Thirty-year-old Berlin architect Ernst Baier and his 15-year-old protégée, Maxi Herber, were early exponents of "shadow skating" in which both skaters perform the exact same moves without touching. In an unusual reversal of normal procedure, the German government made a film of Baier and Herber's routine and commissioned a composer to create a piece to match their moves.
Ernst and Maxi gained the first place votes of seven of the nine judges and won gold medals easily at the 1936 Olympic Winter Games. The day after Ernst Baier was awarded his gold medal in the pairs event, he competed in the singles and earned a silver medal behind Karl Schäfer of Austria.
He and Herber went on to win the pairs world championship each year through 1939, after which their streak was ended by World War II and the two turned professional.