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Skaters of Grace: Denise Biellmann and Alissa Czisny

Updated on August 9, 2014

Denise Biellmann: a skater who defined the arc of art

Besides the towering legends of the ladies figure skating were several names that could have made a short list.

One of them was Denise Biellmann.

Many thought Biellmann, whose artistry and technicality far surpassed her peers in the 1980s, was going to be a great star.

Biellmann possessed many qualities that reminisced timeless greatness in her skating. The first ever female skater who landed triple lutz, Biellmann was an exceptional skater in the 1980s with grace and proficiency.

In the 1978 European Championships, Biellman dazzled the crowd and judges, and received 6.0 in technical mark from a British judge, ranking first in free skating, and in 1980 Olympics, she also topped the free skating.

Biellmann's free skating overwhelmed her peers and her innovative spin, known today as Bielmann spin, fascinated the crowd. But, like Janet Lynn in the ealry 1970s, Biellmann's poor compulsories held her down.

Biellmann, after having swept the entire season winning all competitions she had competed including the 1981 Worlds, suddenly decided to retire, due to the mouting pressure of her fame. She was just 19.

Many speculated hadn't Biellmann retired so early, she could have dominated the era.

Denise Biellmann in 1981

Denise Biellmann: a skater who walked out too early

Biellmann was a star skater more than thirty years ago, who defined her signature spin, Biellmann spin. Although it wasn't her invention, she was the one who popularized the technique.

There wasn't any who came lose to Biellmann's style and proficiency at the time.

Biellmann's style and innovation were extraordinary and admired by many. But her fame became such a weight, she decided to retire. It was such a loss.

Denise Biellman in 1980

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Alissa Czisny: an American Biellmann

Czisny: a skater with Beillmann's grace

Alissa Czisny was a skater close to Biellmann in style and orientation. Especially like Biellmann, Czisny was also a clockwise spinner.

Czisny wasn't anywhere near to Biellmann's mastery, but she was a skater who would give the audience joy to watch.

As for spin, Mirai Nagasu may score more points in competition, but even Nagasu's proficiency would be dwarfed by Czisny's aesthetic power.

Alissa Czisny: a skater of elegance finally said farewell.

Alissa Czisny has at last announced her retirement.

Despite a decade long medal drought in which U. S. ladies figure skating failed to produce top contenders in the international competition, Czisny was a skater whose stylistic elegance appealed to many fans all over the world.

Alissa Czisny , born in 1987, became a Grand Prix Final Champion in 2010, and a two -time U.S. Champion in 2009 and 2011.

Although Czisny competitively came short to level with big names such as Yuna Kim, or Mao Asada, she was a distinct skater of her own glow.

Czisny won her second U.S. Championships beating Rachael Flatt in 2011, and placed fifth in the concurrent Worlds. Czisny was rising at that point as a new face of U.S. ladies figure skating, but her injury stalled her progress.

Into the 2011-2012 season, Czisny reportedly competed with injury. The worst came in the 2012 Worlds in which Czisny fell twice in the short program and five times in the long program, as a result placing 22nd .

Although Czisny had been fighting hard in rehab, in June this year, Czisny hung up the boots.

Despite her inconsistent outing in the international competitions and frequent injuries, Czisny is remembered as the one of the most beloved U.S. skaters in the recent decade.

With her stylistic elegance and toothy smile, Czisny closed her career as a two-time U.S. champion and a 2010 Grand Prix Final champion.

Czisny was one of rare skaters whose artistic affinity well channeled to the audience these days.

"She is an athlete with true dedication, besides the fact that she is a beautiful skater. She taught us many things," Sato, Czisny's coach said in the recent interview with the Icenetwork. "Her dedication as a skater and an athlete made us reassure and reinforce discipline. It's never about just the talent but the work ethic that makes us better, [and] Alissa is the role model of [that]."

Due to rigorous technical demanding in the current competition, skaters today quite lack of artistic development. Czisny was a skater who brought a fresh air to that void. But like her predecessor, the former World champion Kimmie Meisener, injury caught up with Czisny.

It was such a misfortune.

Alissa Czisny in 2010


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