Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sweetest Love Affair In All of Sports

The Olympics always get to me. While I love the swimming and gymnastics that come with the summer games, I’ve always been the biggest fan of the figure skating during the winter Olympics. I remember watching competition after competition as a little girl. I was a fan during the days of Kristi Yamaguchi, Nancy Kerrigan, Brian Boitano, Kurt Browning and Scott Hamilton. I thought I was Kristi Yamaguchi’s biggest fan. Yes, I had a poster. Yes, I wrote her a fan letter. Yes, I brought flowers to her on Stars on Ice. But enough with my obsession. I even took ice skating lessons. After breaking my wrist, I realized ice skating wasn’t my calling. But I still love watching it.

I just finished watching the pairs skating, and again, I am in aw by the beauty and power of this sport. And I love seeing the pairs that are actual pairs in real life. In honor of Valentine’s Day this past weekend I stumbled across this article with some of the best on-and-off the ice figure skating pairs.

My most vivid memory of a real life pair were Russian gold medalists Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov. They were and are arguably still regarded by some of as the best pair team of all time. And then they fell in love in real life.

"They were partners in the sweetest love affair in all of sports. They were a real-life Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Only better. No credits rolled across the screen at the end of their eye-pupping performance. No cameras and lights were broken down and taken to another place. The greatest pair in pair skating was a total pair, 24 hours a day, every day..." Sports Illustrated, December 4, 1995

Look at them. They are both GORGEOUS! And they had a beautiful little daughter Daria. I remember them performing with Stars on Ice when I was young. And then, tragically, Grinkov died suddenly from a heart attack at the age of 28. Apparently Gordeeva has happily remarried (the'98 men's gold medalist!) . But their story always comes to mind as I watch pair skaters.

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