Q: You're coming up on your 10th anniversary of winning the gold
in France. Miss the competition?
A: In some ways, you miss being in that kind of shape and having
that intense, competitive, I don't know, spirit, I guess. But a lot's
happened in 10 years, and the focus of my life has changed. It's just
fun to look back on it.
You still look pretty darn fit on the "Stars on Ice" poster.
(Laughs) Yeah, hopefully, I'm still in shape. Basically, the
training's similar. We're still on the ice a couple hours a day. But
it's a different kind of pressure. We're not fighting to gain a title;
we're trying to live up to our titles now. People expect to see that
gold medalist. So you try to give that to them every performance.
Have you become more of an entertainer?
Definitely. I mean, I was quite the technician when I competed and
really, I think, kind of scared to break out and show too much emotion
on the ice. When I turned pro, I was surrounded by all these great
professionals. It taught me, "Hey, you can really open yourself up a
lot more and share your skating with the audience."
What's fun for you in the show?
The second number that I do is kind of a departure. It's a Janet
Jackson song ("Trust a Try") and a lot more kind of hard-edged and
rockish. It's maybe a little different light than people are used to
seeing me in.
A sexier light?
Yeah, it's kind of a little sexier, a little more bold. You know, I
worked with, actually, a dance choreographer who worked with Janet
quite a bit. She's Gina Landon. I think she did the "Rhythm Nation"
Another thing is I get to skate pairs again. I competed in pairs
for seven years, and it's been about 12 years since I've done it. So
this year I'm doing a pair number with Denis Petrov, who's an Olympic
silver medalist. For me, it's the highlight for my show, because I
love it so much.
Which is tougher -- solo or pairs skating?
In pairs, if you don't get along with your partner then it's
certainly going to be very difficult. It gets hard. It's like a
marriage almost. I mean, yeah, you're going to argue. You try not to
blame, but sometimes you don't see eye to eye. You definitely need to
respect and trust each other, otherwise forget it.
In or out of the sport, what's the best piece of advice you ever
(Pause) That this is a temporary thing. Enjoy every minute of it
that you can.
You're a popular spokesperson, including for the upcoming Winter
Olympics in Salt Lake City. Your role?
I'll be doing a lot of appearances, maybe attending some of the
skating events with organizations or dignitaries. I've been working
with them since '97. Now it's pretty much let the Games begin.
Your "Stars on Ice" co-stars and fellow Olympic champs Katarina
Witt ("Ronin," "Jerry Maguire") and Tara Lipinski ("Touched by an
Angel," "The Young and the Restless") have developed acting
careers. Any similar plans?
Right now I'm just so busy with the skating and being sort of an
ambassador for the sport, I haven't really looked at another career
Do you hang out with Katarina and Tara off the ice?
We do. Everyone kind of does their own thing, but every once in a
while we'll all get together. Movies, dinner, whatever -- just relax.
What are they like?
(Laughs) It's hard to say. I mean, we just have different
personalities. Everyone knows Katarina Witt as kind of the seductress,
you know, a very passionate person. I think people still remember Tara
as the youngest Olympic champion, and she's still a fresh face out
there in figure skating.
Where do you fit in?
I don't know where I fit in. (Laughs) I think people categorize me
as a skater who has kind of been pretty steady through her career. I'm
still here 10 years later. I'm not as consistent as I was back then
but still helping push professional skating to a different level.
The clock is ticking. Do you ever think about the day when
you'll hang up your skates?
As an athlete you have a small window. Yeah, I think it's
tough. It's not so much the athletic side of the sport, but being a
performer and thinking, "OK, there's going to come a day I'm going to
have to step out of spotlight." And when it's something you've known
your whole life, yeah, sure, it's going to be a little daunting to
think, "Well, what lies ahead for me? How am I going to measure my
self-worth if I don't have this performing anymore?"
But I think skating's been my bit. And I really look forward to
settling down a little more and having kind of a more normal life. I
want to get off the road next year, the touring schedule, but still do
Are you married or single?
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Who knows? But hopefully raising a family by then.