I told you how I won the perfect prize last Friday night, and have explained one reason this event was so perfect for me. You can read here and here.
Then next thing about winning tickets to see Stars On Ice that is so perfect for me is much more obvious - and that is simply that it's figure skating.
I have loved figure skating for as long as I can remember. I remember watching events on the TV with my mom back in her single mom days when I was a little girl. I was fascinated with the beauty of figure skating even back then. I remember later in my new school, after my mom had met and married my adoptive dad, we were asked to draw a picture of what we wanted to be when we grew up. It took me FOREVER to draw myself as a figure skater - but that's what I was sure I was going to be.
This was actually the first year I stepped foot on the ice, at a new friend's birthday party. I took to it right away. I never fell once and loved the feeling of gliding across the ice. I never actually learned to do anything fancy, and of course you are all aware that I am not currently a competitive figure skater - despite my childhood dreams. But I did love it, and continued to skate for fun when I had the chance.
Although my dreams of competing never came to fruition - I have always loved watching this beautiful sport on TV. I have followed the careers of many talented skaters over the years. I've had favorites - and least favorites. Read this if you want to see my skate-snark come out.
Saturday night makes my 3rd Stars On Ice that I have been able to see live. And it was definitely the most special. And imagine my delight when one of the first performers was my number one favorite male skater of all time: KURT BROWNING!
This guy is a freakin' legend. I have loved him since the first time I ever saw him skate. Saturday night marked my 3rd time seeing him live. His career has spanned decades, but he hasn't lost a step. He has so much style on the ice. His entertainment level is through the roof, and there is no one who ever has, or probably ever will be able to match his amazing footwork. Plus he's just freakin' adorable.
I was looking for a couple videos of my favorite performances of his, when I came across this gem. I've watched it like 6 times already. It is the perfect montage highlighting his incredible musicality, style, and fabulous footwork. I dare you not to be impressed.
I had seen Kurt Browning skate. I could go home happy. But wait. There was more of the perfect night in store for me. I nearly jumped out of my seat when they announced my second favorite male skater of all time - Todd Eldredge!
Todd is an amazing skater, I have watched him since his career first took off, up until his final skate as a competitive amateur - the Men's Freeskate at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games - here in the very same building where I now sat watching him perform professionally.
Todd's skating is beautiful, and his spins are unbelievable. They are the tightest, fastest, most perfect spins I have ever seen any skater do ever, male or female. But more than his talent, it is his perseverance that makes him a favorite of mine. The adversity he has overcome in his tumultuous career kept me rooting for him year after year.
You can watch this profile piece if you'd like to hear more about it, but if you don't want to watch the whole thing, I encourage you to at least watch at 2:00 and see his stunning spins as he wins his first world title, and then you have to go to 3:30 to see the heart-wrenching moment that I am about to tell you about.
During the competition where this spotlight piece was run, Todd was warming up on the ice. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he just lost his feet. His skate got caught up or something. He wasn't even really skating or doing any footwork or tricks or jumps. Just bam - down he went. He dislocated his shoulder right before he was about to skate. This guy popped his shoulder back in (you can actually see it happen, it's gross) and came out and skated the program of his life! He earned his first perfect score and the pain was evident as he finished. I wish I could find the video of his performance - but so far no luck. But it was incredible and I have always loved him.
Well, just when I was thinking that the night could not possibly get any better - to my amazement they announced my number 3 favorite male skater of all time! Ilia Kulik.
Now Ilia has not always been a favorite of mine. When he won a gold medal for Russia at the 1998 Olympics (beating out another fave of mine - Elvis Stojko), I could not STAND him. He was so serious, so stoic and cold, and to me - extremely arrogant. By the time I saw him perform in Stars On Ice 2001 - he had moved to America and developed a personality. Or at least learned to relax and show it! And he had learned to smile!
If Kurt has style and footwork, and Todd has spinning - Ilia has power. He is such a powerful skater. His jumps are high, and strong and, well - powerful. But so is everything he does in between those fancy tricks. This performance made a fan out of me, and I have loved him ever since. Power - check it out:
So, figure skating - number 2 reason that Saturday night was perfect for me. And for the record, I do have some favorite chick skaters as well - but none of them skated on Saturday. My top 2 are Kristi Yamaguchi, and Michelle Kwan. Both have such an elegant style, and grace on the ice that I don't think any other females have ever mastered. I did get to hear Kristi speak on Saturday night - so that was a treat.
We're nearing the end of this mini-series! Are you relieved? Tomorrow I will tell you my final, and possibly most thrilling reason that this was the perfect prize for me. I don't think it will be quite as long as these last few - but I'm not making any promises. I hope you'll come back!