When I had worked out shadow skating, I had modelled it on the prototype pair performed by the brothers Adams. But it was the Brunets who brought it to perfection and established it as the routine for future pairs. All these early inter-wartime pairs developed one of the great features of modern pair skating, namely, lifts. In the old days we had seen the gigantic German, Heinrich Burger, lift his tiny partner Frl. Hubler with superb ease. But the lifts had been of a simple nature. The same applied to the Jacobssons and even to Englemann-Berger, but it was to the next two outstanding pairs, Kaiser Scholz and to the Brunets, that we owe the modern lift, equally popular in championships and in the luxury arena and stage performances of today. The Brunets electrified the skating world with their daring lifts and jumps in 1924 earning grave disapproval from some, but setting an example to many. I think, however, the palm goes to Otto Kaiser, who gained renown in Vienna as an outstanding amateur weight-lifter, as well as a pair skater! Lifting Lili about was childs play for him, and, as she was extremely attractive, practice must have been anything but boring!. Much the same applied to the Brunets, for Pierre is six feet and Andree is very petite. I will not comment on the successful Hungarian pair, Fri. Baby Rotter and Lazlo Szoliars, who won four World titles, except to say that they contributed nothing to the art of pair skating.
It was in 1936 that the next advance was made, by the wonderful German pair Maxi Herber and Ernst Baier, winners of the 1936 Olympic & 4 World Competitions. They were a product of the Nazi regime.
Maxi Herber and Ernst Baier of Germany
World Champions, 1936-9, Olympic Champions, 1936, European Champions, 1935-9
Cared-for and looked after by the Reich Sport Commission, which was presided over by a remarkable man (Nazi or no Nazi, 1 really never found out although I knew him very well), Herr von Tschammer and Osten, who came from one of the oldest Baltic families. Sufficient resources were placed at their disposal, so that for the first time we heard music composed by a first-class musician specially for pair skating, with every note and every movement blended and synchronised into a complete symphony, after the manner of Diaghilev and Stravinsky. These great skaters, once again both solo skaters of the highest ability, and blessed with an acute creative, artistic sense, established a criterion for all future pairs.
These 1936 Olympic Games, the fourth of the official list, were of special interest because they were the first big sporting event to be held under a totalitarian regime and how the Nazis seized the chance to make them not only an outstanding success, but a display of military force and an advertisement for their system.
My wife in her capacity of non-playing captain of the team went down to Garmisch-Partenkirchen from St. Moritz about ten days before the games started and there she found organisation and bureaucracy run mad. The complete dossiers of all the competitors and officials had to be in quadruplicate and sometimes more than that, with the most absurd, intimate details.