Spinmeister 'Target Stars on Ice' has bigger names, but no one spins faster than Lucinda Ruh
||Albany Times Union|
||April 4, 2002|
||Amy E. Tucker|
Copyright 2002 The Hearst Corporation
Swiss skating sensation Lucinda Ruh is spinning her own kind of
magic -- literally -- in her first year with the "Target Stars on Ice"
tour, which hits the Pepsi Arena on Friday.
In addition to Ruh, the show features the talents of Kristi
Yamaguchi, Tara Lipinski, Katarina Witt and Kurt Browning, among
Ruh has been clocked in practice spinning 270 revolutions per
minute -- an astounding 4.5 revolutions per second. She's currently
training to earn two Guinness records. The prize for most revolutions
on one foot has been held since 1997 by Britain's Neil Wilson. But her
primary goal is to be the fastest spinner.
"No one holds a record for the fastest spin, so I could do that
now," she said. "Then I want to beat Neil's record. He did 60
revolutions on one foot and I'm consistently hitting about 80 in
Ruh creates all the unique positions in her spins, and though
she's worked with some of the best coaches in the world -- including
Olympic vets Christy Ness, Nabuo Sato and Hongyun Liu -- she credits
her parents for her motivation.
Born in Switzerland, Ruh has lived all over the world, spending
time in Paris, Tokyo and San Francisco; her most recent home is in New
York City. But she describes her real home as being where her parents
are -- and wherever there's an ice rink.
"My dad came back from a trip to Switzerland and told me I had to
keep up the tradition and learn the Biellmann spin. We would joke that
spinning 'must be in the Swiss water,' " she laughed.
The Biellmann spin, named for the Swiss spinner Denise Biellmann,
is a one-footed spin in which the skater catches the raised leg and
lifts it up over her head.
"My mom would be there every day and say, 'Come on, you have to
spin one turn faster and faster every day.' Their motivation kept me
going." Her parents currently live in the United Arab Emirates, near
In August, Ruh relocated to lower Manhattan -- just a block from
the World Trade Center. "I was evacuated for about a month," Ruh
said. "Seeing it with your own eyes, rather than just on TV, is a
totally different experience."
Ruh's family moved to Japan when she was 4; at the time she was
doing more ballet than skating. Her efforts earned her a scholarship
to the Royal Ballet of London, but after a three-month summer program,
she opted for the competition skating offered.
"I love competition: the gliding, and being out there on the ice
and having the whole audience watching me," she said.
This year's showgirls-themed "Stars on Ice" program offers Ruh
plenty of attention-grabbing opportunities. She kicks off both acts in
the role of the ultimate, untouchable showgirl -- a role choreographer
Sandra Bezic designed to showcase Ruh's spinning talents.
"I'm not doing any jumps," Ruh said. "The other skaters do them so
well, so I'm showcasing my strengths. In practice, I'm working a lot
with Kurt (Browning) to keep up my jumps and improve them for upcoming
shows and professional competitions."
Ruh's decision to leave the amateur ranks in 1999 led her to a
third-place finish at the 2000 World Professional Championships. It
proved to be a good career move for the skater.
"That first championship really opened my eyes, and gave me the
satisfaction that what I've been working on for so many years is
really appreciated," she said.
Ruh is hoping the tour will help make her a household name in
America. Her friends call her "Luspinda" or "LuRuh" -- a play on both
her names and "LuLu," the nickname of Chinese skater Lu Chen.
"Just don't call me Lucy," she said. "I hate that."
You might not remember her name, but you'll have a hard time
forgetting those spins.