Three-time (1978-1980) US Silver Medalist Lisa-Marie Allen reveals in 2006, "I prefer to be introduced as an Olympian. It is the one privilege that is always honorable and something that I am proud to always be. Back in my competitive days, if you didn't get the Gold you were pretty much ignored. This has changed in the last 20 years due to the commercial success of the Olympic Games and what visibility they have brought to us in many ways.
"I retired from amateur skating in 1981. I made an effort to win the Ladies title that year but had an injury the week of competition and finished third. Not the best year of my life, indeed! I really had no preconceived notion as to a career in skating. I joined The Ice Capades, traveling with them for three years. Followed that up with marriage and the birth of my daughter. Went back to skating and teaching and finally stopped performing in 1998, with the exception of the Salt Lake Olympic opening and closing ceremonies, where I was also one of the choreographers. Which segues to currently being associate choreographer on the feature film Blades of Glory starring Will Farrell. It's been a great career and truly a blast to see what comes next."
Lisa shares, "There are so many memories (of skating). I would have to say that the times when you are traveling with your teammates and really become great friends in the process. I still maintain these friendships as though they are my college buddies. Meeting the President of the United States was surely a highlight, along with being flown to DC on Air Force One. My favorite professional memory, hmmmm, that's a lot of years! I really enjoyed the trips to Jaca for the World Pro Competition. On my third trip, the Mayor of Jaca said "Welcome home, Lisa-Marie." It was very special because I won that year!
"I have been blessed in many ways. I have a wonderful family and we split our time between Los Angeles, California and Sun Valley, Idaho. My husband is very supportive in any challenge that I take on. My daughter is currently an Honors student at Boston College and loving it. My two golden retrievers keep me honest with exercise. I still love to skate and do when I can. I had to retire the Double Axel a few years ago, but did manage to get my senior moves in the field test two years ago. I may have never won the US title, but I have surely won in life."
As for the folks who were wondering where Lisa-Marie Allen is now, she concludes, "I suppose my only message would be "thank you" for enjoying what I was able to bring to skating. I was a little cowgirl that had dreams of spending her life on the back of a horse. Little did I know how God had his own plan for me. Thank you!!!!"
As usual, the skating world is a small world, and it’s up to Bex Levy, head researcher for 24/7 Television Network to ferret out the truth. This is the latest in a series of very satisfying mysteries. Anyone with even a passing interest in the world of competitive figure skating will enjoy this insider’s look.... It’s always a good day when a new Bex Levy mystery arrives, and fans won’t be disappointed with this one.
Maxi Baier, the 1936 Olympic pairs figure skating champion, has died. She was 86. Germany's youngest winter Olympic champion died Friday in a retirement home in Garmisch-Partenkirchen after a lingering illness, her daughter said Saturday....
Two-time U.S. Ladies Bronze Medalist Suna Murray recalls several favorite moments from her skating career.
"The first was during Nationals (1971) in Buffalo (which was the first time I placed 3rd). I was 15 years old and received a standing ovation. It was a pretty packed house so it was really exciting. My second memorable skating moment was when I fell over the curtain at Madison Square Garden during "Champions on Ice." I didn't get hurt but the crowd took a huge gasp. I was on Blooper shows for years as well a promotional video for Drakar cologne. Of course, back then you didn't get paid for any of those things. Another favorite moment was walking in the opening ceremonies during the 1972 Olympics. Not really a skating moment but definitely skating related. Those Olympics were during the Vietnam War and there were riots at home. Patriotism was not high on the media list. I remember walking around the Olympic Stadium watching all the American flags being flown and being really proud to be an American."
Suna finished 12th at those Games in Japan, and 8th at the subsequent World Championship in Calgary, Canada.
"I retired fairly soon after the 1972 season to attend college. My skating career was over when I was 16 so now that I am 50 it doesn't seem like my competitive career took up very much of my life. I was planning to continue skating when I was a Harvard but there were so many other exciting and different things going on in my life that I never made it over to The Skating Club of Boston to practice. I never skated professionally as there wasn't that much going on back then and I really loved my years at Harvard and wouldn't have given that up to skate in an ice show.
"I graduated from Harvard in 1978. I took some time off in 1976 when my father had a stroke. After that I worked at The First National Bank of Boston for 3 years. During that time I was on the Athletes Advisory Committee to the USOC and went to the 1980 Olympics as an Athletes Representative for the USOC. During that time I realized how much I missed skating and I started to coach part-time as I was still working at the bank. I started teaching full time in 1982.
"I married Langham Gleason, MD in 1987. I have two children with Langham. Hadley is 18 years old and a freshman in college and Kylie is 16, skates at the Skating Club of Boston and is coached by Mark Mitchell and Peter Johannson.
