Competitive Figure Skating FAQ:
Skating People and Events

This article is part of the FAQ list for (amateur) competitive figure skating. This section covers questions about specific skaters and events.


Table of Contents


[1] Who's this Dick Button guy, anyway?

Dick Button was the 5-time world champion and 2-time Olympic champion, from 1948 to 1952. He's widely credited with introducing the modern athletic style of skating. He was the first person to do a double axel, and the first to do a triple jump (a triple loop). He also invented the flying camel spin.

Here are some other people you hear about from time to time:

Gus Lussi
Dick Button's coach. Also coached Dorothy Hamill. His skaters are known for their superb spinning technique. He died in 1993.
Carlo Fassi
Italian national champion (and European champion) during the 1950's, but better known as a coach. His skaters included Peggy Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, John Curry, Robin Cousins, Caryn Kadavy, Jill Trenary, and Nicole Bobek. Fassi died in 1997.
Toller Cranston
Canadian men's champion during the 1970's. Known as a dramatic stylist, and for being very outspoken on skating matters.
Tamara Moskvina
Russian pair coach (e.g., of Mishkutenok and Dmitriev). Her husband, Igor Moskvin, is also a coach, and is probably best known for his association with the Protopopovs.
Sandra Bezic
Canadian pairs champion (with her brother Val) during the 1970's; later became a choreographer (e.g., for Boitano and Yamaguchi), TV commentator, and co-producer of "Stars On Ice".
Jutta Muller
coached Katarina Witt, Jan Hoffman, and most of the other well-known East German singles skaters.
Ludmila & Oleg Protopopov
Russian pair skaters who won Olympic gold medals in 1964 and 1968. They're known for their ballet-like style. They also invented pair moves such as the inside death spiral.
Tracy Wilson
Canadian ice dancer; with her partner, the late Rob McCall, she won a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics. Now a TV commentator.
F. Ritter Shumway
president of the USFSA at the time of the 1961 plane crash that killed the entire US world team and coaching staff. He was instrumental in rebuilding the figure skating program in the US and setting up the memorial fund which now provides financial support for nearly all competitive skaters.
John Nicks
former British (and world) pairs champion in the 1950's, now best known as a pairs coach (e.g., of Babilonia & Gardner and Meno & Sand).
Cecilia Colledge
a British skater who was the 1937 world champion. She was the first woman to execute a double jump (a double salchow) and inventor of the camel and layback spins.
Galina Zmievskaya
coach of Ukrainian skaters Viktor Petrenko and (formerly) Oksana Baiul.
Uschi Keszler
former choreographer for Canadian skaters Bourne & Kraatz and coach of Elvis Stojko; credited with starting the craze for "hydroblading".
Debbi Wilkes
Canadian pairs skater from the 1960's, and long-time commentator for Canadian TV.
Irina Rodnina
10-time world and 3-time Olympic pairs skating champion (with two different partners) from the (ex-)Soviet Union, has coached in the US.
Tracey Wainman
Canadian competitor from the early 1980's who is often cited as the canonical example of a skater who was pushed into the spotlight as a child and burned out on the sport before reaching adulthood.
David Dore
Long-time head of the CFSA/Skate Canada, now an ISU vice-president.
Ottavio Cinquanta
President of the ISU since 1994. Often referred to as "Speedy", since he was a former speed skater, and claims not to know so much about figure skating.

[2] Who was the first person to do [various jumps]?

Here's a partial listing.

