Born in 1874, Nikolay Aleksandrovich Panin-Kolomenkin was not only Russia's first Olympic champion but a jack of all trades. In winning the first and only 'Special Figures' competition held at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, England, the athletic Russian not only excelled at figure skating, but was an accomplished shooter as well, competing in the 1912 Summer Olympic Games in Stockholm, Sweden and finishing 8th in the 50 meter pistol competition. He was also an avid rower, cyclist, gymnast and track and field athlete. His career was remarkably unique in that he was a well known and respected skating coach both before and after his win at the Olympics, defying the terms of "professional skating" today, where coaches are grouped with professional athletes. Panin-Kolomenkin was definitely a figures specialist as opposed to a strong free skater, and did not place in the men's figure skating competition at those same 1908 Summer Olympics, which comprised of compulsory figures and free skating. With his Olympic gold medal and medals at the Russian, European and World Championships to his credit, Nikolay retired from athletics and focused on writing several biographical and reference books, continuing to coach and judging international competitions until his death in Leningrad in 1956, at the age of eight three.
SISSY SCHWARZ AND KURT OPPELT
HELENE ENGELMANN AND ALFRED BERGER
Photo courtesy Bibliothèque nationale de France
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