"We moved to Sewickley, PA in 1994 as an academic neurosurgery position opened up for Langham at Allegheny General Hospital. At this point my life gets more complicated. Langham and I divorced in 1998. I remarried Calvin Augustin in 1999. My older daughter, Hadley, started at Phillips Exeter Academy in 2002. My younger daughter, Kylie, started to be a pretty good skater and I decided that I didn't want to coach her myself anymore. She was National Juvenile and Intermediate Pair champion a few years ago. Last year she won New England Junior Ladies (ed. Note: Kylie just placed 2nd in Senior Ladies at the 2007 New England Regional Championships). My husband works for US Airways so since we fly free, for the past three years I have been flying to PA on Sunday nights and coming back to Boston on Tuesday morning. I coach in Boston Tuesday through Sunday and Pittsburgh on Monday. Crazy life!!!"
Canadian figure skating star Lloyd Eisler was suspended from coaching for one season because of emails he sent to a 15-year-old girl he was coaching that were deemed inappropriate by Skate Canada.... Sources familiar with Skate Canada's investigation into the 43-year-old former world pairs champion's conduct said they took the very rare decision of banning him because of sexually suggestive emails he sent to the young skater in the spring and summer of 2005.
Though she's won many national and international medals during her years as a top ranked skater, Tonia Kwiatkowski confesses,
"Probably my favorite skating title is 1996 U.S. Silver Medalist. I have such fond memories from that National Championship. I had such a GREAT week of skating in San Jose. I skated a clean Short and Long Program at the most important championship of the year! Also, the Long Program fell on one of my coaches; birthdays, so that made it even more special to skate as well as I did.
"After the 1994 season, I decided to stay in for one year, then one more, then the Olympics were only two years away so I decided to stay in through 1998. After not making the Olympic Team, I was disappointed but continued to train, being the alternate. I am so glad that I did because I got to go to Worlds that year and had a 6th place finish which was my highest at Worlds. I retired from eligible competition after the 1998 season. I was already 27 years old (the old lady of the bunch) and just knew it was time to move on. I was hoping to do shows, tours and made-for-TV events. I did quite a few of all of these events and have really enjoyed them."
Having competed at 13 U.S. Championships, Tonia is justified in exclaiming,
"I have many favorite eligible skating memories, it is hard to pick just one! I guess it would have to be at the 1998 World Championships at the end of my long program. I had skated really well and had a standing ovation. I knew it was the end of my eligible career. It was a GREAT feeling to end it that way. My favorite professional skating memory is just as hard!! I would have to say the Kristi Yamaguchi Friends and Family Show from last year when I dedicated my skating to my daughter. I skated to "In My Daughter's Eyes" and enjoyed every minute of my skate for her. At the present time I still skate in a few shows here and there and mostly coach full-time. I have a lot of wonderful kids that I work with and I enjoy still being involved in the sport. I have been married for seven years to David Ralls and we have an eighteen month old daughter named Madison.
"I would love to thank all my fans for all of their support and good wishes throughout the years. I have been so blessed to be able to do what I love and to bring enjoyment to others through my skating."
And I agree with her completely. Really. Kristy is not a homewrecker. She had no home to wreck. The one with the home was Lloyd and he is responsible for all actions taken. Kristi is merely dating a homewrecker.
2002 Olympic Bronze Medalist Timothy Goebel recently retired from competitive skating and performing, but that had been the plan all along.
"Going into this past season, I knew it was going to be my last," he explains. "My goal from after Salt Lake was to compete through this Olympic season and then return to school. I was devastated that I didn't make the team this year, but having won a World and Olympic medal, I had achieved everything I wanted to do with my skating. It was an easy decision, because this had always been my game-plan. I had hoped to tour last spring with Champions on Ice one last time, but since I didn't make the team, there just wasn't a place for me this year. I am grateful for the time I spent with the tour, but I didn't belong there anymore. I knew that trying to pursue a professional career parallel to my education wasn't going to be feasible, and school is my focus now. While I do miss performing, in the long run school is where I need to be at this point in my life. I do the best at things with a singular goal and focus. Skating provided me with so many wonderful opportunities, but with all of the injuries it was time to move on."
He adds, "I want to thank everyone who helped me through the past few seasons, which were very difficult for me. My parents first and foremost for their unconditional love and support, my managers, Lee Marshall and Shannon Fuller, who always believed in me, Audrey Weisiger and her team, and Lori Nichol and Tatiana Tarasova, for sticking by me through a rough transition and helping me to find joy in skating again. They all stuck by me through the hard times, which to me is the sign of a great coach. What I learned from them will be with me for the rest of my life, and for all of them I am eternally grateful. I would like to thank all my fans for their support over the years. While I won't be performing anymore, I still think of them kindly for all of the words of encouragement and support."
Tim is currently a student at Columbia University in New York City. You can read an interview with him from the school paper, here.
