Between The Wars
Part 4
I well remember Pierre Brunet, now one of the great teachers in the U.S. of whom I shall write later on in this chapter, saying to me: That is the future. And how right he was! She completely dominated women’s skating for a decade. She revolutionised it, refashioned and remodelled it. She gave it an entirely new style which demanded clothes quite different from those that had been de rigueur for the thirty odd years of womens participation in first-class skating. Ankle-length skirts, toques and all the charming, very feminine folderols of the Edwardians, disappeared overnight with the arrival of the new ladies World Champion, Sonja Henie who, in her home town, Oslo, in 1927, gained a highly controversial decision over the great Jaros-Szabo.
The period of her reign was one rich in talent, with such famous names as Maribel Vinson, Constance Wilson, Cecil Eustace Smith, Fritzi Burger, Melita Brunner, Andree Joly, Kathleen Shaw and later on, towards the end, Cecilia Colledge and Megan Taylor. But, until after the 1936 Olympic Games when she turned professional, went to Hollywood, and made not only a name in films but a vast fortune, she was the brightest star of a brilliant galaxy. Her success was due not only to her wonderful technique, poise and ability as a skater, but also to her outstanding personality, both forceful and arresting. No one could be more charming and delightful a companion but let things go wrong, no matter whose fault, her own or anybody elses, and my word, didn t the feathers fly! Nevertheless she is most assuredly a very great artist, a great athlete and a great skater and her name will endure as long as there is ice for man to skate upon.
25th November 1926
CECILLIA COLLEDGE 26th October 1935
Gillis Grafstrom of Sweden
World Champion 1922, 1924 & 1929
Between the Wars (Part 5). Between the Wars Index.