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1972 Olympics : Beatrix Schuba, Karen Magnussen and Janet Lynn

Updated on August 25, 2015

Some may think Janet Lynn, being already a super star at the time and adored by many including her peers, could have won easily. But the truth was the opposite.

Due to her poor compulsories and her formidable rival Schuba's lead in compulsories, Lynn was doomed before she even entered free competition.

Lynn also later confessed how devastated she had been knowing she would definitely fail to win gold there. Actually, while Lynn was talking about the incident in an interview much later, Lynn was choked.

Yes, like any skater, Lynn too wanted to win, and her failure kept haunting her even long after retirement.

Beatrix Schuba in 1972

I am not sure if this is her 1972 Olympic performance.

But if so, that's an embarrassing one. Definitely Schuba didn't practice free program well enough because she could beat her foes easily with compulsories.

Her PCS for this kind of performance qualifies her 6.5, which amounts to the junior level. Speed, power, momentum, integration are all depleted.

Well, I must say this is worse than Liza. Even though I have to factor in the time, still I think this is too much. As you may notice, even in the 1970s there were kick-ass skaters such as Karen Magnussen and Gabriele Serfert, whose skating surpasses most skaters in the future including today's skaters. Their power and speed even beat Lynn or Fleming.

So, yeah, this is not a champion's skating even then.

Karen Magnussen in 1970

This is not Magnussen's 1972 Olympic performance. Her Olympic footage you can see in the above was shot from too high. It's hard to appreciate her skating. So I add here her 1970 performance.

I also think Magnussen didn't perform at the 1972 Olympics to her full capacity. So in order to appreciate what level of a skater she was, you may need to watch this.

Magnussen was in fact a skater whose skating was closest to Lynn among Lynn's competitors. And she was a formidable skater in free skating. She shows what a power skater can do on ice.

What a performance!

This particular skating qualifies her 8.5 in PCS by default.

Karen Magnussen: a sheer talent

When people call a program "technically brilliant" or :technically difficult" or "technically oriented", that doesn't mean it includes triple axel or it has 7 or 8 triples or it has more elements than usual.

Magnussen's program above is an example of the so call "technically brilliant". In figure skating, the most important technicality lies in what Magussen demonstrated above: power, speed, momentum, flow and integration.

On the other hand, what lacks in Magnussen's program are flexibility, interpretative moves, musicality, completeness and polishing. So Magnussen's program a bit one sided. But except that, it's such a brilliant performance.

Janet Lynn in 1972

Lynn was in her own league.

Lynn skated as if she made a demo on figure skating moves. As you already noticed, her competitors all focused on a routine of elements. But Lynn demonstrated how to form connected moves using her entire body while others were only able to skate.

Her peers are not able to create a variety of moves in interpretive modes while their body appears limited to their routine, and the quality of their elements is also far inferior to that of Lynn's.

Here, Lynn's program may earn 9.0 in PCS while her main competitor Magnuseen barely 7.0 to 7.5; Schuba should earn less than 7.0.

Though Lynn's moves are technically too high for even today's skaters to imitate, her execution still needs to be polished. This goes without saying that Lynn is capable of doing better, and Lynn focused, on principle, more on connectivity and continuity rather than technical scale and power characterized by height and speed.

How do you grade Schuba's PCS in that program?

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