New ice age
||March 30, 2002|
The crossword puzzle clue seemed simple enough: 1998 Olympic champion.
Eight letters. L-I-P-I . . .
"Oh my gosh, that's me!" said Tara Lipinski, as she filled in the
Lipinksi, who works crosswords to relax on tour, remains puzzled by
her fast skate to fame.
"Every day you dream of becoming an Olympic champion, and now four
years later I have to keep pinching myself."
Lipinski, the youngest Olympic gold medal skater, will perform
tonight with a host of Olympic luminaries in the Target Stars on Ice
at Value City Arena.
The Winter Games in Salt Lake City sparked interest in figure
skating shows, said Karen Davis, public-relations manager for
Nationwide Arena. Another skating show, the John Hancock Champions on
Ice, will arrive at Nationwide on May 14.
Winning an Olympic medal opened doors for Lipinski.
At 19, her resume includes: movie actress (a cameo in Vanilla Sky
and a featured role in the upcoming independent film The Metro Chase)
and TV performer (Touched by an Angel and The Young and the Restless,
"Things are looking up for me," Lipinski said this week during a
stop in Cincinnati on the show's 61-city tour.
She is considering college correspondence classes but doesn't want
to give up skating and acting to pursue college full time now.
"I appreciate my fans, and I owe them a lot," she said. "I'm having
fun on this tour."
Lipinski was just 14 when she captured the U.S. national and world
titles in 1997; a year later she won the gold medal during the Winter
Games in Nagano, Japan.
"That was the best day of my life."
While some fans may wonder why she turned pro shortly after her
golden performance in Nagano, Lipinski has no regrets.
"I did what makes me happy,'' she said. "I accomplished everything
I wanted to as an amateur.''
Years of rigorous training took their toll. Two years ago, she had
hip surgery and doctors discovered she has arthritis.
"My hip was giving me trouble, and it would have been difficult to
continue training for competitions,'' she said. "Having the surgery
was 100 percent the right decision. I wanted to move on and try other
things and keep my life going -- but never stop skating.''
Even now, she still has some pain while skating. By joining the
Stars on Ice show, however, she has extended her skating career.
"This is more theatrical and less pressure, and if you make a
mistake, the fans are there for you,'' Lipinski said. "You feel more
at ease, and you get to have more fun.''
Having fun and honing his artistic skills are two reasons 2002
Olympic bronze medalist Timothy Goebel is looking forward to his tour
with Champions on Ice.
Goebel (pronounced gable) will join the cast today in Florida to
begin rehearsals for the 86-city tour that starts Wednesday in Daytona
"Things have changed a lot since winning the bronze medal,''
Goebel, 21, said in a phone interview from New York City this
week. "This morning I got to ring the opening bell at the stock
Fame and performing have become part of his routine.
"It's really good experience to get out in front of an audience and
perform every night and skate the program well,'' said Goebel, who won
a silver medal earlier this month at the World Championships in
Known as the "quad king'' for his ability to complete four
rotations on a single jump, Goebel was the first American to land a
quadruple jump in competition in 1998. The first to land three quads
in one program in 1999, Goebel landed three quads to capture the
bronze medal in Salt Lake City.
He started polishing his signature jump at age 14 while living in
the Cleveland area and training under 1960 Olympic champion Carol
Although he often earned high technical marks, artistic marks often
came in low. He focused too much on his jumps and not enough on
everything in between.
Two years ago, he switched trainers and began working with Michelle
Kwan's former coach, Frank Carroll, in El Segundo, Calif.
That change made all the difference.
Carroll insisted that Goebel take ballet and dance classes to
improve his artistry and fluidity.
"Change is hard for any athlete,'' Goebel said. "It was almost too
much new stuff, and it was very hard. But it was certainly worth the
Despite his newfound celebrity, reality sank in quickly for
Goebel. He has his sights on the 2006 Winter Olympics.
"I'm already thinking about next season and what I have to do next
year,'' Goebel said. "I enjoyed the experience of winning a medal, but
I'm moving on.
"I have a lot of work to do.''