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Competitive Figure Skating FAQ: Skating People and Events

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Archive-name: sports/skating/ice/figure/people
Last-modified: 21 Sep 2008

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                         SKATING PEOPLE AND EVENTS

This article is part of the FAQ list for (amateur) competitive figure
skating.  This section covers questions about specific skaters and

This FAQ list is posted monthly to  It is
available in both plain-text and HTML/Web versions.  You can get to the
HTML version from SkateWeb at URL:


Table of Contents

  * [1] Who's this Dick Button guy, anyway?
  * [2] Who was the first person to do [various jumps]?
  * [3] When are upcoming competitions?
  * [4] How do I get tickets for these competitions?
  * [5] When is [some skating event] going to be shown on TV?
  * [6] Why didn't [well-known skater] compete at [Skate America | Skate
    Canada | NHK Cup | etc]?
  * [7] What's the piece of music so-and-so is skating to?
  * [8] Who are recent [US | world | Olympic | etc] champions?
  * [9] How do I send fan mail to my favorite skater?
  * [10] Is [some skater] on the net?  What's their e-mail address?
  * [11] How do I get a backstage pass for a show or competition?
  * [12] Whatever happened to [some competitor from N years ago]?
  * [13] How can I make a donation to help a competitor with their
    training expenses?
  * [14] How do you pronounce [some skater]'s name?
  * [15] Are Robin and Steven Cousins cousins?


[1] Who's this Dick Button guy, anyway?

    Dick Button was the 5-time world champion and 2-time Olympic
    champion, from 1948 to 1952.  He's widely credited with introducing
    the modern athletic style of skating.  He was the first person to do
    a double axel, and the first to do a triple jump (a triple loop).  He
    also invented the flying camel spin.

    Here are some other people you hear about from time to time:

    Gus Lussi
        Dick Button's coach.  Also coached Dorothy Hamill.  His skaters
        are known for their superb spinning technique.  He died in 1993.
    Carlo Fassi
        Italian national champion (and European champion) during the
        1950's, but better known as a coach.  His skaters included Peggy
        Fleming, Dorothy Hamill, John Curry, Robin Cousins, Caryn Kadavy,
        Jill Trenary, and Nicole Bobek.  Fassi died in 1997.
    Toller Cranston
        Canadian men's champion during the 1970's.  Known as a dramatic
        stylist, and for being very outspoken on skating matters.
    Tamara Moskvina
        Russian pair coach (e.g., of Mishkutenok and Dmitriev).  Her
        husband, Igor Moskvin, is also a coach, and is probably best
        known for his association with the Protopopovs.
    Sandra Bezic
        Canadian pairs champion (with her brother Val) during the 1970's;
        later became a choreographer (e.g., for Boitano and Yamaguchi),
        TV commentator, and co-producer of "Stars On Ice".
    Jutta Muller
        coached Katarina Witt, Jan Hoffman, and most of the other
        well-known East German singles skaters.
    Ludmila & Oleg Protopopov
        Russian pair skaters who won Olympic gold medals in 1964 and
        1968.  They're known for their ballet-like style.  They also
        invented pair moves such as the inside death spiral.
    Tracy Wilson
        Canadian ice dancer; with her partner, the late Rob McCall, she
        won a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics.  Now a TV commentator.
    F. Ritter Shumway
        president of the USFSA at the time of the 1961 plane crash that
        killed the entire US world team and coaching staff.  He was
        instrumental in rebuilding the figure skating program in the US
        and setting up the memorial fund which now provides financial
        support for nearly all competitive skaters.
    John Nicks
        former British (and world) pairs champion in the 1950's, now best
        known as a pairs coach (e.g., of Babilonia & Gardner and Meno &
    Cecilia Colledge
        a British skater who was the 1937 world champion.  She was the
        first woman to execute a double jump (a double salchow) and
        inventor of the camel and layback spins.
    Galina Zmievskaya
        coach of Ukrainian skaters Viktor Petrenko and (formerly) Oksana
    Uschi Keszler
        former choreographer for Canadian skaters Bourne & Kraatz and
        coach of Elvis Stojko; credited with starting the craze for
    Debbi Wilkes
        Canadian pairs skater from the 1960's, and long-time commentator
        for Canadian TV.
    Irina Rodnina
        10-time world and 3-time Olympic pairs skating champion (with two
        different partners) from the (ex-)Soviet Union, has coached in
        the US.
    Tracey Wainman
        Canadian competitor from the early 1980's who is often cited as
        the canonical example of a skater who was pushed into the
        spotlight as a child and burned out on the sport before reaching
    David Dore
        Long-time head of the CFSA/Skate Canada, now an ISU
    Ottavio Cinquanta
        President of the ISU since 1994.  Often referred to as "Speedy",
        since he was a former speed skater, and claims not to know so
        much about figure skating.

