Saturday, March 11, 2006

Jo Ann Schneider and Richard Griffin

This is a website all about my skating partnership with Richard Griffin. Rich and I won a Silver Medal is the US National Figure Skating Championships in 1975. We last competed in 1977. This page is all about our ice dancing and skating.

How I begain skating with Richard Griffin

During the summer of 1972, my brother, Billy Schneider, came to Colorado to train with the famous Carlo Fassi, who trained Peggy Fleming.

During that summer, our family visited Billy and I had a chance to skate some ice dance sessions in Denver.

I was introduced to Richard Griffin by Paul Steiner, a Silver Dance competitor.

Rich and I competed in the Colorado Championships that summer and after that, Rich moved to California and lived with my family and we began our career as a Silver Dance Team.

Worked hard, but didn't place well 1973

When Rich moved in with my family in 1972, my father got him a part-time job and we skated every day at Iceland in Paramount and at other rinks in southern California. Our coach was Darlene Gilbert, who, since then, has trained several very good ice dance teams.

I remember starting skating daily at at 6:00 AM and skating until 8:00 AM and having a lesson daily at our ice dancing at 7:00 AM.

I remember getting ready for school and putting make-up on and doing homework in the car as Rich drove back to Arcadia so I could go to school and he could go to work.

I left school at 12:15 PM and then picked Rich up at 12:45, so we could make a 1:45 practice session at Paramount.

We'd skate all afternoon and leave the Paramount rink at about 5:00 PM to drive to an ice dancing session somewhere in Los Angeles by 6:00 PM.

We worked hard that year, and went to Colorado to compete since Rich represented The Denver Figure Skating Club. We came in LAST that year in everything we competed in, but returned back to Los Angeles willing to continue to work hard and give the following skating season a try.

1974 made it to Nationals

In 1974, Rich and I won the Southwest Pacific Championships. It was one of the most happy days of my life! (Rich told me later he expected we'd be last. He had no idea how good we had become in one short year.) We had worked hard.

We placed 2nd in Pacific Coast which was held in Portland and we were off to Nationals!

4th in 1974 Nationals

Going to Nationals in Rhode Island was so exciting!

Our record skipped during our Original Set Pattern Dance which was a Foxtrot. Can you imagine, that we skated to music on records in those days!

Anyway, that 4th place put us "in line" to place in Nationals in 1975, and perhaps win.

Moved to train at THE BROADMOOR

When I finished high school in 1974, Rich and I moved to Colorado Springs to train at the Broadmoor World Arena with Doreen Denny, who at the time, was training the soon to be Olympic Bronze Medalists (1976) Colleen O'Connor and Jim Milns.

We trained 6 nights a week from 11 at night until 4 in the morning!

It was a horrible schedule, but that was when ice dancers trained at The Broadmoor then.

Rich liked the schedule better than I did, I think. He worked at the rink and he slept to noon before going to work before skating. I went to Colorado College and had to be in class at 9:00 AM, and never got enough sleep.

The 1975 Competition season started with a WIN!

1975 was a good competition season for Jo Ann Schneider and Richard Griffin!

I was seriously injured just before we left for the regional competition, but because of the promise we showed in 1974, we were given permission to compete directly at the Pacific Coast Sectional Championships and WON!

Wow, was I happy!

2nd in Nationals 1975!

We went to Nationals in Oakland in 1975 and placed 2nd!

It was so exciting to win a medal and stand on the podium.

I will never forget how happy I was!

We won the European Waltz at that Nationals. Watch a video of that winning performance and the other dances we performed below.

1976 received our Gold Medals

We passed our Gold Dance and Gold Free Dance at The Broadmoor in 1976.

That was a wonderful accomplishment and I remember it also qualified me to swim at the Broadmoor Hotel's swimming pool! All Broadmoor Skating Gold Medalists got to swim at the Broadmoor Hotel in those days!

After Midwesterns 1977, I decide it is time to quit

We placed last in Midwesterns in 1977. I knew it was time to quit.

It seemed that we were just not going to make it as a Senior Team. Free Dance was really hard and we had not spent enough time perfecting the compulsory dances. The Ravensburger Waltz, which we had to do in 1977, had been very difficult for us to do with the power and speed required.

after 1977

Rich and I have remained friends/acquaintances since our partnership ended in 1977.

We have skated a few dances together since then.

Neither one of us skated again competitively with another ice dance partner.

Both of us went on to coach skating and ice dancing.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A beautiful memory

A lady that saw Rich and I skate at the 1975 Nationals, sent us this note shortly after we won a medal. I am so happy that our skating made people happy!