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Posted By SkatingPj

Kristi Yamaguchi
When asked to finish the statement: "I am.." Olympic, World (and DWTS!) Champion Kristi Yamaguchi says: "I am a proud mother and feel so lucky to have lived the life I have." It is her experience as a mother that is the inspiration for her recent  runaway bestselling children's book: Dream Big Little Pig!  Kristi say that she had always had an idea for a children's book in the back of her mind. "It was nice to create a fictional character that was fun. My own kids inspired me to adctually do it! They are the perfect age for picture books." Reading is one of the conrnerstones of her own children's bedtime rituals.

Author, mother. philanthropist, Kristi's life has been filled with changes: from wife to mother, amateur to pro skater, reader to writer which she has handled with characteristic grace: "I think being open to those changes and to be open to the challenges that the next phase of life holds is important. You cant always expect things to go smoothly and you can't be afraid to make those change. I believe in 'no regrets'. It is better to have tried and failed than not at all." She says with a chuckle: "It's funny but my coach Christy Ness taught me there is no real secret to success except hard work. I certainly agree with that. Putting in the time makes the difference." Offering this advice to today's young skaters: "I would stay try to keep your focus.I think obviously they  (skaters) have a dream in skating.It's not always going to be easy but by being focused, it will help keep you going through those tough times."

Kristi's was at the top of the Olympic podium in 1992 and having lived it, what is it like to watch it? "I mean it is inspiring to watch the skaters and I definitely get nervous for them. Anyone who has been there gets nervous for the skaters but I get inspired all over again. I mean that I think there will always be that connection for me with the Olympics. On reflection your get older, I realize how lucky, how fortunate I was and  that the stars lined up. It feels very nostalgic for me."Kristi admits to feeling that "her" Olympics was a very long time ago. There is no doubt that she has achieved a lot personally and professionally since then. Is she surprised? "In some respects I am and in others - not; it's hard to say when you are almost 40. I think I always imagined I would be settled down and have a family but I don't think I thought career-wise I would be going as strong as I am now."

Her Always Dream Foundation benefits disadvantaged children " I like feeling a connection to the community.Knowing that I have been in such a self-centred sport where it was about myself and my training and my olympics and knowing I received so much support, to be able to give some of that back and to positively affect some who dont have that is a gift. You feel like you have a certain kind of power and you have to use it to help."

Skating offered its own gift:"I think before I started skating I was so shy and timid and through skating I found the love for something that gave me confidence."

For more information, visit: www.kristiyamaguchi.com


 
Posted By SkatingPj

Gentle Readers,

 

Shortly after posting my most recent blog featuring Bryce Davison, Dylan Moscovitch and the IceMen, I received the following comment from "RickG":

 

"performing with the guys"...... "Bro-mance"....."we support boobies" - honestly ...boobies?? Can you hear the adolescent giggle from there?......"like being part of a Men's Beer League Hockey Team"..... GOT IT PJ. Male figure skaters in Canada are 100% heterosexual.

 

I felt the need to respond.

 

1. The terms in quotation marks are the ones that Dylan and Bryce used during our lighthearted chat.

2. "boobies" is a silly word regardless of who uses it.

3. I am pretty sure that there are gay people in figure skating. I am also pretty sure that there are gay people in pretty well every other group that you can think of from hockey to acting to accounting to teaching to singing to construction work to nursing and beyond. The thing that all of these people working in these groups have in commoen is that what they do behind closed doors is not my business (nor yours). The question of being gay or straight is not one I would ask or answer if it were asked of me. In 2011 does it even matter?

 

When Ice Nightmare (and now the Ice Men) began back in the day, part of its' success and longevity has come down to the fact that it was a chance for a group of guys to hang out together which isn't the norm in this solitary sport. For people who don't know this, as a competitive boy figure skater, you are more often than not the only one in your club. Having the chance to goof around  with like-minded people is exactly the same as is found in sports teams across the country. You only need to go down the street to your favourite watering hole in the summer to see sports teams enjoying camaraderie and laughs  together once the game is over.

 

Setting the record straight (gay?) is what I wanted to do here. My purpose in writing the piece was to highlight Bryce's return to the ice and to recognize the IceMen in their efforts. I am sure if RickG felt that this was somehow a forum for me to discuss sexuality in skaters, then there are others who are thinking it. In other words  writing out  this response allows me the chance to offer what was on my mind. I am grateful to RickG for taking the time to formulate his/her opinion.

 

As a person with "boobies" - my heartfelt thanks goes out to the IceMen and to everyone else making a difference in the world.

 

Here's hoping the sun holds out for the weekend....

 

Cheers,

 

Pj

 


 
Posted By SkatingPj

Dylan and Bryce and The IceMen - COS show
I was reminded on Saturday that the best part of figure skating is the people.  As one of the announcers for the 2nd Annual Margaret Garrison Memorial COS skating show, I was in the Brampton Powerade Centre for rehearsals and as The Icemen hit the ice, there was a young man in a plaid shirt whose fast and easy footwork I recognized. Make that I recognized most of the IceMen - but this was special - none other than former Canadian Pair Champion Bryce Davison. if you remember, Bryce had sustained a pretty serious knee injury during a freak loop jump landing last Fall that required some extensive surgery and when he and I last connected it was during a BOLD broadcast when he was just off crutches.  To see him on the ice with that inimitable grin was a treat to say the least and then being able to catch up with he and current Canadian Pair Champion Dylan Moscovitch made it even more fun. The IceMen along with their predecessors Ice Nightmare have raised about $40,000 for breast cancer research.

Bryce admitted to joining the troupe after seeing them at the Hamilton SC show (his home club) where Dylan pursuaded him to join the IceMen for the final show after learning the routine off the ice. What does he like about performing with the guys? "It's a good cause and I like to be able to give back to skating." Bryce continues to say that the 'Bro-mance' is pretty irresistible as is skating with guys against whom he has competed for a long time. The chance to blow off steam for skaters doesn't come around very often - so when it does present itself, skaters take advantage.  As one of the veterans, Dylan has been skating with the IceMen and Ice Nightmare before it since about 2000 and says with confidence "We are Victoria's Secret".  Like some kind of a naughty 12 year old, Bryce challenged me to report that "we support boobies" - honestly ...boobies?? Can you hear the adolescent giggle from there???? (Note to Bryce - ya gotta know I'm not one to back away from a challenge!)

Both guys said that being part of the IceMen is like being part of a Men's Beer League Hockey Team - just as much fun - only a lot less cool.  I dunno - I think raising that kind of coin a little bit at a time is cool to the gaziillionth degree :). If you want to catch the IceMen (www.theicemen.com)  - put the Mariposa Gala on August 4th at the Barrie Molson Centre on your calendar.If you want to see more great skating pics (like this one - Thanks Justine!) go to www.justinechiu.com - Dylan and Bryce are in the pink wigs :)

Oh yeah - how's the knee Bryce?  He was skating fast and looked great.

"My knee is in the same spot it was before. It is going to need more time but it is feeling pretty good." It was an unexpected thrill for me to see him with skates on!

Their attention turned back to the ice where World Champion Patrick Chan was practicing. As he doubled a jump, Dylan yelled "WIMP! You call yourself a World Champion??" Then Bryce said "Ooooh Patrick Chan - do a hitchkick!!" and they continued to affectionately razz the daylights out of the younger skater. Bryce commented with pride at how far Patrick has come since the first time he competed on the senior circuit and had Bryce as his roommate.  The laughs are shared by all three guys with smiles extending on to the faces of the people watching the rehearsal around the rink - like me.The friendship and the fun in figure skating - feels like home to me.


 

 

 
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