Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Vintage Video: Linda Fratianne

Linda Fratianne's father was the former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Fratianne (died 2002). Her mother was Virginia Fratianne. Her parents were divorced.

Throughout her figure skating career, she was coached by Frank Carroll.

Fratianne was particularly known for her ability to complete difficult triple jumps with ease and beauty. She became the first female skater to land two different types of triple jumps (toe loop and salchow) in her free skating programs in 1976 at the U.S. National Championships. Her strong free skating technique complemented her elegant style, which made her the best overall American skater of the period.

At the World Figure Skating Championship in Tokyo, Japan in 1977, she won her first world title by upsetting the favorite going into the Championship: East Germany's Anett Pötzsch. This victory was attributed to the combination of solid jumping skills, strong basic skating skills, and exceptional artistry. In fact, Fratianne fell on her triple salchow jump in her free skating routine, but these positive qualities were significant enough to prompt the judges to place her above Pötzsch.

In 1979, Linda Fratianne was able to regain her world title, which she had lost to Pötzsch in 1978 in Ottawa, Canada.

Her chief rivals were Anett Pötzsch (East Germany), Emi Watanabe (Japan), and Dagmar Lurz (West Germany). Like Watanabe, her compulsory figures were significantly weaker than her free skating; consequently, she frequently placed well below Pötzsch and Lurz in the compulsories, forcing her to attempt to overcome her deficiencies through strong short and free programs. In fact, Fratianne never placed lower than Pötzsch or Lurz between 1977 and 1980 in short or free programs at any of the competitions, yet she was only able to win the major competitions twice. This is largely because the rules then placed much weight on compulsory figures.

In addition to her skating skills, Fratianne was also known for her costumes throughout her career. Many believe that Fratianne has been responsible for setting the current fashion trend for female skaters, dripping with beads, sequins, and chiffon.

After the 1980 season, Linda Fratianne turned professional and enjoyed a long career performing as the lead skater of Disney on Ice (for 10 years) and other touring ice shows. In 1993 Linda Fratianne was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

From 1988 to 2001 she was married to ski racer Nick Maricich. They have a daughter, Ali (b. 1991).

Linda Fratianne currently lives and coaches in Sun Valley, Idaho.

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