Romance and Mystery Novels

by Alina Adams

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Wednesday, July 05, 2006


Continued from Parts #1 and #2:

There were plenty of smiles in the three days of preparation prior to A Skaters Tribute to Carlo Fassi, as thirty years of Fassi-apprentices gathered to reminisce and, basically, throw a party in his memory.

1992 Olympic Silver medalist Paul Wylie, who Fassi coached to the 1981 World Junior Championship recalled how Carlo, in an attempt to calm down his protegees prior to competition, would thrust his face within inches of their's and shout, "Relax!"

The 5' 4'' Wylie also related that it was Fassi who, on a whim in the late 1970s, decided Paul should skate pairs, introduced him to Dana Graham, and ordered them to start practicing lifts right away. He balanced Dana on the barrier, and told Paul to hold her up. The teen-age Paul tried his best, but, as soon as Carlo let go, so did Paul. In spite of that less than auspicious beginning, Graham & Wylie went on to win the 1980 U.S. Junior Pair Championship, before calling it quits.

At the tribute, Paul skated "Bring Him Home," from the musical Les Miserables, while Peggy Fleming presented "Ave Maria," Nicole Bobek chimed in with "Sacrifice" and the rather interesting choice for a memorial, "You Don't Own Me," while Robin Cousins rewrote the lyrics to Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me."

Yet, for many, the most moving moment of the night came at the finale, when all of Carlo's Olympic champions (save for John Curry who died in 1994), his World Champions (except Jill Trenary who was recovering from surgery but had flown in to be in the audience), his national medalists, including Wylie, Caryn Kadavy, Angelo D'Agostino, Tom Dickson who was representing himself and wife Catarina Lindgren, home awaiting the birth of their twins, John Baldwin Jr. representing himself and his father, both National Novice Champions under Carlo, and various others, took the ice at the same time, and, from 1968 Olympic Champ Peggy Fleming to 1998 Olympic hopeful Nicole Bobek, turned, as one, to salute Carlo's portrait beaming down at them from above the ice.

A month later, the skating show, along with a Biography-style profile of the man aired on ESPN as the two hour Skater's Tribute to Carlo Fassi. Yet, one story missing from both the live and TV show was of a 17 year old Junior skater who, in 1976, was ready to give up the sport because his family simply could not afford it any longer. When Carlo Fassi, who was interested in coaching the boy himself heard about his dilemma, he lined up a sponsor to take care of his training and expenses. The news so cheered the teen up that he went on to win the 1976 U.S. Junior Championship.

Scott Hamilton was on his way to the top.

Three years later, Scott left the Fassis and headed East. To Carlo, he would always be "the one that got away."

Yet, in spite of their parting, prior to the tribute, there was speculation that Scott might come to at least watch. But, sadly, in the summer of 1997, Scott Hamilton had problems of his own.

(To Be Continued...)


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