View Full Version : What skaters have you met?

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06-26-2012, 01:59 AM
Sorry if this is a repeat of another thread.

What skaters have you met, if any? What were they like? Who was nice? Maybe not so nice? I'd love to hear anybody's experiences with meeting skaters. I've never met and spoken to any skaters, besides just seeing them at skating shows and not speaking to them.

My dad met Tonya Harding of all people once. He said he was at a friends house and she was walking out of a house next to it and he looked at her funny because he was trying to see if it was her and she smiled and said "you're probably looking at me because you think I'm Tonya Harding, yep I am".

My grandma also met lots of skaters when she was working at the Key Arena in Seattle and Champions on Ice was there. She said she got to talk to Brian Boitano for a while and she was surprised how funny he was.

06-26-2012, 03:59 AM
I've been to 4 Worlds and quite a few exhibitions where I had brief encounters with skaters. Also have gone to several book signings and met several skaters that way. Some encounters were really just getting an autograph and saying "well done" or "good luck" about the event. I'll try to remember my more memorable meetings below.

First of all, I've known Judy Sladky for about 15 years because of her connection to Snoopy. We are both in the Peanuts Collector Club and see each other at its conventions. She is a wonderful speaker and storyteller.

I finally got to speak personally to Paul Wylie at the Evening With Champions post-show reception last year. He was very appreciative when I related how his 1992 Olympic performances saved my morale when I was grieving a job layoff at that time. I learned that his dad went to MIT, my alma mater!

At that same event, I found that Oksana Baiul was very charming and professional, and apparently much changed from her sometimes childish and boorish behavior with fans (like Bronx cheers) that had been described in some skating books in years past.

Michael Weiss is a very nice guy. One time I snagged him in a hotel lobby and asked if he'd talk on my cell phone to one of my skating fan friends, who is over 90. He did so and told her how she could watch the show he was in on NBC. Several years earlier, at 2003 Worlds, I happened to catch him as he was heading to his family and friends elsewhere on the arena concourse after he had dropped off the podium with a disappointing freeskate. Of course I knew he was heartbroken but told him "That whole arena was with you and loved you tonight. That is worth more than any gold medal." He said thanks and that he appreciated that.

Tomas Verner is a symbolic favorite. DH proposed to me on Valentine's Day 2006, and it was during a commercial right after Tomas skated his Olympic SP. DH and I spotted him on the street near the arena at Worlds in LA in 2009 and told him all about it! He liked hearing that and asked us to root for him, he'd need the luck!

I had a huge thrill hair-whipping (headbanging?) at SOI with John Zimmerman the year he played "Axel Edge." Those on-ice seats were well worth it!

My favorite skater of all is Brian Boitano, and he has always been cheerful and obliging when I've approached him for photos or autographs. I also once gave him a plush Snoopy which I dressed as "Beagle Boitano" in the 1988 Olympic LP outfit. I doubt he kept it but I was thrilled to give it to him as he left the ice after a COI show circa 1995.

I have given Rena Inoue plush Snoopies after skates at 2006 Worlds and a subsequent cheesefest. I knew she collected Snoopy (as well as Tweety) and she loved them.

I also gave Stephane Lambiel a big stuffed ladybug after a practice at those worlds. He seemed to be a very polite young man.

The skater that seemed least friendly of all that I've ever run across was Robin Cousins. He seemed to not really engage with the fans as he gave autographs, avoiding eye contact, etc. He didn't seem annoyed or angry, just distant, almost like he was blind except to the people there that he knew.

06-26-2012, 06:08 AM
Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze :swoon:

I don't believe I have met anyone else.

06-26-2012, 06:18 AM
Ryan Bradley (7x)
Evan Lysacek (4x)
Jeremy Abbott (3x)
Jonathan Cassar (2x)
Johnny Weir (2x)
Meryl Davis and Charlie White (2x)
Sinead and John Kerr (2x)
Jason Brown
Ashley Cain and Joshua Reagan
Christopher Caluza
Nathen Chen
Sasha Cohen
Alissa Czisny
Todd Eldredge
Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig
Rachael Flatt
Alexe Gilles
Andrew Gonzales
Dorothy Hamill
Scott Hamilton
Nina Jiang
Rena Inoue and John Baldwin
Tara Lipinski
Alex Johnson
Lynn Kriengkrairut and Logan Giulietti-Schmitt
Ilia Kulik
Armin Mahbanoozadeh
Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker
Keegan Messing (I run his website though so this is 'cheating' I guess)
Ross Miner
Brandon Mroz
Dennis Phan
Sean Rabbitt
Adam Rippon
Emily Samuelson
Yasmin Siraj
Jason Wong
Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin
Agnes Zawadzki
Caroline Zhang

I've managed to keep in touch with a few on this list and become friends with them. Ashley Cain is a darling and she's a very good friend of mine now.

