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Peggy Fleming: the skater of skaters

Updated on December 11, 2014

The Great Peggy Fleming: the skater who set standards for the sport

Who is the greatest, if asked, my pick will be Janet Lynn.

But if asked, whom will I present in order for people to better understand ladies figure skating in historic context, Peggy Fleming will be my choice.

Sonja Henie was a towering giant in the early days, but her representation mainly focuses on her timeless talent and star power. Janet Lynn was too ethereal, too idiosyncratic, and, maybe, too ideal.

Dorothy Hamill was the strongest with the most balanced asset of figure skating, but her representation, like Lynn, remains in individual capacity. Yuna Kim the latest was the most technically advanced skater in the triple era, but, strictly speaking, Kim's skating was a modern version of Fleming's.

That is, Peggy Fleming set standards for ladies figure skating, and her standards remain valid and alive to this day.

Peggy Fleming in 1964

In the rare footage above, Carol Heiss complimented the young Peggy Fleming who burst into the scene like a shooting star.

What was even back then impressive about Peggy Fleming was her charismatic presentation solidly founded in technical mastery. In the time of compulsory, Fleming's free skating was a visionary form of ladies figure skating, an integrated aesthetics in athleticism.

Peggy Fleming was a skater who contributed to the ladies figure skating not only as a skater but also as a commentator, guarding its modern development and growth.

Some even calls Peggy Fleming mother of modern figure skating.

It was Peggy Fleming who for the first time fully demonstrated athletic femininity in the language of figure skating. Through Fleming, people saw the fulfillment of classic ideal that the sport had longed for.

Peggy Fleming in 1965

Peggy Fleming: the guardian of ladies figure skating

Peggy Fleming stands in the center of figure skating history.

As a matter of fact, modern figure skating and classic figure skating are as different from each other as they are similar.

But Peggy Fleming is a skater who embraces both glorious past and newly born future.

Peggy Fleming's ideal rooted in her aesthetic sensitivity became a framework for modern figure skating launched by Janet Lynn.

Peggy Fleming, as a convergence point for both classic figure skating and a divergence point for modern figure skating, influenced the sport like no other, and ever since, ladies figure skating has been all about how to emulate Fleming with upgraded jumps.

If I liken figure skating to physics, Fleming is more like Newton who completed classic physics.

In a Newtonian world you can understand everything in Newtonian frame. Newton's position in physics is much greater than people think. The so called rocket science is purely based on Newtonian Mechanics.

Before Einstein opened a new world of relativity and quantum world, the world of physics had been all about Newton. But Relativity and Quantum Physics are related to extreme conditions involved with light speed or sub-particle scale.

The world as we know it is actually governed and sufficiently explained by Newtonian frame. Likewise, though we are now living in triple era, modern figure skating is virtually classic figure skating, and figure skating as a sport never, even in Yuna Kim's tenure, has surpassed the great Peggy Fleming.

Most conceivable moves and technical proficiency was done by and seen in Peggy Fleming and her interpretative skating. In short, today's ladies figure skating was actually copyrighted by Peggy Fleming.

Peggy Fleming in 1968

Peggy Fleming in 1967

What do you think is the most important aspect of Peggy Fleming in the history of ladies figure skating?

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