Host City: Sankt Moritz, Switzerland
Venue(s): Olympic Ice Stadium Badrutts Park, St. Moritz
Date Started: February 2, 1948
Date Finished: February 5, 1948
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.
Dick Button, in 1948 an 18-year old freshman from Harvard, had been the leading US male figure skater after winning his first senior US Championships in 1946. In the first World Championships after the World War II, in Stockholm 1947, he was beaten by Hans Gerschwiler of Switzerland, who won the compulsory figures but was beaten by the young American in the free skating. At the European Championships 1948 in Prague two weeks before the Olympics, (ISU Championships were open to non-Europeans in 1947 and 1948) Button faced Gerschwiler again, and this time the American won an undisputed title.
Two days before the Olympic free skating event, Button successfully landed a double Axel in a training session. Having a scant lead over Gerschwiler after the compulsory figures, Button decided to include the double Axel in his free skating program. He successfully landed the jump, being the first ever figure skater to do that in a competition, and won the gold medal with a clear margin.
At the World Championships in Davos one week later Button won his first World title, again ahead of Gerschwiler, who then turned professional. The bronze medallist from St. Moritz, Austrian Edi Rada, had to withdraw after the compulsory figures due to the failure of his skates, and Hungarian Ede Király (5th in the Olympics) was able to outscore US skater John Lettengarver (4th in the Olympics) in a close battle for the bronze medal.
|1||Dick Button||18||United States||USA||Gold||8×1+||10.0||1,720.6||191.177|
|4||John Lettengarver||18||United States||USA||6×4+||36.0||1,587.6||176.400|
|6||Jim Grogan||16||United States||USA||5×6+||62.0||1,518.4||168.711|
|7||Graham Sharp||30||Great Britain||GBR||5×7+||67.0||1,503.4||167.044|