"Figure skating's first superstar" or

"the father of modern figure skating"


Jackson Haines


United States USA 1840-1875


Jackson Haines (1840–1875) was an American ballet dancer and figure skater who is regarded as the father of modern figure skating.

Born in New York City, Haines claimed to be national champion in 1864. However, many such "championships" were held during those years, and none were sanctioned by a unifying figure skating organization. (The United States Figure Skating Association was not established until 1921.)

At this time, figure skating was performed in the "English style", which was rigid and formal. It was virtually nothing like what is performed today. Haines' style was a complete contrast to the English style; he used his ballet background to create graceful programs, and introduced accompanying music (a new concept at the time). He also screwed his figure skates directly onto his boots, which added stability and allowed him to do more athletic leaps and jumps. The typical practice of the time was to strap the blades onto the boot.

Haines' style was not well received in the United States. He therefore went to Europe to display and teach his style, which became known as the "International style". He lived in Vienna for a time, where his skating style became very popular.

Haines died of tuberculosis in Gamlakarleby (nowadays in Finnish: Kokkola, in Swedish: Karleby), Finland in 1875. His style did not become popular in the United States until many years after his death.

The first American figure skating championships in the "International Style" were held on March 20, 1914, in New Haven, Connecticut.

Haines was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1976.

Haines was the inventor of the sit spin, one of the three basic spin types. (The other two are the upright spin, about as old as the art of ice skating itself; and the camel spin, invented during the twentieth century by Cecilia Colledge.)



* Photographer: William Carrick (31 December 1827 – 11 November 1878) was a Scottish-Russian artist and photographer. He was born in Edinburgh on 23 December 1827.
In 1844, the family moved to St Petersburg, where William became a student at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts, studying architecturev. By 1853 he had completed his studies there, moving to Rome to undertake further studies. Although his family's business collapsed during the Crimean War, in 1856 William Carrick returned to St Petersburg to become a photographer. However, in the summer of the following year he departed for Edinburgh to gain more experience of photography. There he met the photographic technician John MacGregor.
In October, he returned to Russia, taking MacGregor with him in the aim of establishing a business and career. He opened a studio (or atelier) at 19 Malaya Morskaya Street, St Petersburg, making MacGregor his assistant. Carrick quickly made a name for himself capturing pictures of Russian life and pioneering Russian ethnographic photography, obtaining the patronage of Grand Duke Konstantine Nicholaievich of Russia, who presented him with a diamond ring in 1862. In 1865, Count Mihaly Zichy hired Carrick to take pictures of his watercolours, in order to resell them as prints. Carrick did similar business with other artists, Ivan Kramskoi, Viktor Vasnetsov, and Nikolai Ge.
Carrick died of pneumonia, at St Petersburg, on 11 November 1878.



"A great sportsman,
a great hero of the rink"

(Cecilia Colledge)


Freddie Tomlins


Great Britain GBR 1919-1943 


Frederick William Edwin "Freddie" Tomlins (born 5 August 1919 in Lambeth, Greater London; died 20 June 1943 over the English Channel) was a British figure skater.

He was the 1939 World silver medalist and European silver medalist. He competed at the 1936 Winter Olympics and placed 10th.

He served in the Royal Air Force in World War II. He was killed in battle against a Nazi submarine over the English Channel.


From "Freddie Tomlins, His life on Skates" by Peggy Tomlins, his sister:


At the entrance of Streatham Ice Rink there is a large framed photograph. The inscription appeals by its eloquent brevity: "A tribute to Freddie Tomlins from Benny Lee, one of the world's greatest skaters, who gave his heart to the perfection of his talents and his life to the service of his country".
These few simple words admirably convey Freddie's character, and no words of mine could more suitably describe his distinctive qualities. He gave all to his skating: he made the supreme sacrifice for love of his country.