single axel
Axel Paulsen, 1882 (on speed skates!); Sonja Henie, early 1920s
single salchow
Ulrich Salchow, 1909; Theresa Weld, 1920 Olympics (first jump performed in competition by a woman; she was officially reprimanded for attempting anything so "unladylike".)
single loop
Werner Rittberger, 1910
single lutz
Alois Lutz, 1913
double loop
Karl Schafer, 1925 (in practice only)
double lutz
Karl Schafer, 1926 (in practice only); Barbara Ann Scott, 1942
double salchow
Gillis Grafstrom, 1926 (in practice only); Cecelia Colledge, 1937(?) (first double jump by a woman)
double axel
Dick Button, 1948 Olympic games; Carol Heiss, 1953
triple loop
Dick Button, 1952 Olympic games (first triple jump); Priscilla Hill, 1975 Prague Skate
triple salchow
Ronnie Robertson, 1955 World championships; Petra Burka, 1962 Canadian championships (first triple jump by a woman)
triple flip
men ?? (prior to mid-1970s, at least); ladies, Manuela Ruben and Katarina Witt, 1981 World championships
triple lutz
Donald Jackson, 1962 World championships; Denise Biellmann, 1978
triple toe loop
Thomas Litz, 1964 World championships
triple axel
Vern Taylor, 1978 World championships; Midori Ito, fall 1988 Eastern Japanese championships
quadruple toe loop
Kurt Browning, 1988 World championships
quadruple salchow
Tim Goebel, 1998 Junior Series Final; Miki Ando, 2002 Junior Grand Prix Final (first quad jump by a woman)
triple (toe loop)/triple (toe loop) combination
Grzegorz Filipowski, 1980; Midori Ito, 1982(?)
triple loop/triple loop combination
Eric Millot, 1996 Champions Series Final; Tara Lipinski, 1997 US Nationals
quadruple jump in combination
Elvis Stojko, 1991 World Championships (quad/double); Elvis Stojko, 1997 Champions Series Final (quad/triple)
quadruple jump in the short program
Min Zhang, 1999 Four Continents Championship
two different quads in the same program
Ilia Klimkin, 1999 Nebelhorn Trophy
three quads in the same program
Tim Goebel, 1999 Skate America
For more jump firsts, check out http://www.jacksonskates.com/html/jumphist.html.

[3] When are upcoming competitions?

Here's a list of major national and international events.

2010 Synchro Worlds         Apr 9-10, 2010      Colorado Springs, CO
2010 NHK Trophy             Oct 22-24, 2010     TBD, Japan
2010 Skate Canada           Oct 29-31, 2010     TBD, Canada
2010 Cup of China           Nov 5-7, 2010       TBD, China
2010 Skate America          Nov 12-14, 2010     TBD, USA
2010 Cup of Russia          Nov 19-21, 2010     TBD, Russia
2010 Trophee Eric Bompard   Nov 26-28, 2010     TBD, France
2010 Grand Prix Final       Dec 9-12, 2010      Beijing, China
2011 US Nationals           Jan 22-30, 2011     Greensboro, NC
2011 Europeans              Jan 24-30, 2011     Bern, Switzerland
2011 Four Continents        Feb 15-20, 2011     Taipei, Chinese Taipei
2011 World Juniors          Feb 28-Mar 6, 2011  Gangneung City, Korea
2011 Worlds                 Mar 21-27, 2011     Tokyo, Japan
2011 Synchro Worlds         Apr 1-2, 2011       Helsinki, Finland
2012 Europeans              Jan 23-29, 2012     Sheffield, Great Britain
2012 Four Continents        Feb 7-12, 2012      TBA
2012 World Juniors          Feb 27-Mar 4, 2012  Minsk, Belarus
2012 Worlds                 Mar 26-Apr 1, 2012  Nice, France
2012 Synchro Worlds         Apr 6-7, 2012       Goteborg, Sweden
For a more complete listing of international events, check out the ISU's web page at http://www.isu.org/.

[4] How do I get tickets for these competitions?

All-event tickets for US Nationals typically cost around $200-$600 a set (depending on the quality of the seats) and go on sale two or more years in advance.

The 2011 US Nationals site is at http://www.northcarolina2011.com/ and the 2012 site is at

  • http://www.skatesanjose2012.com/. For information about other US Figure Skating-sponsored events, look at the US Figure Skating web page at http://www.usfigureskating.org/.

    Tickets for events in Canada typically go on sale about a year in advance. For information about the Canadian Championships and other Skate Canada events, visit their web site at http://www.skatecanada.ca/.

    The 2010 Worlds site is at http://www.torino2010.org/.

    Competitions in Europe other than the European or World Championships are usually sparsely attended and many people simply buy tickets at the box office when they arrive instead of ordering them in advance.

    There are a number of travel agencies that specialize in travel packages (including hotel and transportation as well as event tickets) for skating competitions, including those in Europe and Asia. Check out advertisements in skating magazines or on the web, or ask around for specific recommendations.

