Monday, February 06, 2006


Other than an Olympic Gold Medal, Kurt Browning of Canada has won all the presigious awards there are to be won in men's figure skating. And, what is probably more important to him, he has a beautiful wife and son. During his heydey as an amateur when he was busily winning four straight World Championships, he was consistently sunny in his demeanor, slightly goofy from time to time, and an altogether remarkable skater with exceptional jumps and spins and an ability (more rare than you'd think) to actually hear his music and respond to it when skating a competitive program.

Now that Kurt Browning is a professional skater, he has been busy touring with Stars on Ice and other shows. In addition, he has displayed a depth of skill that was never evident in his amateur days.

I bring all this up because yesterday I watched a professional competition called the 2005 Desjardins World Team Challenge on Oxygen Network (a new destination for jocks?). The competition was done in 2 parts: technical and artistic. Now one would expect, if one is at all savvy about the sport, that the young stuff would do far better in the technical aspect of the competition than the old fogeys. But one would be wrong. Because as things progressed, dear old Caryn Kadavy of Erie, Pennsylvania (age approximately 38) and Kurt Browning who is probably in the same age bracket were skating right in the thick of things with the youngsters.

AND, to my delight, in the last phase of the competition, the men's artistic performances, Alexei Yagudin of Russia (one of the most magnificent skaters of all time and the reigning Men's Olympic Champion) preceded Kurt Browning onto the ice and skated magnificently, bad hip and all. Then it was Kurt Browning's turn and it was oh so worth the wait. He skated a clown number, red rubber nose and all. And as anyone who has ever skated can tell you, physical comedy on ice requires enormous skill, a skill that Kurt Browning possesses in abundance. In between all the foolishness, there were numerous, very solid triple jumps. including a triple/triple combination. His footwork was original, intricate and beautiful executed. His spins were tight and centered and altogether perfection.

When I tell you that I laughed aloud numerous times throughout Mr. Browning's performance, you will understand how enjoyable he was. And when he got all "10"s for his efforts, I only felt sorry that they couldn't score him with "plus" numbers! And was oh so glad I have it on my DVR for revisiting.

BRAVO, Kurt Browning, the "Gene Kelly" of the ice skating world!