1961 World Figure Skating Championships


U.S. Figure Skating Team

and Douglas Ramsay


February 15 



Sabena Flight 548 was a Boeing 707 aircraft that crashed en route to Brussels, Belgium, from New York City on February 15, 1961, killing the entire United States Figure Skating team on its way to the 1961 World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
All 18 athletes of the 1961 U.S. figure skating team and 16 family members, coaches, and officials were among the fatalities. The dead included 9-time U.S. ladies' champion, turned coach, Maribel Vinson-Owen and her two daughters, reigning U.S. ladies' champion Laurie Owen and reigning U.S. pairs champion Maribel Owen. Maribel Owen's pairs champion partner Dudley Richards and reigning U.S. men's champion Bradley Lord also died, along with U.S. ice dancing champions Diane Sherbloom and Larry Pierce. The team also lost U.S. men's silver medalist Gregory Kelley, U.S. ladies' silver medalist Stephanie Westerfeld, and U.S. ladies' bronze medalist Rhode Lee Michelson.
The loss of the U.S. team was considered so catastrophic for the international sport that the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships were cancelled.
Because the casualties included many of the top American coaches as well as the athletes, the crash was a devastating blow to the U.S. Figure Skating program, which had enjoyed a position of dominance in the sport in the 1950s. Although Scott Allen won a bronze medal at the 1964 Winter Olympics – becoming one of the youngest Olympic medalists in history – the United States would not regain prominence in the sport until the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France, where Peggy Fleming won gold in the ladies' event and Tim Wood the silver in the men's singles event. The crash was also indirectly responsible for bringing foreign coaches such as Carlo Fassi and John Nicks to the United States.

Douglas Ramsay (1945 – February 15, 1961) was an American figure skater who competed in men's singles.
Known as "Dick Button Jr.", he early won the reputation of being a particularly charismatic free skater and an audience favorite. After placing 4th at the Junior level at the 1959 United States Figure Skating Championships, in 1960 he narrowly won the Junior title over Bruce Heiss (brother of Carol Heiss) and Frank Carroll with a performance described as "dazzling".
Ramsay was the only skater to perform a triple jump at the 1961 United States Figure Skating Championships, where he finished only fourth due to a poor performance in compulsory figures. However, due to the illness of bronze medalist Tim Brown, he was selected to compete at the 1961 North American Figure Skating Championships and World Figure Skating Championships as the alternate. At the North American Championships in Philadelphia, Ramsay again established himself as "the darling of the audience" and finished fourth in spite of missing a double axel.
Ramsay was en route to the World Championships in 1961 when his plane (Sabena Flight 548) crashed near Brussels, Belgium, killing all on board. He was 16 at the time of his death.



From Italy to USA


Carlo Fassi


Italy ITA 1929-1997


Carlo Fassi (20 December 1929 – 20 March 1997) was born in Milan.
As a competitor, he won the European Championships in 1953 and 1954, and also won the bronze medal at the World Championships in 1953. He was the Italian men's champion for 10 years.
Fassi took up coaching after the end of his competitive career. From 1956 to 1961, he coached at the Olympic Stadium in Cortina, Italy, and for four years served as the trainer for the Italian World Team. One of his first students was a young German skater, Christa von Kuczkowski, who became his wife and mother to his three children: Riccardo, Monika, and Lorenzo.
Following the 1961 plane crash that killed the entire U.S. Figure Skating team and many of the top American coaches, Fassi moved with his family to the United States, where he soon became established as a top international coach. He was based first at the famous Broadmoor Arena in Colorado Springs, then for a time in Denver, Colorado before returning to the Broadmoor in the early 1980s, and finally, following a brief return to Italy, at the Ice Castle rink in Lake Arrowhead, California.
His students included World and Olympic Champions Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, John Curry, Robin Cousins, and Jill Trenary. He also coached Scott Hamilton and Paul Wylie in the early stages of their careers. Skaters from all over the world came to train with Fassi, giving his training camp a strongly cosmopolitan and international atmosphere.
Besides being an excellent technical coach, Fassi had the reputation of being a master of political dealings in the figure skating world, with the ability to bring his students to the attention of the judges. He was such an icon in the sport that when the comic character Snoopy adopted an alter ego as a figure skating coach (appearing, for example, in the 1980 TV special She's a Good Skate, Charlie Brown), it was clearly modelled upon Fassi.
Fassi died of a heart attack at the 1997 World Figure Skating Championships in Lausanne, which he was attending as the coach of US skater Nicole Bobek.
He was inducted into the Coaches Hall of Fame by the Professional Skaters Association in 2002.



