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Nichol, Biellmann make world figure skating hall

Canadian choreographer, Swiss competitor lead class of 2014
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Lori Nichol (left) and Denise Biellmann make up the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame's class of 2014. -courtesy of U.S. Figure Skating

World-renowned choreographer Lori Nichol of Canada and innovative figure skater Denise Biellmann of Switzerland have been elected to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame's class of 2014, nominating committee chair Dr. Lawrence Mondschein announced Friday.

"I am thrilled to have two outstanding additions to the World Hall of Fame," Mondschein said. "Lori Nichol is a choreographic genius who for well over a decade has, and continues to be, an inspiration to all who have been touched by her work. Denise Biellmann, the first Swiss woman to be inducted into the hall, perfected one of the most admired spins in all of figure skating."

Nichol has choreographed programs for 10 Olympic medalists (three gold, two silver, five bronze) representing five nations. At the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, Nichol choreographed programs for 11 single skaters and one pairs team representing seven countries. Entering the 2014 World Figure Skating Championships, she has choreographed programs for more than 30 world medalists.

In 2003, the ISU asked Nichol to co-author and present the international judging system (IJS) program components to judges, coaches and skaters. In 2010, she received the Professional Skaters Association's Sonja Henie Award for "bringing positive and favorable recognition to the sport." Nichol was inducted into the Professional Skaters Association Hall of Fame in 2011, U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2013 and Skate Canada Hall of Fame in 2013.

"Figure skating is one of the greatest loves of my life," Nichol said. "It's hard to imagine how fortunate I am to do what I love every day and to have met so many truly special people along the way."

Biellmann, the 1981 world and European champion, is the namesake of the "Biellmann spin," one of the sport's most recognized elements that she developed and popularized. She joins Axel Paulsen, Alois Lutz and Ulrich Salchow in having an iconic element named after her. Biellmann is the first lady credited with landing a triple Lutz in competition (1978 European Championships). At the 1980 Olympic Winter Games, Biellmann finished second in the short program and first in the free skate, but a 12th-place finish in compulsory figures (eliminated in 1990) dropped her to fourth overall. In 1995, Biellmann was named Swiss sportsperson of the century.

"It's a great honor, and I'm very proud to have been elected into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame," Biellmann said. "It's a fantastic highlight to my career."

The hall's Golden Committee, which considers those whose contributions were made before World War II, selected Austria's Friedrich Kachler (1888-1973) and the German pairs team of Anna Hübler (1885-1976) and Heinrich Burger (1881-1942). Kachler was a three-time world champion, two-time European champion, ISU Committee member and world judge. In 1908, Hübler and Burger became the first Olympic and world pairs champions. They also won the world title in 1910.

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