Host City: Innsbruck, Austria
Venue(s): Olympic Ice Stadium, Innsbruck
Date Started: January 29, 1964
Date Finished: January 29, 1964
Format: Each judge ranked each pair 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 pairs. Final placement was determined by a Majority Placement rule. Thus, if a pair were ranked first by a majority of the judges, that pair was placed first overall, and the process was repeated for each place. Ties broken by a Subsequent Majority rule, i.e., if the pairs were ranked for the same position by the same number of judges, Majority Placement for the next higher position for each pair determined who was ranked higher. The tiebreakers were then, in order, 1) Number of Majority Placements, 2) Total Ordinals of Majority, 3) Total Ordinals, 4) Total Points.
The favorites were the German pair of Marika Kilius and Hans-Jürgen Bäumler. They were World Champions in 1963 and had won six straight European titles – 1959-64. At the 1963 Worlds they had defeated the Soviet husband-wife pair of Lyudmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov, and a few weeks before the Olympics, they narrowly defeated them again. The competition in Innsbruck was very close, but the Soviet couple won with five first placements, to four for the Germans. The bronze medal was awarded to Canadians Debbi Wilkes and Guy Revell, who also received a silver medal, and another bronze medal went to American brother-sister Vivian and Ron Joseph, who placed fourth in the Official Report. Follow that?
Shortly after the Innsbruck Olympics, it was revealed that Kilius/Bäumler had signed a professional contract prior to the event. This should have disqualified them as professionals, but strangely no definite action was initially taken against them by the IOC or the International Skating Union. A few weeks later they won the World Championships, defeating Belousova and Protopopov. It was felt that the West German Olympic Committee, lobbying the IOC for the 1972 Olympic bid, wanted to present themselves in the best possible manner and encouraged the German skaters to return their medals. The IOC formed a special sub-committee to examine the case, and the minutes of the Executive Committee note, “A special sub-committee under [Ivar Vind] had studied the case of the German figure skaters. They had been found ‘non-amateurs.’ [Willi Daume] said that ‘The German NOC will do what is necessary.’” At the 65th IOC session the IOC passed a resolution, which was printed in the Olympic Review, volume 95, page 39, from 15 August 1966 which stated, "We have received the silver medals back, and we will award them to the original third-place finishers. The bronze medals will be awarded to the original fourth-place finishers.". In January 1966, Kilius/Bäumler returned their silver medals to the IOC. Silver medals were awarded to Wilkes and Revell, while the Josephs received bronze medals. However, no action was ever taken by the ISU, who continued to list Kilius/Bäumler as silver medalists and World Champions in 1964.
However, the controversy did not end there. In 1987, the German NOC rather surreptitiously returned silver medals to Kilius and Bäumler, which was in keeping with the ISU ruling as well. Contacted in the late 90s, Debbi Wilkes and Vivian Joseph knew nothing of this, and still thought the German pair had been disqualified. Wilkes and Revell kept their silver medals, and the Josephs kept their bronze medals. Thus four silver medals were eventually awarded in this event.
Over the next four years, Belousova and Protopopov would become the greatest pair in the world, and possibly ever to that time. They would again win gold in 1968. They wished to continue competing thru the 1972 Sapporo Olympics, but Soviet authorities ruled they were too old and shunted them to the side. In 1979, the Protopopovs defected to Switzerland and then joined professional ice shows, where they became one of the most popular attractions, continuing to skate and entertain into their 60s.