Bowman the Showman


Christopher Bowman


United States USA 1967-2008



Christopher Nicol Bowman (March 30, 1967 – January 10, 2008) was an American figure skater. He was a two-time U.S. national champion and two-time World medalist. He won the 1983 World Junior Figure Skating Championships and competed in two Olympic Winter Games, placing 7th in 1988 and 4th in 1992.

Bowman was born in Hollywood, California, USA. In his childhood, he appeared in commercials, and two episodes of the TV series Little House on the Prairie.
Bowman withdrew from the 1986 U.S. Championships after finishing second in the short program; he had a separation between his right tibia and fibula.
He was coached as a skater by Frank Carroll for eighteen years, a relationship that ended following the 1990 World Championships. After that, Bowman was coached by Toller Cranston and then John Nicks. In "Inside Edge" by Christine Brennan, Bowman admitted to having had a $950 a day cocaine habit during his eligible career, and that he had checked into the Betty Ford Center before the 1988 Olympic Games. Cranston also later described Bowman's drug problems in his book "Zero Tollerance".
He was known as "Bowman the Showman" for his crowd-pleasing performances. "If I had to pick the three most talented skaters of all time, I would pick Christopher as one," Brian Boitano, the 1988 Olympic champion, told the Chicago Tribune. "He had natural charisma, natural athleticism, he could turn on a crowd in a matter of seconds and he always seemed so relaxed about it."
Bowman retired from competitive skating after the 1992 World Championships, and toured with Ice Capades the following year. He left the tour when Ice Capades was purchased by Dorothy Hamill in 1993. For some years thereafter, Bowman worked as a skating coach, first in Massachusetts and then in the Detroit, Michigan area, where he had lived from 1995 until 2007. He also worked as a skating commentator. Prior to his death, he had returned to southern California to make a comeback in acting, with a role as an assistant coach in Down and Distance.
Bowman was pronounced dead on January 10, 2008 at 12:06 p.m. after being found in a motel in the North Hills area of Los Angeles. He was 40 years old. The Los Angeles County Coroner determined that Bowman died from an accidental drug overdose.
He was divorced from skating coach Annette Bowman Jasinkiewicz with whom he had a daughter.



The first triple jump


Dick Button


United States USA 1929-



Richard Totten "Dick" Button (born July 18, 1929) is an American former figure skater and a well-known long-time skating television analyst. He is a twice Olympic Champion (1948, 1952) and five-time World Champion (1948–1952). He is also the only non-European man to have become European Champion.

Button is credited as having been the first skater to successfully land the double axel jump in competition in 1948, as well as the first triple jump of any kind – a triple loop – in 1952. He also invented the flying camel spin, which was originally known as the "Button camel".


Photo: Dick Button illustrates a suggestion for France's 12-year-old senior champion Alain Giletti before the opening of the Winter Olympics men's figure skating at Jordal stadium in Oslo, Norway. Feb. 19, 1952


The first quadruple jump


Kurt Browning


Canada CAN 1966-



Kurt Browning, (born June 18, 1966) is a Canadian figure skater, choreographer and commentator. He is a four-time World Champion and four-time Canadian national champion.
On March 25, 1988, at the 1988 World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Browning landed the first ratified quadruple jump (a toe loop) in competition. This accomplishment is listed in the Guinness Book of Records.

Browning later said, "I remember that there were a few people landing the jump (in practice) long before I did, and by watching them I was inspired to try it myself. After landing it, I certainly expected more skaters to start doing it in competition. I was surprised in the next few years when that really did not happen."


Photo: Kurt Browning skated this routine to the "Casablanca" soundtrack at the 1993 World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), winning his fourth and final World Championship title.



Six perfect 6.0s


Alexei Yagudin


Russia RUS 1980-



Alexei Konstantinovich Yagudin (18 March 1980) is a former Russian figure skater. His major achievements in his six years of eligible sports career include being the 2002 Olympic Champion, a four-time World Champion (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002), a three-time European Champion (1998, 1999, 2002), a two-time Grand Prix Final Champion (1998-1999, 2001-2002), a World Junior Champion (1996) and a two-time World Professional Champion (1998, 2002).

