Magdelena[1] Cecilia Colledge (November 28 1920 – April 12 2008) was a British figure skater. She was the 1936 Olympic silver medalist,, the 1937 World Champion, the 1938-1939 European Champion, and a six-time (1935-1938, 1946) British national champion.

Colledge is credited as being the first female skater to perform a double jump, as well as being the inventor of both of the Camel spin and the Layback spin.


Cecilia Colledge grew up in London. Her father, Lionel, was a throat surgeon.[1] Her brother Maule was in the Royal Air Force and died during World War II.[1]

Colledge began skating after watching the 1928 World Figure Skating Championships, which were held in London. Reports differ on her influence to begin skating; some state that she was inspired by Sonja Henie[2], while others claim that Colledge's mother, Margaret, met the mother of Maribel Vinson, who also competed at those World Championships, and this meeting between the mothers inspired Colledge's mother to begin Cecilia in figure skating.[3]

She was coached by Eva Keats and Jacques Gerschwiler.[4]

At age eleven years and four months, Colledge represented Great Britain at the 1932 Winter Olympics, where she became the youngest Olympic figure skater and placed 8th.[2]

She won the silver medal at the 1933 European Figure Skating Championships. She won her first British national title in 1935. She won the bronze medal at the 1935 European Figure Skating Championships and the silver medal at the 1935 World Figure Skating Championships.

In 1936, she won her second national title and her second Europeans silver medal. At the 1936 European Figure Skating Championships, Colledge landed a double salchow jump, becoming the first woman to perform a double jump in competition[2]. At age fifteen, she represented Great Britain at the 1936 Winter Olympics, where she won the silver medal behind Sonja Henie.

There were two British Championships held in 1937 and Colledge won both of them. She won her first European title at the 1937 European Figure Skating Championships and her first World title at the 1937 World Figure Skating Championships. The following year, Colledge won a fifth national title, a second European title, and won the silver medal at the 1938 World Figure Skating Championships. Writing in 1938, T.D. Richardson (author of Modern Figure Skating and Ice Rink Skating) said "Her Free Skating Programme is by far the most difficult attempted by anyone, man or woman, in the Skating World, but she brings off these staggeringly difficult combinations of jumps and spins with such ease and sureness and at such speed that even experts are sometimes deceived as to the real worth of her programme."

In 1939, she won a third European title, but was unable to compete at the 1939 World Figure Skating Championships because of a strained achilles tendon.[2]

During World War II, there were no skating competitions. Colledge drove an ambulance in the Motor Transport Corps during the London Blitz[5]. Following the war, she returned to competitive skating and won the British national title for the sixth and final time.

After she turned professional, she won the 1947 and 1948 Open Professional Championship.

She moved to the United States in 1951 and became a coach in Boston.[2]. She coached at the Skating Club of Boston between 1952 and 1977[1]. Among her students were Albertina Noyes[4], Paul McGrath[4], and Ron Ludington.[6]

She was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1980.[2]

Colledge died on April 12, 2008 at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts.[7]


At the 1936 European Figure Skating Championships, Colledge became the first female skater to land a double jump in competition when she landed a double salchow jump. She also invented the one-foot axel jump[2], which is also known as the Colledge.

She is credited as being the inventor of the camel and layback spins.[8]

Competitive highlightsEdit

Event/Season 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 1938 1939 1946
Winter Olympics 8th 2nd
World Championships 8th 5th 2nd 1st 2nd
European Champion 2nd 3rd 2nd 1st 1st 1st
British national champion 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st* 1st 1st

*Two British Championships were held in 1937, one in March and the other in December. Colledge won both of them.

Further readingEdit

  • E.R. Hall & T.D. Richardson - Champions all: camera studies by E.R. Hall (Frederick Muller, 1938)
  • Richardson T.D - Modern Figure Skating (Methuen, 1938)


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Cecilia Colledge, Olympian, Dies at 87, Richard Goldstein, New York Times, 2008-04-24
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "Figure Skating: A History", James R. Hines, 2006, University of Illinois Press, isbn:0252072863
  3. Heir to Henie, Time Magazine, 1937-03-15
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Cecilia Colledge: World champion skater who was an advocate of the dance aspect of the sport and epitomised the spirit of sportsmanship, Times Online, 2008-04-16
  5. Cecilia Colledge Dies at 87
  6. Cecilia Colledge dead at 87 Lois Elfman, Icenetwork, 2008-04-12
  7. Skater Cecilia Colledge; Youngest Olympian The Washington Post, 2008-04-25
  8. "Figure Skating: Championship Techniques", John Misha Petkevich, 1989, Sports Illustrated, isbn:1568000707

External linksEdit

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