Last-modified: 21 Sep 2008
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COMPETITIVE FIGURE SKATING FAQ: =============================== 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 events. This FAQ list is posted monthly to rec.sport.skating.ice.figure. It is available in both plain-text and HTML/Web versions. You can get to the HTML version from SkateWeb at URL: http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/ --------------------------------------------------------------------------- Table of Contents *  Who's this Dick Button guy, anyway? *  Who was the first person to do [various jumps]? *  When are upcoming competitions? *  How do I get tickets for these competitions? *  When is [some skating event] going to be shown on TV? *  Why didn't [well-known skater] compete at [Skate America | Skate Canada | NHK Cup | etc]? *  What's the piece of music so-and-so is skating to? *  Who are recent [US | world | Olympic | etc] champions? *  How do I send fan mail to my favorite skater? *  Is [some skater] on the net? What's their e-mail address? *  How do I get a backstage pass for a show or competition? *  Whatever happened to [some competitor from N years ago]? *  How can I make a donation to help a competitor with their training expenses? *  How do you pronounce [some skater]'s name? *  Are Robin and Steven Cousins cousins? ---------------------------------------------------------------------------  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 & Sand). 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 Baiul. Uschi Keszler former choreographer for Canadian skaters Bourne & Kraatz and coach of Elvis Stojko; credited with starting the craze for "hydroblading". 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 adulthood. David Dore Long-time head of the CFSA/Skate Canada, now an ISU vice-president. 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.  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 Nationals 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 http://www.jacksonskates.com/html/jumphist.html.  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 http://www.isu.org/.  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 http://www.cleveland2009.com/, and the 2010 site is at http://www.spokane2010.com/. For information about other US Figure Skating-sponsored events, look at the US Figure Skating web page at http://www.usfigureskating.org/. 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 http://www.skatecanada.ca/. The 2009 Worlds site is at http://www.isuworlds2009.com/. 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.  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 http://heatherw.com/mk/sch.htm Most of the online TV listing web sites also let you search current listings for your area using specific keywords (e.g., "skating").  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.  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: http://www.isufs.org/bios/index.htm There are some databases of music used by skaters going back several seasons available on the web. The URLs are: http://www.skatemusiclist.com/ http://homepage3.nifty.com/skatemusic/  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. Men: 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 Ladies: 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 Pairs: 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 Dance: 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 http://www.eskatefans.com/skatabase/.  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 http://www.usfigureskating.org/ includes a club directory which may be helpful. Many clubs and rinks also have their own web pages, which are listed on SkateWeb at http://www.frogsonice.com/skateweb/clubs.shtml. 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 http://www.usfigureskating.org/ firstname.lastname@example.org Skate Canada: 865 Shefford Road, Gloucester, ON K1J 1H9 voice (613)-748-5635, fax (613)-748-5718 http://www.skatecanada.ca/ PSA: PO Box 5904, Rochester, MN 55903 voice (507)-281-5122 http://www.skatepsa.com/ ISU: Ch. de Primerose 2 1007 Lausanne Switzerland http://www.isu.org/ email@example.com  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.  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 well.) * 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.  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 clothing. 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 Canada. 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.  How can I make a donation to help a competitor with their training expenses? 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 http://www.skatersupport.org/. 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 http://www.usfigureskating.org/About.asp?id=7. 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 http://www.skatecanada.ca/en/athletes/support/how/. 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 http://www.skatersupport.org/. * 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.  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  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.