Fratianne, Linda (1960—)

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Fratianne, Linda (1960—)

American skater. Born in Northridge, California, on August 2, 1960.

Held the American national title four times (1977–80); was world champion (1977 and 1979); won a silver medal in the winter Olympics in Lake Placid, New York (1980).

In the 1970s, East Germany emerged as a major powerhouse in the sports arena. Anett Pötzsch was the first East German to win a gold medal in Olympic ice skating, followed by the celebrated Katarina Witt . American contenders in this Cold War on ice were Dorothy Hamill and Linda Fratianne. From 1977 to 1980, Fratianne won the national title four times, having first competed in the 1976 Olympics placing 8th. An athletic skater known for her jumps and spins, Fratianne won the world title in 1977, lost the title to Pötzsch in 1978, then won again in 1979.

In the 1980 winter Olympics in Lake Placid, the battle lines were drawn. Political tensions were high and the summer games would be boycotted by the United States when the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Fratianne, who had worked to develop a more artistic style, skated brilliantly, defeating Pötzsch in the free skate. But Fratianne was placed so low in the compulsories that it was impossible for her to win the top spot. In the end, Pötzsch beat the American by a fraction of a point, the closest competition in 60 years, and a disappointed Fratianne went home with the silver. The following month, she finished third in the world championships. Fratianne then retired from competitive skating, appeared in several ice shows and pro competitions, then moved to Sun Valley, Idaho, where she works as a skating coach.

Karin Loewen Haag , Athens, Georgia