[2] Who was the first person to do [various jumps]?

    Here's a partial listing.

    single axel
        Axel Paulsen, 1882 (on speed skates!); Sonja Henie, early 1920s
    single salchow
        Ulrich Salchow, 1909; Theresa Weld, 1920 Olympics (first jump
        performed in competition by a woman; she was officially
        reprimanded for attempting anything so "unladylike".)
    single loop
        Werner Rittberger, 1910
    single lutz
        Alois Lutz, 1913
    double loop
        Karl Schafer, 1925 (in practice only)
    double lutz
        Karl Schafer, 1926 (in practice only); Barbara Ann Scott, 1942
    double salchow
        Gillis Grafstrom, 1926 (in practice only); Cecelia Colledge,
        1937(?) (first double jump by a woman)
    double axel
        Dick Button, 1948 Olympic games; Carol Heiss, 1953
    triple loop
        Dick Button, 1952 Olympic games (first triple jump); Priscilla
        Hill, 1975 Prague Skate
    triple salchow
        Ronnie Robertson, 1955 World championships; Petra Burka, 1962
        Canadian championships (first triple jump by a woman)
    triple flip
        men ?? (prior to mid-1970s, at least); ladies, Manuela Ruben and
        Katarina Witt, 1981 World championships
    triple lutz
        Donald Jackson, 1962 World championships; Denise Biellmann, 1978
    triple toe loop
        Thomas Litz, 1964 World championships
    triple axel
        Vern Taylor, 1978 World championships; Midori Ito, fall 1988
        Eastern Japanese championships
    quadruple toe loop
        Kurt Browning, 1988 World championships
    quadruple salchow
        Tim Goebel, 1998 Junior Series Final; Miki Ando, 2002 Junior
        Grand Prix Final (first quad jump by a woman)
    triple (toe loop)/triple (toe loop) combination
        Grzegorz Filipowski, 1980;  Midori Ito, 1982(?)
    triple loop/triple loop combination
        Eric Millot, 1996 Champions Series Final; Tara Lipinski, 1997 US
    quadruple jump in combination
        Elvis Stojko, 1991 World Championships (quad/double); Elvis
        Stojko, 1997 Champions Series Final (quad/triple)
    quadruple jump in the short program
        Min Zhang, 1999 Four Continents Championship
    two different quads in the same program
        Ilia Klimkin, 1999 Nebelhorn Trophy
    three quads in the same program
        Tim Goebel, 1999 Skate America

    For more jump firsts, check out

[3] When are upcoming competitions?

    Here's a list of major national and international events.

    2008 Skate America          Oct 24-26, 2008     Everett, WA
    2008 Skate Canada           Oct 30-Nov 2, 2008  Ottawa, ON
    2008 Cup of China           Nov 6-9, 2008       Beijing, China
    2008 Trophee Eric Bompard   Nov 13-16, 2008     Paris, France
    2008 Cup of Russia          Nov 20-23, 2008     Moscow, Russia
    2008 NHK Trophy             Nov 27-30, 2008     Tokyo, Japan
    2008 Grand Prix Final       Dec 10-14, 2008     Seoul, Korea
    2009 Canadian Nationals     Jan 14-18, 2009     Saskatoon, SK
    2009 US Nationals           Jan 18-25, 2009     Cleveland, OH
    2009 Europeans              Jan 19-25, 2009     Helsinki, Finland
    2009 Four Continents        Feb 2-9, 2009       Vancouver, BC
    2009 World Juniors          Feb 23-Mar 1, 2009  Ostrava, Czech Republic
    2009 Worlds                 Mar 23-29, 2009     Los Angeles, CA
    2009 Synchro Worlds         Apr 3-4, 2009       Zagreb, Croatia
    2010 US Nationals           Jan 14-24, 2010     Spokane, WA
    2010 Europeans              Jan 18-24, 2010     Tallinn, Estonia
    2010 Olympic Games          Feb 12-28, 2010     Vancouver, BC
    2010 World Juniors          Mar 8-14, 2010      The Hague, Netherlands
    2010 Worlds                 Mar 22-28, 2010     Torino, Italy
    2010 Synchro Worlds         Apr 9-10, 2010      Colorado Springs, CO
    2011 Europeans              Jan 24-30, 2011     Bern, Switzerland
    2011 Worlds                 Mar 21-27, 2011     Nagano, Japan

