Last Updated on August 29, 2020 by Netropolitan Museum
In a post-Sonja Henie world, Cecilia Colledge, twice a bridesmaid to Henie at the European Championships, claimed the ladies title at the 1937 European Figure Skating Championships, held in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Felix Kaspar continued the dominance of Austrian men, winning his first European title and following in the gigantic footsteps of the eight-time European and seven-time world champion Karl Schäfer. And in the pairs event, it was just another day at the office for Maxi Herber and Ernst Baier of Germany, winning the third of their five European titles.
The large and heavy participant medal issued to commemorate the 1937 European Championships is stark and utilitarian in design, perhaps reflective of the uncertain political climate in Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s. Shown in the gallery below, the medal measures 2-1/8″ in diameter (approx. 5.4 cm). The face of the medal is a study in cultural and regional elements. At the center is the shape of the country of Czechoslovakia. In the background, as if looking toward Prague from afar, is the Cathedral of St. Vitus, part of the Castle complex and among the most famous landmarks in the city. The cathedral’s spires are unmistakable, towering high into the Prague skies. Nearer the foreground on the right is the Czech flag and in the center foreground is, presumably, a depiction of the stadium used for the event. Above the ice surface is the year, notable for the constructivist typestyle. The elements all work together to tell a story about the place and time.
The large and heavy medal issued to commemorate the 1937 European Championships is stark and utilitarian in design, perhaps reflective of the uncertain political climate in Czechoslovakia.
Curiously, even though pair teams competed at this event, the medal names only men and women, as can be seen on the reverse. This suggests that pairs teams may have been given a different medal. The reverse features the event name and division classifications in both Czech and French: “Mistrovství Evropy v Krasobruslení Panu a Dam., Praha | Championnats d’Europe de Patinage de Figures Pour Messieurs et Dames.” The typography and design of the event name—forged neatly into a square shape upon the round medal—is rough yet well-conceived. As a design unit, it shows a considerable strength and solidarity of form yet hints at the old colloquialism [paraphrasing] “fitting a square peg into a round hole.” One can conjecture whether the design was simply a design or a covert message.
Enjoy Strength and Solidarity of Form. 1937.