July 23, 2008

Update on Beijing

We won't be seeing Kathryn at the Olympics this year. I think she explains it best - here's excerpts from her 13th post ...

I finish that stage, barely, and the final two days of the race. Every day there is a chance for points. Every day there is a fight to the finish line. Every day I try. But I come up short. The points cut-off date approaches, and since I don't have the 45 it would take to rank me among the top 100 cyclists in the world, I won't be an Olympian in 2008. And that is that.

Though it is nearly impossible to describe precisely the emotion that comes with the ending of my quest, the best I can do is this: fulfilled emptiness. I have emptied myself physically and emotionally into my goal. I left it all on the line.

No one, myself included, should be able to make an Olympic team with less than two years of experience. If that starts happening, we need a new Olympics. Maybe 20 years ago a few "fringe" sports had so few competitors it was "easier" to qualify for the Olympics. But not today. There is not one sport on the Olympic roster that is easy -- trust me, I've tried them all.

So, whether my readers have been rooting for me or against me, let there be one thing everybody can agree on about this quest: The Olympics are no joke. The Games are stronger than ever. I was a professional athlete going into this project, and I'm twice as strong now -- head, heart and body -- as when I started, so I can attest to the fact that the athletes who are going to Beijing deserve to be going, and those who did not qualify can hold their heads high knowing they competed against the very best.

Two words -class and dignity.

Coaches out there should be taking notes from her 13th post, because there are enough psychology-of-competition nuggets to get you through Regionals to Nationals and beyond.

I'll still be catching some of the Olympics (I've got my money on the fireworks in the Opening Ceremonies) but it won't be the same without the former showgirl there.

Well done, Kathryn.

July 21, 2008

Ice Capades kicks the Bucket

This article in Slate states Ice Capades is dead.

Okay, no secret there. 

"The Ice Capades is dead. America's most glorious ice carnival, which barnstormed civic centers for nearly six decades, vanished about five years ago. That its death has gone largely unreported is puzzling."

First off, two things ... 1) Five years ago? It was more like ten years ago, buddy - nice investigative work - he obviously doesn't know there have already been two reunions in 2000 and 2005 and 2) why is this covered in Slate? Don't they have some campaigns to write about?

But back to the article - it's not puzzling to me. I'm willing to proclaim that Stars on Ice and Tour of Champions shoved the sword in the belly (nice and flat and sucked in - thank you very much) but the "Stars" didn't want to shout about it.

As the article points out all of those skating champions decided they didn't want to play second fiddle to Goofy or Big Bird, and I can't blame them.

But here's my prediction - Ice Capades will make a comeback (limited time only).

I think the television audience is getting tired of seeing those champions rework the same old signature jumps and spins into new show programs presented with yet another singer who has slid down the charts a ways.

Don't get me wrong, they are great skaters, but they can't do a kickline, eggbeater or pinwheel in their programs by themselves (and they can't do one together either.) Sorry Brian, not your specialty, you're the triple axel man, and we love you for it.

So for the sake of variety (and time for costume changes) I think a new ice show with a couple of well-choreographed chorus number would be a big hit on TV. (Are you listening Karen Kresge? Paul Guerrero? Chris Nolan? You guys could do it!)

Any predictions out there if and when Ice Capades returns?

July 14, 2008

Skating Dreams

and it's not getting to the Olympics ...

The other day my colleague at lunch asked our server if she'd ever had waitressing dreams. "Oh, all the time," she answered.

Back when I waited tables, I had them too. I would get all my tables' orders mixed up ... I'd have to go through locked rooms with piles and piles of food .... I couldn't find my way to the kitchen....

Well, those were short lived. Skating dreams (or should I say nightmares) took over and twelve years after my last show I still get them. How about you guys?

They always revolve around two themes: 1)not knowing the choreography, but having to go out and skate anyway or 2) making a mad dash to the ice, frantically putting on my costume, but never making it on time.

In the ice show world there are big fines for either.

I suppose the adult skaters out there have similar themes: forgetting their program or having their named called for the start of their program but not being on the ice.

Oooh, our brains do crazy things when we're not looking. Tell me your dreams (nightmares) ...

July 7, 2008

Figure Skater in the Olympics

... and it's not Vancouver, people. This athlete was a former show skater, so I'm very proud to announce Kathryn Bertine here. She's also an elite triathlete and accomplished writer. Amazing.

First - here's a fun fact that ties in with this post. Did you know that Figure Skating was the first winter sport debuted in the 1908 London SUMMER Olympic Games? Take that hockey.

So, figure skating has an old connection to the Summer Olympics. Now we have Kathryn, former show and competitive figure skater trying to qualify for Beijing in a summer sport. She didn't make it as a pentathlete, team handball competitor or U.S. cyclist, but through a lot of training and tenacity (not to mention citizenship from St. Kitts/Nevis in a brilliant marketing campaign for the islands) she could be going as their cyclist.

Yes, this girl basically bought her ticket to Beijing first and then went for the sport giving her the best chance of qualifying. Check out this post of her blog - So You Wanna Be An Olympian?

I also want to plug her book - All The Sundays Yet To Come- about life in an ice show - here as well.

You Go Girl! We'll be looking for you in the Opening Ceremony!