Sasha Cohen was extremely friendly. I waited for her outside of SOI one year and she came over to me and was so nice. She gave me a hug and was very talkative. I also got to meet Ilia Kulik then also. He was nice too. He shook my hand haha. Emily Samuelson is a sweetheart, me and my friend ran into her at Nationals in San Jose and we talked for a long time!

I've never really had a bad experience meeting a skater. As long as you catch them when it's ~okay~ to approach them, you won't have a bad experience. I try not to bother skaters if they're with friends/family or watching a competition.

06-26-2012, 05:14 PM
ryanbfan :rollin: Thanks for sharing!

Some skaters who I've met in person and talked with: Brian Boitano (cheerful upbeat personality and generous toward fans), Randy Gardner (super nice), Tai Babilonia, Petr Barna (sweet and funny), Ingo Steuer (very cool and friendly), Todd Eldredge (what a gentleman!), Rudy Galindo (friendly and personable), Yuka Sato, Kristi Yamaguchi (during her up-and-comer, cute girl-next-door days), Midori Ito (lovely sweet person), Michelle Kwan (absolutely amazing, very present and kind), Elizabeth Punsalan & Jerod Swallow (I had the best time talking with them -- very down-to-earth, a beautiful couple and wonderful skaters), Nicole Bobek (earlier in her career; she's quite beautiful but I got the sense she didn't believe in herself very much back then), Kurt Browning (cool and down-to-earth, great sense of humor), Scott Smith, Brian Orser, Rosalyn Sumners (she regally provided her autograph, nose in the air), Ryan Jahnke (love him), Paul Wylie (love his skating but he wasn't in a friendly mood -- tho' I've heard he can be friendly at the right time and approach), Jenni Meno & Todd Sand (gorgeous together), Philippe Candeloro (seemed distracted at the time), Alexei Yagudin (he seemed standoffish and self-important, but he was young then and touring in a foreign country).

I've seen other skaters from a distance off the ice during events (or I've seen them sitting in the audience), but I didn't want to bother them under the circumstances, including Shepherd Clark, Jill Trenary, Christopher Dean, Peter Carruthers cheesin' in the hallways at Nats, Nancy Kerrigan, Debi Thomas, Derrick Delmore, Tanith Belbin and many others. I even once shared a bus ride to a practice arena with skaters and officials, including the Stieglers, and Peter Oppegard sitting with Karen Kwan (before they were married). During the ride, I met and talked with a judge who was a former skater.

ETA: I once randomly met Caydee Denney's grandparents the year she unexpectedly made a splash at Nats coming in 2nd overall with partner Jeremy Barrett. And I also met Katarina Witt -- she was very friendly and I was charmed by her beautiful smile.

06-26-2012, 11:43 PM
Rosalyn Sumners (she regally provided her autograph, nose in the air)Must have caught her on a bad day.

Paul Wylie (love his skating but he wasn't in a friendly mood -- tho' I've heard he can be friendly at the right time and approach)That's about what I'd expect.

Alexei Yagudin (he seemed standoffish and self-important, but he was young then and touring in a foreign country).Most Russians are aloof.

06-26-2012, 11:51 PM
Kimmie, she was an utter sweetheart.

I met Kristi Yamaguchi earlier this year - she was promoting her newest children's book at one of the DC libraries (did anyone else go to this? it was in late February or early March, I remember because I skipped the ACC tournament game to go see her) and she was very nice and signed my skate for me. I was wearing our team skating t-shirt and she asked me where I skated, I told her, and she said she'd been there lots of times, and I was too tongue-tied and amazed to say anything else that made any sense. :lol:

06-26-2012, 11:58 PM
Yes, Johnny Fever, to be fair everyone's personality is different, and everyone has a lot to deal with in their lives, particularly athletes in the public eye. I think Roz and some members of the SOI cast back then were simply tired and eager to leave the backstage after-party for a late night snack somewhere.

Re Paul W, he probably has a more introverted personality, and maybe is somewhat shy. Anyway I've heard great things about him from other fans who've met him under different circumstances.

Re Alexei, to his credit I also saw that he was very gracious with a group of young kids, signing autographs and generously having his picture taken with them.

