(September 5, 1937 - February 4, 2000)
1955 World silver medalist
1956 Olympic silver medalist
Although the Jenkins brothers collected the World and Olympic gold medals in the post-Dick Button 1950s, it is Ronnie Robertson's phenomenal spins which define that era for today's skating buffs. This U.S. and World Skating Hall of Famer was clocked at 7-8 revolutions per second in his spins, or 420-480 revolutions per minute, earning him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. Popular culture was aware of him: he was invited onto the television show "Ripley's 'Believe It Or Not'" to demonstrate that he could spin faster than an electric fan.
Nor was he any less of a phenomenon in jumping: he landed the world's first triple salchow in 1955, and landed both triple salchow and triple loop at Worlds and the Olympics. He was known to land clean triple axels in practice. He could do as many as 45 butterflies in a row. According to the 1999 website of a former student, novice skater and 2001 gymnastics silver medalist Tabitha Ann Yim, Robertson was even filmed performing a quadruple loop in 1971 or 1972.
To Rainbow Ice's knowledge, the first mention of Robertson's homosexuality on the record was after his death, in the December 2000 book From Figure Skating to Fancy Skating: Memoirs of the Life of Sonia Henie, written by Robertson's former coach Michael Kirby. According to a friend, Robertson chose not to be out to the public, but was open with gay and straight friends alike.
In Tab Hunter's 2005 autobiography, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star, Hunter writes of being Robertson's lover, training partner, and financial sponsor. The two men lived and skated together in Lake Placid before Robertson went pro and the two went their separate ways.