Pros: Stars on Ice Not Olympians, They Just Perform Like Them
||The Salt Lake Tribune|
||January 9, 1998|
||Linda K. Handy|
Copyright 1998 The Salt Lake Tribune
WEST VALLEY CITY -- They are no longer Olympians, but the figure
skaters in the Discover Card Stars on Ice are not has-beens, either.
"We're talking about Olympic-caliber figure skating in this
production," said Sandra Bezic, who directed Thursday's show at the E
Center. "It's an extremely difficult show and a brutal schedule."
Kristi Yamaguchi, Scott Hamilton, Katarina Witt, Ekaterina Gordeeva,
Paul Wylie, Kurt Browning and others are performing 60 shows, with this
kind of itinerary: a 7:30 p.m. show, a charter flight to the next city,
a 3 p.m. rehearsal and another show.
They are as busy as the skaters preparing for the Nagano
Olympics. That's appropriate, because the gap between amateur and
professional figure skating is closing. Actually, says Bezic, skating in
Stars on Ice is "much harder than preparing for the Olympics. When
you're training for the Games, you're shielded from everything and have
ideal circumstances -- everyone does everything for you. From the
Olympics to the professional world, you grow up overnight."
In the old days, all skating shows were of the Ice Capades variety,
with props and lavish head ornaments. Stars on Ice pioneered the
showcasing of skaters' athletic ability and style.
Every skater Thursday did successful "triples" with Browning pulling
off a triple axel and a triple toe loop, triple toe loop
combination. Yamaguchi chose two of the most difficult jumps, a triple
lutz and a triple loop.
The one advantage the professionals have is the liberty to laugh at
These skaters take themselves seriously enough, though, to uphold a
high athletic standard. Amateurs who want a skating career after the
Olympics have to maintain their technical talent in a production like
"Our show is about maintaining the technical edge of figure skating
and taking the responsibility to continue growing in the sport," Bezic
Gordeeva's style is evolving within the professional
ranks. Following the death of her husband, Sergei Grinkov, she is making
due without her partner.
Gordeeva's solo to "I Can't Help Falling In Love With You" and
Hamilton's "Wizard of Oz" number brought a sellout crowd to its feet --
without one triple jump. After all, it isn't a triple axel that makes
children want to start skating.