Posted by: greatfallsgirl | February 19, 2010

John Misha Petkevich

The Winter Olympics have me thinking again of John Misha Petkevich.  Ice skating was big in Great Falls…well, at least it seemed like it to me back in the late 1960’s.  My best friend in 7th Grade was always skating, as she competed in pairs skating.  Her partner was a boy who lived next door to me.  

Petkevich won the 1971 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in men’s singles and the North American Championship in the same year, and competed at both the 1968 and 1972 Winter Olympics (where he finished 6th and 5th).

During his performances in the Olympics, I bet every person in Great Falls…well really, everyone in Montana…was gathered around the television watching.  Petkevich carried a lot of hopes with him to the Olympics.  Here is a video when he competed in the 1972 U.S. Figure Skating Championship, where he was expected to win but suffered a fall during his presentation.  John was another thing that made Great Falls great.



  1. Remember john well. Skated with him in great falls, boston.good old times. Miss art b. As well

    • Thanks for your comment Joe. My friend was Mary D., and she skated pairs with Tony K., my neighbor.

      • Who is this? My SISTER is Mary D who paired with Tony K.

        • Hi Cheryl, I’m trying to remember if I knew you really…but that was so long ago. My name is Shannon and I was friends with Mary when we were going to West Jr. High. I lived over in Park Garden Estates and I know you guys lived in a neighborhood on the other side of Fox Farm Road. I think I may have made it over to your guy’s house just a couple times, cause just as I said, Mary seemed to be always skating. I had just moved from Riverview, where I lived right next door to the K’s. We lived next to them for about three years I think, maybe four. So when I met up with Mary at West, and she said she skated, her partner was Tony, it blew my mind. I really didn’t know he skated in competitions. Later in the year, we moved back to Riverview, but this time across from Sacajawea Elementary. That lasted for about six or seven months. I ended up going from North JHS to West JHS again in 8th grade. (I did the same in 7th grade, started in North then went to West). My dad was fickle at the time, and decided to move back to the house in Park Garden Estates. After this I lost contact with her, because then for 9th grade I ended up back in Chouteau County for a couple years. I really got bounced around. Anyway, please say hi to Mary for me. She was a sweet person and a good friend to me.

      • Hello I to was a figure skater with the Drapers, and John Misha. I was a skater for the GFFSC for a long time My name is Bonnie Cassity Stone

      • My brother, Tony K, is still involved in ice skating. He and his wife skated adagio with Disney On Ice and Ice Capades. He is now employed by Disney and coaches ice skaters.

        • That is so cool Aimee!

  2. We had a few coffees at Traceys before skating. Followed him to Boston and skated. A great time.

    • Wow, Tracy’s! I miss that place too. I didn’t go in too often since I worked up the street at Sambos for a couple years after I graduated from high school. Thanks Joe for your comments.

    • Hi Joe:
      I remember Tracy’s but I couldn’t remember the name of the place. We used to walk down there in our skates and guards in between sessions and have the absolute best strawberry pie I’ve ever tasted since.

  3. Your dog walking friend from oxford. Now travelling through the USA for three weeks only! May I have your email address or telephone number? Any news of Jane and Mike? Please contact at the EARLIEST! URGENT!!!

  4. Not sure if you remember me Cheryl, but we were friends in high school. The last name was Schlimgen. This is Carol. Still remember you going down the bleachers so fast it looked like you were falling (you weren’t of course). I live in Mississippi now.

    • I do remember you and I will NEVER forget that moment in time in those awful high school years where the slightest thing embarrasses you. My Dad had gone to the school and insisted that we were atheletes equal to any football or basketball player and as such, should be recognized which is how that assembly happened. I’m so glad that you remember it happening the way it really happened but I never lived down the fact that to a lot of other people, it seemed as though I TRIPPED down those bleachers and I was a figure skater. I’m in Washington State and am not ashamed to say that I do not miss much about Great Falls except for the people. In fact, I haven’t been back there since 1976. My family moved to Washington in about 1977.

