November 25, 2009

World Figure Skating Hall of Fame

It's one of our own in the WFSHoF!

Okay, okay, so Willy Bietak is more of a producer than a show skater. And I know he was nine-time Austrian Pair Champion, so he's got all the Olympic props, but it is still cool that show skating is getting some cred in the WFSHoF.

But don't take my word for it ... here's the article written by Sylvia Froescher.

ProSkaters Producer Member, Willy Bietak was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in Category C for outstanding contributions with a creative/professional impact on figure skating.
Willy Bietak is only the second Producer to be inducted into this illustrious group of the skating world’s elite icons.

The gala event, hosted by Dick Button, took place at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in Los Angeles, California on March 28, 2009 as part of the week long World Figure Skating Championships events. This followed the on ice ceremony at Staples Center where International Skating Union President, Ottavio Cinquanta bestowed the 2009 inductees with their medals and plaques. Other inductees included Nikolai Panin-Kolomenkin (Russia), Aja Zanova (Czechoslovakia) Joyce Hinsey (Canada), Barbara Underhill and Paul Martini (Canada) and Brian Orser (Canada) .
It was a star studded skating event with a room full of past and present Olympic and World Champions. Here are just a few of the long list of the champions that were in attendance. Brian Boitano, Michelle Kwan, Kristi Yamaguichi, Dorothy Hamill, Tara Lipinski, and Debi Thomas, along with newly crowned 2009 Ladies World Champion, Yu-Na Kim.

Willy Bietak has had 40+ years of involvement in the sport of skating. He owns a record-setting nine consecutive titles (1963-71) as an Austrian pairs champion and is a former European, World and Olympic competitor. Along with his amateur skating resume, Willy Bietak Productions was founded in 1986 in Santa Monica, California. Willy Bietak has produced many ice skating spectaculars and his credits include many innovations in show production. His company is responsible for the production of ice skating shows for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line’s mega ships. He was the first to move figure skating productions from the traditional arena to legitimate theater, with “Festival on Ice” and “Broadway on Ice,” which have played such prestigious stages as the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Willy Bietak Productions, in collaboration with the Montreal Forum, produced and directed “Le Ice Show,” a one-of-a kind performance that became one of the top-grossing arena ice shows that year.

Here is what Willy Bietak had to say about this special award. “This is a great honor, especially considering the company I keep with the other inductees this year and all other past inductees, for that matter,” Bietak said. “It is one thing to experience a great audience ovation for shows I produce but yet another to have this honor bestowed by my peers – for once I am speechless.”

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