There are not many coaches in the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame so to be recognised, any coach would have to be exceptionally successful. To illustrate, in 1968, the podium skaters at the British Ice Dance Championships, European Ice Dance Championships and World Ice Dance Championships were all coached by the same individual, Gladys Hogg. Gladys already coached numerous champions prior to 1968, and each one of these skaters contributed to her recognition as an outstanding coach.
What made Gladys stand out in particular was her background. Gladys did not begin skating at an early age but instead she was a roller skater from age 10. At 15 she was British Roller Dance Champion which she went on to achieve twice more in 1926 and 1927.
Only then did she take to the ice with Jacques Gerschwiler as her coach. Records show that by 1929 she had passed her 3rd class ice figure test but it must have been a testament to her skating skills that with only that test behind her she was taken on as an instructor at the Queens Ice Club when it opened in October 1930.
Gladys continued training, as well as coaching her pupils and in 1935 passed her 1st class ice figure test. Only then did she take her first ice dance test, passing the 3rd class in the same year! She then went on to become British Professional Ice Dance Champion and British Professional Pairs Champion with Ronnie Baker and Bernard Spencer as her partners.
Her mantra was simple. Good skating skills, discipline and practice. She was a very firm disciplinarian who could also be very kind. She was always Miss Hogg to her pupils with no first name familiarity. All of her skaters went through their school figures and she required them to have good edges and technique. She did not believe that one method of teaching suited all her pupils and considered their temperament and personality alongside their strengths and weaknesses.
Diane Towler Green recalls skating from 5.30am to 8am. A break for breakfast and then skating again from 9am to 11.30am. Gladys believed that to be a champion the skaters had to be a little bit different and encouraged innovation. She also insisted her skaters looked good on the ice and a lot of attention was paid to costume design and for the ladies, immaculate hair and makeup.
Although most of her successes came in ice dance she also had champions in all disciplines. Her World, European and British Pairs Champions John and Jenny Nicks went on to produce another great coach in John. Himself a producer of world champions.
Gladys worked at Queens until her retirement in 1984. Sadly, she died the following year. Her importance as a coach was not only recognised by The World Figure Skating Hall of Fame but by the UK when she was the first ice skating coach to be awarded an MBE.
Gladys Hogg MBE an outstanding lady, skater and coach. A role model for many.
By Elaine Hooper, NISA Historian
Diane Towler Green
The Evolution of Dance on Ice by Lynn Copley-Graves
Ice Skating a History by Nigel Brown