    For a more complete listing of international events, check out the
    ISU's web page at

[4] How do I get tickets for these competitions?

    All-event tickets for US Nationals typically cost around $200-$600 a
    set (depending on the quality of the seats) and go on sale two or
    more years in advance.

    The 2009 US Nationals site is at, and
    the 2010 site is at  For information
    about other US Figure Skating-sponsored events, look at the US Figure
    Skating web page at

    Tickets for events in Canada typically go on sale about a year in
    advance.  For information about the Canadian Championships and other
    Skate Canada events, visit their web site at

    The 2009 Worlds site is at

    Competitions in Europe other than the European or World Championships
    are usually sparsely attended and many people simply buy tickets at
    the box office when they arrive instead of ordering them in advance.

    There are a number of travel agencies that specialize in travel
    packages (including hotel and transportation as well as event
    tickets) for skating competitions, including those in Europe and
    Asia.  Check out advertisements in skating magazines or on the web,
    or ask around for specific recommendations.

    Note:  Many of the best seats at competitions and ice shows are held
    for event sponsors and/or group sales.  You may have better luck
    getting a good seat by going with a tour or a group from your local
    skating club instead of ordering your ticket directly.  For touring
    ice shows, you can usually order tickets by mail from the tour
    promoter before they go on sale through the arena box office; or you
    can check back with the box office a few days before the event to see
    if any leftover tickets for the better seats have been released.

[5] When is [some skating event] going to be shown on TV?

    Heather Winfield maintains a long-term schedule of skating events
    that are planned for broadcast on US television at

    Most of the online TV listing web sites also let you search current
    listings for your area using specific keywords (e.g., "skating").

[6] Why didn't [well-known skater] compete at [Skate America | Skate
Canada | NHK Trophy | etc]?

    These fall international competitions are part of the "Grand Prix".
    The ISU seeds the top-ranked skaters from the previous season's world
    championships among the various fall competitions, so that each of
    them attends a different two or three events.  Other skaters are
    assigned to these events based on their rankings in other
    international events, or selected by the countries hosting the
    competitions.  The end result is that not all of the big-name skaters
    are at every event, and unseeded skaters may wind up doing only one
    fall competition, or not getting a competition assignment at all.
    Sometimes skaters also pull out of these events due to injury,
    illness, accidents, etc; or choose to perform in shows during the
    fall season instead of compete in Grand Prix events.

[7] What's the piece of music so-and-so is skating to?

    For current-season music information, check out the skater
    biographies on the ISU web site:

    There are some databases of music used by skaters going back several
    seasons available on the web.  The URLs are:

[8] Who are recent [US | world | Olympic | etc] champions?

    Here are the winners since 1990.  They're listed for each year in
    this order:  US; Canadian; European; World Junior; World; Olympic.

