Our Alumni in the News
Ageless Protopopovs ask: ‘Where is the love?’
Posted 9/12/16 by Sarah. S Brannen, special to icenetwork
Two-time Olympic gold medalists offer critique of modern pairs rules
Ludmila and Oleg Protopopov are in their 60th year skating together. -Sherry Gao
When Ludmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov won their second Olympic gold medals in 1968, they were already among the oldest figure skating champions in history. Forty-eight years later, they still skate every day, but they only perform in public once a year: at “An Evening with Champions” at Harvard University. On Sept. 9 and 10, they skated in the show for the 24th time.
At the ages of 80 and 84, the Protopopovs take their annual appearance very seriously, spending a good while warming up and keeping to themselves for a long time before their appearance. They traditionally open the second half of the show, on a perfectly clean sheet of ice. Last weekend, wearing royal blue costumes, they skated to a waltz they have used before called “Fascination.” Of course, the audience was spellbound.
“An Evening with Champions” benefits the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Ludmila spoke with feeling about the cause.
“From other side, skating helps not just the people who see us but us also, because we keep our health in our hands,” she said.
The show is organized entirely by Harvard students, none of whom were born the first time the Protopopovs skated in the production in 1979. Indeed, none of the other skaters in this year’s show were born then, either. Nevertheless, current skaters appear to be universally inspired by the venerable team.
“The Protopopovs are such icons for the sport,” said two-time U.S. champion Marissa Castelli, who has skated in “An Evening with Champions” with the Protopopovs many times. “They have so much love for figure skating that they keep on going. Their drive inspires all of us to push our own skating to our limits. Every time in the past when I was with the Protopopovs at ‘An Evening with Champions,’ they were always so kind and welcoming, and really embraced the show’s spirit.”
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The Cold War On Ice: Peggy Fleming Visits The Soviet Union
MUST READ: The Cold War On Ice: Peggy Fleming Visits The Soviet Union. During The Cold War, 1968 Olympic Gold Medallist Peggy Fleming went behind The Iron Curtain to film a history making television special.
“We didn’t have a single appointment. We had the names of people we should see and the structure of the organization from our research. They knew of Peggy, and their interest in sports is great. They seemed to be interested in the show from the moment we first started talking,” said Dick Foster, the producer of “Peggy Fleming Visits The Soviet Union”, a revolutionary 1973 Bell System Family Theatre production that united for the first time skaters from the Soviet Union and the United States… in the middle of The Cold War.
Foster was referring to an initial meeting between himself, executive Bob Banner and members of the State Committee of The USSR Council Of Ministers For Television And Radio in November 1972. The production would mark the very first time an American film crew ever worked in the Soviet Union. The next spring, Banner, Foster and Fleming returned to Moscow and within a week got all the permission they needed. They were ready to film… and film they did. With Fleming, who was treated like a movie star, they shot sixty thousand feet of tape in twenty seven hours, contending with an extreme language barrier. Much of the communication was done in German, as crew members on both sides didn’t know each other’s language and had to find common ground. Another challenge were the extreme temperatures in the many skating scenes filmed outdoors. The average temperature was thirteen below, with one scene on The Bay Of Finland filmed in seventeen below weather with harsh winds. The July 13, 1973 issue of the “Pittsburgh Post-Gazette” noted that during filming, “Miss Fleming dropped her heavy overcoat, rose up on the toes of her skates and suddenly let out a piercing scream as the bitter cold closed in on her. A second or two later, however, she was gliding, twirling and leaping across the smile, smiling a bright defiance to the elements.”
The August 30, 1974 edition of “The Dispatch” noted the historical significance of this production and its countless ‘firsts’:
– the first co-production of an entertainment special by an American company and the USSR.
– the first filming of an American star performing in the Moscow Circus and with the Moscow Ice Ballet
– the first filming of the Kirov Ballet for United States television.
– the first time American and Soviet cameramen worked jointly on an entertainment production.
– the first filming for the United States TV of the Moscow Puppet Theatre.
– the first filming in a USSR recording studio.
– the first United States TV production ever scored in the USSR under the direction of an American conductor and using the Soviet Television and Radio Symphony Orchestra.
– the first such TV special to be telecast simultaneously in both the United States and the USSR (same day and local time.)