    Note: Many of the best seats at competitions and ice shows are held for event sponsors and/or group sales. You may have better luck getting a good seat by going with a tour or a group from your local skating club instead of ordering your ticket directly. For touring ice shows, you can usually order tickets by mail from the tour promoter before they go on sale through the arena box office; or you can check back with the box office a few days before the event to see if any leftover tickets for the better seats have been released.

  • [5] When is [some skating event] going to be shown on TV?

    Heather Winfield maintains a long-term schedule of skating events that are planned for broadcast on US television at

    http://heatherw.com/mk/sch.htm

    Most of the online TV listing web sites also let you search current listings for your area using specific keywords (e.g., "skating").

    [6] Why didn't [well-known skater] compete at [Skate America | Skate Canada | NHK Trophy | etc]?

    These fall international competitions are part of the "Grand Prix". The ISU seeds the top-ranked skaters from the previous season's world championships among the various fall competitions, so that each of them attends a different two or three events. Other skaters are assigned to these events based on their rankings in other international events, or selected by the countries hosting the competitions. The end result is that not all of the big-name skaters are at every event, and unseeded skaters may wind up doing only one fall competition, or not getting a competition assignment at all. Sometimes skaters also pull out of these events due to injury, illness, accidents, etc; or choose to perform in shows during the fall season instead of compete in Grand Prix events.

    [7] What's the piece of music so-and-so is skating to?

    For current-season music information, check out the skater biographies on the ISU web site: http://www.isufs.org/bios/index.htm

    There are some databases of music used by skaters going back several seasons available on the web. The URLs are:

    http://www.skatemusiclist.com/

    http://homepage3.nifty.com/skatemusic/

    [8] Who are recent [US | world | Olympic | etc] champions?

    Here are the winners since 1990. They're listed for each year in this order: US; Canadian; European; World Junior; World; Olympic.

    Men:
      2010: Jeremy Abbott; Patrick Chan; Evgeni Plushenko
      2009: Jeremy Abbott; Patrick Chan; Brian Joubert;
            Adam Rippon; Evan Lysacek
      2008: Evan Lysacek; Patrick Chan; Tomas Verner;
            Adam Rippon; Jeffrey Buttle
      2007: Evan Lysacek; Jeffrey Buttle; Brian Joubert;
    	Stephen Carriere; Brian Joubert
      2006: Johnny Weir; Jeffrey Buttle; Evgeni Plushenko;
    	Takahiko Kozuka; Stephane Lambiel; Evgeni Plushenko
      2005: Johnny Weir; Jeffrey Buttle; Evgeni Plushenko;
    	Nobunari Oda; Stephane Lambiel
      2004: Johnny Weir; Emanuel Sandhu; Brian Joubert;
            Andrei Griazev; Evgeni Plushenko
      2003: Michael Weiss; Emanuel Sandhu; Evgeni Plushenko;
            Alexander Shubin; Evgeni Plushenko
      2002: Todd Eldredge; Elvis Stojko; Alexei Yagudin;
            Daisuke Takahashi; Alexei Yagudin; Alexei Yagudin
      2001: Timothy Goebel; Emanuel Sandhu; Evgeni Plushenko;
            Johnny Weir; Evgeni Plushenko
      2000: Michael Weiss; Elvis Stojko; Evgeni Plushenko;
            Stefan Lindemann; Alexei Yagudin
      1999: Michael Weiss; Elvis Stojko; Alexei Yagudin;
            Ilia Klimkin; Alexei Yagudin
      1998: Todd Eldredge; Elvis Stojko; Alexei Yagudin;
            Derrick Delmore; Alexei Yagudin; Ilia Kulik
      1997: Todd Eldredge; Elvis Stojko; Alexei Urmanov;
            Evgeny Pluschenko; Elvis Stojko
      1996: Rudy Galindo; Elvis Stojko; Vyacheslav Zagorodniuk;
            Alexei Yagudin; Todd Eldredge
      1995: Todd Eldredge; Sebastien Britten; Ilya Kulik; 
    	Ilya Kulik; Elvis Stojko
      1994: Scott Davis; Elvis Stojko; Viktor Petrenko;
    	Michael Weiss; Elvis Stojko; Alexei Urmanov
      1993: Scott Davis; Kurt Browning; Dmitri Dmitrenko;
    	Evgeny Pliuta; Kurt Browning
      1992: Christopher Bowman; Michael Slipchuk; Petr Barna;
    	Dmitri Dmitrenko; Viktor Petrenko; Viktor Petrenko
      1991: Todd Eldredge; Kurt Browning; Viktor Petrenko;
    	Vasili Eremenko; Kurt Browning
      1990: Todd Eldredge; Kurt Browning; Viktor Petrenko;
    	Igor Pashkevich; Kurt Browning
    
