The World Figure Championships are taking place this week in Toronto. No jumps, no spins. These skaters are actually FIGURE skating, tracing elaborate, loopy, lacy patterns onto the ice. They are also resurrecting an art form that was in danger of being lost.
At one time, figures were worth two-thirds of a skater’s overall score. This changed in the early 1970s. After the 1988 Olympics, figures were phased out altogether.
This skating history plays a role in my novel, Red Flags. The characters and competitions are fictional, but technically, the story closely follows what was happening in the real-life skating world at that time. I even gave my fictional Olympic skaters the same figures that their flesh-and-blood counterparts were doing that same year.
For more on figures, keep reading. Also, visit Beverley Smith’s blog for additional articles…
Janet Lynn has that pixie smile still. You know it’s her, although she stepped out of sight for 25 years to raise a family after igniting the world with her free and joyful skating style during the 1970s.
She’s back as a judge at the second World Figure Championships from Dec. 19 to 23 at the North Toronto Memorial Arena in Toronto along with a host of other skating icons of the past.
Strangely enough, figures were never Lynn’s best friend when she competed as an American teenager. “The narrative was that my figures weren’t very good,” she admitted candidly. “But I was competing against the very best school figures in the history of the world.”
Lynn was known more as a free skater who could weave a spell, even in defeat. She never won world or Olympic titles. Some compared her free skating to poetry…
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