WANA Friday: Figure Skating Memories

It’s time for another edition of WANA Friday! This week’s common topic:

Tell us about something you used to be into but aren’t anymore — a hobby, an activity, a band, a TV show, etc.

Earlier this evening I happened to catch a bit of figure skating on TV and it reminded me…back in the ’90s I was a huge fan.

(Here’s another thing I used to be into: power ballads!)

More videos below the cut…

I watched all the competitions avidly on TV and taped them on my VCR (remember VCRs?). I bought the hometown hero’s autobiography and got his autograph. When, one year, the world championships came to my hometown, I was in heaven. I couldn’t get tickets, but I hung out at the venue watching practices and star-spotting.

Here’s Elvis Stojko doing 1492:

The ’90s were a golden time for Canadian figure skaters. You had Kurt Browning, Elvis Stojko, Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler in pairs, Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz in ice dancing. I had my favourites among the top skaters from other countries, too, but national pride kept the Canadians closest to my heart.

They were athletes and artists with their own personal styles and stage presences and senses of humour on the ice. There was the excitement and heartache of watching them in competition, the drama around the fixing of marks in ice dancing, the anticipation of seeing new programs and following them throughout the season, and the evolution of the skaters’ styles from year to year.

My favourite programs — surprise, surprise — were those that told a story. Kurt Browning and Elvis Stojko were the best at that. Browning skated to “Bring Him Home” and Casablanca; Stojko skated to Dragonheart and Merlin (the Sam Neill TV miniseries). I loved them all. Especially this one:

I also loved the programs that fused skating with other artistic disciplines, like kung fu in Stojko’s Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, or Irish step dancing in Bourne and Kraatz’s Riverdance:

Of course, inevitably my favourites retired from the competition circuit, and I didn’t have the same emotional investment in the new crop of skaters coming up behind them, nor the patience to watch them climb the ranks over several years to become medal contenders. So my love affair with figure skating faded away.

But I’ve just had a lovely evening reliving all those memories, thanks to YouTube. Guess you can get rid of those videotapes now, Mom….



5 responses to “WANA Friday: Figure Skating Memories

  1. Oh ME TOO! Except Australian skaters never really featured. Back in 1988 I was obsessed with Brian Boitano who skated off against Canadian Brian Orser… Boitano won both Winter Olympics and world championships that year. My favourite was his skate to Les Patineurs. I kept VCR recordings of his skates that year, until I realised they’re now on You Tube – heh.

  2. Ellen, the Battle of the Brians was juuust before I really got into figure skating, but I do remember the tail end of it! Thanks for sharing your memories.

  3. Pingback: WANAFriday: Beach Volleyball and 90s Hair | Susi M. Nonnemacher

  4. I never liked skating (I still don’t) despite my wife watching it at every opporunity she has. I have several hobbies that I used to enjoy when younger–painting, astronomy, playing guitar–that I’ve had to give up as life got busier. Maybe one day I’ll get back to them…

  5. Ken, I feel your pain. At various points in my life I’ve loved playing piano, singing, drawing, hiking…and that’s not even getting into the things I’d love to try and haven’t yet. Wish there were enough hours in the day to do everything!

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