1961, Valentine’s Day–a day that forever changed the face of American figure skating. The entire U.S. Worlds Figure Skating Team (skaters, coaches, officials, family, and friends) perished in a plane crash enroute to the World Championships in Prague. Everyone on board perished in the crash. The complete U.S. Figure Skating Team was lost in an instant. The skating community was stunned and against the wishes of the United States Figure Skating Association and the Czech government, the International Skating Union cancelled the championships “as a sign of mourning over the death of our American comrades.”
A memorial fund was established on February 23, 1961, a “living memorial” that would give back to the skating community. More than forty years later, more than 40 years later, the Memorial Fund continues to provide qualified U.S. skaters with financial assistance to pursue their goals both inside and outside the competitive arena. The Fund is committed to awarding skating and academic scholarships to those athletes who have demonstrated excellent competitive results and/or academic achievements, and who have future potential in national and international competition.
Some of today’s finest skaters descended from Maribel Vinson Owen’s legacy–her former students are coaches of some of today’s best.
The Owen family included three generations of skaters: