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Ice is nice

Performing or competing, skaters go for the glory

Source: Star-Telegram
Date: January 25, 2002
Author: Amanda Rogers

Can't make it to Salt Lake City for the Winter Olympics? Head to Dallas to see some of the best skaters of the past two decades when Target Stars on Ice slides into town. Gold medalists Tara Lipinski, Kristi Yamaguchi, Katarina Witt and Ilia Kulik, along with world champion Kurt Browning, will highlight the professional ice skating show.

Browning, who won consecutive world championships from 1989 to 1992, explains that skating competitively and skating professionally are very different for the athlete.

"Kristi's married to a hockey player [Bret Hedican of the Carolina Hurricanes,] and every night after the show she gets on the phone and he either won or lost," Browning explains.

"Sometimes I would like to do Target Stars on Ice and know if I won or lost," he says. "Lately, we've had some audiences that really let us know we won."

Browning performs to a guitar solo - an original piece written by his friend Ed Robertson of the Barenaked Ladies - and to Elevation by U2, appropriate for the first athlete to successfully complete a quadruple jump in world competition, a feat that got him listed in the Guinness Book of World Records.

"I attempt eight or nine jumps in each program," he says, "but there are only four or five that are difficult."

Browning quickly turns the spotlight on teammate Kulik, who won a gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics.

"Ilia's doing two triple axels every night," he says with enthusiasm. "He's having the best run I've ever seen. He's like a rubber man."

Although Browning went to three Olympics, the Canadian never brought home a medal.

"The first one, it wasn't my turn. The next one I had a bad back, and the next one, I just screwed up," he says.

"You go to the Olympics and you think it's going to be perfect," Browning continues. "But there's the agony and the ecstasy of sports. Now that I'm a professional, there's no medal on the line, but if I have a bad night, it sticks with me."

He hasn't decided whether he'll be going to the Olympics in Salt Lake City, but he'll definitely be watching.

"I don't miss them," he says. "But you do reminisce."

Now, at age 35, he's at a different place in his life.

"When I was young, I wanted to compete," Browning remembers. "Winning is very cool. Now, the show must go on."

Browning says he enjoys the effect skaters can have on the audience.

"There's not a whole lot of things better than making a whole lot of people emotional."