      2008: Evan Lysacek; Patrick Chan; Tomas Verner;
            Adam Rippon; Jeffrey Buttle
      2007: Evan Lysacek; Jeffrey Buttle; Brian Joubert;
    	Stephen Carriere; Brian Joubert
      2006: Johnny Weir; Jeffrey Buttle; Evgeni Plushenko;
    	Takahiko Kozuka; Stephane Lambiel; Evgeni Plushenko
      2005: Johnny Weir; Jeffrey Buttle; Evgeni Plushenko;
    	Nobunari Oda; Stephane Lambiel
      2004: Johnny Weir; Emanuel Sandhu; Brian Joubert;
            Andrei Griazev; Evgeni Plushenko
      2003: Michael Weiss; Emanuel Sandhu; Evgeni Plushenko;
            Alexander Shubin; Evgeni Plushenko
      2002: Todd Eldredge; Elvis Stojko; Alexei Yagudin;
            Daisuke Takahashi; Alexei Yagudin; Alexei Yagudin
      2001: Timothy Goebel; Emanuel Sandhu; Evgeni Plushenko;
            Johnny Weir; Evgeni Plushenko
      2000: Michael Weiss; Elvis Stojko; Evgeni Plushenko;
            Stefan Lindemann; Alexei Yagudin
      1999: Michael Weiss; Elvis Stojko; Alexei Yagudin;
            Ilia Klimkin; Alexei Yagudin
      1998: Todd Eldredge; Elvis Stojko; Alexei Yagudin;
            Derrick Delmore; Alexei Yagudin; Ilia Kulik
      1997: Todd Eldredge; Elvis Stojko; Alexei Urmanov;
            Evgeny Pluschenko; Elvis Stojko
      1996: Rudy Galindo; Elvis Stojko; Vyacheslav Zagorodniuk;
            Alexei Yagudin; Todd Eldredge
      1995: Todd Eldredge; Sebastien Britten; Ilya Kulik; 
    	Ilya Kulik; Elvis Stojko
      1994: Scott Davis; Elvis Stojko; Viktor Petrenko;
    	Michael Weiss; Elvis Stojko; Alexei Urmanov
      1993: Scott Davis; Kurt Browning; Dmitri Dmitrenko;
    	Evgeny Pliuta; Kurt Browning
      1992: Christopher Bowman; Michael Slipchuk; Petr Barna;
    	Dmitri Dmitrenko; Viktor Petrenko; Viktor Petrenko
      1991: Todd Eldredge; Kurt Browning; Viktor Petrenko;
    	Vasili Eremenko; Kurt Browning
      1990: Todd Eldredge; Kurt Browning; Viktor Petrenko;
    	Igor Pashkevich; Kurt Browning
      2008: Mirai Nagasu; Joannie Rochette; Carolina Kostner;
            Rachael Flatt; Mao Asada
      2007: Kimmie Meissner; Joannie Rochette; Carolina Kostner;
    	Caroline Zhang; Miki Ando
      2006: Sasha Cohen; Joannie Rochette; Irina Slutskaya;
            Yu-Na Kim; Kimmie Meissner; Shizuka Arakawa
      2005: Michelle Kwan; Joannie Rochette; Irina Slutskaya;
    	Mao Asada; Irina Slutskaya
      2004: Michelle Kwan; Cynthia Phaneuf; Julia Sebestyen;
            Miki Ando; Shizuka Arakawa
      2003: Michelle Kwan; Jennifer Robinson; Irina Slutskaya;
            Yukina Ota; Michelle Kwan
      2002: Michelle Kwan; Jennifer Robinson; Maria Butyrskaya;
    	Ann Patrice McDonough; Irina Slutskaya; Sarah Hughes
      2001: Michelle Kwan; Jennifer Robinson; Irina Slutskaya;
            Kristina Oblasova; Michelle Kwan
      2000: Michelle Kwan; Jennifer Robinson; Irina Slutskaya;
            Jennifer Kirk; Michelle Kwan
      1999: Michelle Kwan; Jennifer Robinson; Maria Butyrskaya;
            Daria Timoshenko; Maria Butyrskaya
      1998: Michelle Kwan; Angela Derochie; Maria Butyrskaya;
            Julia Soldatova; Michelle Kwan; Tara Lipinski
      1997: Tara Lipinski; Susan Humphreys; Irina Slutskaya;
            Sydne Vogel; Tara Lipinski
      1996: Michelle Kwan; Jennifer Robinson; Irina Slutskaya;
            Elena Ivanova; Michelle Kwan
      1995: Nicole Bobek; Netty Kim; Surya Bonaly;
    	Irina Slutskaya; Chen Lu
      1994: (title vacant); Josee Chouinard; Surya Bonaly;
    	Michelle Kwan; Yuka Sato; Oksana Baiul
      1993: Nancy Kerrigan; Josee Chouinard; Surya Bonaly;
    	Kumiko Koiwai; Oksana Baiul
      1992: Kristi Yamaguchi; Karen Preston; Surya Bonaly;
    	Laetitia Hubert; Kristi Yamaguchi; Kristi Yamaguchi
      1991: Tonya Harding; Josee Chouinard; Surya Bonaly;
    	Surya Bonaly; Kristi Yamaguchi
      1990: Jill Trenary; Lisa Sargeant; Evelyn Grossmann;
    	Yuka Sato; Jill Trenary
      2008: McLaughlin & Brubaker; Langlois & Hay; Savchenko & Szolkowy;
            Krasilnikova & Bezmaternikh; Savchenko & Szolkowy
      2007: Castile & Okolski; Dube & Davison; Savchenko & Szolkowy;
            McLaughlin & Brubaker; Shen & Zhao
      2006: Inoue & Baldwin; Marcoux & Buntin; Totmianina & Marinin;
    	Vlassov & Meekins; Pang & Tong; Totmianina & Marinin
      2005: Orscher & Lucash; Marcoux & Buntin; Totmianina & Marinin;
    	Mukhortova & Trankov; Totmianina & Marinin