    Ladies:
      2010: Rachael Flatt; Joannie Rochette; Carolina Kostner
      2009: Alissa Czisny; Joannie Rochette; Laura Lepisto;
            Alena Leonova; Yu-Na Kim
      2008: Mirai Nagasu; Joannie Rochette; Carolina Kostner;
            Rachael Flatt; Mao Asada
      2007: Kimmie Meissner; Joannie Rochette; Carolina Kostner;
    	Caroline Zhang; Miki Ando
      2006: Sasha Cohen; Joannie Rochette; Irina Slutskaya;
            Yu-Na Kim; Kimmie Meissner; Shizuka Arakawa
      2005: Michelle Kwan; Joannie Rochette; Irina Slutskaya;
    	Mao Asada; Irina Slutskaya
      2004: Michelle Kwan; Cynthia Phaneuf; Julia Sebestyen;
            Miki Ando; Shizuka Arakawa
      2003: Michelle Kwan; Jennifer Robinson; Irina Slutskaya;
            Yukina Ota; Michelle Kwan
      2002: Michelle Kwan; Jennifer Robinson; Maria Butyrskaya;
    	Ann Patrice McDonough; Irina Slutskaya; Sarah Hughes
      2001: Michelle Kwan; Jennifer Robinson; Irina Slutskaya;
            Kristina Oblasova; Michelle Kwan
      2000: Michelle Kwan; Jennifer Robinson; Irina Slutskaya;
            Jennifer Kirk; Michelle Kwan
      1999: Michelle Kwan; Jennifer Robinson; Maria Butyrskaya;
            Daria Timoshenko; Maria Butyrskaya
      1998: Michelle Kwan; Angela Derochie; Maria Butyrskaya;
            Julia Soldatova; Michelle Kwan; Tara Lipinski
      1997: Tara Lipinski; Susan Humphreys; Irina Slutskaya;
            Sydne Vogel; Tara Lipinski
      1996: Michelle Kwan; Jennifer Robinson; Irina Slutskaya;
            Elena Ivanova; Michelle Kwan
      1995: Nicole Bobek; Netty Kim; Surya Bonaly;
    	Irina Slutskaya; Chen Lu
      1994: (title vacant); Josee Chouinard; Surya Bonaly;
    	Michelle Kwan; Yuka Sato; Oksana Baiul
      1993: Nancy Kerrigan; Josee Chouinard; Surya Bonaly;
    	Kumiko Koiwai; Oksana Baiul
      1992: Kristi Yamaguchi; Karen Preston; Surya Bonaly;
    	Laetitia Hubert; Kristi Yamaguchi; Kristi Yamaguchi
      1991: Tonya Harding; Josee Chouinard; Surya Bonaly;
    	Surya Bonaly; Kristi Yamaguchi
      1990: Jill Trenary; Lisa Sargeant; Evelyn Grossmann;
    	Yuka Sato; Jill Trenary
    
