‘Caesars Tribute II: A Salute to the Ladies of the Ice’ features some of the greatest figure skaters of the last 25 years, past and present. Nancy Kerrigan talks about this year's event with AC Weekly.
ATLANTIC CITY — There’s a certain hold that figure skaters have on the American conscious — especially female skaters.
Come the Winter Olympics, the country seems to rally around the top female U.S. figure skater and accept them into their hearts. Even the most macho, truck-driving guys watch and feel the pain of every slip or a fall and the excitement of every successful triple salchow.
And regardless of the medal they win, or if they win one at all, they are skating stars forever.
Star skaters can enjoy long careers in skating shows that tour the country long after they’ve stopped competing. The basic strategy is to grab one or two of these stars to headline, maybe dress another skater up like Snoopy and you have a show.
But what if you put together a show with a bunch of stars? You know, like say 10 or 11.
Say a line-up that includes such iconic American skaters as Olympic gold medalists Tara Lipinski and Sarah Hughes and silver medalists Nancy Kerrigan (also holder of a bronze medal) and Sasha Cohen, as well as the return to the ice of Nicole Bobek, 1995 U.S. Champion.
Then throw in some international flair with Canada’s Joannie Rochette (2010 Olympic Bronze medalist) and Liz Manley (1988 Olympic silver medalist), Russia’s Ekaterina Gordeeva (two time Olympic medalist in pairs, who is a late replacement for Irina Slutskaya) and Japan’s Shizuka Arakawa (2006 Olympic gold medalist), Yuka Sato (1994 World Champion) and Miki Ando (two time and current world champion).
That’s the line-up for the Caesars Tribute II: A Salute to the Ladies of the Ice to be held at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:30pm.
And for good measure, the event will include a tribute to 1968 Olympic gold medalist Peggy Fleming, the most iconic of all U.S. skaters, though she is not scheduled to skate.
Last year’s inaugural Caesars event featured almost as impressive a line-up, including some male champions, and it’s clear an early December skating tradition is being born in Atlantic City.
“It’s an honor to be in the show,” says Kerrigan, who also performed at last year’s event and spoke to Atlantic City Weekly by telephone from her home near Boston. “I mean last year was amazing because I got to work with people I had known either through skating or through doing TV commentary, but never together all at the same time. So it was like a big giant reunion.
“But this year will be a little different I think in that some of the skaters don’t really speak English all that well,” she laughs. “So it’ll be a little different. But I think in both cases it’s nice because you’re amongst people who have all been through a lot of the same stuff to get to the top of our sport. So we have a lot in common in some respects. This really is an opportunity to see some of the greatest skaters in the world.”
Kerrigan, of course, has kept tabs on the skating world both as an athlete and as a television commentator.
NOTE: This show has been cancelled and will be rescheduled.
'The joy of where I am at now is that it’s not about the demands of competition that you have to do five triples in the program, or 20,000 spins. I skate now because I love to and for the audience. It’s a totally free, different kind of skating. I’m out there enjoying the music and feeling the crowd. I’ve never been more excited.'
The evening was packed with skating talent, some who were there to be interviewed by Mary Carillo for the NBC broadcast that will take place Christmas day, others to show that they still can skate with grace and power.
It’s one thing to see so many former, recent and current ice skating champions listed in a press release for the Caesars Tribute to the Golden Age of American Skating. It is quite another to see all these champions sitting together in one room.
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.
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