2010 Olympic gold medalist Evan Lysacek tops cast of ice-skating champions at Caesars' 'Salute to the Golden Age of American Skating' at Boardwalk Hall
Atlantic City has hosted numerous professional skating exhibitions over the years, including the era when Boardwalk Hall was the summer home for the Ice Capades, from 1940-1981. However, despite its long history as a skating venue, it has never hosted an event so star-studded as the Caesars Tribute: A Salute to the Golden Age of American Skating, which takes place Saturday night, Dec. 11.
Headlining the show is the reigning Olympic 2010 gold medalist Evan Lysacek, joined by 2006 Olympic silver medalist and three-time World Champion, Sasha Cohen, as well as Nancy Kerrigan, Brian Boitano, Scott Hamilton, Peggy Fleming, Sarah Hughes, Michael Weiss and doubles champions Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner.
“We are ecstatic to bring together a cast of figure skaters with the most medals ever represented in one place at one time,” says Jerry Solomon, president of StarGames, the sports marketing agency bringing the event to Boardwalk Hall. “With more than 200 Olympic, World and National medals combined, the talent of the 30 skaters slated to perform at the Caesars tribute will make for one incredible and memorable night.”
Fleming will not be skating, but will be one of the hosts of the show, which will be filmed and broadcast on Christmas Day, Dec. 25, on NBC.
In addition, special appearances and presentations will be made by and for other skating icons such as 1948 and 1952 Olympic gold medal winner Dick Button, and 1992 Olympic gold medal winner Kristi Yamaguchi.
Bringing the event to Atlantic City was a product of StarGames’ multi-year partnership with Caesars Entertainment (formerly Harrah’s Entertainment), that included the Caesars Tennis Classic at Boardwalk Hall last April, which drew 7,000 fans.
“We had had numerous discussions with Harrah’s about their desire to bring new events, new entertainment to Atlantic City,” explains Solomon. “We agreed, thought it was a great idea, and we really felt the commitment there to build and rebuild business, to show that Atlantic City is more than a one-night town.”
Fleming has visited Atlantic City several times in the past few years as a wine expert, representing Fleming Jenkins Vineyards & Winery. Fleming, in a phone interview from her home in California, says that she had been in Atlantic City for a skating event about 15 years ago when she was doing commentary for ABC Sports. She is also familiar with Boardwalk Hall from being a judge at the 1973 Miss America Pageant.
Fleming is hosting the NBC broadcast with Mary Carillo and Kerrigan.
As a skating commentator, she has to remain neutral, but is she looking forward to any particular skaters?
“I haven’t seen Rudy Galindo skate in a long time and Nancy is skating,” she says. “It will show the great history of skating with all of us together and should be an entertaining evening. I performed with Richard Dwyer in the Ice Follies and he is still performing in his seventies.”
Asked if she was tempted to hit the ice on skates for an exhibition like this, she laughs and suggests that this was a bad time of the year to have to spend time getting back on the ice and training with running the winery, having three active grandsons and planning for the holidays.
These skaters need to train, even if it isn’t with the same intensity as a competition.
“These events are about keeping the image of what you did in the sport alive and well,” explains Fleming. “Nobody wants to go out there and not skate well. You want to deliver the best performance you can and still have fun with the sport.”
Fleming also notes that skaters: “Are always judging each other, no matter if it is a competition or not.”
Fleming, as a commentator on the sport for over 20 years, has seen some remarkable changes in skating.
“I think it has evolved into a spectacular sport,” she says. “It is really tough doing the short program versus the school figures, because every element in the program counts so much. I think it’s more creative, much more difficult and it’s very competitive. We have a lot of talented skaters and I hope we can continue to nurture them and inspire them.”
Caesars Tribute: A Salute to the Golden Age of American Skating
Where: Boardwalk Hall, A.C.
When: Saturday, Dec. 11, 7:30pm
How Much: $29.50-$149.50
NOTE: A press conference open to the media and the public will be held Friday, Dec. 10, at 2pm at the Circus Maximus Theater at Caesars.
Skating Stars Line-up
Here is the staggering list of ice-skating superstars that will be on hand either as hosts, skating stars or as honorees for their careers in skating:
• Evan Lysacek, 2010 Olympic gold medalist
• Sasha Cohen, 2006 Olympic silver medalist
• Nancy Kerrigan, 1992 bronze, 1994 Olympic silver medalist
• Kimmie Meissner, 2006 World gold medalist
• Dick Button, 1948, 1952 Olympic gold medalist
• Brian Boitano, 1988 Olympic gold medalist
• Scott Hamilton, 1985 Olympic gold medalist
• Peggy Fleming, 1968 Olympic gold medalist
• Sarah Hughes, 2002 Olympic gold medalist
• Kristi Yamaguchi, 1992 Olympic gold medal winner
• Paul Wylie, 1992 Olympic silver medalist
• Todd Eldredge, 1996 World Champion
• Rudy Galindo, 1996 US National Champion
• Michael Weiss, three-time US National Champion
• Tenley Albright, 1956 Olympic gold medalist and first American female skater to win • Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, 1979 World Doubles Champions
• JoJo Starbuck and Kenneth Shelley, three-time pair National Skating Champions
• Debi Thomas, 1988 Olympic bronze medalist
• Richard Dwyer, 1950 National bronze medalist
• Caryn Kadavy, 1987 World bronze medalist
• Rosalynn Sumners, 1984 Olympic silver medalist
• Linda Fratianne, 1980 Olympic silver medalist
• Calla Urbanski and Rocky Marval, 1992-93 National Pairs Champions
• Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, three time National Pairs Champions
• Naomi Lang and Peter Tcherneshev, four-time National Ice Dancing Champions
NOTE: This show has been cancelled and will be rescheduled.
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