Host City: Grenoble, France
Venue(s): Ice Stadium, Grenoble
Date Started: February 11, 1968
Date Finished: February 14, 1968
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. The points were based on 33.3% for the Original Program, and 66.7% for Free Skating. 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 were 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.
Nobody was expected to challenge the defending champion Protopopovs – Lyudmila Belousova and her husband, Oleg Protopopov. They had won the Worlds in 1965-67, and the European Championships in 1965-68. For the first time at the Olympics, the pairs skated a compulsory program (later termed the short program), followed by free skating. The Protopopovs were dominant, winning both phases easily over their teammates, Tatyana Zhuk and Aleksandr Gorelik. This was the first time two Soviet pairs won medals, but over the next decades, this would become commonplace as the Soviet Union dominated pairs and dance skating. Part of this was due to the woman placing fifth in this event, Tamara Moskvina (with partner Aleksey Mishin), who became the leading Soviet pairs skating coach. Her husband, Igor Moskvin, coached the Protopopovs.
The Protopopovs would compete at the 1969 World and European Championships, placing third and second, respectively, behind a new younger Soviet couple, Irina Rodnina and Aleksey Ulanov. The Protopopovs wished to continue competing, but the Soviet authorities declared that they were too old for international figure skating (he was 36, she 32 in 1968). Eventually they would defect to Switzerland in 1979, and become very popular performers in Western professional ice shows, skating well into their 60s.