Quick Intro: 1984 Olympic Women’s Figure Skating

The 1984 Olympic women’s figure skating competition was intriguing and exciting, with Katarina Witt bursting onto the scene with her first gold medal. The results, an upset win for Witt who would repeat with gold in 1988, were very close.

One of the unique things about the 1984 Olympic women’s figure skating competition was a change in the scoring system. Previously, after each stage was skated, percentages were applied to each stage, with skaters ranked by each judge. First place went to competitor chosen first by most of the judges. In 1984, after each stage, a skater’s placement was multiplied by 30 percent for compulsory, twenty percent for short program and 50 percent for free skating, putting more emphasis on free skating.  This would have an impact on the 1984 Olympic women’s figure skating competition.

Rosalynn Sumners of the United States and reigning world champion was the favorite to win the gold in the 1984 Olympic women’s figure skating competition. Heading into the free skate, Sumners and Witt were 1-2 in leading into the free skate. In the free skate, Witt landed three triple jumps; Sumners had the opportunity to take gold in the 1984 Olympic women’s figure skating competition, but she scaled back two of her jumps. Witt consequently won the free skate by a tenth of a point.

Taking the bronze in the 1984 Olympic women’s figure skating competition was Kira Ivanova, who was the only single female figure skater to ever medal for the USSR. American Tiffany Chin was second in the short program and third in the free skate but took fourth overall.

For further reading: Witt, Karina. "Only With Passion: Figure Skating's Most Winning Champion on Competition and Life." 2007. Public Affairs.