Fassi, Carlo

Fassi, Carlo
▪ 1998

      Italian-born American figure-skating coach (b. Dec. 20, 1929, Milan, Italy—d. March 20, 1997, Lausanne, Switz.), was one of the most successful coaches in the history of singles ice skating. He guided athletes to numerous championships, including four Olympic gold medals. An accomplished skater in his own right, Fassi won 2 European titles, 10 Italian national championships, and 8 Italian pairs-skating titles before turning professional in 1954 to pursue a career in coaching. In 1961 he was asked to rebuild the American skating program after a plane crash claimed much of the country's talent. Seven years later he produced his first Olympic champion, Peggy Fleming. Other skaters under his tutelage to earn Olympic gold were Dorothy Hamill (1976) and the British skaters John Curry (1976) and Robin Cousins (1980). In addition, he guided athletes to 4 world championships and to national titles in 15 countries, including Canada, Italy, and the United States. Fassi, who coached with his wife, Christa, was known for encouraging the individual personalities of his pupils rather than imposing a style upon them. He also wrote a textbook, Figure Skating with Carlo Fassi (1980), that described his teaching techniques. In recent years he had worried about the direction of women's figure skating, arguing that the elimination of the compulsory figures and the emphasis on triple jumps would diminish the artistry of the sport and cause injuries to skaters.

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▪ Italian-American figure skating coach
born December 20, 1929, Milan, Italy
died March 20, 1997, Lausanne, Switzerland

      Italian-born figure-skating (figure skating) coach who guided four individual skaters to gold medals in the Winter Olympics.

      Fassi was the Italian singles champion from 1943 to 1954, won a bronze medal at the world championship in 1953, and clinched gold medals at the European championship in 1953 and 1954. He also competed in the 1952 Winter Olympics in Oslo, Norway, finishing sixth. In 1961, following a plane crash in which many American skaters and coaches were killed, Fassi was invited to the United States to help rebuild the skating program. His pupil Peggy Fleming (Fleming, Peggy) won a gold medal at the 1968 Olympics in Grenoble, France, and Fassi's coaching success continued with Dorothy Hamill (Hamill, Dorothy) and Britain's John Curry (Curry, John), both of whom won gold medals at the 1976 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria. Fassi went on to nurture Robin Cousins (Cousins, Robin) to a gold medal at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, New York, and to coach athletes who won a total of four world championships and national titles in 15 countries.

      Fassi partnered with his wife, Christa, for most of his coaching career; they were famous for their ability to develop the character of their skaters as well as their physical ability. The last world champion Fassi coached was American Jill Trenary, who won her gold medal in 1990. Fassi was with two of his skaters, American Nicole Bobek and Romanian Cornel Gheorge, at the 1997 World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland, when he had a fatal heart attack. He coauthored (with Gregory Smith) Figure Skating with Carlo Fassi (1980).

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Universalium. 2010.

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