Paul McGrath, Radcliffe Figure Skating Instructor at Watson Rink, won the World Professional Men's Ice Skating Championships, held on April 3 at Jaca, Spain.
McGrath, who was a silver medalist in the World Professional Championships in 1968, 1969, and 1970, outperformed eight competitors with his program done to Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana" to earn seven perfect and two near-perfect scores from the nine judges.
The first professional to skate to a program of vocal music, McGrath said yesterday, "I used this music not for the words but for the sound of the voice, so that I could interpret the sounds."
He said that vocal music was often considered inappropriate by judges because it took attention away from the actual skating, but added, "Any music is appropriate if you can express what you want to."
McGrath is the first in the professional world to receive a perfect mark for interpretation. "Usually, in order to win, a skater must work on jumps and a lot of technical things," he said.
Skaters have been afraid to "break away and experiment in competition," McGrath said. "They will do the same thing that's always been done because it's a surer way of winning."
Revive Public Interest
By concentrating on interpretation as well as technique, the Radcliffe teacher said he is hoping to revive public interest in the sport, which he believes is now at a standstill.
"Expression should not be held inside when skating. Mostly, I hope my winning the World Professionals will help other people understand this," he said.