Tracey Wainman finished second at the 1982 St Ivel Ice International in London, England. Elaine Zayak, the world champion at the time, won gold. Cornelia Tesch of West Germany, a skater I know nothing about, finished 3rd.
This was Wainman’s first competition since losing the Canadian title in February after falling three times in the long program. Skating fans waited with baited breath to see if her collapse had been a fluke, if the former child prodigy — now 15 — had grown more, and how her changing body would affect her jumps.
On paper, the results seemed encouraging. Wainman won the figures, no surprise there, and finished 3rd in the short program and 2nd in the long program. But she skated cautiously. In the short program, she singled her planned double axel, and turned a planned triple salchow-double toe loop combination into a double salchow-double toe, according to a British paper. In the long program, she landed a triple salchow and a double axel or possibly two. The press reports said she turned a second planned triple salchow into a double, and also left out a double axel, so I’m deducing she must have landed two. A few weeks after the competition, CTV showed a clip of her St Ivel free skate on their Skate Canada broadcast. Johnny Esaw said: “Tracey Wainman has grown again and gotten used to her new height.” In the clip, I remember seeing lots of single axels — no doubles or triple salchow, but they only showed the second half of the program.
So it wasn’t a disaster. But nor was it a spectacular comeback. It was a respectable showing. And for someone who was in personal turmoil, she could have used some encouragement. Instead, the CFSA withdrew her from the Ennia Challenge Cup, an international competition in Holland in November. David Dore gave an interview to the Globe and said that Wainman would be better off staying at home and training, and working on her jumps. Apparently they told Wainman’s mother that she needed more triples, yet, as her mother pointed out, there were other Canadian skaters sent to international competitions who didn’t have consistent triples at that time (Charlene Wong, Kay Thomson). It must have crushed Wainman’s motivation. It would have been good for her to compete at a free-skating event, where she couldn’t rely on her figures to give her a head start. Surely the prospect would have encouraged her to train harder. But their tactics backfired. By withdrawing her, the CFSA was sending her a message: we don’t believe in you any more, you’re not on our favourites list, we’re pushing Charlene Wong instead. Instead of training harder, Wainman stopped attempting her difficult jumps. Her skills rapidly deteriorated. By the time Canadians rolled around in February, she was just doing single axels and double salchows, even though five months earlier, she had landed doubles and triples at St Ivel. Yet another example of how the CFSA helped wreck her career with their ham-fisted micromanaging.
I don’t have any video footage of this event, but if anybody does, or has any more information about Tracey’s performance at this event, please get in touch or post