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Not Ready To Hang 'Em Up. Talk of Kurt Browning Retiring is Premature

Source: Toronto Sun
Date: April 20, 2000
Author: Claire Bickley

Copyright 2000 Sun Media Corporation

The suggestion that Kurt Browning will soon take to his rocking chair and raise a passel of kids is somewhat premature.

"I must be getting close to retirement, 'cause that's what people are asking me -- What am I going to do when I'm done skating and are we going to have kids?" the 33-year-old skating champ said yesterday on the phone from Montreal.

Browning lands here tomorrow for Chrysler Stars On Ice at Air Canada Centre, followed by shows Saturday at Hamilton's Copps Coliseum and Sunday at Kitchener's Memorial Auditorium, then heads west to complete the 10-city Canadian tour.

Before that, Stars On Ice performed in 63 U.S. cities. Since Christmas, Browning has seen little of his Toronto home or his ballerina wife Sonia Rodriguez.

After the tour's final May 2 show in Vancouver, Browning will visit family in Alberta but be back here in plenty of time to watch his wife dance the lead role in The National Ballet of Canada's Giselle.

Rodriguez is a second soloist with The National, one step below principal dancer. Browning and his wife have talked about whether her status in Giselle could be affected if embattled principal dancer Kimberly Glasco succeeds in her legal fight to force the ballet to cast her in starring roles.

"She's not worried about it. She thinks if Kimberly does get a role, they could even add a show. She says, 'Right now, I'm not concerned,' " Browning said.

As for one issue raised by the Glasco case -- to what age can a physical artist perform at the top of his or her abilities -- Browning believes that in skating as in dancing, it's a question that can only be answered on a case-by-case basis.

"It's not one of those situations where you can make a rule and it'll work for everyone. There's a different situation every single time. Everyone ages differently," he said.

Arguably the biggest-drawing star in Stars On Ice, for example, is its eldest performer, 41-year-old Scott Hamilton.

"Scott Hamilton is an exception to the rule," said Browning, who doesn't believe many figure skaters could continue performing towards and into their fifties.

"It would be a rare person. I mean, Scott is only nine years away from 50, and realistically he could be doing a one-man Broadway show on ice when he's 50. He's the personality who could do it."

Despite those questions about his own skating future and the acting offers he's starting to get, Browning is in no hurry to take off his skates.

And what about that possibility of a beautiful bouncing Rodriguez-Browning?

Not in the near future either, he says.

"She's still busy dancing and I don't even know what city I'm in, so we're obviously not ready for kids."