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Figure Skating at the 1932 Lake Placid Winter Games:

Women's Singles

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Host City: Lake Placid, United States
Venue(s): Olympic Arena, Lake Placid
Date Started: February 9, 1932
Date Finished: February 10, 1932
Format: Each judge ranked each skater by Ordinal Placement from first through last place. The Ordinal Placement for each judge was based on Total Points awarded by that judge to the skaters. The points were based on 60% for Compulsory Figures and 40% for Free Skating, with the tiebreaker for each judge being Compulsory Figure Points. Final placement was determined by a Majority Placement rule. Thus, if a skater was ranked first by a majority of the judges, that skater was placed first overall, and the process was repeated for each place. If no absolute majority for a place existed, the tiebreakers were, in order: 1) Total Ordinals, 2) Total Points, 3) Compulsory Figure Points.

Gold: NOR Sonja Henie
Silver: AUT Fritzi Burger
Bronze: USA Maribel Vinson

Summary

Defending champion Sonja Henie had totally dominated the international figure skating scene after her 1928 Olympic victory – she had won all the World Championships between the two Olympics. From 1930, ladies’ singles was also included as an event in the European Championships. Sonja was absent in 1930, but won the 1931 championship and also won in 1932, when the championship was organized in Paris in mid-January, one month before the Olympics. In Paris her closest rival from the 1928 Olympics, Fritzi Burger, earned another silver medal. The Viennese was second to Henie on six international championships occasions during her career, but to her comfort, she was European Champion in 1930 when Sonja Henie was absent.

Heavy favored Henie defended her Olympic title with ease – she was the unanimous choice of all the seven judges. Fritzi Burger had to be content with silver, with US skater Maribel Vinson as a close third, improving her fourth place from 1928. Vinson was US Champion 9 times between 1928 and 1937. She later married the Canadian skater Guy Owen and became one of the leading figure skating coaches in USA. In 1961 her eldest daughter Maribel Owen won the US Championships in pair skating, and her younger daughter Laurie Owen won the Ladies’ Singles. Since this was the first ever US Championships televised, the Owen family became national celebrities. But soon afterwards tragedy struck. On their way to the World Figure skating Championships in Prague, the plane with the US figure skating team consisting of 18 skaters and 16 relatives, coaches or friends, crashed outside Brussels, killing all passengers, including Maribel Vinson-Owen and her two daughters.

The British quartet for the event is certainly one of the youngest team in Olympic history, consisting of three girls less than 14 years old. The youngest of them, Cecilia Colledge, is still the youngest competitor in the history of the Winter Games, competing in Lake Placid at the age of 11 years and 74 days. Both Colledge and one month older Megan Taylor would later become World Champions in the post-Henie era. The third of the young British girls, Joan Dix, daughter of speed skater Fred Dix, Olympian in 1924 and 1928, soon disappeared from the figure skating scene. The fourth in the British quartet, 24-year old Mollie Philips, carried the Union Jack at the Opening Ceremony, becoming the first ever female Olympic flagbearer.

Final Standings

Rank Athlete Age Team NOC Medal MP TO TP
1 Sonja Henie 19 Norway NOR Gold 7×1+ 7.0 2,302.5
2 Fritzi Burger 21 Austria AUT Silver 4×2+ 18.0 2,167.1
3 Maribel Vinson 20 United States USA Bronze 4×3+ 23.0 2,158.5
4 Constance Wilson-Samuel 24 Canada CAN 5×4+ 28.0 2,131.9
5 Vivi-Anne Hultén 20 Sweden SWE 7×5+ 29.0 2,129.5
6 Yvonne de Ligne 24 Belgium BEL 5×6+ 45.0 1,942.5
7 Megan Taylor 11 Great Britain GBR 5×8+ 55.0 1,911.8
8 Cecilia Colledge 11 Great Britain GBR 4×8+ 64.0 1,851.6
9 Mollie Phillips 24 Great Britain GBR 5×9+ 63.0 1,864.7
10 Joan Dix 13 Great Britain GBR 6×12+ 75.0 1,833.6
11 Margaret Bennett 21 United States USA 6×11+ 75.0 1,826.8
12 Suzanne Davis 19 United States USA 5×12+ 83.0 1,780.4
13 Elizabeth Fisher Canada CAN 4×12+ 82.0 1,801.0
14 Louise Weigel 19 United States USA 4×13+ 92.0 1,769.4
15 Mary Littlejohn 28 Canada CAN 7×15+ 101.0 1,711.6