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Eva Pawlik

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Title: Eva Pawlik  
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Subject: Austrian Figure Skating Championships, 1949 European Figure Skating Championships, Figure skating at the 1948 Winter Olympics, Claudia Kristofics-Binder, Regine Heitzer
Collection: 1927 Births, 1983 Deaths, 20Th-Century Austrian Actresses, Actresses from Vienna, Austrian Female Single Skaters, Austrian Film Actresses, European Figure Skating Championships Medalists, Figure Skaters at the 1948 Winter Olympics, Figure Skating Commentators, Medalists at the 1948 Winter Olympics, Olympic Figure Skaters of Austria, Olympic Medalists in Figure Skating, Olympic Silver Medalists for Austria, Sportspeople from Vienna, University of Vienna Alumni, World Figure Skating Championships Medalists
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Eva Pawlik

Eva Pawlik
Eva Pawlik starring in the Vienna Ice Revue
Personal information
Country represented  Austria
Born (1927-10-04)4 October 1927
Died 31 July 1983(1983-07-31) (aged 55)
Skating club Vienna Skating Club, Vienna
Olympic medal record
Women's figure skating
Competitor for  Austria
1948 St. Moritz Singles

Eva Pawlik (4 October 1927 in Vienna – 31 July 1983 in Vienna) was an Austrian figure skater (European Champion, Olympic silver medalist), a show star, an actress and the first European figure skater to be a TV figure skating commentator (sportscaster on TV).


  • Childhood 1
  • Silver Medal at the 1948 Olympics 2
  • Starring in the Broadmoor Ice Revue in Colorado Springs 3
  • 1949 European Champion before the same year's World Champion 4
  • Outstanding career as a professional skater: "Europe's best show star on the ice" 5
  • Filmography 6
  • Sportscaster 7
  • Exhibition in Vienna 8
  • Results 9
  • Literature 10
  • References 11
  • Navigation 12


Born in 1927, Pawlik was regarded as a child prodigy, able to jump a single axel and do a large number of spins at the age of four. Before WW II, she was considered an "exceptionally promising 9-year-old Viennese" figure skater in the United States.[1] In Europe, she was starring in "The Fairy Tale Of The Steady Tin Soldier" together with World Champion Felix Kaspar. This legendary vaudeville number was internationally highly successful, being performed in Vienna, Prague, Budapest, Munich, Bern, Amsterdam, Brussels, Lyon, Paris and London. Pawlik was called the "Shirley Temple on ice".[2] In her teens she would get up at 4 a.m. daily to run to the Vienna ice rink (Wiener Eislaufverein), for practice before going to school. Austrian skaters were impeded in the 1930s and 40s by the fact that there were no indoor skating halls and they were restricted to practicing in winter.

Nazi Germany's absorption of Austria in 1938 and World War II destroyed sportsmen's lives and careers. Pawlik, for example, was due to compete (aged 12) in the singles, in the 1940 Winter Olympics, and in the pairs with her later husband Rudi Seeliger. However, they could only take part in domestic competitions, becoming German youth champions, both individually and as a couple. In addition to that, they became the 1942 Austrian Pairs Champions (that were called Ostmark Champions at that time due to the fact that Austria did not exist from 1938 to 1945). Drafted into the German Army, Rudi Seeliger was captured by the Red Army and had to work as a slave coal-miner until his return to Austria in 1949.

Silver Medal at the 1948 Olympics

In 1947, Pawlik was rated best European skater and number 2 in the world. This did not help, as Austrian skaters were barred from entering European and World competitions (a throwback to the war). In 1948 she won 3 silver medals, at the European's, at the Olympics and at the World's. In Sandra Stevenson´s opinion it was "not surprising that North Americans, whose skating activities had not been interrupted" during World War II, "should do well when the sport resumed in 1947. When Eva Pawlik of Austria unsuccessfully challenged Barbara Ann Scott in 1948 one reason given for her failure was that she skated with dirty boots and holes in her tights. The boots were so old that they no longer responded to cleaning and the holes were darned. It was the best she could manage with all the shortages in her country."[3] It is remarkable that at the 1948 European's Eva Pawlik was the best ranked European lady figure skater. Nevertheless, she only got the silver medal because the title was awarded to the non-European Barbara Ann Scott from Canada. That was unusual because, in many sports, European championships are restricted to European competitors. Pawlik´s coaches included the 1914 World Silver Medalist Angela Hanka, World Champion Gustav Hügel, Rudolf Kutzer and Edi Scholdan.

Starring in the Broadmoor Ice Revue in Colorado Springs

In 1948 Pawlik did a lot of exhibition skating in the United States. In the Broadmoor Ice Revue, produced by Edi Scholdan in Colorado Springs, she appeared together with U.S. Champion Gretchen Merrill in 1948. She was also asked to appear in a movie starring Gene Kelly.[4] He wanted to combine his dancing with her skating.[5] She declined, turning professional would have excluded her from the 1949 championships.

1949 European Champion before the same year's World Champion

In 1949, despite suffering acute appendicitis, Pawlik beat her rival Aja Zanova in Milan to become European Champion. In the World Championships held in Paris, Pawlik was lying a close second behind Zanova when one of the heels on her skates broke.[6] Sabotage was suspected, but never proven. The judges did not allow her to continue with borrowed skates and Zanova went on to win. Though having good chances to win the World title one year later, Pawlik decided to turn professional because her parents needed financial support.[7][8][9]

Outstanding career as a professional skater: "Europe's best show star on the ice"

She joined the Vienna Ice Revue and performed a program that was considered by some journalists and figure skating experts to be technically and artistically slightly superior to the free skating of World Champion Vrzáňová. Pawlik also played major parts in the productions of two movies featuring the Revue, Spring On The Ice (Frühling auf dem Eis), 1950, and Revue Of Dreams (Traumrevue), 1959. The first is said to have inspired the later double Olympic champion, Ludmilla Belousova, to take up skating.

In 1952, Robert Stolz dedicated his first Ice Operetta, Eternal Eve (Die ewige Eva), to Eva Pawlik. Morris Chalfen, the boss of the competitor enterprise Holiday On Ice, considered Pawlik Europe's best show star on the ice since the thrice Olympic Champion Sonja Henie.[10][11][12] Besides, Eva Pawlik and her husband Rudi Seeliger who had won the Austrian title in the 1950 pairs event (together with a different partner as Pawlik had already turned professional in 1950) had become one of the world's best professional couples on the ice.[13][14] They left the Vienna Ice Revue in 1954 and starred in Hanns Thelen's Scala Eisrevue for some years. In 1958, they returned to the Vienna Ice Revue.[15][16]


Year Title Role
1937 Sunny Youth (Sonnige Jugend) Herself (actress and skater)
1950 Spring On The Ice (Frühling auf dem Eis) Eva (actress and skater)
1959 Revue Of Dreams (Traumrevue) Ilona Karoly (actress and skater)
1962 Three Love Letters From The Tyrol (Drei Liebesbriefe aus Tirol) Skater


In 1961, Pawlik retired from skating and became the first European figure skater to be a TV figure skating commentator. She commentated all European and World Championships in figure skating and the 1964, 1968 and 1972 Olympic Games for the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF).[17][18][19][20]

In 1973 she began her third profession as a teacher of German and English at a Viennese secondary school (pupils from 10 to 18). In 1954 she had earned her doctorate in German and English at the University of Vienna.[21] In 1979 Pawlik became severely ill and died in 1983, four months after her husband.

Exhibition in Vienna

The exhibition "The Vienna Ice Revue. Austria's ambassador of the past" was taking place in the Bezirksmuseum Wien-Meidling from January to March 2008. For details click on "Exhibition" on the list of links on the Eva Pawlik Fanpage.


Event 1942 1946 1947 1948 1949
Winter Olympics 2nd
World Championships 2nd WD
European Championships 2nd 1st
Austrian Championships 1st pairs 1st 1st 1st 1st



  • Eva Pawlik, Autobiographical article in: Als ich 19 war (When I was 19 years old). Jugend&Volk 1981
  • Roman Seeliger, Die Wiener Eisrevue. Ein verklungener Traum (The Vienna Ice Revue. A Dream That Has Faded Away). Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky 1993
  • Roman Seeliger, Die Wiener Eisrevue. Einst Botschafterin Österreichs - heute Legende (The Vienna Ice Revue. Austria´s Ambassador Of The Past - Today´s Legend). Bezirksmuseum Wien-Meidling, 2008
  • Ingrid Wendl, Eis mit Stil (Ice In A Proper Style). Jugend&Volk 1979
  • Ingrid Wendl, Mein großer Bogen (My Great Arch). Böhlau 2002
  • Isabella Lechner, Wienerinnen, die lesen, sind gefährlich (Viennese Women That Read Are Dangerous). Chapter "Eva Pawlik". Elisabeth Sandmann, Munich 2012

Scientific literature:

