That became obvious in Saturday night's Senior Ladies' free skating event. Out came Priscilla Hill, 15, of Lexington, Mass., and, despite faltering on two triple jumps, she finished third and appeared to have made the U.S. team that will go to Tokyo. When Barbie Smith, next up, whirled into a triple Salchow and a double axel, executed with perfect control, even the most ardent Fratianne fans began to worry. But Fratianne quelled their fears. It suddenly was clear that Coach Carroll had studied Smith's program—skating coaches scout the opposition as faithfully as football coaches—and if Smith was going to produce one triple jump, then Fratianne would riposte with two. And she did just that, with a score that bounced her into first place. As she took her bow, the lights all but went out.
"I knew Fratianne had voltage," said one spectator, "but I didn't think she'd blow the fuses." All Hartford was experiencing a power failure, the announcer reported. Wendy Burge, 19, of Garden Grove, Calif., went on to skate in a dimmed arena. As if that wasn't handicap enough, she also was in fourth place, with little chance of making the U.S. team. Then, suddenly, two minutes into her performance, the audience was on its feet cheering; Burge was giving the show of her life. "I had nothing to lose," she said, "so I thought I might as well go out there and kill myself." When her four-minute program was over, Priscilla Hill had been deposed.
And so the team was set for the world meet, the men's division headed by Charles Tickner, who had won the Senior Men's on Friday night. Hotdog Sawyer won her Novice class, sure enough, but Novices don't get to go to world meets with the top folks. But in a year or two, perhaps sooner, she may be the girl to beat. The Senior Ladies had better jump to it.