DESCRIBED BY PAT ARGUE as a "First Lady of the Ice", she was born January 17th 1929 in Berlin, the only child of Gustav and Clara Siepert. She grew up there during the war years and first skated at the local ice rink from the age of five. The Berlin Rot Weiss Club she joined soon recognised her talent and sent her various places to train, including Seefeld in Austria. She was evacuated with her school to a castle in Czechoslovakia at Krtiny (Kretin) near Brno. At the end of the war, her mother walked from Berlin to Krtiny to collect her. She studied English and geography at school and university with the idea of teaching, while her ice skating technique continued to develop.
She met Glenn Goddard at an ice-rink in the Russian sector of Berlin when he was touring with the Borovansky Ballet, today's Australian Ballet. Son of a government architect in Adelaide and an English mother, his interest in ice skating began on his first visit to the old Melbourne Glaciarium in 1938. He took skating lessons supplemented by ballet lessons at the Borovansky Ballet which he was subsequently invited to join in 1945. He became a full-time professional ice-skater based in London, touring England and the Continent, including Berlin. They met every day, and soon after he asked to be relieved from his contract and stayed on in Germany to join an ice show which she also joined.
In 1949, based at the SG Berlin Eichkamp club, she was the Bronze medallist in the inaugural East German (GDR) Figure Skating Championships at Oberhof Germany, behind the winner Gudrun Olbricht and Brigette Schellhorn. She may have gone on to win the title in subsequent years, but she married Glenn in 1951, and toured throughout Europe until the end of 1954 with ice revues such as the International Ice Revue and Scala Ice Revue. Glenn skated as the Emperor in Tom Arnold's Aladdin at Sports Stadium Brighton in 1949-50; the Cannibal King in Robinson Crusoe on Ice in 1952; and probably others. He decided on a more 'solid' career while she continued in ice skating, culminating in appearances at the Empress Hall and Earls Court in London.
The couple settled in Australia in the mid-1950s and, for the next 35 years or so, Gerda left a lasting impression on ice skating in Melbourne. She taught at the St Moritz rink in St Kilda for 17 years, followed by another 18 years at the Olympic Ice Skating Centre in South Oakleigh. She started the first precision ice skating team in Victoria and she was involved with coaching a host of young Australian ice skaters, preparing them for state, interstate and international competition. Their son Grant was National Ice Dance Champion in 1976 with Dorothy Smith (Bissert).
She also performed in numerous ice revues at St Moritz Ice Palais and in a series of television ice shows produced by Nancy Burley (Hallam) for the ABC. She was involved with visiting world champions Dianne de Leeuw and Donald Jackson and many of her students went on to perform in overseas ice shows or became coaches and judges. She died of cancer in Melbourne on September 30th 1995 after a courageous 12-month fight. Always positive, she inspired family and friends with her indomitable spirit. Her career on ice spanned well over 50 years, mostly in Australia.
Ross Carpenter, 'Goddard, Gerda (1929 - 1995)', Legends of Australian Ice, Melbourne, Australia, http://icelegendsaustralia.com/legends-2/bio-goddard.html, accessed online .
First Lady Of Ice-skating Trained Young Talent, Pat Argue and Menno van Ruyven, The Age, Melbourne, November 23, 1995.
Arabian Ice ABC-TVs 14th Ice Ballet, The Australian Women's Weekly, Wed 8 May 1963, p 21.