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Relationships on the road. (Chrysler Stars on Ice)

Source: Chatelaine, v70 n3 p129(1).
Date: March 1997
Abstract: Canadian ice skaters preserve their marriages and romantic relationships by establishing priorities and maintaining communication. Newly married skaters are Isabelle Brasseur with American pairs skater Rocky Marval, and Kurt Browning with ballerina Sonia Rodriguez.

Full Text COPYRIGHT 1997 Maclean Hunter Ltd. (Canada)

Traveling from city to city, touring with Chrysler Stars On Ice, means that skaters are always on the move. It's hard to imagine how they ever find time for romance and relationships. They rarely have the chance to spend any stretch of time at home, so how can they meet and stay close to anyone? And how about their family relationships?

It's a real juggling act, and they all admit it's difficult. "You really have to work at long-distance relationships. You have to plan and schedule everything," explains Isabelle Brasseur. But somehow, she's made it work: Brasseur married American pairs skater Rocky Marval last August.

In fact, wedding bells are ringing for many skaters on the Stars On Ice tour Josee Chouinard will marry Canadian pairs champion Jean-Michel Bombardier in August. And, much to the dismay of many female skating fans, Kurt Browning tied the knot last June with ballerina Sonia Rodriguez of the National Ballet of Canada. Browning sums up best what it's like when one or both members of a couple spend a lot of time on the road: "You have to set priorities. And my No. 1 priority is my wife. When I'm on the road, no matter what, I try to call her every single day."

Chouinard agrees that setting priorities, planning time together and showing each other respect are key, especially when both partners live on the road. She believes, "You can only manage this kind of relationship if you really love and respect each other, and you communicate well. You also have to appreciate what the other person is doing and going through."

Being on the road also means leaving behind parents, brothers, sisters and other loved ones. All the skaters talk about how much they miss their families. Brian Orser has experienced a lot of personal difficulties over the past few years: his brother has had three heart attacks and his mother is battling cancer. More than any of the other skaters, he's had to juggle his skating career with his family commitments. While his family has suffered serious setbacks, Orser looks at the positive side: "We've become much closer for all our troubles."

For all the skaters, staying connected with loved ones means constant phone calls back and forth. But as Brasseur says: "It's hard to deal with all the traveling and being apart. It hurts to be apart so much. But this kind of job doesn't last forever. And I've learned that we all really have to make the best of the time we have together."

Kurt and Sonia