Hamilton exits in graceful style
||March 30, 2001|
It's dubbed a farewell tour, but there will be no retirement.
And, if you didn't know about the show beforehand you might even
miss the whole goodbye thing entirely.
"It's not maudlin, it's not overdone," said four-time world
skating champion Kurt Browning from his hotel in Raleigh, N.C., about
this year's Target Stars On Ice, Scott Hamilton's last. "It's
subtle, respectful and touching. The end of the show could be a
Hamilton, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist, who founded Stars On
Ice and has produced and headlined the tour for 14 years, has said
the time has come for new challenges.
"I'm not retiring," Hamilton, 42, says in the tour's press
materials. "I'm not going to stop skating. I'm cutting back. There's
so much else I want to accomplish ... This year will give me the
opportunity to let people know how grateful I am to them, for
everything. It's tough to move on, but I have to."
The latest edition of the 65-city tour began in November and
will wind its way around the country before concluding in early
This year's cast includes Olympic champions Tara Lipinski,
Kristi Yamaguchi, and Ilia Kulik; world champion Yuka Sato; Olympic
silver medalist Denis Petrov; three-time U.S. National Pair Champions
Jenni Meno and Todd Sand; two-time U.S. dance champions Rene Roca
and Gorsha Sur; and eight-time British champion Steven Cousins.
Stars On Ice makes its annual visit to Hersheypark Arena Tuesday
for a sold-out show at 7:30 p.m. Readers may call 534-3911 or log on
to www.starsonice.com for more information.
Browning, in his sixth season with Stars On Ice, will succeed
Hamilton as the show's headliner next year, a role the gregarious
Canadian said he inherits based on chronology.
"I'm the next oldest guy," the 34-year-old said. "But there are
similarities between our styles, I do comedy, and take pride in my
footwork, we share some traits."
As far as being the defacto leader of the tour "there might be a
few things that need taken care of like picking up a microphone and
leading by example," he said.
Assuring that Stars On Ice continues to evolve is something
Hamilton has emphasized throughout his tenure and something Browning
plans to continue.
"We really do need to think about the future," Browning said.
But a nod to the past is what this year's tour is all about,
subtle or not. Hamilton gets a chance to say thanks to the fans, and
his colleagues get to honor one of the most respected and liked men
"Growing up in Canada he was a guy I could identify with,"
Browning said. "He didn't just loan himself to the audience, he gave
himself to them."
As a skater, Browning said he still marvels at Hamilton's
technical skill with his feet. As a friend he's enjoyed Hamilton's
sense of humor and his tireless mission to uphold the integrity of
skating. As a man he has the deepest respect for Hamilton's ability
to overcome numerous injuries and a 1997 bout with testicular
"This year I've been looking up to his guts," Browning said. "He
keeps coming back from some hard places."