  • Isabella Lechner, Die Wiener Eisrevue (The Vienna Ice Revue). Diploma thesis, University of Vienna, 2008


  1. ^ The New York Times, December 13th, 1936 ("Women in Sports")
  2. ^ Isabella Lechner, Wienerinnen, die lesen, sind gefährlich (Viennese women reading are dangerous"), Vienna 2012
  3. ^ Sandra Stevenson, BBC book of skating, ISBN 0-563-20223-8, p. 43
  4. ^ "Eva Pawlik and Rudi Seeliger" (detailed article by Susan D. Russel about Pawlik´s and Seeliger´s lives and careers), in: International Figure Skating Magazine, USA January/February 2009
  5. ^ Rudolf Ulrich, Österreicher in Hollywood ("Austrians In Hollywood"). Zweite Auflage (2nd edition) 2004, page 605. ISBN 3-901932-29-1
  6. ^ Figure skating: "Favored to win, Eva Pawlik was forced to withdraw", in: Life Magazine, 14.3.1949
  7. ^ Kelli Lawrence, Skating On Air (2011) ISBN 978-0-7864-4608-7 pp. 22-23 Subchapter: Eva Pawlik - More Than An Overseas Footnote
  8. ^ pirouette (Internationale Zeitschrift für Eissport und Rollsport) Ausgabe Juli/August 2007, Erinnerungen an Eva Pawlik (Memories of Eva Pawlik). pp. 37-38
  9. ^ Eissport-Magazin Nr.7/2007, Eva Pawlik, eine der herausragendsten Eiskunstläuferinnen der Welt, würde am 4. Oktober 80 Jahre alt werden (Eva Pawlik, one of the world´s most outstanding figure skaters in the world, would celebrate her 80th birthday), pp 26 - 29
  10. ^ "Eiskönigin erobert die Welt" ("Queen Of The Ice Takes The World"), in: Wiener Wochenausgabe, 29.1.1953
  11. ^ "Im Spiegel des Tages" (A portrait of Eva Pawlik), in: Der Tagesspiegel 25.7.1961 (Berlin)
  12. ^ "Die Revue der großen Eisläufer - Dr. Eva Pawlik: auch heute noch die beste Läuferin der Wiener Eisrevue" ("The Revue Of The Great Figure Skaters - Dr. Eva Pawlik: still the best skater of the Vienna Ice Revue"), in: Der Tag (Berlin), 10.11.1959
  13. ^ "Olympic Champion Ernst Baier: Eva Pawlik are Rudi Seeliger are currently the best pair in the entire ice show business", in: Lübecker Nachrichten, 20.7.1956
  14. ^ Bernhard Hachleitner/Isabella Lechner, "Dream Factory On The Ice. From the Vienna Ice Revue to Holiday on Ice". Subchapter Eva Pawlik and Rudi Seeliger, the Vienna Ice Revue´s dream team pp.148 ff. ISBN 978-3-99300-194-0
  15. ^ "'Berliner Luft' und Wiener Eisrevue" ("Berlin´s Air And The Vienna Ice Revue"), in: Die Presse, 16.12.1958
  16. ^ "Eva Pawlik wieder Sololäuferin" ("Eva Pawlik Performs As A Single Skater Again"), in: Neues Österreich, 10.8.1960
  17. ^ "Sie sagen Ihnen, wer siegt. Wir stellen TV- und Radiosprecher der Olympiade vor - Die einzige Frau unter zwölf Männern: Eva Pawlik, Europameisterin und Eisrevuestar" ("They tell you who is going to win. We introduce the sportscasters on TV and on the radio at the Olympic Games to you - The only woman among 12 men: Eva Pawlik, European Champion and ice revue star"), in: Das Kleine Blatt, January 1964
  18. ^ Kelli Lawrence, Skating On Air, 2011, page 46, quoting Eva Pawlik´s commentary about Janet Lynn´s free program at the 1968 Olympics ("Her greatness is her style. Other young skaters may be technically brilliant as well. But it is the charisma they lack ...")
  19. ^ "Sonderapplaus für Eva Pawlik" ("Special Clappings For Eva Pawlik"), in: Kronenzeitung, 5.2.1971
  20. ^ "The Vienna Ice Revue and its greatest star Eva Pawlik" (article by Manuela Buyny), in: pirouette (Figure Skating Magazine of German speaking countries), issue July/August 2013
  21. ^ "Degree No Barrier - Lady Doctor Skates To Fame - Dr. Eva Pawlik", in: New York World Telegram, 11.10.1960


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