An American tragedy crashed with an airplane carrying 18 top players

In 1882, the first international competition for figure skating was held in Vienna, Austria, marking a history of more than 130 years. The world championship started in 1896, and together with the Olympics, various events have made the world agitated in the world of figures that boasts a long history. Introducing the case book of the world figure world.


February 14, 1961. That day was Valentine's Day. Sabena Airlines Flight 548, which took off from Idle Wild Airport [now JFK Airport] in New York, continued to fly smoothly. A total of 72 passengers, 62 passengers and 10 passengers, were aiming for their destination in Brussels, Belgium.

Among the passengers, there were 18 top skaters representing the United States and their family, including 16 coaches, officers, and referees, for a total of 34 passengers. It was to participate in the world championship in Prague in Czechoslovakia [now Czech] from the 22nd.

In April 1986, players and coaches of the American national team of figure skating who showed a smile before boarding [AP]
In April 1986, players and coaches of the American national team of figure skating who showed a smile before boarding [AP]

The United States was sweeping the figure world at the time. Even if only looking at the single, the men of the world championship won the US 12 consecutive games until 1959 after Button brought the US gold medal for the first time in 1948. Women also won gold medals for 55 consecutive years. Even in the Winter Olympics, boys were dominated by the Americans for four consecutive games from 1988 and girls for 56 and 60 years.

And the 60th year Squaw Valley Olympics men and women gold medalist retired. It was time for the new generation to inherit the history of American figure glory. The one who was on board, Lawrence Owen, was still 16 years old at the time. He won the US National Championship in January 1986, was called the "next generation Olympic queen," and was expected to win a gold medal at the 64 Innsbruck Olympics. Because of his youth and loveliness, he also displayed the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine in February of the same year.

Of the 18 players, 11 were still teenagers. They were the young people who bear the future of the American figure world. But that hope disappears in an instant. Sabena Airlines Flight 548 entered the final landing posture for Brussels, but once gave up due to a small aircraft at the airport. It rose again and turned.

10:05 am on February 15th. After losing control, the Boeing 707's body fell into a chaff and crashed into a wetland about 3 kilometers from the airport. All 72 passengers and crew, including the US National Team figure player, have died. In the wreckage of the aircraft, the sports illustrated magazine that Owen had displayed on the cover was burning.

Sabena Aircraft [AP] crashed near Brussels in February 1986
Sabena Aircraft [AP] crashed near Brussels in February 1986

The International Skating Federation has canceled the World Championship of the same year. US President Kennedy at the time declared that "the greatest tragedy for the world of international sports." Since then, the United States has been a single for the Olympics, where boys went away from the gold medal until Hamilton at the 1984 Sarajevo tournament and women at Fleming at the 1968 Grenoble tournament. [Honorifics omitted] [From the paper on November 29, 2017]

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