Between The Wars
Part 7
Instead of meekly going on, he played merry hell with the referee, Ulrich Salchow (who was also the high panjandrum, i.e. President of the International Skating Union), and with the whole panel of judges, for asking him and his rivals to skate on such appalling ice! The referee thereupon allowed him a re-skate, influenced of course by the fact that Schafer was reigning World, European and Olympic Champion. Shortly afterwards, the late Jack Dunn had a similar mishap. He was ordered peremptorily to finish out the figure which he did, and he received very, very low marks in consequence. Then I, who had taken Dunn to the championship, knowing Karli extremely well suggested to him that this was not quite fair. He agreed, went on the ice, holding up the whole competition, and demanded a re-skate for his British friend. He stayed on the ice until he got his way, and then, on to the ice went Dunn, completely out of turn, re-skated the figure and obtained quite good marks. So much for reputation, a personality and superb audacity! I always had the feeling that both Grafstrom and Schafer were judging the judges, instead of being judged! These great skaters were followed by Felix Kasper, a most engaging Viennese who won the World and European titles in 1937 and 1938. He is now teaching with great success in Melbourne, Victoria; and then, in 1939, both these events were won by our own Graham Sharp, a grand skater who had won the British eight times, and who was the first British man skater to win the two great international competitions. Sharp was undoubtedly one of the best male exponents of the compulsory figures ever.
Whilst on the subject of British skaters, it must be noted that the late J. F. Page won the British Championship no less than eleven times. He was an extremely fine school figure-skater, but he had absolutely no musical ear at all the sort of man who has to be told to stand up when the National Anthem is being played. While this was undoubtedly a great handicap he was, on the whole, badly treated by Continental and World judges. I had him first on my card at Davos in 1927, when he was the only skater who did not fall at least once most of them, including the winner, were tumbling about in the high wind and driving snow. But nothing could disturb Jack Page, and as Bockl the winner himself said afterwards: If ever anyone deserved the title Jack did so on that occasion.
It was during this inter-war period that great strides were made in the beautiful and difficult art of pair skating. Since the days of Burger-Hubler, the Johnsons and the Syers, pair skating had been nearer in conception to modern ice dancing in that movements apart were not done; with the exception of one recognised essential known as Movements in field, wherein the pair, separated completely, performing identical evolutions at opposite sides or ends of the rink. Now there came into being a new method. In it, both partners had to be skaters of individual ability. In the past, by holding on to one another, it had been possible to create a pair with one partner, to say the least, a very indifferents skater. But except for the years immediatel after the First World War when Herr and Frau Jacobsson of Finland, who incidentally were excellent solo performers, won the Olympic pairs at Antwerp and the World pairs in 1923 in what one may call the old method, by the time of the 1924 Olympic Winter Games there had sprung up new conception, one which demanded equal prowess on the part of both as a skater, as opposed to one being a mere partner. For a long time the old brigade oppose the
change, but not all of them. Mrs. J.H. Johnson saw it as performed by my wife and me and liked it so much that she had us first on her card in the 1923 Championship, and no one could dispute her knowledge of both skating and pairs; and the late Kenneth Dundas in the Manchester Guardian called our exhibition Shadow Skating. us first on her card in the 1923 Championship, and no one could dispute her knowledge of both skating and pairs; and the late  in the Manchester Guardian called our exhibition Shadow Skating.
Between the Wars (Part 8). Between the Wars Index.