Denise Biellmann

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Denise Biellmann
Biellmann (center) in November 1980
Born (1962-12-11) 11 December 1962 (age 61)
Zurich, Switzerland
Height1.60 m (5 ft 3 in)
Figure skating career
Country Switzerland
CoachHeidi Biellmann
Retired1981 (age 18)
Medal record
Ladies' Figure skating
Representing  Switzerland
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1981 Hartford Ladies' singles
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 1981 Innsbruck Ladies' singles
Bronze medal – third place 1979 Zagreb Ladies' singles

Denise Biellmann (born 11 December 1962) is a Swiss professional figure skater. She was the European and World Champion in 1981 and won the Swiss Championships three times.


Amateur career[edit]

Born in Zurich, Biellmann won her first international championship in Belgium at age 8; and, at age 11, she won the Swiss Junior Figure Skating Championships.[2] At age 14, she competed at the 1977 European Championships and placed second in the Free Skate portion of the competition.

At the age of 15, she was the first female skater to land the triple lutz in competition, which she performed for the first time at the 1978 European Championships.[3] At the same event, she became the first woman to receive a 6.0 in Technical Merit, receiving the score from British judge Pauline Borrajo.[3] She was 12th in Figures, first in the Free Skate, and finished fourth overall.[3]

At the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, Biellmann again performed poorly in compulsory figures and was in twelfth place. She was second in the short program and won the free skate to finish fourth overall.

The Biellmann spin was named after her;[4] she popularized and perfected the spin, but did not invent it. It was present in skating at least since the 1965 European Championships when Tamara Moskvina performed it. It remains the only figure skating spin to be officially named after a person in ISU regulations.

Biellmann retired from amateur competition at age 18, shortly after her win at the 1981 World Championships.

Professional career[edit]

Biellmann performing the Biellmann spin in 2011
Biellmann performing in the gala at the 2011 European Championships

Biellmann remains involved in the international figure skating community as a participant in both professional shows and competitions.

She participated in Pro7 Season 1, partnered with television presenter Pierre Geisensetter, and in Season 2, partnered with actor Patrick Bach.

She participated in the Eurovision Dance Contest 2007 representing Switzerland with partner Sven Ninnemann.

She won the prestigious Challenge of Champions, regarded as the most important professional event, a record 5 times. Along with all her other titles making her perhaps the most successful professional skater ever.

In 2014 Biellmann was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.[5]

Competitive highlights[edit]

Event 72–73 73–74 74–75 75–76 76–77 77–78 78–79 79–80 80–81
Winter Olympics 4th
World Champ. 15th 10th 5th 5th 6th 1st
European Champ. 6th 4th 3rd WD 1st
NHK Trophy 1st
Richmond Trophy 3rd
St. Gervais 2nd 1st
International Challenge Cup 1st
Swiss Champ. 5th J 1st J 11th 3rd 2nd 2nd 1st 1st 1st
J = Junior level; WD = Withdrew


  • Denise Biellmann – Die Biografie. Cameo, Bern 2022, ISBN 978-3-03951-011-5.


  1. ^ "Shaw Communications".
  2. ^ Denise Biellmann website
  3. ^ a b c Stevenson, Alexandra (2011). "2011 European Championships Preview". Archived from the original on September 21, 2011. Retrieved March 31, 2011.
  4. ^ "The Year in Sports". Sports Illustrated. (photo). March 13, 1980. p. 17.
  5. ^ "World Hall of Fame Members". World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame. Retrieved 16 August 2019.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Swiss Sportswoman of the Year
Succeeded by
Preceded by Swiss Sportswoman of the Year
Succeeded by