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1976 worlds: Dorothy Hamill, Dianne de Leeuw, Christine Errath and Linda Fratianne

Updated on August 16, 2015


You are watching performances by one of the greatest of all time in ladies figure skating history, the Great Dorothy Hamill. You will be marveled. How can a skater move with such speed, elegance and line without a speck?

Hamill shows all elements possible in ladies figure skating. No skater has ever possessed more skating assets Hamill once had even until now. Even in today's standards, Hamill's moves qualify her 9.0-9.5 in average PCS by default.

There was never a moment when Hamill failed to incorporate her various moves into momentum on ice. All her moves are complete and enclosed; never mimicking or half-done. Her lines and extensions always fully reflect on momentum. Power, agility, speed, line, balance, edge, elegance and musicality are all under her sleeves. The degree of freedom she flaunts on ice is simply incredible.

Yes, this is Dorothy Hamill, the legendary skater.

Dorothy Hamill in 1976

Just incredible to watch her!

Breathtakingly powerful while elegantly pristine, audaciously fast while precise and accurate, recklessly free while austerely orchestrated. Yes, that's Dorothy Hamill's legacy.

It is the one and only figure skater in ladies figure skating history. Hamill's legacy has never waned despite her two giant predecessors to whom she owed much of her legacy - Peggy Fleming and Janet Lynn.

If Janet Lynn had introduced metaphysical aesthetics while Peggy Fleming had for the first time fulfilled the classic ideal, Dorothy Hamill opened the door for athleticism to thrive by incorporating power skating into lyrical skating - a classic model best represented by Peggy Fleming.

Dianne de Leeuw in 1976

Dianne de Leeuw took bronze in the 1976 Worlds.

I was unable to spot any of her 1976 worlds free program. So I put up her short program.

What a charming skater. First I thought that her style was very similar to that of American ladies skaters.She looked as if a bit taller Linda Fratianne were trying to emulate Hamill.

Dianne is a skater, skillful, agile and even masterful, worthy of podium.

If you compare her to Christine - of course, the clip below is not the actual performance at the 1976 Worlds - you see why. In today's standards, her skating definitely qualifies for 8.0 or above of PCS average.

Christine Errath in 1976

This is her Olympic performance.

There wasn't any of her 1976 Worlds performance available on Youtube. So, we will have to indirectly assess her skating through the 1976 Olympic performances.

What you can find from Errath's performance is how Dorothy Hamill was in her own league at that time, far ahead of her peers as a skater. First Errath's skating betrays a great deficiency in jumping technique - no need to even bother comparing with Hamill's - but that's not all. Her general moves falls much behind even Dianne de Leeuw. If she were judged under the current system, she may be placed in around 7.0 to 7.5 of PCS average at most.

But you can easily notice that Errath is a superior skater to even Gracie Gold today when it comes to skating in general. If Errath were to compete today, her average PCS, if her jumping technique were mastered, will be around 7.5 to 8.0, then Gracie Gold's will be around 7.0.

Linda Fratianne in 1976

Here, Linda was only at 15. Wow, she looks so adorable.

This is also Linda's 1976 Olympic performances. So the clip does not show her actual performances in the 1976 Worlds, but you may have some idea of her skating. And also except her falls, if any, you can expect similar performances in the Worlds.

Worthy of her legendary reputation as a pioneering jumper, Linda flaunts her over-the-top mastery of triple jump even at 15. What you need to take a note is that back then, even skaters at junior age skated like seniors. They didn't have any deficiency in edge, body control, balance and skating basics.

Fratianne's skating at 15 already qualifies her 7.0 or above of PCS average.

Who do you think is the winner of the 1976 Worlds?

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