Category Archives: Figure skating
Dick Button (Figure skating. Born, Englewood, NJ, July 18, 1929.) First of the great post-World War II American figure skating champions, Richard T. Button was the U.S. national men’s champion seven straight years (1946-52) and a five-time world champion (1948-52). Button was the Olympic gold medalist in 1948 at St. Moritz, Switzerland, the first American to win the gold, and repeated in 1952 in Oslo, Norway. In 1949, he won the Sullivan Award as the top American amateur athlete and later had a long career as a figure skating commentator on television.
Irving Jaffee (Skating. Born, New York, NY, Sept. 15, 1906; died, San Diego, CA, Mar. 20, 1981.) A victim of circumstance in 1928, Irving Jaffee became a national star in speed skating at the 1932 Olympics. At St. Moritz, Switz., Jaffee easily turned in the best time in the grueling 10,000-meter event but the final was cancelled due to deteriorating conditions, and he was left with an unofficial victory. At Lake Placid, N.Y., four years later, Jaffee took no chances, winning gold in both the 5,000-meter (9:40.8) and 10,000-meter (19:13.6) races. He later gave exhibitions between periods of hockey games at the Garden.
Maribel Vincent Owen (Figure skating. Born, Winchester, MA, Oct. 12, 1911; died, near Brussels, Belgium, Feb. 15, 1961.) A Skating Club of Boston star who won nine U.S. championships as Maribel Vincent, Mrs. Owen gave numerous exhibitions at the Garden during her skating career. Mrs. Owen later became a leading coach whose student, Tenley Albright, won the 1956 Olympic gold medal. She was herself a U.S. Olympic team member in 1928, 1932, and 1936. Mrs. Owen’s daughter, Laurence, was the U.S. Ladies champion in 1961 and both were traveling with the U.S. figure skating team to the world championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia, when their plane crashed in Belgium. The entire U.S. team was lost in the crash. Among the 18 victims of the U.S. figure skating team were U.S. men’s champion Bradley Lord; Diane Sherbloom and Larry Pierce, the U.S. ice dancing champions; Mrs. Owen and her partner on the winning senior pairs team, Dudley Richards; and both of Mrs. Owen’s daughters.