Figure skating champions on the podium

Medal ceremonies can be emotional for skaters no matter what step they landed on. And often, a skater’s personality is revealed on the podium. Are they gracious in defeat, or are they obviously disappointed? Are they arrogant with their win or do they cheer the other recipients? Do they relish in the spotlight, or look as though they’d rather be elsewhere?

In 1956, a time when World Medals were pinned on, rather than looped around the neck, and the World Champions received sashes, everyone on the podium seemed happy for the other competitors. The scene was almost blissful. It’s humourous to think politics played a part in figure skating, especially back then, as we watch this.
In the former Yugoslavia at the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Games, the American sibling pairs’ team of Kitty and Peter Carruthers came away with the silver medal. The two Russian pairs took gold and bronze; Elena Valova and Oleg Vasiliev, and Larisa Selezneva and Oleg Makarov respectively. The reaction for the Americans was so boisterous, one might have thought they won gold.
At the 1994 World Figure Skating Championships in Chiba, Japan, Yuka Sato skated a beautiful artistic long program to win the gold medal. Meanwhile, Surya Bonaly laid down a less than par long program, without any focus to artistic impression, refused to stand on the podium to receive her silver medal. She believed her program, filled with cheated jumps and sloppy spins, was superior to Sato’s.
And of course, the best for last. In Halifax in 1990, the mens’ competition, Kurt Browning, Viktor Petrenko and Christopher Bowmen finished 1-2-3. These three men showed the true meaning of sportsmanship. Not to mention, it’s fun to watch Browning belt out our national anthem, and hear the Canadian crowd sing along with him.

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