When she began winning figure skating championships, the Nowicki family figured that dropping the last name would give Janet Lynn better marquee value. As Janet Lynn, she went on to become one of the world’s most popular free skaters – one with an up and down career. Janet Lynn had no peer as a free skater, and some people still consider her the most dominant free skater ever. But in her competitive days, school figures were so heavily weighted that her weak performance in those always kept her from winning a world championship and an Olympic gold medal. She did manage five U.S. (1969-73) titles, but when her free skating routines drove crowds into frenzies, the figure skating authorities decided it was time to change the rules. They did, but too late for Janet who by then had turned professional. In 1973 Janet Lynn signed a huge contract with the Ice Follies but her career was a short one. She began to have poorly explained respiratory problems and would be unable to finish her routines, forcing her retirement. In 1975 she married and had children, but in 1980 judged a professional skating show. Her problem was diagnosed as allergies – now under better control – and she was inspired to try again. She did return briefly to professional ice shows and competitions.
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