Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Figure Skating Olympians that We Have Actually Met

As the first figure skating medals at the 2010 Winter Olympics have been announced with the gold in pairs going to Zhao and Shen, a married couple from China, I thought it appropriate to share with my readers photos and reminiscences of some of the figure skating Olympians that we have actually met.

Above I have posted photos of Paul Wylie, the 1992 Olympic silver medalist in men's skating, taken at Harvard, of Sarah Hughes (the gold medalist at the 2002 Winter Olympics), after the Stars on Ice performance at the Mullins Center in Amherst with some members of the Skating Club of Amherst skaters, and of Johnny Weir with my daughter during a performance at Lake Placid in the summer of 2008, where she was training.

Paul Wylie, a graduate of Harvard, has been the leader behind the An Evening with Champions event at Harvard University, which takes place each year. It is an event that raises money for The Jimmy Fund, for cancer research. While I was a Science Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard in 2005-2006, my family and I went to this wonderful event and we got a chance to speak with Paul Wylie.

The inimitable Sarah Hughes, who has, since the above photo was taken, graduated from Yale University, and whose sister, Emily Hughes, is a student at Harvard and was an Olympic contender (who, unfortunately did not make the team this year) graciously posed with our local skaters for the photo above. Todd Eldridge, also a 2002 Olympian, but, unfortunately, not a medalist, also performed in the same show, and was fabulous.

As for Johnny Weir, who is competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, we met him in July 2008, on a rainy day, while walking on the main street in Lake Placid close to the Olympic training rinks (where the Miracle on Ice took place at the Lake Placid Games in 1980, that I have written about on this blog). Johnny Weir was walking with his mother and we stopped since he was immediately recognizable. Despite the rain, we chatted, and it was clear that the affection that he and his mother share is very special. Needless to say, when my daughter got a chance to skate in the same show as Johnny Weir, while training at Lake Placid, it was fantastic. The above photo was taken during that special performance.

We wish all the figure skaters competing in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver magnificent performances!