I haven't found all Russians to be aloof, but yeah I get your drift. Someone told me a very sweet story about meeting Katia and Sergei in a McDonalds once. They enjoyed being recognized and talking with a skating fan. :)

06-27-2012, 12:52 AM
I've only met Johnny, the first time was in 2008 at a show at the Ice Vault. I was really nervous meeting him but Johnny was so nice. My son took a picture of us, I remember looking at the photo at the rink and seeing my son cut our heads off. Johnny saw me looking at the photo and came over, he asked "did it come out?" When I told him no, he offered to pose again even though there were others waiting. I was lucky enough to see Johnny at other shows at the Ice Vault and a show at the Floyd Hall Arena. Each time Johnny remembered me and was very nice and gracious with all his fans. The last show Johnny did at the Ice Vault ran late, Johnny had to do an interview afterwards, I convinced my husband to wait for Johnny to come out, he finally came out an hour after the show had ended. His face lit up and he said "I can't believe you waited for me" We had a nice conversation about the weather and driving conditions in New Jersey, lol!! The last time I saw Johnny was at a meet and greet at his rink in Hackensack. He was suppose to skate in the show but his flight was delayed, he came straight from the airport to do the meet and greet. Again he was so nice even though he must had been so tired from traveling that day.

06-27-2012, 01:09 AM
After going a while without getting the opportunity to meet any skaters and envying everyone else, my list has grown quite long just in the last few years, going to shows and the like.

I will say my most memorable encounters were with Ashley Wagner/Agnes Zawadzki, Tanith Belbin, A. Czisny and Davis/White. They were all really cool and really nice, I thought. :)

On the other end of the spectrum was, perhaps, Sasha Cohen. a bit distant and standoffish.

Everyone else was kind of in the middle of the spectrum, somewhere.

- I did get to meet Kristi Y at one of her book signings this past spring. That was a great opportunity and I took some pics as well.

- After Caesar's, I had encounters with Sarah Hughes, Miki Ando, Shizuka Arakawa, Liz Manley, Nicole Bobek, Yuka Sato, Nancy Kerrigan and maybe a couple others I'm forgetting. I got stuff signed from J Rochette and T Lipinski but didn't get to talk to them. Hughes mentioned that she was working on some book about skating, I think?

- At SOI I've had encounters with Todd Eldredge, Jeremy Abbott, Shen/Zhao, Sasha Cohen (mentioned above), Evan Lysacek, Michael Weiss, Ina/Zimmerman and some others.

- After Weiss' show last year I spoke briefly w/the Kerrs, Wagner, Zawadzki and a couple others.

- I attended a local signing a few years ago with Kimmie Meissner. It was a Q&A session and then she signed a few autographs. Nearly skipped it, actually- attending was a last second decision on my part. And then I nearly left when the Q&A was over but convinced myself to ask for an autograph.

I think that's about it.

06-27-2012, 01:34 AM
Semi-substantive conversations (plus photos!):
Johnny Weir - Johnny was Johnny!
Ashley Wagner - she was so nice and upbeat!
John Zimmerman - possibly my favorite encounter with a skater. He was just incredibly nice to me and my sister. And he hasn't aged a day :swoon:
Silvia Fontana - classy and beautiful
Melissa Bulanhagui - upbeat and cute as a button!
Megan Williams-Stewart - my eagle-eye sister spotted her and her coach Jeff DiGregorio (Tara's old coach, I think) sitting a few rows ahead of us, and we went to say hi. They were both very nice about it.
Derrick Delmore - super nice

Skaters I got to hug:
Aaron Parchem :swoon:

Skaters we got to tango with:
Evan Lysacek

Quickie fan encounters for photos and gushing:
Jeremy Abbott (loved his freckles!)
Jason Brown (adorable)
Alissa Czisny (quiet but gracious)
Mirai Nagasu
Scott Hamilton
Brian Boitano
Peggy Fleming
Denney & Barrett
Evora & Ladwig
Marley & Brubaker :swoon:
Steve Cousins
Meryl Davis
Maia Shibutani
Belbin & Agosto

06-27-2012, 02:12 AM
I have met a few, but the one who really stands out to me is Maria Butyrskaya. She seemed really shocked that anybody would want to meet her and have her autograph. It was the year she won worlds. :lol:

06-27-2012, 02:39 AM
I met Caroline Zhang and wished luck to Frank Carroll. :) Oh and TAT.

06-27-2012, 03:41 AM
Mirai Nagasu TEB 2010. I ran into her a few times over the weekend. Each time I had a cigarette in one hand and a glass of champagne in the other. I'm sure she thought "who is this drunkard hag" haha.

06-27-2012, 06:28 AM
Most Russians are aloof.
So please give us an insight on this qualified opinion - how many Russian skaters have you met so far? :rolleyes: