Linda Sue Fratianne (born August 2, 1960 in Los Angeles-Northridge, California, U.S.) was an American Olympic figure skater, who won four consecutive U.S. Championships (1977-1980).

Early careerEdit

Linda Fratianne's father was the former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Fratianne (died 2002). Her mother was Virginia Fratianne. Her parents were divorced.

Throughout her figure skating career, she was coached by Frank Carroll.

Fratianne was particularly known for her ability to complete difficult triple figure skater with ease and beauty. She became the first female skater to land two different types of triple jumps (toe loop and salchow) in her free skating programs in 1976 at the American. Her strong free skating technique complemented her elegant style, which made her the best overall American skater of the period.

At the World Figure Skating Championship in Tokyo, Japan in 1977, she won her first world title by upsetting the favorite going into the Championship: East Germany's Anett Pötzsch. This victory was attributed to the combination of solid jumping skills, strong basic skating skills, and exceptional artistry. In fact, Fratianne fell on her triple salchow jump in her free skating routine, but these positive qualities were significant enough to prompt the judges to place her above Pötzsch.

In 1979, Linda Fratianne was able to regain her world title, which she had lost to Pötzsch in 1978 in Ottawa, Canada.

Her chief rivals were Anett Pötzsch (East Germany), Emi Watanabe (Japan), and Dagmar Lurz (West Germany). Like Watanabe, her Compulsory figures were significantly weaker than her Free skating; consequently, she frequently placed well below Pötzsch and Lurz in the compulsories, forcing her to attempt to overcome her deficiencies through strong short and free programs. In fact, Fratianne never placed lower than Pötzsch or Lurz between 1977 and 1980 in short or free programs at any of the competitions, yet she was only able to win the major competitions twice. This is largely because the rules then placed much weight on compulsory figures.

In addition to her skating skills, Fratianne was also known for her costumes throughout her career. Many believe that Fratianne has been responsible for setting the current fashion trend for female skaters, dripping with Beads, Sequins, and Chiffon (fabric).


Bundesarchiv Bild 183-W0211-0109, Lake Pacid, XIII. Winterolympiade, Linda Fratianne, Heinz Florian Oertel, Anett Pötzsch

Linda Fratianne in 1980 (on the left)

At the 1980 Winter Olympics, Linda Fratianne placed third in the Compulsory figures, first in the short program, and second in the free skate to place second overall, while Pötzsch took the gold with 1st in figures, 5th in the short program, and 3rd in the free skate.

The outcome of the Olympic competition remains controversial even decades later. There have been persistent allegations that Fratianne was "robbed" of the gold medal by a conspiracy among Eastern-bloc judges, but in fact only two of the nine judges on the panel were from Eastern-bloc countries and only the judges from Japan and the USA placed Fratianne first. All others placed Pötzsch first, mainly due to her substantial lead in the compulsory figures.

The officials were:

  • Wolfgang Kunz (FRG=West Germany)
  • Ludwig Gassner (Austria)
  • Kinuko Ueno (Japan)
  • Charles U. Foster (USA)
  • Radovan Lipovscak (Yugoslavia)
  • Leena Vainio (Finland)
  • Giorgio Siniscialcio (Italy)
  • Ingird Linke (GDR=East Germany)
  • Markus Germann (Switzerland)
  • substitute judge was Sergei Kononykhin (Soviet Union)
  • referee: Benjamin T. Wright (USA)
  • assistant referee: Donald H. Gilchrist
Anett Pötzsch Linda Fratianne
Compulsory Figures 46.04 points 9 places 1st rank 42.76 points 27 places 3rd rank
Short Program 39.76 points 37places 4th rank 41.44 points 11 places 1st rank
Free Program 103.20 points 24 places 3rd rank 104.10 points 17places 2nd rank
Total 189.00 points 11 places 1st rank 188.30 points 16 places 2nd rank

At the following world championships Linda Fratianne came in 3rd behind Anett Pötzsch and Dagmar Lurz from West Germany.


In 1981 the scoring system in figure skating was modified to combine the results of the compulsory figures, short program, and free skating by adding placements instead of carrying over raw scores. This made it less likely that skaters could build up a huge lead in the compulsory figures. This decision was made long before the 1980 Winter Olympics.

After the 1980 season, Linda Fratianne turned professional and enjoyed a long career performing as the lead skater of Disney on Ice (for 10 years) and other touring ice shows. In 1993 Linda Fratianne was inducted into the United States Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

From 1988 to 2001 she was married to ski racer Nick Maricich. They have a daughter, Ali (b. 1991).

Linda Fratianne currently lives and coaches in Sun Valley, Idaho.

Competitive highlightsEdit

Event/Season 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980
American 7th 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st
World Figure Skating Championship - 5th 1st 2nd 1st 3rd
Winter Olympics - 8th - - - 2nd

See alsoEdit

  • figure skater
  • World Figure Skating Championship

External linksEdit


Wikipedia-nostalgia-cropped This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original material was at Linda Fratianne. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Figure Skating Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the CC-by-SA License.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.