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How Toller Cranston redefined the artistry of men’s figure skating & became a queer icon

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The following is an excerpt from Toller Cranston: Ice, Paint, Passion by Phillippa Cranston Baran, a new biography about the famed Canadian figure skater and painter, available now wherever books are sold.It’s fitting that an unconventional skater like Toller Cranston reached the pinnacle of his competitive success during a truly unusual era in men’s figure skating.In 1962, Donald Jackson had made history by landing the first triple Lutz in competition.

Instead of inspiring the skaters that immediately followed him to attempt to duplicate his feat, many of the top-flight skaters limited the risks in their free skating programs.

Subscribe to our newsletter for a refreshing cocktail (or mocktail) of LGBTQ+ entertainment and pop culture, served up with a side of eye-candy.Most elected to skate clean, attempting two or three triples, rather than dare to risk the odds.

There were a handful of exceptions, of course, but on the whole, men’s skaters of the late sixties and early seventies were conservative, though confident and consistent.By the mid-seventies, two groups of top-tier skaters emerged—the risk-takers and the reserved.

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