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An Interview With Figure Skating Legend and Stars on Ice Star Kurt Browning

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Kurt Browning Skating In Stars on Ice

Kurt Browning Skating In Stars on Ice

Photo Credit: Michelle Harvath 2010
Canadian figure skating champion Kurt Browning won the world figure skating championships four times. He also won the Canadian Figure Skating Championships four times. Kurt also competed in three different Olympics. In February of 2011, while touring with Smucker's Stars on Ice 25th Anniversary Tour, he took the time to chat with Jo Ann Schneider Farris, About.com's Guide to Figure Skating.

What "words of wisdom" do you have for boys who are interested in figure skating?

I love all types of skating. I was a hockey player before I was a figure skater. It's the joy of gliding on the ice that gives me great pleasure.

I do figure skating workshops especially for boys. I tell boys who want to figure skate the following: "If you like skating, explore all ways to skate." For example, I enjoy rollerblading in addition to ice skating. I also tell boys the following: "If you like figure skating, don't let peer pressure or outside influences stop you."

My seven year old son recently saw a kid skating in hockey skates and wondered why the kid would want to wear such "weird skates." He said, "Why would he want to wear those? He can't do any cool tricks in them..."

Why did you choose figure skating instead of hockey?

I did both disciplines at first, but when I was about sixteen years old, it was obvious that I was destined to be a figure skater. I was really too small to "make it" in hockey.

I still like putting on my hockey skates. Whenever I have them on, I feel like I'm on a vacation!

What do you think figure skating does to help with life in general?

If you can stand in the center of an ice rink doing something that perhaps your mother made you do, then everything that follows in life is easier. Figure skating is hard. If you can persevere at figure skating, you can do anything!

Do you still have opportunities skate or perform on in-line figure skates PIC® Skates?

PIC® Skates are a greatest product! I used to be able to do double Axels and even triple toe loops in those skates! How cool it was to do what I can do on the ice on dry land! I couldn't really spin in them though. I only did two foot spins. I'm going to get a new pair of PIC® Skates soon. I skated in a stage play of Peter Pan on PIC® Skates!

How did your children's book "A is for Axel" come about?

I received a phone call asking me to write A is for Axel. It was so much fun to write. My wife is a ballet dancer. She's in the midst of finishing B is for Ballet, which is very similar to my A is for Axel book.

Why should ice skating fans go to see Smucker's Stars on Ice 25th Anniversary Tour?

I'm IN THE SHOW! That's a great reason to go!...

This year's show celebrates Stars on Ice's 25th Anniversary. It's a really special show because of that. Also, having recent Olympic medalists with us like Evan Lysacek and Joannie Rochette bring a freshness to the show. "Katia" Gordeeva is our "queen!" Ice dancers Tanith and Ben just rock on the ice! Olympic pair skating champions Jamie Salé and David Pelletier skate with much expression and emotion. Michael Weiss and Sasha Cohen are also great performers.

We have fun together and all get along! There are no "bad apples" in our cast. That is the most important thing. There is much interaction with the audience. Even the show's founder and producer Scott Hamilton "Skypes in" for every performance!

Tell me about your performance in Smucker's Stars on Ice 25th Anniversary Tour...

I'm doing a rather unique program this year. As I perform, the audience gets to hear my thoughts. For example, I "steal" a move from Evan Lysacek and I have no intention of giving it back! I skate to "Steppin' Out With My Baby," but the lyrics are slightly different than the traditional lyrics. I hired eleven musicians to play thirteen different instruments to record my music. My good friend Geoffrey Tyler recorded and helped me choreograph the program. I do think that audiences find my program interesting.

Does entertaining come naturally for you?

It's so easy for me to be an entertainer! I love being in the middle! My first experiences with Stars on Ice began in 1989 and I've never missed a show. I've performed in 800 Stars on Ice shows! We are truly a family. I want to share that family atmosphere and my love of skating with everyone.
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