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Kurt Browning talks skating and parenting

Source: Cleveland Examiner
Date: March 30, 2011
Author: Cynthia Barnes Booker
Skating legend Kurt Browning, along with a star-studded cast of skaters, will take to the ice, Sunday April 3 at Quick Loans Arena for the Emmy Award-Winning Smucker's(R) Stars On Ice show. The event begins at 5 o'clock.

Browning, known by many as the "Wayne Gretzky" of Figure Skating, has a lively and spontaneous personality. I found that out first-hand when I met him at a coffee shop in downtown Cleveland.

To set the stage for you, I arrived at the coffee shop before Browning, his publicist and the "Q" Arena representative. I had stepped away and upon returning to purchase a drink, I saw three people standing at the counter. Not wanting to jump ahead of them, I asked if they had ordered. They replied no, go ahead. I wondered if the man was Browning. The "Q" representative said, "Are you Cynthia?" I replied yes. We officially met. Browning then jumped in front of me, hands spread out and said, "now that we know who you are, I can jump in front of you." From that point, I knew I was in for an energetic interview.

Kurt Browning grew up in a small farming town in Canada and started skating when he was 8 years old. He skated as a supplement to hockey. He was doing triple jumps at 13. "I had no respect for gravity and launched my body in the air."

He credits his parents for recognizing his skating talents and being the "taxi service" for so many competitions. Of Browning's skating career, his father put it like this: "The whole thing just crept up on us like smoke and before you know it, you're choking in it."

Of the many costumes Browning wore, he says his mother made them. "The worse part about being a figure skater is standing still to be fitted perfectly."

This four-time World Champion and four-time Canadian National World Champion is married and has two boys, ages 7 and 3. He believes the "selfish" time he's devoted to skating, while away from his family, has paid off. "The better I make myself as a person, the more I have to give to others." He's done that and suggests parents do that too.

"Do something for yourself to excel," said Browning. "That's why you put on your oxygen mask first and then assists the child."

Editor's note: The Smucker's(R) Stars On Ice Tour is founded and produced by Olympic Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton. Scott Hamilton plans to make an appearance at the show.