In the year since the U.S. Figure Skating Team was destroyed in a plane crash en route to Prague for the world championships, the burden of rebuilding American ice skating fortunes has fallen largely upon the young and the very young—on bright children like Pammy Schneider and Scotty Allen. Last week at Boston's national championships, Pammy, 13, won the novice ladies' title and was so thrilled she pleaded with her mother to let her skate all over again. Twelve-year-old Scotty finished second to Monty Hoyt, 17, in the senior men's division and will be the youngest American ever to participate in the world championships, next month—again in Prague. A novice champion like Pammy must wait at least two years to compete against the world.
America's only immediate hope is Barbara Ann Roles Pursley, 20. While her 7-month-old daughter, Shelley, slept at rinkside, Mrs. Pursley set out to win the senior ladies' title. After placing third in the 1960 Olympics and world championships, Barbara Ann had married and retired. Convinced that the rigors of motherhood and skating could be mixed, she went back into training five months ago. Her efforts almost came to naught. Outrageously upbraided by officials for arriving 19 minutes late for her school figures, Barbara Ann took to the ice so rattled her hands were shaking. But she triumphed over nerves and bad-tempered officials. After pushing off gently, she inscribed her tracings with the precision of a penmanship exercise. Two days later she won the free skating as well. There is an excellent chance Mrs. Pursley will be first in Prague, too.