On this day in history : 9th September 1949 – The birth of English figure skating champion John Curry – the Olympic, European and World Champion of 1976….

1976 Press photograph – Public domain

John Anthony Curry was born in Birmingham…. As a child he wanted to be a dancer – but his parents did not see this as a fitting career for a boy…. So at the age of seven he took up figure skating instead, at the Summerhill Road Ice Rink, where he was taught by Ken Vickers….

Curry’s father died of TB when he was 16…. It was soon after that he moved to London where he was coached by Swiss figure skating coach Arnold Gerschwiler and gained his first British national title in 1971…. Then in 1972 he found an American sponsor, which enabled him to commit full time to figure skating – he relocated to the States to train with coaches Gus Lussi and Carlo Fassi…. Curry was to become British National Champion again in 1973 and held the title until 1977….

Under Fassi he was to achieve the European, World and Olympic Champion titles in 1976…. He was the first to win all three titles in one season – and the first British figure skater to win an Olympic Gold…. Curry brought men’s figure skating to a new level – with his elegant, ballet-inspired style…. He was awarded with an OBE….

After 1976 Curry turned professional, forming a touring dance orientated skating company – and establishing a skating school in New York in 1978…. He would both choreograph and direct productions and his Broadway credits included Icedancing in 1978, in which he both directed and performed – and as an actor in Brigadoon in 1980 and Privates on Parade in 1989….

In 1987 Curry was diagnosed with HIV which was then to develop into AIDS…. He returned to live with his mother for the last years of his life…. He passed away from an AIDS related heart attack on the 15th of April 1994 in Binton, Warwickshire….

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