Herma Szabo (22 February 1902 – 7 May 1986) was an Austrian figure skater who competed in ladies' singles and pairs. As a single skater, she became the 1924 Olympic champion and a five-time world champion (1922–1926). She also won two world titles in pairs with Ludwig Wrede.

Herma Szabo
Bundesarchiv Bild 102-11014, Jaross Szabo.jpg
Szabo in 1931
Personal information
Country representedAustria
Born(1902-02-22)22 February 1902
Died7 May 1986(1986-05-07) (aged 84)
PartnerLudwig Wrede
Medal record
Representing  Austria
Figure skating
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1924 Chamonix Ladies' singles
World Championships
Gold medal – first place 1927 Vienna Pairs
Gold medal – first place 1926 Stockholm Ladies' singles
Gold medal – first place 1925 Davos Ladies' singles
Gold medal – first place 1925 Vienna Pairs
Gold medal – first place 1924 Oslo Ladies' singles
Gold medal – first place 1923 Vienna Ladies' singles
Gold medal – first place 1922 Davos Ladies' singles
Silver medal – second place 1927 Oslo Ladies' singles
Bronze medal – third place 1926 Berlin Pairs

Personal lifeEdit

Szabo was born in Vienna, where she came from a family of figure skaters. Her mother was Christa von Szabo, a two-time world medalist in pairs figure skating and her uncle was Eduard Engelmann Jr., a three time European Champion in men's figure skating, who built the first artificial ice rink.[1] As a result, Szabo was exposed to the sport at a young age, where she practiced at her uncle's ice rink along with her cousins Helene Engelmann and Christine Engelmann, who went on to marry Karl Schäfer.


She competed as a figure skater under different surnames, which include von Szabó, Plank-Szabo, Planck-Szabo, Jarosz-Szabo and Jaross-Szabo. The International Skating Union uses the surname Szabo to refer to her accomplishments. Szabo won the gold medal at the 1924 Winter Olympics in ladies figure skating. At the Olympics, she helped modernize ladies's figure skating by wearing a skirt cut above the knee.[2] High-cut skirts allowed for more freedom of movement in the legs. Despite this, Sonja Henie is usually credited with being the first to wear short skirts in competition.

Szabo did not compete in the Europeans because the ladies and pair events were not established until 1930. However, she won five consecutive world titles in ladies' figure skating from 1922 to 1926. She is one of four women to have won the World title five times, the others being Sonja Henie, Carol Heiss, and Michelle Kwan.

In addition, she was also an early pioneer in pairs figure skating, where she competed with Ludwig Wrede. They won the World title twice, in 1925 and 1927, and placed third in 1926. She is the only skater to hold a simultaneous world titles in pairs and singles.

With her accomplishments, she is considered to be one of the most decorated figure skaters of all time.


She retired in 1927 after she was defeated by Sonja Henie of Norway at the World Championships. This result was controversial because the judging panel consisted of three Norwegians, a German, and an Austrian. The three Norwegian judges placed Henie first, while the German and Austrian judges placed Szabo first.[3][4]

She became disillusioned with the sport and never skated competitively again. Henie offered her a rematch years later, but she refused to participate. Her abrupt retirement, led her partner Wrede, to find a different partner for the 1928 Olympic Games, but not with the same success.[citation needed]

Despite the bitter end to her career, Szabo was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1982.[5] She died at age 84 in Rottenmann, Styria.[citation needed]


Ladies' singlesEdit

Event 1918 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926 1927
Winter Olympics 1st
World Championships 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 2nd
Austrian Championships 2nd 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st

Pairs with Ludwig WredeEdit

Event 1925 1926 1927
World Championships 1st 3rd 1st
Austrian Championships 1st 1st

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ice rink Engelmann Verein Archived 2011-07-23 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 2010.
  2. ^ Schweinbenz, Amanda. "Not Just Early Olympic Fashion Statements: Bathing Suits, Uniforms, and Sportswear" (PDF). Retrieved 3 July 2006.
  3. ^ Zitzewitz, Eric. "Nationalism in Winter Sports Judging and its Lessons for Organizational Decision Making". Retrieved 3 July 2006.
  4. ^ "Worlds Greatest Skaters". Retrieved 3 July 2006.
  5. ^ "World Figure Skating Museum Hall of Fame Inductees". Archived from the original on 5 September 2007. Retrieved 3 July 2006.

External linksEdit