At the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Yagudin won the men's event, receiving first-place votes from every judge throughout the competition. He received four 6.0 scores for his long program. Yagudin's perfect marks are the most for an Olympic performance since Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean;s free dance in 1984. and set a record for a men's skater in the Olympics. Yagudin went on to win his fourth World title after the Olympics, and earned received six perfect 6.0s for his short program and another two for his free skate at the competition. He became the first singles skater to receive six perfect marks for the short program, including the first ever perfect mark for required elements. This record cannot be equaled or broken because the International Skating Union introduced its new scoring system after the 2003 season.


Photo: short program (music : "Winter" by Bond) and long program (music: "The Man in the Iron Mask" by Nick Glennie-Smith) at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. Ticket of the men's short program.



The star from San Jose


Rudy Galindo


United States USA 1969-



Val Joe "Rudy" Galindo (born September 7, 1969 in San Jose, California) is an American figure skater who competed in both single skating and pair skating. As a single skater, he is the 1996 U.S. national champion and 1987 World Junior Champion. As a pairs skater, he competed with Kristi Yamaguchi and was the 1988 World Junior Champion and the 1989 and 1990 U.S. National Champion.


Galindo took eight months off after the 1995 U.S. Championships. However, with the following year's event in his hometown, presenting a chance to compete in front of his mother who no longer traveled, he decided to resume training in September 1995. In January 1996, he won the men's title at the U.S. Championships at the San Jose Arena, becoming the oldest male to win this title in 70 years.

Here Rudy Galindo skated the program of his life in front of his home town audience, earning two 6.0s for Presentation and upsetting Todd Eldredge for the National Title. This would be a skate to be remembered for years to come. The arena was electric, chanting "Rudy, Rudy" as Rudy left the Kiss N Cry area with his coaches, his sister Laura Galindo and John Brancato.


He went on to win a bronze medal at the 1996 World Championships.

Galindo was inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame in 2011. He was elected to the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in December 2012.




Men's Figure... Dancing


Toller Cranston

John Curry


When skating becomes art


Toller Shalitoe Montague Cranston (born April 20, 1949) is a Canadian figure skater and painter. He is the 1971-1976 Canadian national champion, the 1974 World bronze medalist, and the 1976 Olympic bronze medalist. Cranston is credited by many with bringing a new level of artistry to men's figure skating.


John Anthony Curry (9 September 1949 – 15 April 1994) was a British figure skater. He was the 1976 Olympic and World Champion. He was famous for combining ballet and modern dance influences into his skating (photo: John Curry with the Olympic Gold Medal he won at Innsbruck in 1976).


Rink & hospital


Red McCarthy


Irish-Canadian ice skater Red McCarthy was a star of skate shows of the 1930s. He claimed the world championship in barrel jumping, with a record 15-barrel jump. It was said of McCarthy that he spent as much time in the hospital as in the rink.

He was also known for his garish coustumes, based on a body paint of silver nitrate and crushed glass. He performed as King Bat, and later, in the Ice Capades, as The Silver Phantom.



Mr. Toe Loop


Bruce Mapes


United States USA 1901-1961 


Bruce Mapes (August 16, 1901–February 18, 1961) was an American figure skater from the early 1900s.

In 1913, the jump now known today as the flip became known by his last name, but it is not known for certain if he was the inventor.

In 1920, Mapes invented the toe loop, which is now called a Mapes in artistic roller skating.

Later he was a lighting director for NBC in New York and resided in Fair Haven, New Jersey at the time of his death.



From ice to movies


Michael Kirby


United States USA 1925-2002 


Michael J.R. Kirby (February 20, 1925 – May 25, 2002 in Laguna Niguel, CA) was a Canadian figure skater who competed in men's singles. He won the gold medal at the Canadian Figure Skating Championships in 1942 before turning professional and joining the Ice Follies in 1943.

He also competed in fours with Therese McCarthy, Virginia Wilson and Donald Gilchrist and won the silver medal at the 1941 North American Championships.
In the later 1940s, Kirby moved to California and appeared in several movies with Sonja Henie including The Countess of Monte Cristo. He later relocated to Chicago and established a chain of instructional ice skating rinks. As a coach, his pupils included Ronnie Robertson and Dick Button.