I just picked up your latest book yesterday and absoultely loved it. One question: did you know that there's a Ukrainian skater named Igor Marchenko before you started writing the series?
First of all, thank you for saying you loved the book -- that always makes a nuerotic writer's day. ;)
Secondly, the outline for the book that became Axel of Evil was written in the Spring of 2001. At the time, I was vaguely aware of Igor Marchenko. I'd worked the Winter Olympics in Nagano and even remember their long program (I *think* the last third was to We Are The Champions). But it was one of those cases where the name sounded good -- though I couldn't remember why. I thought I simply picked two relatively common Russian/Ukrainian names and put them together. (I actually originally called him Marchechenko, but then decided it was too long).
Since then, I realized I borrowed a name from a "real" skater. Not sure if anyone is out to kill him, though... Maybe I should track him down for a "Where Are They Now?"
From a strictly mathematical perspective, I don't think this will work for them.
2002 was Salt Lake City, North America, 2006 was Turin, Europe, 2010 is Vancouver, North America again.
Asia hasn't had a Winter Games since Nagano in 1998 and they're probably due. And Russia may be partially in Asia, but it's seen as Europe by the outside (and, let's be honest, the inside) world. Besides, Sochi is on the Black Sea, which puts it squarely, geographically in Europe. (I was born in Odessa, then USSR - we used to take summer cruises to Sochi. I have a hard time picturing it as a Winter sport town, in any case).
South Korea is still in the running for 2014, as well. If the little nuclear issue doesn't get in the way, they may have the inside track. Or so officials insist/hope is the case.
Where are the skaters with personality both on and off the ice?
Heck, even Brian Boitano and Kristi Yamaguchi and Tara Lipinski, neither one the most compelling conversationalist in the world (though much better one on one than in interviews), had something. A spark, a light... some character.
People talk about the continuing decline in figure skating's television's rating. It's been blamed on everything from cable to judging to pre-pubescent jumping beans. But isn't it possible that the answer to the lack of interest isn't on the ice, but off it? To paraphrase Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, the skating is still big... it's the skaters who got small.
Yay! A skating scandal that isn't connected to judging or sexual abuse, but boring, old embezzlement.
(Sorry, as someone who writes murder mysteries for a living, I find money to be the second weakest motive for killing. It's just so dry and impersonal and, in the end, trivial. I prefer love, lust, jealousy, betrayal -- the juicy motives. For those wondering what my least favorite motive it -- it's serial killer. In that case, it's dry and impersonal -- once removed).
Police arrested former Japan Skating Federation head Katsuichiro Hisanaga and two others Tuesday on suspicion that they embezzled 5.8 million yen from the body in 2002, sources said. The three have admitted to police that they embezzled the money.
Today is the big day! My fourth Figure Skating Mystery, Death Drop, is officially available in bookstores everywhere and/or near you! (Also on-line. And in libraries. And check with those guys who sell books on the street; they're known to be huge figure skating fans).
Death Drop, more than any of the previous Figure Skating Mysteries, was written in response to reader imput. After On Thin Ice, so many people commented on how they'd like to read more about the relationship between Bex and Craig, that I made it a key subplot in the next book I was writing. (I couldn't add it to the next sequential book, Axel of Evil, because it was already outlined and half written when On Thin Ice hit the shelves).
So thank you everyone for your suggestions and your support. I truly couldn't do it without you!
Aadnya Borkar, a popular young ice skater (figure skater) and a third year Bachelor of Business Administration student of Waljat College of Applied Sciences at Knowledge Oasis in Rusayl Oman, is set to represent India at the ‘Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating, 2006 to 2007’ to be held at the ‘Taipei Arena’, Taipei City, Taiwan from October 12-14.... Aadnya has been selected by the Ice Skating Association of India, New Delhi, to represent India... based on the result of the fourth National Ice-skating Championship 2006 held in Kolkata, India, in June this year, where she won the top slot in the ‘senior girls (women)’ category for four consecutive times.
Though India is hardly known as a hot bed of winter sports in general, figure skating in particular, they seem to be working on changing that.
Skate Today brings us the story of Bulgarian champion Hristina Vassileva, who recently went to New Delhi to perform in a series of ice shows:
"It was so much fun. We were in Old Delhi. The ice rink was in a park with amusements, roller coasters and a water park. The rink was a little bit smaller than real sizes. There were seats for 500 people and during all the shows it was almost full. We did two to four shows every day. There were four of us skaters and then some circus artists from Uzbekistan did a show after we finished skating on a carpet over the ice. We spent all day at the ice rink, thank God, because outside the ice rink it was so, so hot. Do you know that where we were, most of the people don't know what is snow, what it feels like touching it, what it looks like?"
It was only twenty-five years ago or so that the same lack of figure skating awareness could have been used to describe the state of the sport in China. (For director Doug Wilson's memories of taping the first ever skating special there, click here).