After Peggy Fleming, U.S. ladies figure skating entered into an legendary era of Janet Lynn, the greatest woman figure skater ever lived.
Janet Lynn was an exceptionally proficient skater in both technical and artistic elements.
Born in 1953, Janet Lynn was raised in the suburban Chicago, IL, and In 1966, Lynn won a U.S. Junior Championships. Lynn went on to win five consecutive U.S. Championships from 1969 to 1973, but Lynn, didn’t live up to expectation in the international competitions.
In the 1972 Olympics Lynn finished third, and in the concurrent Worlds she also finished third. In the following year, Lynn’s quest for gold again failed, only winning silver. Lynn’s poor compulsory scores proved to be insurmountable obstacles for her.
In contrast with her shortcoming in the compulsories, Lynn’s free skating was magnanimous. There was something in her skating that figure skating world had never witnessed, something magical that transcended her every move into ethereal grace and joy of skating.
People were often flustered and bewildered at the end of competition, realizing that Lynn didn’t win. That led to a large concession that the sport has to change its direction. It was the beginning of modern figure skating, an unprecedented chain of events centering on Janet Lynn.
In response to the international uproar, the ISU introduced short program to competition and reduced the portion of compulsory, which would eventually lead to a complete abolishment of compulsory figure. Before anyone realized, figure skating had been redefined by Janet Lynn.
Janet Lynn never won an Olympic gold medal or a World title in her career. But it’s Lynn’s aesthetics in her skating, not compulsory edgeworks that matter in ladies figure skating. It’s the birth of modern figure skating.