Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

For more info on my individual books, please visit!



Thursday, December 22, 2005


After reading over my last two blog entries (something I should really do more often before hitting the 'publish' button), I realized that I may have come off sounding a bit too negative about the partner-merry-go-rounds that break up a lot of promising Pair and Dance teams before they've hit their full potential.

So today, I'm going to focus on the positive, and those teams that have managed to stick together through both crowns and crashes.

As a rule, the partnerships that survive the long haul in America are usually brother/sister pairings, where blood is thicker than medals.

1948-1952 U.S. Pair Champs Karol and Peter Kennedy.

1963-1964 U.S. Pair Champs Judy and Jerry Fotheringill.

1965 U.S. Pair Champs Vivian and Ronald Joseph.

1966-1969 U.S. Pair Champs Cynthia and Ronald Kauffman.

1973 U.S. Pair Champs Melissa and Mark Militano -- though she would go on to win the 1974 and 1975 U.S. Pairs title with Johnny Johns.

1981-1984 U.S Pair Champions and 1984 Olympic Silver Medalists Kitty and Peter Carruthers. (As adopted siblings, they are technically not blood related. I realize. Still, I worked with Peter in Nagano in 1998, and I must say, he speaks more highly and fondly of his baby sister than a lot of other siblings I know. It's his sweetest quality, actually).

1999 U.S. Pair Champions Steve and Danielle Hartsell. (Though he too went on to skate with another girl after Daneille retired).

And then there are the special cases. Western skaters whose partnerships have lasted longer than some marriages.

1988 Canadian Pair Champions Christine Hough and Doug Ladret started skating together in 1984 and grew to be such close friends that, when Doug got married in the summer of 1995, Christine served as his "best man."

JoJo Starbuck and Ken Shelley began skating together as seven year olds. She recalls, "Before we started taking from Mr. (John) Nicks, we were taught by another man who taught us ice-dancing. We thought it was pretty silly. We used to laugh through the lesson. The coach used to walk off the ice. We couldn't be serious and we knew we were making him mad, so we decided to change coaches. We started taking from this new man and we went immediately from ice dancing to pairs skating and we didn't even know the difference."

When John Nicks, with sister Jennifer, won the World Pair Championship in 1953, lifts were not a part of the program. So when it came to teaching JoJo and Ken how to do them, all three learned together. They began by having Ken try to lift JoJo off the piano in their dance studio. By 1968, the sixteen year olds from California proved good enough to earn a spot on the Olympic Team. By 1971, they won the World Bronze medal, repeating the feat in 1972. Afterwards, they headlined Ice Capades for four years, were named Professional Skaters of the Year, and were inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

As one of John Nicks' first Pairs, JoJo expresses amazement that the tricks it took them years to figure out, Nicks taught to his next championship pair, Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, in a matter of months.

Tai and Randy were initially paired up to perform as Mr. and Mrs. Doolitle in a club show. Neither grade-schooler was ecstatic about holding hands with a member of the opposite sex, and had to be bribed with candy bars.

By 1974, thirteen year old Tai and fifteen year old Randy became the youngest pair to ever make the World Team. In 1979, they were the first American pair to win the World Championship in 29 years, although Randy's groin injury kept them from competing at the 1980 Olympics.

They too toured with "Ice Capades," competed at the first (after a seven year hiatus) World Pro Championship, and, in 1998, celebrated thirty years of skating together while touring with "Champions on Ice."

In February of this year, Tai revealed, “I’m going to Lake Placid at the end of the month for the 25th Anniversary. They’re bringing the hockey team back, (Olympic Silver Medallist) Linda Fratianne is skating, (Olympic Team Member-5th place) Lisa-Marie Allen, too. Randy and I are skating. We haven’t been on that ice since 1980. It’s very exciting!”


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

Previous Skaters