1964 Olympic Pairs Medalists Elected to U.S. Hall of Fame

Vivian and Ronald Josephs’ medal a focus of historic IOC rectification

The 1964 Olympic bronze medalist pairs team of Vivian Joseph and Ronald Joseph leads the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame Class of 2024. Also elected are longtime coach Christa Fassi and International Skating Union official Charlie Cyr. They will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Jan. 27 during the 2024 Prevagen U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. 

“I am proud of the Class of 2024, as the electors adhered to the mission of honoring exceptional persons of distinction who define and celebrate the culture and history of our sport,” Hall of Fame Nominating Committee Chair Richard Dalley said. “The Class of 2024 certainly embodies this, and all are worthy recipients of the honor bestowed upon them.”

Vivian Joseph and Ronald Joseph, Outstanding Athletes
Known for their fast and athletic skating, Vivian and Ronald Joseph advanced quickly through the elite and international ranks as a young competitive team. Vivian was 12 and Ronald was 16 when they won their first medal (silver) as juniors at the 1960 U.S. Championships. They developed quickly and went on to compete in the Olympic Winter Games and three World Championships, earning the 1965 World silver medal. In 1965, they became the first U.S. pairs team in 14 years to win the North American Championships, besting their 1963 bronze medal. The Josephs are four-time U.S. medalists, earning the title at the 1965 U.S. Championships.   

The Josephs unknowingly became entangled in an Olympic medal controversy. In 1964, the Josephs placed fourth at the Innsbruck Games but were elevated to the bronze medal in 1966 after the West German team of Marika Kilius and Hans-Jürgen Bäumler was disqualified for signing a professional contract prior to the Games. Two decades later, in 1987, the International Olympic Committee deemed the West Germans “rehabilitated” and reinstated them as silver medalists but did not communicate the decision outside of Europe. Confusion over the 1964 Olympic results lasted until 2014, when the IOC officially declared the results as follows: Gold — Ludmila Belousova/Oleg Protopopov (Soviet Union); Silver — Kilius/Bäumler (West Germany) and Debbi Wilkes/Guy Revell (Canada); Bronze — Joseph/Joseph (USA).

After learning the IOC corrected the 1964 result, the Josephs’ first thoughts were with their coach, Peter Dunfield, who died months before the announcement. Dunfield spent decades trying to rectify the medals results.

Christa Fassi, Outstanding Professional
For 35 years, Christa Fassi and husband Carlo Fassi combined to coach numerous Olympic, World and U.S. champions. Since Carlo’s death in 1997, Christa has continued to coach, choreograph and mentor hundreds in the skating community for more than 60 years.  Christa, an integral member of the coaching duo, was not included when Carlo was inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1994. While Carlo was the technician, Christa focused on the complete package, including choreography, music and showcasing the entire athlete and their programs through costuming, presentation and mental approach.

After much success in their native Italy, the Fassis were hired to coach in the United States after the 1961 crash of Sabena Flight 548 took the lives of America’s best athletes, coaches and officials. Their U.S. students included World and Olympic champions Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill, and World and U.S. champion Jill Trenary. They also coached Olympic champion Scott Hamilton and Olympic silver medalist Paul Wylie during much of their careers. The Fassis spent the 1980s in Colorado, returned to Italy in the early 1990s, and then settled in Lake Arrowhead, California. After Carlo’s death, athletes from around the world continued to train with Christa.

Charlie Cyr, Outstanding Contributor
Charlie Cyr, an Olympic judge and ISU official, contributed significantly to the development of the sport, including the creation of the International Judging System (IJS), which replaced the longstanding 6.0 system. In 2014, Cyr became the first North American to be appointed ISU sports director for figure skating, a position he held until he resigned in 2023 due to health reasons.

Cyr was a prolific official, earning national, international and ISU championship appointments across singles, pairs, dance, synchronized skating, technical panel and data and video operator. He served at five Olympic Winter Games: U.S. team leader (2002), NBC Sports crew (2006), ice dance judge (2010), and ISU sports director (2018, ’22). Cyr, a member of the All Year Figure Skating Club for more than 20 years, also served as Pacific Vice Chair on U.S. Figure Skating’s Board of Directors.

Cyr passed away on June 22, 2023, at age 68.  

The U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame was established in 1976 to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to the sport of figure skating. It is housed inside the World Figure Skating Museum and Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado.