With the 1976 Winter Olympics only a month and a half away, winter sports athletes all over the world are beginning the final stages of their preparation for the competition.
GTV PAN Toller Cranston skating to music (slow time) and (at 28 feet) changes to quick time music and does tripple jumps; finishes and receives standing ovation
Initials CL/1940 CL/1950
This film shows part of Toller Cranston's title-winning free-skating performance at Skate 75 .... a performance which brought the whole of the 9,000 strong crowd to its feet with delight.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: With the 1976 Winter Olympics only a month and a half away, winter sports athletes all over the world are beginning the final stages of their preparation for the competition.
For one man, Canadian Toller Cranston, winning a gold medal at the Games will fulfil a life-long ambition.
Cranston is Canada's best hope for success and a firm favourite for a gold in the individual man's ice-skating competition. He has been acclaimed as the country's best male figure-skater ... a potential world-beater.
The main problem facing Cranston, though, is that he lacks consistency of performance. On form, he is excellent; off-form, disappointing. The trouble arises from his very individualistic approach to his sport. He has succeeded in injecting a completely new style, based on his belief that every movement on the ice should have a "why" ... a complete fusion of action and body with the rhythm and feeling of the music, a total interpretation and performance.
Cranston splits his life between his two loves: ice-skating and art. He has turned down a number of highly-lucrative professional offers, and depends on his painting to finance his sport.
He says that it is this close tie between the two which enables him to achieve the close rapport the creates between skate, ice and music. He has turned away the emphasis from purely athletic skating to dramatic interpretation and style.
Cranston's week point comes in the compulsory exercise and in technical assessment. But -- as the showed in Skate 75 in Edmonton, Canada, earlier this year -- he can easily regain lost points in the free-skating section .. his trump card.
Strangely, after winning the Junior Canadian Crown at the age of 15 in 1964, skating experts reckoned that he did not show enough talent to go further. Toller Cranston has proved the experts wrong. Seven years later, he took the Canadian Senior title. Now he is set to take on the strongest competitors from the Soviet Union and the United States for the Olympic title.
SYNOPSIS: With the Winter Olympics less than two months away, the eyes of the ice-skating world are fixed on this man ... Toller Cranston. He's been described as Canada's best male figure-skater and is a firm favourite to take the individual gold medal in Innsbruck.
He's succeeded in injecting a very distinctive style into ice-skating, based on a belief that action and body movements must completely match the rhythm and mood of the music to give a total interpretation. Cranston's drawback, however, is his inconsistency of performance. On-form, he's world-beater; off-form, he's disappointing. At the Skate Seventy-five Championships in Edmonton earlier this year, Cranston came from behind to win with a virtuoso performance, as shown here.
His strongest section is always the free-skating. On compulsory exercises and technical assessment, he's regularly marked down.
Strange as it may seem, skating experts once reckoned he didn't have enough talent for senior and international competitions. Toller Cranston proved them wrong by taking the Canadian Senior title three years ago. Now he's ready to take on the top Soviet and United States competition in the Olympics ... and he's determined to win.