Marika Kilius: The Ice Princess Turns 80
Marika Kilius was the first female superstar of post-war Germany who became the nation’s favorite figure skater in the 1960s with her partner Hans-Jürgen Bäumler. They were considered the “dream couple” in a time when Germans craved for something positive and romantic.
A Career Planned by Her Mother
Born on March 24, 1943, in Frankfurt, Kilius was born to a mother who had big plans for her skating career. She was already considered a skating star while still in her teens, appreciated for her enormous show talent.
A New Partner is the Chance for Bäumler
Kilius’s partner in skating was Franz Ningel, but they parted ways after their silver medal win at the 1957 World Championships. Kilius’s mother found a new partner in Hans-Jürgen Bäumler, but there was a significant gap in their height and experience. Kilius had to take on the role of the boss, teaching Bäumler everything about pair skating.
From Silver to Gold
Kilius and Bäumler became a successful pair, winning six European championships in a row and twice winning Olympic silver. Their win in the 1964 World Cup in their homeland became the crowning highlight of their career. They won gold for the second time in a wafer-thin 5:4 decision.
From Professional Sport to the Show Stage
After their last great sporting success, they ventured into show business and became an instant hit with the movie “Die Große Kür” and their hit songs “Honeymoon in St. Tropez” and “Cowboys träume.” They continued touring Europe for many years with the famous ice show “Holiday on Ice.”
A Legend Even After Retiring
Although Kilius retired in her mid-40s, she remains a legend in German figure skating. Even after her career, she remained in demand as an entrepreneur, ball guest, and on talk shows. In March 1999, Kilius and Bäumler announced their return to the ice, which created a sensation in the German press.
A Life Well-Lived
Kilius reflects on her life with contentment, happy that she’s still healthy. As she said in an interview, “When death comes, then he comes, then it goes somewhere else for me.” Today, Kilius celebrates her 80th birthday, and we pay tribute to her admirable career, her impact on German figure skating, and her positive influence on her fans.