SI Vault
Bob Ottum
March 03, 1980
Now that it's all over, now that the battle has been fought and history has been carved in ice, now it can be told. The 19-year-old woman staying at Lake Placid's Hilton Inn under the name of Miss L. Danolfo was actually Linda Fratianne, the U.S. and world women's figure skating champion and the mystery lady of the Winter Games. And while most everybody in town wondered where in the Adirondacks Linda had disappeared to, for almost two weeks she lived in Room 726 of the Inn's Lakeshore Building, subsisting on yogurt and wedges of cheesecake smuggled in under her coat lest her coach find out.
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March 03, 1980

A Sterling Figure

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Well, this is what Fratianne had for breakfast: a lot of Dannon yogurt, the official yogurt—yecch!—of the Games. This is where she was: in the Lakeshore Building or at the Potluck Deli on Main Street, her head ducked down and her coat collar turned up, buying that sensational cheesecake at 75� a wedge.

" Frank Carroll would have a fit if he knew," Linda said. "Boy, he watches my diet like crazy; I'm supposed to eat all the good-for-you stuff. But Mom and I smuggle the cheesecake home and sit up in bed at night and scarf it like crazy."

"I've gained two; Linda's down four," Virginia said. "We sound like the daily Dow-Jones report."

"Listen," said Linda, "when we go to national or world competitions, it's always the same thing: we secretly order food from the hotel room service late at night, and then we put the empty trays in the hallway outside somebody else's door so that Frank will never know."

But Frank Carroll knew all, of course—he even occasionally scarfed up some cheesecake himself—but he is understanding enough to know when to turn down the pressure.

On the morning before the finals, not knowing that she would end up as her country's last hope for a women's gold medal, Fratianne stood in Room 726 with a sad look on her face and said, "Look at this." There were four bouquets of flowers that had been presented to her after the women's short program. They came in all kinds and colors, in bursts of bright reds and yellows. The night before, she had put them outside on the balcony to keep them fresh, but they had frozen solid overnight and now each petal was encased in clear ice.

Fratianne shrugged and turned away. "I think that tells us something about life in figure skating," she said. "But right now, I can't think of what it might be." Suddenly she grinned, with a flash of dimples. "Anyway, listen," she said. "I'm hungry. Let's go scarf up some food."

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