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Figure Skating at the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Games

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Host City: Innsbruck, Austria
Date Started: February 4, 1976
Date Finished: February 13, 1976
Events: 4

Participants: 105 (52 men and 53 women) from 18 countries
Youngest Participant: URS Yelena Vodorezova (12 years, 266 days)
Oldest Participant: POL Piotr Bojańczyk (29 years, 220 days)
Most Medals (Athlete): 18 athletes with 1 medal
Most Medals (Country): URS Soviet Union (4 medals)


For the first time ice dancing was added to the Olympic Program as a medal sport. Ice dancing exhibitions had been given at 1948 (little is known about that event) and 1968. Ice dancing had been contested at the World Championships since 1952, and at the European Championships since 1954. The 1976 Olympic figure skating was conducted indoors at the Olympic Ice Stadium. Scoring in the men’s and ladies’ events was changed again. It had been changed in 1971, adding more emphasis to free skating, but the new system was not used at the 1972 Olympics. In 1974, even more emphasis was placed on free skating. The free skating would now count toward 50% of a skater’s total score, with the free skate 20% and compulsory figures now only 30%. Ice dancing consisted of three phases, a compulsory dance phase of three compulsory dances, followed by the optional set pattern dance, and then a free dance. In the 1950s and 60s the British had been the leading practitioners of ice dancing, but by the 1970s the Soviets had become pre-eminent in this event, and as the leading pairs skaters in the world, the Soviets would dominate couples skating for the next several decades. One other change that began in 1976 was that on the last night of the Olympics, prior to the closing ceremony, the figure skating medalists skated exhibition programs to the delight of an always packed stadium and a large television audience.