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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Busting Skating Myths: 1927 Pairs Worlds

Granted, this is something most people probably don't know about and it has nothing to do with superstition, but, nevertheless, it is a piece of not quite correct information that has taken on a life of its own. Let me explain.

If you look up the 1927 Figure Skating World Championship on Wikipedia (the language doesn't matter), you will find out that the Pairs event took place in Vienna on the 22nd and 23rd of February.

You may also access documents from official skating organisations that list all dates and medallists of the World Championships, like for example the file on World Championship results you can access at the Skate Canada results resources page. It lists the date as the 22nd and 23rd of February as well.

Now, you might even get your copy of Skating around the World 1892-1992, which is the official I.S.U. history book, from the shelves (a wonderful book, btw., if a bit hard to come by). Regarding the 1927 Pairs Worlds you will find the following information, and I quote for educational purposes from page 52:

"Happily for Mrs. Szabo, she and her partner Ludwig Wrede regained the World title in Pairs in Vienna just two days later! One cannot help but wonder how she did it. The Ladies event ended in Oslo on February 20th and the Pairs event was held in Vienna on February 22nd, and there was no air service in those days!"

You can also continue your quest for information via internet search engines, yet you will never get the real date of the 1927 Pairs Worlds: The 22nd and 23rd of January! Somehow, in the depths of time, this tiny mistake came into being and took hold. I only took notice while browsing through some old newspapers researching other skating events of that year.

Some more interesting facts: The Pairs Worlds of 1927 were held jointly with the European Men's Championship. Both were actually part of a large event to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the "Wiener Eislauf Verein".

At the occasion, the Austrian Skating Federation was also presented the "Prix de la Paix", which was a trophy founded by the Dutch Federation at the 12th I.S.U. Congress held in Amsterdam in 1921, to commemorate the first truly international congress meeting after the war and to be a token in the spirit of peaceful competition. It was to be awarded to the country with the most wins over the next 3 years in a number of events. Apparently, Austria had won 11 of the 18 events in question. Gerrit van Laer, then current I.S.U. Vice President (President from 1937-1945), delivered the trophy personally. He also had the great idea to present miniature trophies to all the Austrian skaters who had earned the wins.

I hope you enjoyed this little post. If you feel like it, spread the word to the skating federations or go change some Wikipedia articles. And remember: The truth is out there.

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