Werner Rittberger and his loop jump | Skating Esquire

Skating Esquire

By Olga Fluegge,
special to World Figure Skating

Werner Rittberger was the man who invented the Loop jump. German (and most other European) figure skaters call this jump “Rittberger”. In other parts of the world people used to call this jump as the Loop.

Werner Rittberger (1891-1975) was 11-times German national champion and one of the best skaters of his time. He was born in Berlin, where he started skating. In 1909 he executed a new jump, which later was called as the Rittberger jump. Until the end of his sporting career he performed it as a single jump.

Werner Rittberger

Rittberger became a three-time vice-world champion (1910-1912), losing only to the famous Ulrich Salchow. In his best years he remained in the shadow of that famous Olympic champion. During the World War I he was a pilot in the German air forces. In 20th years, he continued to compete at international competitions and win medals at the European Championships. He was third in 1924 and second in 1925 (earlier he was second in 1910 and third in 1911).

Non-participation of Germany at the Olympic Games in 1920 and 1924 years influenced negatively on his career. After its completion in 1928, he worked as a skating judge.

Werner Rittberger has modified skating blades, which then were produced under his name and with an andengraved autograph.

Werner Rittberger blades

During the World War II, he was a chief of the military airport in Africa. After the war he moved to Krefeld in Western Germany, where he began coaching at the local rink. Figure skating was very popular there thanks to the sponsorship of the rich people who loved this sport, such as Willie Munstermann.

Among his students were well-known pair skaters and 1951 European and World Champions Ria Baran / Paul Falk and 1960 German national champion Ina Bauer. It’s interesting that the famous skater coached top athletes without any fee, earning a living as a sports journalist and salesman. He remains fully devoted to figure skating being the chairman of the ISU Technical Committee in 1953-1955. In 1956 he judged the competitions among singles at the Winter Olympics in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy.

In addition, he wrote a book about figure skating. In the preface Rittberger writes: “Based on my long experience I can assure you that the ice skating is an easy and simple sport, but only if you have a correct technique.” Sports arena in German city of Krefeld named in honor of Werner Rittberger.

Additional sources: Sport und Spiel auf dem Eis : Eisschnellauf, Eiskunstlauf, Eishockey, Polednik, Heinz, 1979;
Stilwandel im Eiskunstlauf : eine Ästhetik- und Kulturgeschichte, Hampe, Matthias, 1994;
Schule des Eislaufs, Vieregg, Artur, 1955;
Kunstlaufen auf dem Eise, Salchow, Ulrich, 1920;
Historical Dictionary of Figure Skating, J. R. Hines, 2011.

You can download this issue of Skating Esquire in PDF file by using this link

WFS - An independent online sports magazine