Axel Paulsen had his axel, Alois Lutz came up with his lutz and Ulrich Salchow invented the salchow, but who is responsible for this latest maneuver that is currently grabbing the sport of figure skating and shaking it by its rhinestones, Claude Rains?
Rains, the original "Invisible Man," never had much of a combination spin, but he is an inspirational figure in figure skating at the moment, judging from the world figure skating champions who have disappeared from the World Figure Skating Championships.
Tara Lipinski, reigning Olympic gold medalist and 1997 world champion--gone.
Ilia Kulik, reigning Olympic gold medalist--poof.
Elvis Stojko, two-time Olympic silver medalist and three-time world champion-- vanished.
Pasha Grishuk and Evgeny Platov, two-time Olympic ice dance champions and four-time defending world ice dance titlists--nowhere to be found.
Mandy Wotzel and Ingo Steuer, 1997 pairs world champions and 1998 Olympic bronze medalists--out of here.
All four of the world championships handed out last year in Lausanne, Switzerland, will be surrendered next week in Minneapolis without a fight, without the holders so much as stepping onto the ice.
Lipinski begged off in early March, claiming to be worn down from her post-Olympic Grammy-Letterman-Oscar hand-pumping tour and the extraction of two abscessed molars.
Stojko, still bothered by the groin injury that left him grimacing on the ice after his long program in Nagano, canceled.
Then Kulik, the courageously attired Russian, pulled out Saturday because of a back injury.
Grishuk and Platov had bailed on Minneapolis weeks ago, announcing in Nagano that their second Olympic gold medal was probably a fine way to cap their competitive career as a tandem.
And Steuer had to wince his way through the Olympic pairs competition with a shoulder injured in a December automobile accident, making the withdrawal of the German pairs champions no surprise.
Thus, the women's gold medalist will not compete in Minneapolis, nor will the women's and men's bronze medalists. Lu Chen of China announced her retirement a week ago and Philippe Candeloro of France is probably sipping a fine Cabernet as we speak. In Japan, Candeloro said he planned to celebrate his surprising third-place finish in proper fashion--and that did not include daily two-hour workouts at the rink.
Of the six singles medalists in Nagano, only one--women's runner-up Michelle Kwan--is entered at the World Championships.
And the three American "Dream Teamers" whose faces appear on Campbell's soup cans?
Kwan will be skating solo in the Twin Cities, with Nicole Bobek also having backed out last week, claiming she had injured her left hip while training in Richmond, Va.
Bobek, who had much to gain at the World Championships after her slip-and-slide 17th-place performance at the Olympics, said she was disappointed about having to pull out.
"Following a difficult Olympic experience, I had hoped to prove something to myself and the American audience," she said in a statement released by the U.S. Figure Skating Assn. "For that reason, this has been an especially difficult decision for me."
Scheduled to replace Lipinski and Bobek on the three-woman U.S. team at the World Championships were Tonia Kwiatkowski and San Pedro's Angela Nikodinov, who placed fourth and fifth, respectively, at the U.S. Championships in January.
But USFSA officials said they could not get in touch with Nikodinov, who is visiting relatives in Bulgaria, and decided not to replace Bobek.
So only Kwan and Kwiatkowski will represent the United States in the women's competition, with Todd Eldredge and Michael Weiss the two Americans entered in the men's division.
MINNEAPOLIS IS A FINE PLACE THIS TIME OF YEAR, REALLY
The incredible shrinking field of marquee names headed for Minneapolis has unearthed the old debate over whether figure skating should hold its World Championships during an Olympic year.
Obviously, the event has become anticlimactic--scheduled barely six weeks after the last Olympic medals have been distributed--especially for skaters such as Lipinski and Stojko, who already have won world titles.
Shouldn't figure skating follow the lead of track and field and hold its World Championships in non-Olympic years?
On a conference call last week, Kwan defended her absent friends and colleagues, noting, "It's been a long year for a lot of people. A lot of people couldn't make it to the World Championships because they were injured.
"I think it varies with different people--whether to have worlds in an Olympic year. But I think it's great. Because it gives you another opportunity to do unfinished work sometimes."
Translation: No gold medal for Kwan in Nagano, so it's on to Minnesota for a second chance.