– the first TV filming within the Palace of Catherine the Great.
– the first filming of a musical production number on the frozen Bay of Finland.
– the first filming of the original Andreev Balalaika Orchestra for Western television.
– The first time Soviets have scheduled special performances for the exclusive purpose of filming portions of this special.
The production opened with a solo number by Fleming called “Midnight in Moscow” skated at the Yublani Stadium in Leningrad. She was next seen skating on a frozen reflecting pond adjacent the Palace of Catherine the Great, performing the “Festive Overture” with members of the Moscow State Ballet On Ice. Following her solos, Fleming visited Soviet soprano Lyudmila Senchina inside the Palace as she rehearsed a performance to “New Rochelle” from the Soviet version of “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” at the Leningrad Musical Theatre. Ludmila then sang Cher’s “The Way Of Love” in Russian accompanied by the Leningrad Symphony Orchestra while Peggy skated another solo. A fourth solo set to “Two Guitars” on a lake adjacent to the Bogoroditse-Smolensky Monastery in Moscow followed. Peggy then played guest to Sergey Obraztsov’s Puppet Theatre in Moscow where she was entertained by “Victoria Vibrato” and an all-puppet rock n’ roll band called “Pop Art”. The final two acts were an interpretation of “Swan Lake” with the Kirov Corps joining Vladimir Luzin of the Moscow Ice Ballet and Fleming on the icy Bay Of Finland near Leningrad and a duet to “Sweet Caroline” at the Moscow Circus where Fleming was paired by clown Andrei Nikolaev.
To view the video ‘Midnight in Moscow’, click here
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Dorothy Hamill looks back on Olympic gold,her famous haircut and fight with cancer
Jul. 15, 2016 at 8:48 AM
Whether it has been her dazzling Olympic performance, her famous haircut or her work with children with disabilities, figure skating legend Dorothy Hamill has always found a way to leave a lasting impression.
Forty years after she won the gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria, Hamill, 59, looked back with Natalie Morales as part of TODAY’s “Where Are They Now?” series on Olympic greats.
“I just found something I loved to do, and it’s taken me to places that I never dreamt,” Hamill said.
Hamill went from skating on a pond in Riverside, Connecticut, as an 8-year-old to becoming America’s sweetheart after grabbing a pair of gold medals at 19.
She also inspired a generation of girls, including Natalie, to imitate her famous bobbed hairstyle dubbed “The Dorothy.” Natalie also fulfilled a childhood dream by getting to skate with her idol.
“It’s wonderful because I did the same thing when I was watching Peggy Fleming and Janet Lynn skate, and I’d be in my living room with socks on twirling,” Hamill said. “So it certainly means a lot.”
1960 Winter Olympics Squaw Valley
The Canadian Olympic Figure Skating Team in Squaw Valley, California. L-R: Sheldon Galbraith (coach), Barbara Wagner, Bob Paul, Wendy Griner, CFSA President Granville Mayall, Maria and Otto Jelinek, Sandra Tewkesbury, Donald Jackson, Donald McPherson
Jeyne Brown, publicist for many years seen on Waikiki Beach, Oahu, Hawaii in March, 1982. (Photo by Christie Adams)
Jeyne enjoying the 2010 Reunion with Dolores Harkins & Bob Skrak
April 4, 2016
Flashback to 1972
– courtesy of Tai Babilonia
In 1972 my pair skating idols JoJo Starbuck & Ken Shelley had just turned professional & signed with the Ice Capades, that same year Mr. Nicks excepted us into his stable of champions at Santa Monica Ice Capades Chalet & everything changed ~ Two years later we made the World Team! On June 1st Mr. Nicks will be presenting us as we’re inducted into the ISI Hall Of Fame 2016 ISI/PSA Conferences & Trade Show in Las Vegas!
Photo by Sgt.Babilonia
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Bob Turk on playing music for Sonja Henie
Courtesy of Skate Guard
Click here to view the video
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Courtesy of Carl Moseley
Click here to watch Ronnie in action.
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Moments in Time
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Did you know…….
Tommy Litz is credited as being the first skater to land the triple toe loop jump, a feat he accomplished at the 1964 World Figure Skating Championships.
75th Diamond Jubilee 2015 Celebration
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