Twice On Ice
Kurt plays it again; Elvis a hit in Prague
||March 12, 1993|
PRAGUE--He hit all of Casablanca's major themes this week.
"You must remember this, a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a
"These moments come so quickly and leave so quickly and the
difference is so small between winning and losing, you really do have to
savor them," said Kurt Browning, after winning his fourth world men's figure
skating championship in five years, Thursday.
"The fundamental things apply, as time goes by..."
"I watched these young kids all week in practice, doing amazing
technical things, and I wondered if maybe this might not happen for me. But
experience can be a good thing," he said.
And of course...
"This could be the start of a beautiful friendship."
Kurt Browning can utter that line because if there's one
crystal-clear conclusion to be drawn from the comeback of the 26-year-old
from Caroline, Alta., to the top of the world, it's that coach Louis Stong
and the choreography team he assembled were all the difference Browning
needed--and it could be the start of something even better.
"I really believe, as I've said, that we haven't even seen a small
part of what Kurt Browning can do," said Stong.
After the agony of Albertville and a good but not great rebound at
the '92 world championships in Oakland, Browning decided to uproot from
Edmonton and surround himself with new people--Toronto people--which must
have really put that western heart of his through the wringer.
There was Stong, choreographer Sandra Bezic-Ricci, music and dance
consultants Clarence Frod and Tomas Schramck.
But the bottom line was the jumper had grown older. It was time to
become an actor. That whole side of Browning, a side every bit as deep,
apparently, as his athleticism, has knocked out the judges at every level
this season--and it carried him to the world title Thursday on the strength
of seven 5.9s and a 6.0 (from the French judge) for artistic merit.
It was even great for the No.2 Canadian Elvis Stojko, who nailed
eight triple jumps in his long program, made a brilliant surge from fifth
place to second, got the evening's top technical marks, put Canadians 1-2 on
the podium and kept alive a neck-and-neck battle that figures to rage until
the '94 Olympics in Norway and Worlds in Japan.
Technically, Browning wasn't even as good as bronze medallist Alexei
Urmanov of Russia--the Canadian landed only four triple jumps, down-graded
both his triple-triple combinations to triple-doubles, and two-footed the
troublesome triple lutz.
But, proving that figure skating is not just a game of adding up the
tricks and subtracting the misses, Browning skated one of the great
performances of his career--he had the audience spellbound.