Snoopy on ice


Skippy Baxter


United States USA 1919-  


Lloyd Valdemar Baxter (1919 – ), better known as Skippy Baxter, is an American figure skater. He won two medals at the 1940 United States Figure Skating Championships: a bronze in men's singles and a silver in pair skating with Hedy Stenuf. Baxter went on to skate professionally with the Ice Capades.

Baxter choreographed a segment for the 1969 animated film A Boy Named Charlie Brown, in which Snoopy skates.

He currently coaches figure skating in Northern California and was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2003.



Mr. Debonair


Richard Dwyer


United States USA 1935- 



Richard Dwyer is one of the most popular ice skating show stars in figure skating history. He was and is the famous "Mr. Debonair." He skated in both Ice Follies and Ice Capades.
Dwyer enjoyed a successful competitive figure skating career. He won the United States National Figure Skating Championships in the Juvenile, Novice, and Junior Men's divisions and also competed in the national championships as a Senior against the legendary Dick Button.
In 1993, Dwyer was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.



Ice Follies


Eddie & Ray Shipstad


Figure skating in shows



Shipstads & Johnson Ice Follies was a touring ice show featuring elaborate production numbers, similar in concept to Ice Capades. It was founded in 1937 by Eddie Shipstad, Roy Shipstad and Oscar Johnson, who also skated in the show. In later years, Olympic skaters such as Donald Jackson, Barbara Berezowski, Peggy Fleming and Janet Lynn were in the cast. Ice Follies also featured novelty acts such as Frick and Frack and Richard Dwyer, who was billed as "Mr. Debonair".
Ice Follies was featured in a film, The Ice Follies of 1939, MGM's answer to the popular Sonja Henie films of the time.
Ice Follies merged with Holiday on Ice in 1979.


Photo: the founders and Roy Shipstad


Skater & actor


Tab Hunter


United States USA 1931- 


Tab Hunter (born Arthur Andrew Kelm; July 11, 1931) is an American actor, singer, former teen idol and author who has starred in over forty major films.

Before he went on to matinee idol success under his screen name of Tab Hunter, he was a competitive figure skater. It is evident from his 2005 autobiography, "Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star", written with Eddie Muller, that Hunter loves skating and will always be a skater. His involvement in the sport was serious and, more than that, he thinks like a skater.
After a major success in his film career, for example, he writes, "It was time to celebrate. That meant ice-skating".
In another part of his book, he describes how his skating background informed his acting background: "To understand why that night was special, I need to compare acting to ice-skating. You skate alone. Drop your shoulder too much on a landing, and you're flat on your ass. To avoid such embarrassment, a skater has only himself to rely on. I'd approached acting the same way -- in isolation".

As a young man, Hunter trained in California at the Polar Palace in Van Ness near Melrose, alongside such familiar skating names as Ice Capades choreographer Bob Turk, Bobby Specht, Catherine Machado, Richard Dwyer, and 1956 Olympic silver medalist Ronnie Robertson.


1949 California junior pair champion with Joyce Lockwood
1950 California senior pair champion with Joyce Lockwood



Skater dad


Phil Taylor


Great Britain GBR



 Speed skater, Megan Taylor's father (photo: circa 1930)


Figure skating in Italy


Pierino Talamona


Italian champion in 1941


Great pages


"The Championships

of the World

in Figure Skating

for Men"


Tuesday, 7th March, 1950

Wembley Stadium and Arena

London GBR



Complete list:


1 Dick Button, United States
2 Ede Király, Hungary
3 Hayes Alan Jenkins, United States
4 Helmut Seibt, Austria
5 Austin Holt, United States
6 Michael Carrington, United Kingdom
7 Reg Park, Australia
8 Roger Wickson, Canada
9 Per Cock-Clausen, Denmark



That's a team!


"Champions on ice"


1999 Summer tour



Brian Boitano

Philippe Candeloro

Todd Eldredge

Rudy Galindo

Evgeny Plushenko

Elvis Stojko

Michael Weiss

... and more



Everyone was a child once...


Douglas Chapman



Age 7, 1947, Birmingham Ice Rink


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