Here I must digress and say a few words once again concerning the teachers. During the period of Nazi influence in Europe, many skaters left for the United States, several of them became professionals and have since then most assuredly made good and a lot of money. But already over there, there were the well-known and established instructors Willie Frick, Gustav Lussi, Howard Nicholson and others, as well as several ex-amateurs, to name two in particular, Maribel Vinson and Sheldon Gaibraith. But the Gerschwiler brothers, Jacques and Arnold, remained faithful to England, where they had already lived for some time and where they had developed their theories, especially those connected with the accurate drawings of the school figures. These brothers, Swiss by birth, we have come to take for granted in Britain, just as we came to regard their nephew Hans, who had come here as a little boy and grown to manhood amongst us and who was the winner of the mens world title in 1947, as one of us. The Gerschwilers have had a considerable influence on all figure-skating not only that in Britain and we should not forget that it was Jacques, the elder, who taught Cecilia Colledge and was thus entirely responsible for our second British Lady World Champion; he also trained and coached Jeannette Altwegg during the years from 1948 up to her victory in the World and Olympic Competitions in 1952, while of course his brother Arnold was responsible for the training of nephew Hans, who is now carrying on the good work as a teacher in Canada, and Aja Vrazanova.
To my mind Gersch, as the elder is affectionately known throughout the civilised skating world, is directly responsible for the improvement in the accuracy of the general tracing and for the uniformity of the turns which characterises modern school skating, and I would go so far as to say that the still change of edge was brought to perfection under his tutelage. While these teachers, together with those who have been influenced by them, to name two only, Gladys Hogg, and Ernst Hartung, were busy in Britain, mainly concerned with the school, the Americans, as well as absorbing as much as they could of it from hearsay during the war, had taken a bold line in the free skating, especially in that branch of it concerned with jumping. Although all of the teachers over in the U.S.A. were in some degree, no doubt, in at the beginning of what was to prove a startling advance in free skating in general, it was the luck of Gustav Lussi to have as his pupil for six years, from boy to manhood, one of the outstanding skaters and personalities in the whole history of the sport, Richard Button. Immensely strong and seemingly immune to fatigue, he was entirely at one with his coach in the rigid rules and iron discipline imposed for his training, accepting its stringency without any question. He first came to Europe in 1947 and skated in the European Championship at Prague and in the World at Stockholm where he was second on both occasions to Hans Gerschwiler (there is now a rule confining the European Championship to European-born skaters).
Gladis Hogg-show-1935
1946 Onwards
Part 3
1946 Onwards Index. 1946 Onwards (Part 4).