Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

For more info on my individual books, please visit!



Thursday, December 29, 2005


A very special tale about a young, disabled man's desire to go ice skating, granted by the Special Wish Foundation... and his devoted family.

1968 Olympic Champion Peggy Fleming likes to stress that, no matter what level you end up reaching in the sport, no one can become a figure skater on their own. It, in effect, takes a village.

And, most often, a child's first and best support system, by default, is their family.

Hungarian Champion and 1997 European Silver Medalist Krisztina Czako's father, Gyorgy, himself a 3-time Hungarian Champion, hand-made his daughter's first pair of skates when she was just eleven months old. Since there is no ice-time available in Hungary on the weekends, the Czakos would drive to rinks in Austria or Slovakia to make sure Krisztina had a place to train.

The situation was once similar for 1997 German Champion Eva-Marie Fitze. While her mother worked in a boutique to support Eva-Marie's skating, her dad stayed home and drove his daughter, thirty miles each way, to Munich. There, Eva-Marie trained at a rink built for the 1991 World Championship. Because the planners constructing the rink wanted to make sure it wasn't taken over by hockey players after the competition, they purposely designed it to be all glass. Hockey players can't practice there for fear of smashing the walls, so Germany's figure skaters have the ice all to the themselves. (Eva-Marie currently skates Pairs with Rico Rex).

However, constantly chauffeuring one child around can take its toll on the rest of the family. 1999 Russian World Champion Maria Butyrskaya wistfully conceded that because her mother was always so busy with Maria's skating, Maria's brother, who is seven years younger, had to stay home alone and take care of himself. As a result, "he has had a very hard time finding himself in life."

1996 World Champion Todd Eldredge's mother summarized her daily driving Todd to a rink two hours away from their home in Chatham, MA as, "We spent so much time on the road, I never saw the rest of the family much. It was just Todd all day long. He'd go to school for a few hours and then we're off to a rink. He was eating in the car, doing homework in the car with the light on at night, it was totally bizarre."

At age ten, Todd moved away from his parents, to Philadelphia, to be closer to his coach, Richard Callaghan. Todd ended up followed him to Colorado Springs, San Diego and Detroit, picking up a 1985 US Novice, 1987 U.S. Junior, 1988 World Junior, six National crowns and a 1996 World title along the way.

Stories of skaters moving away from home at a terribly young age dominate the sport. 1993 U.S. Silver Medalist Lisa Ervin was eight when her local coach moved. Lisa and her parents travelled to Cleveland for a try-out with 1960 Olympic Champion turned coach Carol Heiss Jenkins. Jenkins adored Lisa, and informed the Ervins, "You have a problem. You have a very talented child, and I want to coach her." Lisa's parents couldn't move for the sake of skating, so they sent their nine year old to board with another family.

But, when faced with relocating her daughter, Tara, alone, Pat Lipinski said no. She didn't want someone else raising her child. So, for the sake of Tara's career, Pat left husband Jack in their Sugar Land, TX, home while she and Tara moved first to Newark, DE, then Detroit, MI. The pair didn't stop moving around until Tara won the Olympic Gold in 1998.

1996 U.S. Junior Champion Shelby Lyons and her mother left her dad in Oswego, NY to move to Colorado Springs, CO, so Shelby could compete in Senior Pairs with partner Brian Wells. (They were 3rd at the 1996 Nationals and 4th in 1997).

In Russia, where the housing situation remains a great deal more critical than in the United States, European and World Champion Irina Slutskaya's parents did the inconceivable and, as she was climbing the ranks as a Junior skater, gave up a three-room apartment so they could move into a one room studio in Moscow closer to where Irina trained.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Previous Skaters