    Pairs:
      2010: Denney & Barrett; Dube & Davison; Kavaguti & Smirnov
      2009: McLaughlin & Brubaker; Dube & Davison; Savchenko & Szolkowy;
    	Iliushechkina & Maisuradze; Savchenko & Szolkowy
      2008: McLaughlin & Brubaker; Langlois & Hay; Savchenko & Szolkowy;
            Krasilnikova & Bezmaternikh; Savchenko & Szolkowy
      2007: Castile & Okolski; Dube & Davison; Savchenko & Szolkowy;
            McLaughlin & Brubaker; Shen & Zhao
      2006: Inoue & Baldwin; Marcoux & Buntin; Totmianina & Marinin;
    	Vlassov & Meekins; Pang & Tong; Totmianina & Marinin
      2005: Orscher & Lucash; Marcoux & Buntin; Totmianina & Marinin;
    	Mukhortova & Trankov; Totmianina & Marinin
      2004: Inoue & Baldwin; Marcoux & Buntin; Totmianina & Marinin;
            Shestakova & Lebedev; Totmianina & Marinin
      2003: Scott & Dulebohn; Lariviere & Faustino; Totmianina & Marinin;
            Zhang & Zhang; Shen & Zhao
      2002: Ina & Zimmerman; Sale & Pelletier; Totmianina & Marinin;
    	Riabchuk & Zakharov; Shen & Zhao;
            Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze and Sale & Pelletier
      2001: Ina & Zimmerman; Sale & Pelletier; Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze;
            Zhang & Zhang; Sale & Pelletier
      2000: Ina & Zimmerman; Sale & Pelletier; Petrova & Tikhonov;
            Savchenko & Morozov; Petrova & Tikhonov
      1999: Hartsell & Hartsell; Sargeant & Wirtz; Petrova & Tikhonov;
            Obertas & Palamarchuk; Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze
      1998: Ina & Dungjen; Sargeant & Wirtz; Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze;
            Obertas & Palamarchuk; Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze; Kazakova & Dmitriev
      1997: Ina & Dungjen; Savard-Gagnon & Bradet; Eltsova & Bushkov;
            Hartsell & Hartsell; Woetzel & Steuer
      1996: Meno & Sand; Menzies & Bombardier; Kazakova & Dmitriev;
            Maksuta & Zhovnirsky; Eltsova & Bushkov
      1995: Meno & Sand; Menzies & Bombardier; Woetzel & Steuer;
    	Petrova & Sikharulidze; Kovarikova & Novotny
      1994: Meno & Sand; Brasseur & Eisler; Gordeeva & Grinkov;
    	Petrova & Sikharulidze; Shishkova & Naumov; Gordeeva & Grinkov
      1993: Urbanski & Marval; Brasseur & Eisler; Eltsova & Bushkov;
    	Korshunova & Saveliev; Brasseur & Eisler
      1992: Urbanski & Marval; Brasseur & Eisler; Mishkutenok & Dmitriev;
    	Krestianinova & Torchinski; Mishkutenok & Dmitriev; Mishkutenok & Dmitriev
      1991: Kuchiki & Sand; Brasseur & Eisler; Mishkutenok & Dmitriev;
    	Krestianinova & Torchinski; Mishkutenok & Dmitriev
      1990: Yamaguchi & Galindo; Landry & Johnston; Gordeeva & Grinkov;
            Krestianinova & Torchinski; Gordeeva & Grinkov
    
    Dance:
      2010: Davis & White; Virtue & Moir; Domnina & Shabalin
      2009: Davis & White; Virtue & Moir; Khokhlova & Novitski;
            Chock & Zuerlein; Domnina & Shabalin
      2008: Belbin & Agosto; Virtue & Moir; Domnina & Shabalin;
            Samuelson & Bates; Delobel & Schoenfelder
      2007: Belbin & Agosto; Dubreiul & Lauzon; Delobel & Schoenfelder;
            Bobrova & Soloviev; Denkova & Staviski
      2006: Belbin & Agosto; Dubreuil & Lauzon; Navka & Kostomarov;
            Virtue & Moir; Denkova & Staviski; Navka & Kostomarov
      2005: Belbin & Agosto; Dubreuil & Lauzon; Navka & Kostomarov;
    	Matthews & Zavozin; Navka & Kostomarov
      2004: Belbin & Agosto; Dubreuil & Lauzon; Navka & Kostomarov;
            Romanovskaya & Grachev; Navka & Kostomarov
      2003: Lang & Tchernyshev; Bourne & Kraatz; Lovacheva & Averbukh;
            Domnina & Shabalin; Bourne & Kraatz
      2002: Lang & Tchernyshev; Bourne & Kraatz; Anissina & Peizerat;
            Belbin & Agosto; Lobacheva & Averbukh; Anissina & Peizerat
      2001: Lang & Tchernyshev; Bourne & Kraatz; Fusar-Poli & Margaglio;
            Romaniuta & Barantsev; Fusar-Poli & Margaglio
      2000: Lang & Tchernyshev; Dubreuil & Lauzon; Anissina & Peizerat;
            Romaniuta & Barantsev; Anissina & Peizerat
      1999: Lang & Tchernyshev; Bourne & Kraatz; Krylova & Ovsiannikov;
            Silverstein & Pekarek; Krylova & Ovsiannikov
      1998: Punsalan & Swallow; Bourne & Kraatz; Grishuk & Platov;
            Joseph & Butler; Krylova & Ovsiannikov; Grishuk & Platov
      1997: Punsalan & Swallow; Bourne & Kraatz; Grishuk & Platov;
            Oulanova & Stifounin; Grishuk & Platov
      1996: Punsalan & Swallow; Bourne & Kraatz; Grishuk & Platov;
            Davydova & Kostomarov; Grishuk & Platov
      1995: Roca & Sur; Bourne & Kraatz; Rahkomo & Kokko;
    	Sharutenko & Naumkin; Grishuk & Platov
      1994: Punsalan & Swallow; Bourne & Kraatz; Torvill & Dean;
    	Nowak & Kolasinski; Grishuk & Platov; Grishuk & Platov
      1993: Roca & Sur; Bourne & Kraatz; Usova & Zhulin;
    	Svirina & Sakhnovsky; Usova & Zhulin
      1992: Sargent-Thomas & Witherby; Petr & Janoschak; Klimova & Ponomarenko;
    	Anissina & Averbukh; Klimova & Ponomarenko; Klimova & Ponomarenko
      1991: Punsalan & Swallow; McDonald & Smith; Klimova & Ponomarenko;
    	Stergiadu & Razguliaiev; Duchesnay & Duchesnay
      1990: Wynne & Druar; Borlase & Smith; Klimova & Ponomarenko;
    	Anissina & Averbukh; Klimova & Ponomarenko
    
    For a more comprehensive event results database, check out the Skatabase web site at http://www.eskatefans.com/skatabase/.

    [9] How do I send fan mail to my favorite skater?

    Your best bet is send it to them in care of the agent that represents them professionally, the rink or skating club where they train, or their national skating federation. If there is a web page about your favorite skater, it probably includes a contact address.

    The US Figure Skating web page at http://www.usfigureskating.org/ includes a club directory which may be helpful. Many clubs and rinks also have their own web pages, which are listed on SkateWeb at http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/clubs.shtml.

    Here are a few other helpful addresses:

    US Figure Skating:
    20 First Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
    voice (719)-635-5200, fax (719)-635-9548
    http://www.usfigureskating.org/
    usfigureskating@usfigureskating.org

    Skate Canada:
    865 Shefford Road, Gloucester, ON K1J 1H9
    voice (613)-748-5635, fax (613)-748-5718
    http://www.skatecanada.ca/

    PSA:
    PO Box 5904, Rochester, MN 55903
    voice (507)-281-5122
    http://www.skatepsa.com/

    ISU:
    Ch. de Primerose 2
    1007 Lausanne
    Switzerland
    http://www.isu.org/
    info@isu.ch

    [10] Is [some skater] on the net? What's their e-mail address?

    Nowadays almost everyone is on the net. But only a handful of elite or professional skaters have chosen to publicize their personal e-mail addresses or set up an e-mailbox especially for fan mail. Check web pages about the skater in question to see if the skater has a public e-mail address listed. Otherwise, you'll have to stick with snail mail. Please be respectful of skaters' privacy; the accepted way to contact skaters is through their business address, not through their home or personal address.

    Incidentally, a few elite-level skaters do "lurk" at least occasionally in this newsgroup, plus a number of other skaters have family, friends, or other members of their entourage who follow this newsgroup and/or other skating discussion forums on the net. You may want to keep in mind that your comments about skaters may very well find their way back to them, and exercise some discretion in what you post in public. If you are a friend of a skater or see them regularly at their training rink, it's common courtesy to consider their wishes about what information they would like to make public.

    [11] How do I get a backstage pass for a show or competition?

    In general, you can't get backstage passes unless you are a member of the press or have some other valid reason for being there. Having lots of random people wandering around backstage during the event could be very distracting to the skaters, as well as presenting legitimate security and liability problems. You will get a better view of the show from your seat in the arena, anyway.

    If you want to collect autographs or offer congratulations to skaters, you may have better luck waiting for them after the show outside the skaters' entrance to the arena or at their hotel. However, do exercise some discretion. You may only want a few minutes of the skaters' time, but if you multiply that by their many hundreds or thousands of fans, you can see how impossible it is for the skaters to spend time chatting with everyone. It can also be quite intimidating or overwhelming for skaters to be mobbed by fans wherever they go. Don't harass or hound skaters, don't be rude or intrusive, and don't be disappointed if your favorite skater doesn't feel inclined to stop to chat with you.

