Early in the first event, the 500, the top Soviet sprinter, Titova, took the lead with a brisk clocking of 45.8 seconds. She looked unbeatable when Holum whirled around the ice in a disappointing 48.3. "I was really lousy," Holum complained, "but I just couldn't get my footing on that dirty ice."
In the 11th starting position came Annie Henning. Many of the knowledgeable fans timed her, and as she swept across the finish line they burst into cheers. She had gone past Titova with a 44.6. One more Russian, Tatiana Averina, was still on deck, but all she could do was 46.4—good for third place behind Henning and Titova.
"How old is she?" Titova immediately asked Rudolph in English.
"Annie is 15," he said.
"Does she go to college?"
"No," said Rudolph. "She's at high school, second year."
"Very good," murmured the Russian, shaking her head. "Very good."
The newly elected Miss Finland, a former skater, glided up to Annie and presented her with a gold medal. But the medal ceremony lasted so long that Annie had no time to warm up for the next event—the 1,500. Skating in the first position, she finished 22nd, more than 10 seconds slower than Statkevich, the eventual winner. But Holum skated beautifully and won third place behind Statkevich and Holland's Stien Kaiser. It was the first time an American had ever won a medal in a world championship 1,500. The day's only disappointment for the Americans was Poulos, far back in the field in both events.
On Sunday the ice wasn't any better, so the Americans cut down on their warming-up time. "The more we warmed up, the duller our skates got," said Holum, "so we just forgot about it." The first event was the 1,000 meters, and Stien Kaiser of the Netherlands seemed a sure winner. Her time of 1:33.7 resisted the assault of the top Soviet girls, including Statkevich, who had a 1:34.0. Henning failed to come close, so that left America's hopes up to Holum. Skating in the eighth pair, she stole away Kaiser's victory with a 1:33.0 clocking and won a gold medal to go with her bronze.
The fourth and final race, the 3,000, was predictably weak for the Americans. The best Holum could manage was ninth place, Henning was last and Poulos, after finishing 27th in the 1,000, failed to qualify. Two Dutch girls, Kaiser and Ans Schut, finished 1-2. In the overall standings, Russia's Statkevich won the world championship followed by Kaiser, Titova and Holum. Only 118/1,000 of a point kept Holum from winning the bronze medal.