Anett Poetzsch of East Germany rained on Linda Fratianne's parade tonight.
Skating to the music from "Funny Girl," Poetzsch held onto her lead in the free skating portion of the women's figure skating championship and became the first East German to win a gold medal in Olympic competition.
For Fratianne, the 1979 world champion who finished second, the evening was anything but amusing. Though she outscored Poetzsch in both technical merit and artistic presentation, the marks were not enough to overcome the lead Poetzsch established in the school figure.
When it was all over Fratianne was asked what she was thinking as she received her silver medal.
"Nothing really," she said. "I was just kind of disappointed that I didn't have a gold medal around my neck."
Poetzsch was first on seven of the nine judges' ballots. She had 11 cardinals to Fratianne's 16.
The margin was only seven-tenths, but in figure skating the points are beside the point.
Earlier in the week, Fratianne had said, "Anett's going to be tough. She's lost some weight and she's gotten better in the free style."
Fratianne was right. Poetzsch, who has never had the elan of Fratianne in freestyle skating, skated impeccably.
She hit both of the tripple jumps she attempted. She vamped, and clowned, and waved to the crowd, as her coach stood at rinkside thrusting her fist high in the air.
Poetzsch, 19, won the world championship in 1978, and the European champoinship in each of the last three years.
At the European champoinships last month, Poetzsch had trouble with the short program as she did here this week. After the short program, Fratianne's coach, Frank Carroll, said prophetically, "In Europe she skated a very cold short program and a very hot long program and this is not a dissimilar situation."
Carroll said tonight that he beleived, "before the free-skating started, I thought it was lost for Linda. I thought the competition was lost in the figures. We expected that Poetzsch would be first in the figures and Lurz second and Linda third. It was a question of whether she would be so far behind that she couldn't catch up."
"We knew the German judges would vote for Anett and we expected that Linda would get a third or fourth with that bloc (Middle European judges). They are much more alive than the other judges are."
"Poetzsch, asked about Carroll's assessment of the judging, answered "that's his opinion."
Fratianne skated in the same fiery orange costume that had brought her good luck, and good marks, in the short program (her mother washed it in her hotel room at night).
As the six skaters in the last group of competitors took the ice for warm-ups, Fratianne attempted a triple salchow, the second of two triples that open her program, and fell a few feet from where her coach stood.
Fratianne skated in the side, and Carroll put his arm around her. The tightness in her back was visible in the back of her dress, and she rolled her shoulders in an attempt to get loose.
"I don't think (the fall) affected my performance," she said. "What was I thinking? Just to get up and try todo it better. I wasn't concerned with the fall."
Earlier in the day, Peter Cain, an Australian skater who has been seen around town with Fratianne, said, "She's kind of tight." Linda agreed. "I was a little bit more uptight about the whole thing than at worlds," she said.
When she skated out on the ice alone, minutes later, the kinks were gone. The crowd, restive after 16 uninspired performances, roared as the public address system announced, "The next contestant from the United States, Linda Fratianne."
This time Fratianne hit both the triples, which come in the first 30 seconds of the four-minute program. The 8,500 people who filled the Olympic arena clapped along to the music from "Carmen," and when she finished, all 8,500 were on their feet.
Fratianne smiled, as spectators ringing sideboards offered bouquets and embraces. It was not the smile she had practiced in the mirror in preparation for this moment.
The smile was for real but it was not enough.
Fratianne was asked when she knew when it was not good enough. "I was in the dressing room with my mom and she said.'I can't stand it anymore.' She went outside and looked and came back and said. 'Anett's still first'."
Fratianne, who skated before Poetzsch, knew her scores weren't enough.
Fratianne received 5.8s and 5.9s from eight of the nine judges for technical merit. Leena Vainio, of Finland, gave her a surprisingly low 5.6. When she received four 5.9s for artistic presentation, and no mark lower than 5.7 it appeared it would be enough to catch Poetzsch, who began the evening leading by 1.6 points.
Fratianne's scores cut the lead to seven-tenths of a point.
On the victory stand, Fratianne's lip quivered but she never cried. The tears belonged to Anett Poetzsch, who cried as the East German flag was raised and its national anthem was played.
Dagmar Lurz, of West Germany, who has been the runner-up to Poetzsch in the European champoinship for the last three years, won the bronze medal. Denise Biellmann, of Switzerland, who skated last and made a lasting impression with a performance that won her the freestyle portion of the competition, was fourth.
Lisa-Marie Allen, of Colorado Springs, finished fifth, and Sandy Lenz, of Rockford, Ill., was ninth.