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Hamilton caps off evening of top-notch skating

Source: The Gazette (Montreal)
Date: April 20, 2000
Author: Paul Delean

Copyright 2000 Southam Inc.

If it actually was his last performance on ice in Montreal, Scott Hamilton left on a high note.

The 1984 Olympic figure-skating champion was one of the standouts of yet another splendid Stars on Ice show, witnessed by more than 8,000 appreciative fans last night at the Molson Centre.

Hamilton, who in recent interviews said he was seriously considering retirement because of the toll the sport is taking on his 41-year-old body, looked anything but past his prime.

Skating first to Paul Simon's You Can Call Me Al, and then to ''the most repetitive classical music I could find'' in a satirical turn as Don Quixote, Hamilton dazzled and amused. For the second number, he even threw in two backflips and an aerial swing over the audience.

And he played a central role in the ensemble numbers that have become such an engaging part of Stars on Ice's successful formula.

Directed as usual by Sandra Bezic, this year's production delivered everything fans in Canada have come to expect over the last decade: innovative choreography, varied music, state-of-the-art lighting and top-of-the-line skating.

The second half of last night's two-hour show was especially strong, inspiring a series of standing ovations.

The locally based pairs team of Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler, figure skating's equivalent of a thrill ride, brought down the house with an acrobatic number that featured more scary lifts and throws than any pro-wrestling card. Brasseur, the human projectile, may well be the bravest skater on the planet.

Former world and Canadian champion Kurt Browning, 33, was a triple threat, shouldering the roles of clown, heartthrob and solo skater, and excelling at all three.

Josee Chouinard, skating with more assurance and visible enjoyment at 30 than when she was Canadian champion, in the early '90s, also was in top form.

Seven-time Canadian dance champions Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz, whose competitive season was cut short by an injury to Bourne, were more understated than usual, but got a strong reaction to their take on Mack The Knife.

Also leaving a strong impression were the American husband-and-wife team of Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, who were very, very good in They Did a Bad, Bad Thing, a number tailored to their sinuous style.

The only skater who had an off night was 1998 Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski. The 17-year-old American hit the deck twice, and when was the last time that happened?

GRAPHIC: P Photo: ALLEN MCINNIS, GAZETTE / Canadian dance champions Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz were more understated than usual last night at the Molson Centre. Other skaters in the show included Scott Hamilton, who threw in two backflips, and Kurt Browning, who was a triple threat.