Our Alumni in the News

June 2, 2016

Figure Skating Olympic silver medalist Elizabeth Manley shares her story of depression and resilience in Stratford

By Laura Cudworth, The Beacon Herald

Liz ManleyElizabeth Manley was guest speaker at the annual general meeting of the Stratford General Hospital Foundation this week.

It was an unforgettable moment for the whole country. Elizabeth Manley skating off the ice wearing a white cowboy hat thrown from the crowd after nailing the long program at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary.

An effervescent blonde without an ounce of pretension, she beat out American Debi Thomas for the silver medal in figure skating and nearly knocked East German skater Katarina Witt off the top of the podium. Overall the Calgary Olympics were not the games the country had been hoping for. The games were nearing the end when Manley won the long program. She became Canada’s Sweetheart in an instant.

“I was an underdog. I wasn’t expected to win a medal. I feel the country was just kind of starting to fade off a little bit and I came out of nowhere and had this amazing skate. It doesn’t matter who I run into today they know exactly where they were sitting at that moment. I even had a lady in labour that held back just so she could see me skate. Some of the stories I’ve heard are just incredible.”

But the road to get there was harder than anyone knew. Like all elite athletes she devoted herself to her sport but there were hurdles to overcome that made reaching the top even harder.

She had serious bouts of depression and suffered under the stigma.

A year before her first chance to go to the Olympics in 1984, she suffered a breakdown after the trauma of life events began to pile up. Her dad had left her mother and moved to Europe, her coach left unexpectedly and she had to quit skating because they couldn’t afford to send her to someone else.

Skate Canada stepped in and sent her to the United States to train but she was lost without her mom.

“All these things happened but as an athlete you’re trained never to show your feelings and I didn’t even realize I was doing that. I just knew I was really sad and I was really struggling. The only way we found out was I completely lost all my hair and gained 35 pounds in water retention. My whole body just completely broke down.”

She was 16 years old at the time and had no idea what was wrong.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

May 25, 2016

What’s David Kirby Doing These Days?

Get to Know the Galleria: David Kirby, Ice Skating Center

DavidHollyKirbywWeirYou already know that Galleria Dallas is the place for hot fashion. But did you know it’s also the place for ice-cold fun? This month’s “Get to Know the Galleria” is spotlighting Galleria Ice Skating Center’s David Kirby.

What do you love most about your location inside Galleria Dallas?

Being at the center of it all. So many great restaurants and stores surround us, and we can be seen by people on all four levels of the mall. In a way, we are kinetic art. It’s fun for shoppers to watch a class of really talented skaters work on a drill team or spinning and jumping. It’s just as fun to watch people skating recreationally, and, of course, it’s fun to watch both professional and non-professional skaters fall down on occasion.

What’s a typical day like at the Galleria Dallas ice rink?

Guests of all ages and abilities skate in our Skating School, attend public sessions, events and parties and visit our retail Skate Shop. Our dedicated team of associates spends many nights maintaining ice conditions and producing special ice paintings.

What sparked your initial interest in ice skating?

Both my parents were Canadian National Champions, so I was naturally drawn to the sport. I had a wonderful career as a competitive athlete for the United States and was a principal performer with the Ice Capades in the 1970s.

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Scott Hamilton 

The Gold Medalist

By J.R. Lind @jrlind

 scott hamilton3Photo: Michael W. Bunch

Photographed at Ford Ice Center

Scott Hamilton hasn’t performed his famous backflip since 2010.

The 1984 Olympic figure skating gold medalist says he’s unlikely to perform his signature move ever again. But don’t count him out — he’s been defying the odds his whole life.

Perhaps the most famous and beloved American male figure skater of all time, Hamilton, who now makes his home in Franklin with his wife Tracie and their children, started skating when he was 9.

“I wasn’t very good for a long time. … At the national level, I was a disaster,” he says. And that’s not false modesty.

After finishing ninth in consecutive years at the novice level, he moved up to juniors and finished seventh. But Hamilton decided to give it one more year his senior year of high school and “freakishly” won the nationals. “Things started happening. The light got brighter and I started learning things. I started landing triples.”

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How Olympic champ Dorothy Hamill’s greatest victory came outside the rink

By Jessica Mulvihill Moran

Published January 17, 2016, FoxNews.com

dorothy_hamillForty years ago, a 19-year-old figure skater became a pop-culture icon overnight when she won gold at the 1976 Winter Olympics.

Known for her signature bob hairstyle and fierce determination, Dorothy Hamill’s sudden rise to fame left her feeling invincible. But her biggest challenge was yet to come.

In 2007, a routine mammogram revealed she was suffering from breast cancer.

