Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Tuesday, October 19, 2004


1988 Canadian Pair Champion (with Christine Hough), Doug Ladret recalls that: “Being National Champion in an Olympic year was extremely special. What made it even more special was that we were champions during the pinnacle of Canadian pair skating. Almost every year from 1983 through 1990, our country had three teams in the top 10 in the world, including World Champions and several World medallists.”

Doug and Christine (“Tuffy”) decided together that 1992 would be their last year of competitive skating. He explains, “We felt that our performance in the Short Program at the Albertville Olympics was the turning point. The audience gave us a standing ovation, the judges proceeded to dump us down out of the top 10. The audience started to whistle and boo the judges so loudly that you had to cover your ears. We knew at that point that the audience was the most important thing to us and that the judges did not want to give us what we deserved, so it was time to move on.”

For Doug, his professional career was both “great and disappointing, all at the same time. Tuffy and I were chosen to skate with “Stars on Ice.” We were in amongst a crowd of World and Olympic Champion, so we knew we had something special to be included in that group. This was at the height of skating's popularity. 17,000 people at Madison Square Garden, standing ovations every night. It was a magical time. Unfortunately, due to my partner’s health issues, we had to cut our performing career short. (It was) only four years of pro skating before the brakes were put on. However, I guess I had shown that I was an integral part of the “Stars on Ice” family, and was asked to come back as the first Performance Director in SOI history. This was bittersweet. I was now directing and coaching Tara Lipinski, Kristi Yamaguchi, Scott Hamilton, Kurt Browning, Torvill & Dean, Katarina Witt, etc…. A stellar group of champions who all looked to me for guidance. But, at the same time, it was hard to know that I would never take the ice again to perform in SOI. (My professional career) was more than I expected it to be, but shorter than I came to hope for."

These days, Doug and his wife, Lara, are coaching together in Scottsdale, Arizona. He says, “It was an odd start here, as barely anyone in Arizona knew who I was. I had come from Canada, where I was in figure skating's elite and had a level of celebrity where I was recognized in airports, shops etc... I had also been coaching International and World competitors at Doug Leigh's training center north of Toronto. The lack of recognition by the local skating crowd made me work even harder to set up what I thought could be set up. We have gotten part-way there, and are still pushing for higher heights. We have taken skating here from an infantile state of low-level ability, to now having a pair team on the Jr Grand Prix circuit, and our first International Champion at the Triglav Trophy in Slovenia last April. This summer marked the first time Tuffy and I worked together since she retired in 1996. (World and co-Olympic Champions) Jamie Sale & David Pelletier asked us to choreograph a program for them in a similar style to how we used to skate. It’s a nice way for Tuffy and I to rekindle our old friendship. Life is crazy for me, but it is also very rewarding to know that I have been a major part of the progression of figure skating in the desert."

Coming Thursday, October 21, 2004: 1993 US Bronze Medallist Michael Chack


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