JEANNETTE ALTWEGG CBE – VIDEO
Well finally I have cleared data off my computer and can upload this little chat with Jeannette Altwegg. Not so much an interview as a “Hello, pleased to meet you.” Sandra Stevenson – who wrote Spice on Ice – my biography with Karen Barber of so many years ago is a super journalist who made it her business to go and see Jeannette. Sandra will, I imagine, be doing a great article – if it’s not already been there – in the Daily Telegraph on her. Sandra – I’m sorry I didn’t come with you as I promised, perhaps though my words on the TV help open the doors a little?
I kick myself a little for not having got my act in gear and been more switched on journalistically but my excuse is I was entrepreneurial in the moment and was due to be commentating at that time. So all a bit rushed but still fun to see Jeannette and Sandra having a laugh together. Apart from the fact I can’t speak “I no no me!”
Jeannette Altwegg strikes me as a lovely lady who, through her answers, plays down the achievements she made in skating. Which were huge. But then, as she says, 4 children and 13 grandchildren keep her busy and to finish at your peak is the best way. In the greater scheme of things – from my viewpoint – is a far bigger win to have a family like she has than to win Olympic Gold.
Jeannette Altwegg CBE is a British figure skater. She is the 1952 Olympic champion in Ladies’ Singles, the 1948 Olympic bronze medalist, the 1951 World champion, and the 1951 & 1952 European champion she trained in Queens Ice Rink London.
Jeannette was born India and raised in Lancashire, the daughter of a British mother and Swiss father she was a competitive tennis player, reaching the junior finals at Wimbledon in 1947 before giving up the sport to focus on skating.
Her win at the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo was the first individual gold medal won by a British woman in the Winter Olympics. She remains the only British woman to have won two individual medals (gold and bronze) at the Winter Olympics.
After her Olympic victory, Jeannette bypassed a lucrative professional career to work with war orphans in Pestalozzi Children’s Village in Switzerland and married Marc Wirz, the brother of Swiss skater Susi Wirz. They had four children. Their daughter Christina was a member of the Swiss 1983 World champion curling team.
In 1953 Jeannette was awarded the CBE and was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1993.