      2004: Inoue & Baldwin; Marcoux & Buntin; Totmianina & Marinin;
            Shestakova & Lebedev; Totmianina & Marinin
      2003: Scott & Dulebohn; Lariviere & Faustino; Totmianina & Marinin;
            Zhang & Zhang; Shen & Zhao
      2002: Ina & Zimmerman; Sale & Pelletier; Totmianina & Marinin;
    	Riabchuk & Zakharov; Shen & Zhao;
            Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze and Sale & Pelletier
      2001: Ina & Zimmerman; Sale & Pelletier; Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze;
            Zhang & Zhang; Sale & Pelletier
      2000: Ina & Zimmerman; Sale & Pelletier; Petrova & Tikhonov;
            Savchenko & Morozov; Petrova & Tikhonov
      1999: Hartsell & Hartsell; Sargeant & Wirtz; Petrova & Tikhonov;
            Obertas & Palamarchuk; Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze
      1998: Ina & Dungjen; Sargeant & Wirtz; Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze;
            Obertas & Palamarchuk; Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze; Kazakova & Dmitriev
      1997: Ina & Dungjen; Savard-Gagnon & Bradet; Eltsova & Bushkov;
            Hartsell & Hartsell; Woetzel & Steuer
      1996: Meno & Sand; Menzies & Bombardier; Kazakova & Dmitriev;
            Maksuta & Zhovnirsky; Eltsova & Bushkov
      1995: Meno & Sand; Menzies & Bombardier; Woetzel & Steuer;
    	Petrova & Sikharulidze; Kovarikova & Novotny
      1994: Meno & Sand; Brasseur & Eisler; Gordeeva & Grinkov;
    	Petrova & Sikharulidze; Shishkova & Naumov; Gordeeva & Grinkov
      1993: Urbanski & Marval; Brasseur & Eisler; Eltsova & Bushkov;
    	Korshunova & Saveliev; Brasseur & Eisler
      1992: Urbanski & Marval; Brasseur & Eisler; Mishkutenok & Dmitriev;
    	Krestianinova & Torchinski; Mishkutenok & Dmitriev; Mishkutenok & Dmitriev
      1991: Kuchiki & Sand; Brasseur & Eisler; Mishkutenok & Dmitriev;
    	Krestianinova & Torchinski; Mishkutenok & Dmitriev
      1990: Yamaguchi & Galindo; Landry & Johnston; Gordeeva & Grinkov;
            Krestianinova & Torchinski; Gordeeva & Grinkov
      2008: Belbin & Agosto; Virtue & Moir; Domnina & Shabalin;
            Samuelson & Bates; Delobel & Schoenfelder
      2007: Belbin & Agosto; Dubreiul & Lauzon; Delobel & Schoenfelder;
            Bobrova & Soloviev; Denkova & Staviski
      2006: Belbin & Agosto; Dubreuil & Lauzon; Navka & Kostomarov;
            Virtue & Moir; Denkova & Staviski; Navka & Kostomarov
      2005: Belbin & Agosto; Dubreuil & Lauzon; Navka & Kostomarov;
    	Matthews & Zavozin; Navka & Kostomarov
      2004: Belbin & Agosto; Dubreuil & Lauzon; Navka & Kostomarov;
            Romanovskaya & Grachev; Navka & Kostomarov
      2003: Lang & Tchernyshev; Bourne & Kraatz; Lovacheva & Averbukh;
            Domnina & Shabalin; Bourne & Kraatz
      2002: Lang & Tchernyshev; Bourne & Kraatz; Anissina & Peizerat;
            Belbin & Agosto; Lobacheva & Averbukh; Anissina & Peizerat
      2001: Lang & Tchernyshev; Bourne & Kraatz; Fusar-Poli & Margaglio;
            Romaniuta & Barantsev; Fusar-Poli & Margaglio
      2000: Lang & Tchernyshev; Dubreuil & Lauzon; Anissina & Peizerat;
            Romaniuta & Barantsev; Anissina & Peizerat
      1999: Lang & Tchernyshev; Bourne & Kraatz; Krylova & Ovsiannikov;
            Silverstein & Pekarek; Krylova & Ovsiannikov
      1998: Punsalan & Swallow; Bourne & Kraatz; Grishuk & Platov;
            Joseph & Butler; Krylova & Ovsiannikov; Grishuk & Platov
      1997: Punsalan & Swallow; Bourne & Kraatz; Grishuk & Platov;
            Oulanova & Stifounin; Grishuk & Platov
      1996: Punsalan & Swallow; Bourne & Kraatz; Grishuk & Platov;
            Davydova & Kostomarov; Grishuk & Platov
      1995: Roca & Sur; Bourne & Kraatz; Rahkomo & Kokko;
    	Sharutenko & Naumkin; Grishuk & Platov
      1994: Punsalan & Swallow; Bourne & Kraatz; Torvill & Dean;
    	Nowak & Kolasinski; Grishuk & Platov; Grishuk & Platov
      1993: Roca & Sur; Bourne & Kraatz; Usova & Zhulin;
    	Svirina & Sakhnovsky; Usova & Zhulin
      1992: Sargent-Thomas & Witherby; Petr & Janoschak; Klimova & Ponomarenko;
    	Anissina & Averbukh; Klimova & Ponomarenko; Klimova & Ponomarenko
      1991: Punsalan & Swallow; McDonald & Smith; Klimova & Ponomarenko;
    	Stergiadu & Razguliaiev; Duchesnay & Duchesnay
      1990: Wynne & Druar; Borlase & Smith; Klimova & Ponomarenko;
    	Anissina & Averbukh; Klimova & Ponomarenko

