Why Scandinavia Stinks at Figure Skating

Fault the Soviets, and other reasons for no medals since 1936
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2010 8:39 PM CST
Sweden's Adrian Schultheiss performs Tuesday in the men's short program; he's 22nd out of 30 skaters entering tomorrow's finale.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Though the Scandinavian nations generally fare well in the Winter Olympics, there’s a gaping hole in their success when it comes to figure skating (no medals since 1936), leading some bloggers to try to figure why. Some theories:

  • Blame the Soviets. During the Cold War, the Eastern Bloc sunk untold money and energy into high-profile figure skating, writes Scott Beaulier—totally blotting out the Swedes, Finns, Norwegians, Danes, and Icelanders.

  • Blame World War II. The conflict canceled the Winter Games for 12 years, and Scandinavians just lost interest, posits JC Bradbury.
  • Too much ice. Ice occurs naturally up there, Tyler Cowen writes, so there’s little need to build the indoor rinks where the top skaters hone their craft year around.
For the record, all the bloggers note holes in the explanations, and encourage you to help fill ‘em.

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