“It’s a devastating diagnosis and one thinks it’s a death sentence, and the great news is it’s not anymore – most often not, if you get it early enough,” Hamill told FoxNews.com’s senior managing health editor, Dr. Manny Alvarez, in an interview.

Hamill was diagnosed with stage 2 hormone receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer, which is the most common kind. About two out of every three breast cancer diagnoses are ER+, according to the American Cancer Society, with most cases being receptive to both estrogen and progesterone.

Hamill underwent surgery to remove the tumor and radiation therapy to kill any cancerous tissue that was not removed during surgery. And while she was grateful that her treatment was a success, she was not prepared for the long road ahead which included years of anti-estrogen medication to reduce her risk of the cancer coming back.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

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Feb. 16, 2016

The Old Smoothies

The Old SmoothiesOften incorrectly attributed to architects of the era because of its common use in art and design, the phrase “Less is more” actually came from an 1855 Robert Browning poem. It seems a wonderful phrase to describe the contribution to the skating world of TWO husband and wife teams better known to adoring audiences worldwide as The Old Smoothies.

Orrin Lars Markhus’ family emigrated to the U.S. from Scandinavia in 1853. He taught his second wife, Irma Thomas, how to skate in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1936. The mature couple took to the ice one night for an audition for the Ice Capades and the rest was, as they say, history. A 1959 article in The Pittsburgh Press explains how Markhus and Thomas got their start as The Old Smoothies, an ice dance duo that wowed audiences from the forties to the sixties:  “The stars and other skaters had finished practice, and only a few lights burned in the damp Los Angeles ice rink that night in 1942. Most of the tired skaters, however, stood out of curiosity to watch an audition of a couple of older skaters. It was past midnight and hardly an auspicious setting for a tryout for the Ice Capades. Then someone turned on a recording of ‘Shine On Harvest Moon’ and Irma Thomas and Orrin Markhus glided out onto the ice. Before they had finished one full turn, the curiosity of the young pros had changed to interest and producer John H. Harris impatiently told an aide to keep quiet. ‘I don’t want to miss any of this,’ he said. Mr. Harris hired Irma and Orrin and christened them ‘The Old Smoothies’. They’ve been show stoppers ever since.”

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Feb. 9, 2016

Ageless, the Story of JoJo Starbuck

JoJo Starbuck

It was such a pleasure spending time with Guillermo Riveros of Prevention Magazine sharing my lifelong passion for skating!

Click here to view the video interview.
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Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton opens Yakima Town Hall series with message of overcoming challenges

Scott HamiltonPeter Kennedy, left, tells a story to fellow Olympians Phil Mahre, Scott Hamilton & Steve Mahre at a luncheon following the Yakima Town Hall program September 30, 2015 in Yakima, Washington.  Kennedy, an Olympia resident, won the silver medal in pairs figure skating with sister Karol Kennedy during the 1952 Olympics.  Kennedy’s daughter, Sarah Morgan is a board member for Yakima Town Hall.  (Mai Hoang/Yakima Herald-Republic)

Toward the end of his speech Wednesday in Yakima, Scott Hamilton shared a life lesson from fellow Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi.

While skating one of her programs, she fell in the middle of it. The fall looked bad, but Yamaguchi, who won gold during the 1992 Winter Olympics in ladies figure skating, got up and continued her routine with a smile.

What mattered, he said, wasn’t the fall, but how she performed during the rest of the routine.

 “We fall down a lot,” Hamilton said. “It’s how we get up.”
To read the rest of this article, click here

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Pro figure skater turned drag racer one to watch at Martin Dragway’s IHRA Northern Nationals

Dina's car - logo small

Dina Parise and her Cadillac CTS-V Pro Mod will be competing Friday and Saturday during the IHRA Nitro Jam Northern Nationals at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park.
By Steve Kaminski | Skaminsk@mlive.com
on August 06, 2015 at 4:23 PM, updated August 06, 2015 at 4:49 PM
MARTIN – Race fans who attend this weekend’s IHRA Nitro Jam Northern Nationals at U.S. 131 Motorsports Park will never guess what Dina Parise carries in her race hauler.
There’s the usual stuff. You will find parts and equipment, and of course, her Cadillac CTS-V Pro Mod, nicknamed Stella, that she races around the country and will be driving Friday and Saturday at Martin Dragway.

Oh, and there is a pair of ice skates, too.

Pro Mod racer Dina Parise Dina Parise is a figure skater turned drag racer.

Parise never leaves her New Freedom, Pa., home without them because she just might pass a skating rink on the road, and that would be too hard to pass up. Parise was a professional figure skater before deciding to change careers and become a drag racer.

To read the rest of the article, click here

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