    For a more comprehensive event results database, check out the
    Skatabase web site at

[9] How do I send fan mail to my favorite skater?

    Your best bet is send it to them in care of the agent that represents
    them professionally, the rink or skating club where they train, or
    their national skating federation.  If there is a web page about your
    favorite skater, it probably includes a contact address.

    The US Figure Skating web page at
    includes a club directory which may be helpful.  Many clubs and rinks
    also have their own web pages, which are listed on SkateWeb at

    Here are a few other helpful addresses:

    US Figure Skating:
    20 First Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80906
    voice (719)-635-5200, fax (719)-635-9548

    Skate Canada:
    865 Shefford Road, Gloucester, ON K1J 1H9
    voice (613)-748-5635, fax (613)-748-5718

    PO Box 5904, Rochester, MN 55903
    voice (507)-281-5122

    Ch. de Primerose 2
    1007 Lausanne

[10] Is [some skater] on the net?  What's their e-mail address?

    Nowadays almost everyone is on the net.  But only a handful of elite
    or professional skaters have chosen to publicize their personal
    e-mail addresses or set up an e-mailbox especially for fan mail.
    Check web pages about the skater in question to see if the skater has
    a public e-mail address listed.  Otherwise, you'll have to stick with
    snail mail.  Please be respectful of skaters' privacy; the accepted
    way to contact skaters is through their business address, NOT through
    their home or personal address.

    Incidentally, a few elite-level skaters do "lurk" at least
    occasionally in this newsgroup, plus a number of other skaters have
    family, friends, or other members of their entourage who follow this
    newsgroup and/or other skating discussion forums on the net.  You may
    want to keep in mind that your comments about skaters may very well
    find their way back to them, and exercise some discretion in what you
    post in public.  If you are a friend of a skater or see them
    regularly at their training rink, it's common courtesy to consider
    their wishes about what information they would like to make public.

