“Skating” magazine turns 90 years
By Olga Fluegge
“Skating” magazine, which was founded in 1923 and which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, is one of the oldest sports media in the world.
Mrs. Teresa Weld Blanchard became founding editor for 40 years from 1923 to 1963. Her contribution to the development of figure skating is enormous. Mrs. Blanchard, who can be called the “grand dame“ of American figure skating, was the first ever U.S. Champion in 1914, and won this title six times.
She was the first American Olympic medalist in figure skating, winning the bronze in 1920. Furthermore, Mrs. Blanchard skated in pairs with Nathaniel Niles, who worked as co-editor of “Skating”; together they won nine national titles. The launch of the new magazine was a volunteer creation, demanding only the price of printing and delivering just 500 copies.
A year of subscription had a cost of 1 USD. The first issue was published in the 6 inch by 9 inch size. It included 36 pages with 6 pages of black-and-white photographs. From its beginning “Skating” was planned to be the official magazine of figure skating in the United States. The editors, who led the magazine production from their home, wanted to report about figure skating on a high level, especially internationally.
First Skating magazine editors Theresa Weld Blanchard and Nat Niles
As reigning U.S. Champions they took part in competitions abroad, at the Olympic Winter Games in Twenties, enjoyed exclusive contacts and knowledge of the sport. In Thirties the U.S. hosted some major international competitions like World Figure Skating Championships 1930 and Olympic Winter Games 1932. “Skating” magazine played a leading role in this events publishing previews, articles about skaters and reporting on events.
The new column “Rockers and Counters” with notes on European skaters and competions of international character in Europewas added to the edition. A decade later, the magazine covered a professional side of the sport such as the touring shows, the Ice Follies and Ice Capades, and founding of the Professional Skaters Association.
The magazine has started to publish the annual USFSA rulebook. Its circulation amounted to 5,000 copies. In 1950 the magazine has got a full time paid staff of four employees. The number of issues expanded to eight and the annual subscriptions cost only four dollars. Mrs. Blanchard continued to work as unpaid volunteer editor putting her heart, mind and personality in the production. But this is a history.
Now, in the age of information technology and the Internet, current issues of “Skating” is availible online for all the fans of this wonderful sport.
Since May 2013 every issue of magazine can be found in online Archive, which is accessible for subscribers of the magazine.
Photo: Skating magazine, Dec. 1923. First editors Theresa Weld Blanchard and Nat Niles.