Vancouver’s Karen Magnussen was an inspiration to Canadian skating in the 1970s. Junior champion in 1965 and senior national champion five times between 1968 and 1973, Magnussen captured the hearts of the skating world with a brilliant performance at the 1972 Olympic Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan where she won a silver medal, Canada’s only medal of the ’72 Games. She achieved the championship crown for the last North American Championships in 1971. In 1973 she was the World Champion, achieving victory against great odds. She has been inducted into the BC and Canada Sports Hall of Fame and is a member of the Order of Canada.
Geraldine Fenton, William McLachlan and Virginia Thompson
1950s ice dancers Geraldine Fenton of Toronto and Virginia Thompson of Montreal each shared a successful competitive career with William McLachlan of Toronto. Fenton and McLachlan were three-time Canadian champions from 1957-59 and two-time North American dance champions in 1957 and 1959. They were Waltz and Tenstep champions in 1954, 1957, 1958 and 1959 and Tenstep champions in 1956. The duo won silver medals at the 1957 and 1958 World Championships and a bronze medal at the 1959 World Championships. Thompson and McLachlan were the national champions from 1960-62 and were North American champions in 1961. They went on to win a silver medal at the 1960 World Championships and a bronze medal at the 1962 World Championships.
Vancouver coach Linda Brauckmann instructed protégé Karen Magnussen to several national and international titles in the 1970s and has mentored a host of other talented skaters during the past 30 years, including 1984 national junior champion Rosemarie Sakic, two-time national bronze medallist Tanya Bingert in the 1990s, and 1993 national junior champion Keyla Ohs. Throughout the past 45 years, Brauckmann has coached in Baltimore, Lake Placid, Boston and Vancouver. In addition to her on-ice achievements, she also contributed to skating as co-author of several coaching manuals for professional and amateur standards, and is a founding member of the BC Coaches’ Association.
Billie Mitchell, of Vancouver, was a woman of “firsts” in her achievements on the Canadian figure skating scene. She was the first woman president of the Canadian Figure Skating Association, from 1976-78. Prior to her presidency, she was the first woman on the CFSA’s Board of Directors as a Section Chairman in 1960. Mitchell was also noted for her active campaign to host the 1960 World Championships in her hometown, and with the growth of television in the ’50s, the 1960 World Championships was the first to be televised. She was a CFSA Chief Accountant at many competitions from 1961 through 1979. She also chaired the 1968 and 1973 Canadian Championships, the latter introducing the first-ever Parade of Champions.
Donald Gilchrist of Ottawa was a former national and international competitor and has been a figure skating judge at the international level since 1951. His technical expertise filled a tremendous need in the growing years of figure skating in Canada. Gilchrist was the first Canadian delegate to participate at the 1951 International Skating Union Congress. For the next 40 years Gilchrist was active in every technical aspect of the highest-ranking skating competitions. An event referee at countless competitions, he was made an honorary member of the ISU when he retired in 1992. Gilchrist’s knowledge and experience helped produce many key roles for Canada, including host of the 1972, ’78, ’84 and 1990 World Championships.