Stay smart, '98 gold medalist tells Olympic figure skating hopefuls
||St. Louis Post-Dispatch|
||January 31, 2002|
||Denice M. Santangelo|
Russia's Ilia Kulik won the gold medal in men's Olympic figure
skating in 1998 at Nagano, Japan, before he signed a professional
contract and joined the Target "Stars on Ice" tour. In a recent
telephone interview from Houston, Kulik talked to the Post-Dispatch
Q. Why do you think "Stars on Ice" continues to draw well each year?
A. First, the show is a quality production. Then there's good
music, great choreography, lighting and costumes. Everything is so
professional, it's just top-notch skating. It's an opportunity to see
four Olympic and world champions.
Q. How do your numbers vary in the show?
A. Beside the group numbers, I have three solos. The first solo is
Jean Michael Jarre's "Rendezvous." I chose this number to show my
technical side. I do triple axels and other triples to keep my
technical ability strong.
The second number, "Picking Up the Pieces" by the Average White
Band, shows the other side of my skating, a fun side. There's a lot of
footwork, dance and a lot of smiles. The final solo is "Oh Yeah,
Rubber Band Man" by Yello. It's more unusual. I like to experiment
with the style and a lot of stretching.
Q. How do you keep loose before shows?
A. I don't do anything too special other than try to relax. We just
started taking the show out, so it's still very fresh and we still
practice a lot. It's important to sleep and eat well so we can
conserve our energy. The show has a lot of challenging numbers.
Q. Does it feel different without Scott Hamilton (a longtime member
of the skating troupe) on tour?
A. It's been different. Sometimes it gets hard on the road. Scott
could ease a lot of tension. He brought a lot of good advice and
energy to the cast.
Q. With the Olympics just a week away, do you have any advice for
A. My advice is to stay cool. Stay smart. Don't do stupid things -
keep your concentration. Plan everything ahead and stick to
it. Mentally, it's so tough. It almost comes down to who can handle
the heat most.
Q. What worked for you during the event to keep you grounded?
A. I just tried to keep my technique straight and focus on the
technical aspects. You can't be full of thoughts of what's going to
happen; you have to concentrate of what you're doing that very
Target "Stars on Ice"
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Savvis Center, 1401 Clark Avenue
How much: $37-$60
Info: 314-241-8888, 314-421-4400 or 618-222-2900