Rise

On February 15, 1961, Sabena Flight 548 crashed en route to Brussels from New York City.  The entire United States Figure Skating team was on board en route to the 1961 World Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

There were no survivors.

Since this happened before I was born, I have no memories of the crash, or of the Championships being canceled due to the overwhelming impact of the catastrophe on the sport.

My first memories — sketchy at best at age five — are of Peggy Fleming winning a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in 1968.  (Tim Wood won a silver medal as well.)

Knowing now that the US team lost all its skaters and coaches a mere seven years before makes these accomplishes even more incredible than they already are.

Tonight I’m going to learn more about the history of the 1961 US World Figure Skating Team — and the teams that have come after them — in a live event being broadcast from New York City to theatres across the country.

Rise commemorates the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that claimed the lives of the 1961 US World Figure Skating Team.  Matt Lauer hosts the event, and several biggies from figure skating are scheduled to appear.  Proceeds from ticket sales will be used to further the mission of US Figure Skating’s Memorial Fund, which was established on February 23, 1961, as a living legacy of those who lost their lives.

If you love figure skating like I do, and are interested in learning more about the history of the sport, join me at a theatre near you!

Rise will have an encore showing in theatres nationwide on Monday, March 7th.  Visit www.rise1961.com for details.

2 responses to “Rise

  1. That happened the year I was born! And I never knew this! And I love figure skating, even took lessons in it!! I still hate myself for quitting!

    • I was much more aware of the plane crash that killed the Marshall University football team in the 70’s. The film “We Are Marshall” with Matthew McConnaughey dramatized their story. Like you, I was unaware of the figure skating tragedy.

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