Subject: Re: On having and not having a coach/Button
Date: Thu, Nov 19, 1998 08:26 EST
> I seem to recall reading about or hearing Button speak about how he
> and his buddies developed in the midst of WWII all these new things
> because they were isolated -- because normal athletic events were of
> course suspended owing to the war. Does anyone know how Button's
> coach figured in this, did he have one at the time, and how active
> was the coach in the incredibly inventive process? I tried to find
> info on this but could not. A source will do.
Button's coach was Gus Lussi, who played a *serious* role in the
technical development of the sport. Lussi was the one who first
advocated the back spin position in the air for jumps, in particular.
We kind of take it for granted as the proper jump technique now, but
even up into the 70's there were still folks who jumped with their
legs uncrossed, or even crossed the other way. Lussi was also
famous for refining spin technique; if Button was his star pupil for
jumping, Ronnie Robertson was his champion spinner. Dorothy Hamill
and Paul Wylie, among others, also got their fabulous spins from
Oddly enough, Lussi's sports background was in ski jumping, not
skating! He was a Swiss guy who settled in Lake Placid and ran a
training camp there in the 30's and 40's. In those days it was one of
the few places in the country that had ice during the summer.
For more information, you can read Button's autobiography from the 50's.
There was also a documentary made several years back called "The Man Who
Changed Figure Skating" (or something like that) in which Button and
Hamill and others paid tribute to Lussi. I think it was shown on PBS.