      • My family still lives in Montana, my mom in Great Falls. I moved on. I remember doing some crazy things and you trying your best to teach me to skate at Gibson Park.

  5. I remember John so well. Spent a wonderful summer in Great Falls training along with a group of skaters from Spokane. John was so good to all of us

  6. I was just emailing GFC’s Dave Nash (about the class of 59 or 60, maybe 63ish), asking him if he remembered John and where he went to college. So I goggled the question, and wha-lah, this site pops up. I’m seeing names that I recall from my years in Gt. Falls. 61-70 like Schlimgen, Janis?, Draper ?…love that PCs have brought so many of us back in touch.
    Rod Steckler (

  7. I also went to the same high school as John. I was a sophomore when he was a senior. He helped my best friend and I with our skating. My best friends brother was in the same grade as John, Eddie Dietrich. I went to the Senior Prom with Eddie.

  8. I skated with John Misha from the 1950’s through the 60’s. We partnered occasionally in dance when we were younger. His mom and dad helped sponsor my skating as we did not have the money for all the lessons it takes to compete successfully. l live in California now and am doing some judging for the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club. I often think about those days. I was just watching Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and decided to google the Frosty trucks because I couldn’t remember where the trucks were housed. I drove a frosty truck for about a month as a summer job. It was a blast driving those trucks. That is how I landed on this sight.

  9. I worked at Tracy’s when the skaters were practicing at the Civic Center and remember John and liked all the skaters. Irene Berryman

  10. Hope this site is still live…I was just showing my 7-year-old son, Theo, videos of Evan Lysachek, wanting to make sure he was up to seeing the ice show tomorrow night here in Sun Valley, ID where we live. He has seen Evan many times – last week we got to see Meryl Davis and Charlie White. Long story short, I started to wonder what happened with the Salchow award passed on to John Misha from Dick Button…and I stumbled onto this site. How amazing on so many fronts. I used to live across the street from the Drapers on Bonita Drive in Great Falls — I remember Cheryl and Mary baby sitting and Terry and I trying survive — and somewhere in between Joey and Tommy. Anyway, so happy to hear about old stories and Tracy’s and the civic center. I was a skater full time – coming to Sun Valley in the summer to skate with Peter Dunfield as my coach – a blessing – then back to wonderful Great Falls and Bob Crawley as my teacher. I have always had Sun Valley as a second home… and after years in Portland, OR, NYC, and SF, now live here full time with my beautiful son and husband. Life is good.:) Theo and I love to skate together on the SV outside rink just for fun – me shoving my feet into my very old custom Harlick’s which hurt like hell because I was 12 when they were made but better than rentals – and enjoying watching Theo excel at sports like soccer where he is a hell of a prodigy and downhill racing. PLEASE get in touch!! Cell – 208-721-2367 or email:
    John Misha – my parents have told me that when I was 3 years old I saw you skate for for the first time – apparently your split jumps at the civic center made me stand up on the bleachers with my mouth open in awe. My mom signed me up for group lessons that fall and on I went…great competitive moments and very happy show times too. Soooo glad to be back in touch with GFFSC members!
    Terry Draper… where are you?!
    Kathryn (“Kathy”) Ivers (Thomason)

  11. I was one of Misha’s friends while we were at St. Gerards’ school until I got kicked out in 7th grade. He would call and Mrs. P or Celeste Mae would pick me up and we would go a lot of places including his practice sessions at the rink. He skated with a girl named Myrna Casey. Mrs. P wouldn’t let Johnny play sports like football because he might injure himself and not be able to skate but when we were at his house playing and Celeste Mae was watching us we played football. When I was with Johnny we went to places I would never had the privilege of seeing otherwize.

  12. Lived in GF from ’63 to ’71. What ever happened to Val’s Bookstore ?

  13. Thought you all would like to see this updated picture of John Misha. I was way too young to actually skate with him, however he was one of my heros when I was 10 – 15 & skating!

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