Planck-Szabó, Herma (1902—)

views updated

Planck-Szabó, Herma (1902—)

Austrian figure skater who dominated the international skating world until the rise of Sonja Heine. Name variations: Herma Szabo; Herma Planck-Szabo or Herma Planck Szabo; also seen as Herma Szabo Planck. Born in Vienna, Austria, on February 22, 1902.

Won individual World Skating championship (1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926); with Ludwig Wrede, won the national championships in pairs twice and were World champions (1925 and 1927); won the Olympic gold medal in ladies' singles figure skating (1924).

During World War I (1914–19), international sports tournaments were suspended. By the time competition began again at the 1920 Olympics at Antwerp, Herma Planck-Szabó had begun her stellar rise in the world of figure skating. In 1922, she won the first of six National championships. When the World championships were held that same year, she won the first of her five World titles. At the 1924 Olympics at Chamonix, France, she took the gold when seven of nine judges gave her a first place. (Beatrix Loughran of the U.S. was awarded the silver; Ethel Muckelt of Great Britain won the bronze.) Planck-Szabó was also talented in pairs skating. She and Ludwig Wrede were two-time National champions, as well as World champions in 1925 and 1927. For five years, Herma Planck-Szabó, who was known for her daring jumps and spins, reigned supreme until, at age 25, she lost the World championship to a young Norwegian named Sonja Henie .

Karin Loewen Loewen , Athens, Georgia