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Skater gets a rush from ice show

Veteran skater Todd Sand says the "Stars on Ice" show features some of the best talent ever to nail a triple jump.

Source: The Herald (Everett, WA)
Date: January 3, 2003
Author: Mike Murray

A champion figure skater such as Todd Eldredge can land triple jumps with ease. We've seen him do it on television again and again.

Imagine how amazing it is to see him nail those triples from Todd Sand's vantage point -- on the ice.

"The technical ability of the single skaters is astonishing," said Sand, one of more than two dozen world-class skaters who will take to the ice Saturday at the "Stars on Ice" spectacular at KeyArena in Seattle.

Sand and wife and skating partner Jenni Meno are among the featured performers on the tour, which brings together stars such as Eldredge, Tara Lipinski, Alexei Yagudin, Kurt Browning, Katarina Witt and Olympic pair gold medalists Jamie Sale and David Pelletier and Ekaterina Gordeeva.

These shows are heavily choreographed and feature a lot of razzle dazzle, music, costumes and showmanship. But at their heart, they are about the skating, and today's ice stars are better than ever.

Sand says he marvels at how much figure skating has advanced since he began as a singles skater at age 10. At 39, the California native is a veteran of ice competition and professional skating who won his first major championship nearly a decade ago.

Skating in an ice show is a lot different from competitive skating, he says. For one thing, it's a collaborate experience -- not skater vs. skater -- but this team approach is one that he finds both liberating and exhilarating.

"You kind of have an energy when you get to the building," he said. "The music starts and you get a rush.

"It's a Broadway-style rock and roll show, first rate, with wonderful music and choreography," Sand said in a telephone interview from California where he was spending the holidays. "And we have the best skaters in the world skating together."

Although each of them had former partners, Sand and Meno teamed up in April 1992 and won the silver medal at the U.S. National Championships, placing fifth at the World Championships that year.

The following year, they became U.S. Champions and represented the United States in the 1994 Olympics where they placed fifth. They became engaged at the games and married the next year, a definite career high, Sand said.

A serious injury to Meno's ankle forced the couple to withdraw from the 1998 U.S. National Championships. Despite not being able to resume training until a week before the Olympics, they competed in their final Olympic Games that year. One month later, they won the World Silver medal, capping their competitive but not their skating careers.

They joined the Stars on Ice tour during the 1998-1999 season.

"Over the years you hone your talent," Sand said. "Jenni and I have tried to do something a little different each year." This year it's a comedy routine developed for them by Christopher Dean. "It's a real challenge, skating in a different way than we ever have," he said.

And still exciting.

"Jenni and I have been skating together for 10 years," Sand said. "We get to earn a living doing what we love."