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Kurt Browning makes his picks

Source: Famous
Date: April 2001
Author: Marni Weisz

Just seven years after going pro, Canadian figure skating champion Kurt Browning has earned a star on Canada's Walk of Fame. He, along with 12 other Canadians - including Robert Lepage, Leslie Nielsen and Ivan Reitman - will officially be given their spots on a Toronto sidewalk this June. Somewhat surprisingly, Kurt beat fellow figure-skating legends Toller Cranston and Brian Orser to the exalted curb. Perhaps it's because he's stayed so visible over those seven years - touring, continuing to compete in professional championships and turning out award-winning television specials. He's also received some press via his famous wife, Sonia Rodriguez, a principal dancer with the National Ballet. Kurt was in a Philadelphia arena preparing for a Stars on Ice performance when he spoke with Famous. That same tour will bring him to 11 Canadian cities this month, check www.starsonice.com for the schedule. Here, the Alberta-born athlete lets you in on his most-loved films and tells you about his most embarrassing costume ever.

WHAT ARE YOUR FIVE FAVOURITE FILMS?
"Number one is Field of Dreams [1989] because it chokes me up. It's not very deep but I like the idea of these guys coming from the past and playing baseball in your field. Number two is Casablanca [1942], for obvious reasons. [One of Kurt's most famous routines was skated to the film's score.] I didn't really know much about the movie until my coach's wife came up with the music, and they're like 'You can't be Rick until you see the movie.' I wanted to be inspired by him. Number three is the whole Indiana Jones series [1981, 1984, 1989], 'cause they're all the same. It's just one long movie. I liked Harrison Ford. He's exactly what every guy would like to be. He gets the girls but at the same time the guys like him too. You want to have a beer with Harrison Ford. Or, if you're a girl, you want to sleep with him. Number four is Top Gun [1986] for the same reason some people like the music they listened to in high school just because of the memories. I must have seen Top Gun 10 or 11 time when I was in high school. And number five is Like Water for Chocolate [1993] because it reminds me of my wife. She's Spanish, and we saw the movie and read the book together at the same time. It's just a very sexy movie."

HOW DID YOU FIND OUT THAT YOU WERE GETTING A STAR?
"I got a phone message from [chairman] Peter Soumalias. It was funny, I was in my hotel room alone going 'Oh, hey.' Looked around my room going, 'Okay, who do I celebrate with?' I don't even remember which city I was in."

ARE YOU SURPRISED THAT YOU'RE THE SECOND FIGURE SKATER INDUCTED?
"Yeah, I already thought of that. Toller Cranston, Brian Orser, Karen Magnussen... There's a long list. I think it's directly influenced by the fact that I co-hosted [the induction ceremony] last year and blatantly asked for a star. I started the show with a little black-tie Rollerblade rendition of "When You Wish Upon a Star," only I changed the lyrics to "When I Wish I Had a Star." And the whole shtick was about me wishing that I had a star. The truth is, I thought I was getting a star last year when I got the phone call asking me to host it. I misunderstood. So I was all excited, then they said, 'No, we want you to host it,' and I said, 'Oh... that's good too.'"

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?
"It's an institution at its beginning that might become really popular and really well-known. It's still only in its third year... I've always felt very Canadian and when I meet people they say things like, 'You make me proud to be a Canadian.' This is, I think, one of the most Canadian things that could be given to me."

WHAT's THE MOST EMBARRASSING COSTUME YOU EVER WORE?
"Oh, easy. We burnt it. Remember the movie The Rocketeer? I got this costume made based on that, and it didn't get done and didn't get done and didn't get done. And then finally the costume was sent to the arena where I was competing. I'm in this competition that's nationally televised, I open up the box, and it's this top-to-bottom red costume, silver things on it, and it's the thinnest material ever in the whole world. I basically had to pad my jockstrap so no one knew what my religion was. You could see everything. It was the tightest, thinnest, scariest costume. I just felt awful in it and I skated awful in it. So we destroyed it after that."

WHAT WILL YOU DO IN YOUR OFF-SEASON?
"Well it's my wife Sonia's off-season too so we'll go to Spain and see her family, then we'll go to Alberta to see mine. And a lot of kicking back and trying to recover from the fact that you haven't seen your wife in five months."