[11] How do I get a backstage pass for a show or competition?

    In general, you CAN'T get backstage passes unless you are a member of
    the press or have some other valid reason for being there.  Having
    lots of random people wandering around backstage during the event
    could be very distracting to the skaters, as well as presenting
    legitimate security and liability problems.  You will get a better
    view of the show from your seat in the arena, anyway.

    If you want to collect autographs or offer congratulations to
    skaters, you may have better luck waiting for them after the show
    outside the skaters' entrance to the arena or at their hotel.
    However, DO exercise some discretion.  You may only want a few
    minutes of the skaters' time, but if you multiply that by their many
    hundreds or thousands of fans, you can see how impossible it is for
    the skaters to spend time chatting with everyone.  It can also be
    quite intimidating or overwhelming for skaters to be mobbed by fans
    wherever they go.  Don't harass or hound skaters, don't be rude or
    intrusive, and don't be disappointed if your favorite skater doesn't
    feel inclined to stop to chat with you.

    Some specific situations where you SHOULDN'T pester skaters for
    autographs are:

      * When they are warming up, preparing to skate, or actually on the
        ice (even in practices).

      * When they are eating in a restaurant, or deep in conversation
        with their coach, family, or friends.

      * When they are sitting in the stands at a skating event watching
        other skaters perform.  (This is not only rude to the skater
        you're trying to get an autograph from, but rude to all the
        people sitting around them, and to the skater on the ice as

      * When they are already surrounded by a mob of people.

      * When they are standing outside in the cold or rain trying to get
        into a car, taxi, or bus that is waiting for them.

      * When *you* are a volunteer, caterer, etc working an event where
        the skater appears.

[12] Whatever happened to [some competitor from N years ago]?

    Debi Thomas retired from professional skating in 1992 in order to
    attend medical school.  She received her degree from Northwestern
    University in 1997.  Paul Wylie retired from full-time touring in
    1998 in order to pursue an MBA at Harvard; he is now working in the
    business field as well as doing some TV commentary work.

    Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini have now retired from skating and
    are working as TV commentators.  Kitty Carruthers is coaching while
    Peter Carruthers is a TV commentator.  Midori Ito does commentary for
    Japanese TV.  Maria Butyrskaya is now working as a sports reporter
    for Russian television.

    Janet Lynn retired from skating many years ago and is married with a
    number of children.

    After getting in trouble with the law more times than anyone can
    count, Tonya Harding has now taken up professional boxing.

    Jill Trenary retired from amateur competition in late 1991.  She is
    now married to Christopher Dean and is no longer skating
    professionally due to health problems.  Torvill & Dean have retired
    from touring but are still active as choreographers and have appeared
    in a British TV series.

    Isabelle and Paul Duchesnay retired from skating because of Paul's
    serious back problems, and are now coaching in the US.  Isabelle has
    done commentary for French TV.

    Robin Cousins has retired from skating as a performer although he is
    still active as a skating choreographer and producer of ice shows.
    He has also worked as a stage actor, appearing in musical productions
    in Britain.

    Toller Cranston now spends most of his time concentrating on his
    career as an artist.

    Linda Fratianne, Holly Cook, Tiffany Chin, Peter Oppegard, Jill
    Watson, Irina Rodnina, Suzanne Semanick, Scott Gregory, Karen
    Courtland, Petr Barna, Dianne De Leeuw, Aren Nielsen, Mark Mitchell,
    and Lisa Ervin are all working as coaches in the US.  Christine Hough
    and Doug Ladret have also embarked on coaching careers.  Michael
    Seibert is a choreographer, and Judy Blumberg has done TV commentary
    and worked with the Ice Theatre of New York.  Jojo Starbuck is a
    coach, and Ken Shelley has been a judge and held a management
    position with an ice show company.  Randy Gardner has become known as
    a choreographer while Tai Babilonia designs jewelry and skating

    Scott Davis is now coaching in Canada, after touring with "Grease on
    Ice" and other ice shows.  Michael Chack has been touring Europe for
    several years with "Holiday on Ice".  Natasha Kuchiki skates with one
    of the Disney ice shows.

