did it in 1925.
January 12 -- American figure skater, 15-year old Sasha Cohen, wows figure skating community by winning the ladies' short program en route to a silver medal at the nationals.
April 1-2 -- Defending World Champion, Alexei Yagudin, retains his title by defeating fellow countrymen Evgeny Plushenko, who finished fourth, at the World Championships in Nice, France. American Michelle Kwan comes from behind in the long program with one of her best career performances to defeat Maria Butyrskaya at the Worlds.
January 20-- American Figure Skater Michelle Kwan wins her fifth national Championship with two strong performances at the State Farm U.S. Figure Chamionships in Boston.
March 24-- Michelle wins her fourth world championship.