A Soviet stranglehold in figure skating has been broken. Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner of?
Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner of United States begin their free programme in World Paris figure skating
GV Crowd watching
GV Babilonia and Gardner continue their programme
GV Crowd standing and applauding
GV Placegetters on winners' rostrum and shaking hands among themselves
Reigning European champions Marina Cherkasova and Sergei Shakrai of the Soviet Union were second, and East Germany's Sabine Baesz and Tassilo Thierbach were third.
SPORT: FIGURE SKATING
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Background: A Soviet stranglehold in figure skating has been broken. Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner of the United States skates skated flawlessly in Vienna on Wednesday (14 March) to win the paris title in the World Figure Skating Championships. It was the first time in fourteen years a Soviet pair had not won the title.
SYNOPSIS: The American pair came into this free programme lading by a mere twelve decimal points, after placing in the compulsory programme the day before. Their grace, teamwork and artistry were superb, and gained them one perfect mark of six points.
Gardner showed supreme ease and confidence in lifting his partner, who is taller and heavier than many of the other girls in the championships. and their movements when performing apart were perfectly synchronised.
Now, one of their most difficult and perilous routines...Tai Babilonia lifted to perform a triple spin. Then, only a brief interlude before launching coordinated movement.
Some experts at the rinkside contended the young Americans were lucky that Soviet champion Irina Rodnina was not competing -- she retired last year to have a baby after having won her tenth title in Ottawa. But they won on class because they did not suffer a single tremor, while all their rivals either fell or stumbled during their figures. The following routine shows just how consummate they were.
And then it was over....a perfect showing which brought the enchanted crowd to its feet.
New champions good enough perhaps to draw Rodnina out of retirement.