Towards the start of the war, the number of those changing their status was definitely growing it is true, but it was nothing like it is today. Nowadays somewhere around 90 per cent of the champions turn professional nine out of twelve of the international pairs champions, four out of six ladies and six out of seven of the men in that category. So that skating has now become a career. Gradually but surely in this regard, it approaches the ballet, where the amateur is only amateur until such time as he is good enough to get a job and earn money.
In the skating shows, if the stars and others behave themselves, keep themselves fit and do not allow their skating to go completely to pot, which alas so many do, they can earn a very fine living, be well looked after and see the world, for the ice shows visit everywhere from South America to South Africa, from Tokyo and Singapore to Australia, from Madrid and Barcelona to Cairo and Damascus. Since the war there have been many developments in ice dancing. In 1947 and 1948 the British Amateur title was won by A. Edmonds and Miss P. Borrajo. In 1949 and 1950 by R. S. Hudson and Miss S. Cooke. In 1951, 1952 and 1953, J. E. Slater and Miss J. Dewhirst won it, with, in 1951 and 1952, L. Demmy and Miss J. T. Westwood second. In the meantime the I.S.U. had decided to hold International Competitions in 1950 in London when Miss L. Waring and Mr. M. McGean of the U.S.A. won and then in 1951 in Milan when the winners were L. Demmy and Miss J. T. Westwood.
This international competition was raised to the status of Championship of the World in 1952 when L. Demmy and Miss J. T. Westwood won (in Paris) with Slater and Dewhirst second. It was odd that in England, British judges had Slater and Dewhirst in front on two occasions whereas International panels always preferred Demmy and Westwood, who continued to win the event until 1955 when Mr. Demmy announced his retirement for business reasons and Jean Westwood left for a professional appointment in the U.S.A. In 1956 the good work for Britain was carried on by Miss P. Weight and P. Thomas who gained the British, European and World titles.
The main features of the post-war period as far as speed is concerned are the entry of the Russians in a big way, the continued and growing popularity of womens racing, and the firm establishment of indoor speed which, so far, the I.S.U. has not deigned to recognise.
The outstanding figure in this period is undoubtedly Hjalmar Andersen of Norway, winner of the World and European Championship in 1950, 1951 and 1952 as well as winner of the Olympic titles in 1952 for the 1,500, 5,000 and 10,000 metres races. Andersen ranks as one of the foremost athletes of his generation.
1946 Onwards
Part 9
1946 Onwards Index.