Friday, January 26, 2007

Ekaterina Gordeeva & Stars on Ice

Last Saturday night I had a little dream come true. I got to see one of my favorite skaters (& inspirational hero) Katia Gordeeva skate with Stars on Ice. It was a wonderful night!

I've loved Katia Gordeeva since I first saw her skate when I was about 14. I was doing homework one Sunday afternoon and had the World Figure Skating Championships on television in the background. I happened to glance up at the tv as this beautiful young couple took the ice and were introduced as Ekaterina Gordeeva & Sergei Grinkov from Russia. She was just a year older than me and already a world champion skater. I was enchanted by her beaming smile and by her partner's gorgeous good looks. Sergei Grinkov was definitely the kind of guy to make your heart flutter. As they skated I was completely awed by how beautifully they moved, so graceful & balletic, and how perfect their unison was. They were the ideal pair and truly skated as one. A commentator once said it was like their hearts beat in unison. It was perfection and I adored them from that moment on and followed their careers from then on. They were a fairytale come true. They fell in love and married, had an adorable daughter, won nearly every competition that they entered, including two olympic gold medals, and built an excellent career as pro skaters. They were, and still are, considered the greatest pair team of all time. Then the unthinkable happened and while practicing for a skating show with Katia, Sergeo collapsed and died of a heart attack. He was 28 years old and she was just 24, with a young daughter to raise on her own. Her partner was gone, she was alone in a foreign country, devastated by the loss of the man she'd lived her entire life devoted to, and responsible for supporting their child as well as both of their families back home in Russia. Talk about a horrible position to be in! And she overcame it all with a poise, grace, & inner strength that was incredibly inspiring. She built a VERY succesful singles skating career, raised their beautiful daughter to become a wonderful teenager (& talented skater), and she found happiness & love again by marrying fellow olympic skater Ilia Kulik and having a second daughter. She's fought hard for happiness and I admire her very much. I've even got a fan page set up for her at . So you can see what a thrill it was for me to finally be able to see Katia Gordeeva skate! And she was wonderful to see. She skates faster than almost any other skater and has a balletic artistry unmatched by anyone else. Her jumps were a bit off at this show and she fell on two of them, but it didn't mar the performance at all. I was surprised to see how much she stood out during the group numbers. She especially shined during those and had incredible presence on the ice. I was also struck by how healthy, strong, and athletic she looked. She's more beautiful in person than she is in photos or videos, and she looked very happy. I was so excited to finally get to see her in person!

The show overall was excellent too. The group numbers were very cute and had excellent unison and choreography. The hippie number was a favorite with me. I also loved the pair skaters a lot. They did some very thrilling, daredevil moves. It was lovely to see so many skaters that I've admired for years: Yuka Sato, Ina & Zimmerman, Alexei Yagudin, Ilia Kulik, Sale & Pelltier, and Todd Eldredge. The only way it could have been better would have been if Kurt Browning & Brian Boitano had been in the show.

It was really great and I have my husband to thank for it since he got me the tickets. I couldn't ask for a better husband! He also took photos for me that came out pretty good, especially considering we were 23 rows up from the ice, didn't have a zoom lens, and couldn't use a flash.

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