    Brian Boitano, Brian Orser, Nancy Kerrigan, Kristi Yamaguchi, Dorothy
    Hamill, and Oksana Baiul have all cut back on their touring schedules
    in recent years, but are still skating in occasional shows and
    made-for-TV events.  Rosalynn Sumners and Scott Hamilton have more or
    less retired from professional skating now.

    Sarah Hughes is attending Yale University.  Ann Patrice McDonough and
    Jennifer Kirk are also attending college and no longer skating
    competitively.  Tara Lipinski suffered a serious hip injury and is
    not currently skating; Deanna Stellato and Erin Pearl have also
    retired from skating due to injuries.

    Gary Beacom has been deported from the US after serving a prison term
    for income tax evasion, but is still skating professionally in

    John Curry died of AIDS in 1994.  1972 Olympic champion Ondrej
    Nepela, Canadian skaters Brian Pockar and Rob McCall, and US
    competitor Robert Wagenhoffer have also died of AIDS.  Christopher
    Bowman died of a drug overdose in 2008.

[13] How can I make a donation to help a competitor with their training

    Figure skating is a very expensive sport.  It generally costs at
    least $30,000 to $50,000 a year to compete at the national or
    international level.  While eligible skaters are now able to earn
    good money from competing and touring, in practice only a handful of
    the top competitors are being offered such opportunities.  For most
    other skaters, it's still a real struggle to make ends meet.

    For more information about providing financial assistance to skaters,
    visit the Skater Support web page at

    In the US, you basically have three options:

      * You can make a donation to a charitable fund.  The largest of
        these is the Memorial Fund, established by the USFSA in memory of
        the 1961 world team members who were killed in a plane crash.
        You can restrict your donation to go to skaters from a particular
        club, if you want, but you cannot funnel your contributions to a
        specific skater through the Memorial Fund.  Most (all?) skaters
        who compete at the national level are apparently eligible for at
        least a token subsidy from the Memorial Fund.  Donations to the
        Memorial Fund are tax-deductable.  Checks should be sent to:

        US Figure Skating Memorial Fund
        20 First Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80906

        More information is available at

        The New England Amateur Skating Foundation also distributes
        financial support for skaters (including many outside the New
        England region).  Donations are tax-deductable; you can suggest
        that your money go to specific skaters, but the final decisions
        are made by committee.  Checks should be sent to:

        New England Amateur Skating Foundation
        PO Box 6881, Providence RI 02940
        401-861-9266, Fax 401-861-3628

        In Canada, Skate Canada has an Athlete Trust Fund that accepts
        donations to support Canadian skaters.  More information can be
        found at

        Skate Canada Athlete Trust
        865 Shefford Road, Gloucester, ON K1J 1H9

        Some training centers and clubs have also established their own
        charitable foundations to benefit their skaters.  For more
        information, check out the Skater Support web site at

      * If you want to help a specific skater, the best way to do it is
        just to send them a check directly as a personal gift.  (Most
        skaters would be intensely grateful for even a small contribution
        because it's a sign that people appreciate them and have
        confidence in them, as much as concrete financial assistance.)
        Donations you make this way are not tax-deductable for you.

      * If you want to set up a sponsorship arrangement where the skater
        promotes your business or performs other services in exchange for
        financial support, you have to negotiate a contract through their
        national federation (US Figure Skating for US skaters) rather
        than with the skater directly.  This is necessary to protect the
        skater's eligible status.

[14] How do you pronounce [some skater]'s name?

    Here are some approximate hints, for English-speakers:

      * Sjoukje Dijkstra:  SHOW-kyeh DAY-kstra
      * (Anton) Sikharulidze:  seek-har-oo-LEED-zay
      * (Tanja) Szewczenko:  shev-CHEN-ko
      * (Alexei) Yagudin:  ya-GOO-din
      * (Ilia) Kulik:  koo-LEEK
      * (Elena) Gedevanishvili: geh-deh-vah-NISH-vil-ee

[15] Are Robin and Steven Cousins cousins?

    No, they're not related.  But Robin's nephew Tristan Cousins is a
    skater, and Steven's wife Kristina is a former ice dancer who now
    skates professionally using her married name.

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