Stars on Ice
Kurt in SOI
Creative Team
SOI Pre-2000
SOI 2000-01
SOI 2001-02
SOI 2002-03
SOI 2003-04
SOI 2004-05
SOI 2005-06
SOI 2010-11
SOI 2011-12
SOI 2012-13
CSOI Pre-2000
CSOI 2001
CSOI 2002
CSOI 2003
CSOI 2004
CSOI 2005
CSOI 2006
CSOI 2008
CSOI 2009
CSOI 2010
CSOI 2012
CSOI 2013

No icy calm for Eldredge

Source: Trenton Times
Date: April 19, 2002
Author: Anne Levin

Todd Eldredge still gets nervous.

After 10 years chasing medals in vain at three different Olympic games, after 20 years of training and exhibitions and winning competitions all over the world, skating onto the ice to face a new crowd still churns up the adrenaline in his lean, 30-year-old physique.

But appearing in ``Target Stars on Ice,'' at the Sovereign Bank Arena tonight is considerably less nerve-wracking than Eldredge's most recent appearance at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

``It's a new audience every night, so you want to do your best,'' he says, speaking by telephone from Rochester, N.Y. just before going out onto the ice. ``But this is definitely more fun because the pressure is so different from at the Olympics, obviously. That pressure is what the Olympics is all about. This is about entertaining the crowd.''

Eldredge is part of a stellar lineup of skating champions - some Olympic medalists, others not. Tara Lipinski, Kristi Yamaguchi, Katarina Witt, Ilia Kulik, Kurt Browning, Anjelika Krilova and Oleg Ovsiannikov, Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, Danis Petrov, Steven Cousins and Lucinda Ruh make up the cast of the arena show - two acts of solos, duets and ensemble numbers to music ranging from The Carpenters to U2 and L'il Kim.

Olympic champion Witt has rejoined the show after a four-year absence. Two-time World Champions Krylova and Ovsiannikov are new this year; three-time U.S. National Pair Champions Meno and Sand have been in the show before. Also returning are Olympic silver medalist and two-time World Professional Champion Petrov and eight-time British National Champion Cousins. Two-time Swiss National Champion Ruh, known as the ``Queen of Spin,'' is new this year.

Now in its 16th season, ``Target Stars on Ice'' appeared last year at the Sovereign Bank Arena. Eldredge joined the current show just after the Olympics in February, midway through the tour of 61 U.S. cities. He does two solos and appears in the finale.

``These are people I have known for a long time. A lot of them are friends of mine,'' he says. ``So I felt at home right away. We hang out, we have a good time.''

Born in the fishing town of Chatham on Cape Cod to a family of commercial fishermen, Eldredge first took to the ice on hockey skates he was given for Christmas. But once he saw the jumping and spinning that was part of figure skating, he asked his parents to return the hockey skates for figure skates.

Weeks later, as the legend goes, his mother would awake to find the five-year-old standing next to her bed, waiting to go the rink before kindergarten.

By the time he was 10, Eldredge was living in Philadelphia, where he received advanced training. Eight years later, he was the youngest man to ever win the National Novice, Junior and Senior titles as well as the World Junior Championships.

But the big one - an Olympic medal - has remained beyond Eldredge's reach. Problems with the short program at the Salt Lake City games led to similar difficulties with the long program. He finished ninth.

But Eldredge is philosophical about the less than glorious end of his Olympic career.

``Obviously, I wish things would have gone a different way. But you can't get everything you want,'' he says. ``It's the way it worked out, and you have to move forward.''

He decided before the recent games that they would be his last.

``I knew I was going into my last Olympics,'' Eldredge says. ``It was my third games. And being 30, it was getting harder and harder to train. I thought I'd give it one last shot and do the best I could. I wasn't expected to win. I was hoping for some kind of medal but it didn't happen. I just wanted to go in and enjoy the experience.''

Nobody was landing quadruple jumps in the air when Eldredge started competing years ago. But today, super-athletes on skates regularly toss off four airborne revolutions. Is there too much emphasis on those kinds of technical tricks, at the expense of artistry?

``A little,'' answers Eldredge. ``There is definitely a place for that in our sport. That's normal. As long as you don't lose the artistry. When you get wrapped up in jumps and who landed what, it's just not as interesting. Skating is about more than that.''

What is unique about skating, Eldredge says, is its entertainment value. ``You're not going to see an exhibition baseball game with lights and music,'' he says. ``It brings sport and theater to the same venue.''

Eldredge can't imagine a time when skating isn't a part of his life in some form. He has worked with children in the Special Olympics and hopes to do more. He is taking part in a series of six seminars for children, coming up after the tour.

``I'm sure I'll always be involved in one form or another, hopefully,'' he says. ``Maybe I'll do some commentary down the road.''

One of his biggest off-ice interests is golf. A six-handicap golfer, Eldredge is becoming a regular in celebrity golf tournaments that raise funds for various community causes.

``Maybe I'll get into some celebrity championships at some point,'' he says.

Is he good?

``I'm not bad,'' he says, self-effacingly.

Target Stars on Ice comes to the Sovereign Bank Arena, 81 Hamilton Ave., Trenton, today at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $32.50-$55.50. (609) 520- 8383.