As the countdown to the ISU World Figure Skating Championships ® 2020 in Montreal, Quebec continues, we look back at previous world championships staged in Canada. Part 6 of the ten-part series reflects on the 1990 edition of the event in Halifax.
It was an unprecedented era for men’s figure skating in Canada.
As the ISU World Figure Skating Championships came to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1990 – six years after Canada last hosted the ’84 edition in Ottawa – most skating fans could not have foreseen just how special that era would be.
But more on that later.
The Halifax Metro Centre hosted the world from March 5-11, 1990, the sixth time the world championships were contested on Canadian soil.
In the highly anticipated men’s showdown, defending world champion Kurt Browning of Caroline, Alberta had not only a raucous hometown crowd, but an entire country, on the ice with him as he chased a second straight world title.
Heading into the long program, a young Russian sensation, 20-year-old Viktor Petrenko, seemed to be the only thing standing between Browning and a return trip to the top of the men’s podium.
“I am destined to be happy at the end of this week,” Browning told reporters before the long program.
He was right.
Bolstered by a program that featured seven triples, Browning’s performance blew the roof off the Metro Centre as the Canadian made it back-to-back world titles. A 17-year-old by the name of Elvis Stojko thrilled the Halifax crowd with a high-energy long program to finish in ninth spot.
Like Browning, it wouldn’t be long before the world would know Stojko’s name.
Browning would also win two of the next three world championships to make it four in a five-year stretch. Stojko would take the torch from his compatriot and go on to win three world crowns of his own between 1994 and 1997, completing an historic run of six world gold medals in seven years, and seven over a nine-year stretch, for the Canadian tandem.
In the ladies’ competition, the stage seemed set for a second straight world title for Midori Ito, but American Jill Trenary won the school figures while Ito struggled to a tenth place showing. It bounced back with strong performances in the original and long programs, but it wasn’t enough to keep Trenary for the top top stop of the podium, forcing Ito to settle for silver.
Željka Čižmešija performed the final school figures at the world championships, and as the Yugoslavian finished, the crowd littered the ice with flowers, marking the end of an era for the sport.
Soviet pair legends Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov won their fourth world title in five years, cementing their legacy as one of the greatest pair teams ever. Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler, the 1989 Canadian champions, won the silver medal with a near-flawless long program that brought down the house. Natalia Mishkutenok and Artur Dmitriev of the Soviet Union won bronze.
Soviet skaters also took two of three podium positions in ice dance, with Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko winning gold and Maya Usova and Alexander Zhulin earning bronze. But it was the riveting “Missing” free dance of France’s Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay, who won the silver medal in Halifax, that many still talk about to this day.
The ISU World Figure Skating Championships would return to Canada six years later, when Edmonton hosted skating’s marquee event in 1996.
Day tickets for the ISU World Figure Skating Championships ® 2020 are on sale now and can be purchased online at montreal2020.com, by phone at 1-855-310-2525 or in person at the Centre Bell Box Office.
1990 WORLD FIGURE SKATING CHAMPIONSHIPS MEDALLISTS
|Men||Kurt Browning||Viktor Petrenko||Christopher Bowman|
|Ladies||Jill Trenary||Midori Ito||Holly Cook|
|Pair skating||Ekaterina Gordeeva / Sergei Grinkov||Isabelle Brasseur / Lloyd Eisler||Natalia Mishkutenok / Artur Dmitriev|
|Ice dancing||Marina Klimova / Sergei Ponomarenko||Isabelle Duchesnay / Paul Duchesnay||Maya Usova / Alexander Zhulin|