Elizabeth Manley at the 2010 Winter Olympics
August 7, 1965 |
|Height||1.52 m (5 ft 0 in)|
|Olympic medal record|
|Women's figure skating|
|Competitor for Canada|
Early life and training
Born in 1965 in Trenton, Ontario, the fourth child and only daughter in her family, Manley began skating at an early age. Her father's military career necessitated occasionally moving, and when Manley was nine years old, her family moved from Trenton to Ottawa. Her parents divorced in the 1970s, and Manley was henceforth raised by her mother Joan, who invested much time and money in her daughter's figure skating career.
Manley finished in 13th place at the 1982 World Championships, but the 1982–83 skating season proved disastrous for her. Relocating from Ottawa to Lake Placid, New York to receive more intensive training, Manley became depressed and homesick, which resulted in her hair falling out and weight gain. She failed to win a medal at the 1983 Canadian National Championships and briefly dropped out of the sport, but she agreed to resume her skating career upon receiving a coaching offer by Peter and Sonya Dunfield. Manley competed in the 1984 Winter Olympics, placing 13th, and the World Figure Skating Championships between 1984 and 1987. At the 1987 World Championships, she was in a position to vie for the world title after compulsory figures and the short program, but a poor result in the long program left her in 4th place overall in the competition.
Entering the 1988 Winter Olympics, few skating pundits and media analysts considered Manley to be a contender for an Olympic medal, and she received no offers of sponsorships. Battling illness, she nevertheless did well in compulsory figures and the short program. Heading into the long program, she was in third place behind the East German skater Katarina Witt and the American skater Debi Thomas. Witt and Thomas were both favourites for the gold medal, and the media had dubbed their rivalry as the "Battle of the Carmens", as both women chose to skate to music from the opera Carmen. Witt skated her long program cleanly but conservatively, and Thomas fell apart in her long program. Elizabeth Manley, however, gave the performance of her life, winning the long program and coming within a fraction of a point of beating Witt for the Olympic title. Her come-from-behind victory made her a national celebrity in Canada.
After winning the silver medal at the 1988 World Championships, Manley retired from amateur skating.
Manley performed in ice shows and television specials, and competed in professional events, for a number of years afterwards, being notable for her unusually imaginative programs. She now works as a figure skating coach and occasional media commentator. In 1988, she was made a Member of the Order of Canada.
In 1990, Manley published an autobiography: Thumbs Up!; a second volume of autobiography, As I Am: My Life After the Olympics, followed in 1999. Manley has been popular at ice shows, and even professional competitions, for a rather unusual trademark: she jumps off the ice, in mid-performance, and onto the lap of a randomly selected male spectator.
In September 1990, radio personality The Real Darren Stevens as a radio stunt, admitted that he suffered from a rare affliction: being a Canadian who can't skate. While on the air, he openly "stalked" fellow Ottawa native Manley to teach him how to skate. Finally, after about 150 days, in January 1991, Manley put the skates on Stevens, and taught him how to skate.
Manley is a spokesperson for mental health issues due to her own battle with depression, which began before the 1984 Olympics. As of 2009, she is also an official spokesperson for Ovarian Cancer Canada's Winners Walk of Hope. Her mother died from ovarian cancer in July 2008 and her father died of Alzheimer's disease in 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Elizabeth Manley.|
- Jackson, Emma (August 25, 2011). "Elizabeth Manley visits namesake park". YourOttawaRegion.com. Retrieved August 26, 2011.
- Ruicci, Peter (June 17, 2011). "Manley overcoming tough times". Toronto Sun. Retrieved June 18, 2011.
- Cleary, Martin (July 26, 2007). "Life brings Ottawa's ice princess full circle". Ottawa Citizen. p. A1. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
- Elfman, Lois (November 8, 2012). "Busy Manley finds time to give back through show". IceNetwork.
- "Herbal Magic Weight Loss". Herbal Magic. Retrieved 2010-08-10.