Long gone are the days when the only career opportunity for Olympic skaters who wanted to turn professional was the Ice Capades and similar-themed ice shows. These were the story ballets of the figure skating world and seldom served to showcase the vast array of athletic talents the top skaters possessed.
Now, though, there is a bevy of competitions for professionals - television specials, videos, national tours and international appearances. And, skaters can even turn pro and earn money, then redeclare their amateur status in time for the next Winter Olympic Games.
More tours touting the top skaters in the field means Spokane has become a stop for several. The first of two big tours booked for the Spokane Arena this year - the Discover Card Stars on Ice - will be in town Sunday night. The lineup’s impressive. All of the skaters performing have at least been on Olympic teams.
The performance will include 1992 Olympic champion Kristi Yamaguchi, 1984 and 1988 Olympic champion Katarina Witt, 1984 champ Scott Hamilton, four-time World Skating champion Kurt Browning and 1988 Canadian pairs champion Doug Ladret, who is now skating with Christine Hough, a member of the 1988 and 1992 Canadian Olympic team.
Also skating will be 1992 Olympic silver medalist Paul Wylie, 1984 silver medalist Rosalynn Sumners, 1992 silver medalist pairs team Elena Bechke and Denis Petrov and Susanna Rahkamo, 1995 World silver medalist, who now skates with Petri Kokko, a member of the 1994 Finnish Olympic team.
This tour, in its 10th season, opened Thanksgiving weekend in Lake Placid, N.Y. and will end June 7 in Honolulu, with 53 performances in between. The tour began with an idea by veteran skater Scott Hamilton who wanted to showcase the athletic abilities of skaters by putting them out on tour.
The skaters will perform Sunday night to music ranging from the soundtracks to “Apollo 13,” “Casper” and “To Wong Foo…” to a spoof of the Broadway hit “Hair.”
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: Discover Card Stars on Ice Location and time: The Arena, Sunday, 7 p.m. Tickets: $22.50 and $32.50