    Some specific situations where you shouldn't pester skaters for autographs are:

    [12] Whatever happened to [some competitor from N years ago]?

    Debi Thomas retired from professional skating in 1992 in order to attend medical school. She received her degree from Northwestern University in 1997. Paul Wylie retired from full-time touring in 1998 in order to pursue an MBA at Harvard; he is now working in the business field as well as doing some TV commentary work.

    Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini have now retired from skating and are working as TV commentators. Kitty Carruthers is coaching while Peter Carruthers is a TV commentator. Midori Ito does commentary for Japanese TV. Maria Butyrskaya is now working as a sports reporter for Russian television.

    Janet Lynn retired from skating many years ago and is married with a number of children.

    After getting in trouble with the law more times than anyone can count, Tonya Harding has now taken up professional boxing.

    Jill Trenary retired from amateur competition in late 1991. She is now married to Christopher Dean and is no longer skating professionally due to health problems. Torvill & Dean have retired from touring but are still active as choreographers and have appeared in a British TV series.

    Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay retired from skating because of Paul's serious back problems, and are now coaching in the US. Isabelle has done commentary for French TV.

    Robin Cousins has retired from skating as a performer although he is still active as a skating choreographer and producer of ice shows. He has also worked as a stage actor, appearing in musical productions in Britain.

    Toller Cranston now spends most of his time concentrating on his career as an artist.

    Linda Fratianne, Holly Cook, Tiffany Chin, Peter Oppegard, Jill Watson, Irina Rodnina, Suzanne Semanick, Scott Gregory, Karen Courtland, Petr Barna, Dianne De Leeuw, Aren Nielsen, Mark Mitchell, and Lisa Ervin are all working as coaches in the US. Christine Hough and Doug Ladret have also embarked on coaching careers. Michael Seibert is a choreographer, and Judy Blumberg has done TV commentary and worked with the Ice Theatre of New York. Jojo Starbuck is a coach, and Ken Shelley has been a judge and held a management position with an ice show company. Randy Gardner has become known as a choreographer while Tai Babilonia designs jewelry and skating clothing.

    Scott Davis is now coaching in Canada, after touring with "Grease on Ice" and other ice shows. Michael Chack has been touring Europe for several years with "Holiday on Ice". Natasha Kuchiki skates with one of the Disney ice shows.

    Brian Boitano, Brian Orser, Nancy Kerrigan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Dorothy Hamill, and Oksana Baiul have all cut back on their touring schedules in recent years, but are still skating in occasional shows and made-for-TV events. Rosalynn Sumners and Scott Hamilton have more or less retired from professional skating now.

    Sarah Hughes is attending Yale University. Ann Patrice McDonough and Jennifer Kirk are also attending college and no longer skating competitively. Tara Lipinski suffered a serious hip injury and is not currently skating; Deanna Stellato and Erin Pearl have also retired from skating due to injuries.

    Gary Beacom has been deported from the US after serving a prison term for income tax evasion, but is still skating professionally in Canada.

    John Curry died of AIDS in 1994. 1972 Olympic champion Ondrej Nepela, Canadian skaters Brian Pockar and Rob McCall, and US competitor Robert Wagenhoffer have also died of AIDS. Christopher Bowman died of a drug overdose in 2008.

    [13] How can I make a donation to help a competitor with their training expenses?

    Figure skating is a very expensive sport. It generally costs at least $30,000 to $50,000 a year to compete at the national or international level. While eligible skaters are now able to earn good money from competing and touring, in practice only a handful of the top competitors are being offered such opportunities. For most other skaters, it's still a real struggle to make ends meet.

    For more information about providing financial assistance to skaters, visit the Skater Support web page at http://www.skatersupport.org/.

    In the US, you basically have three options:

    [14] How do you pronounce [some skater]'s name?

    Here are some approximate hints, for English-speakers:

    [15] Are Robin and Steven Cousins cousins?

    No, they're not related. But Robin's nephew Tristan Cousins is a skater, and Steven's wife Kristina is a former ice dancer who now skates professionally using her married name.

    SkateWeb
     Home © 1994-2010 SkateWeb