Browning replaces Hamilton on skating tour
||December 27, 2001|
Not long after Scott Hamilton captured the Olympic gold medal in 1984,
he wanted to start his own skating tour. The notion back then was that
a male skater couldn't headline a figure skating tour. He had a better
chance, some thought, of skating with the Smurfs.
But the charismatic Hamilton proved everyone wrong making his
Stars on Ice a nationwide success.
This year, now that Hamilton has retired, the question was who
would take his place?
Hamilton is not easily replaceable but Canada's four-time world
champion Kurt Browning is ready for the job. One of Hamilton's
longtime friends who possesses similar showmanship on the ice,
Browning will have the unenviable task of filling in Hamilton's skates
when the 61-city tour kicks off in Baltimore on Friday. This is the
16th season of the tour.
"I got the job by forfeit," Browning says, laughing. "I am the
shortest and the baldest."
Browning actually has to chuckle when asked about being the tour's
new leading man. In actuality, the tour has spent more time promoting
three of its female stars - Olympic gold medalists Tara Lipinski,
Kristi Yamaguchi and Katarina Witt.
"It's all about the girls now, not the guys," Browning says. "The
show was anchored by Scott so strongly for so many years. He created
the male superstar skater but now the men are more of the supporting
Even without Hamilton, the show will continue to focus on
innovative group numbers. The cast also features Ilia Kulik, who won
the 1998 Olympic gold medal, three-time national pairs champions Jenni
Meno and Todd Sand and Olympic ice dancers Anjelika Krylova and Oleg
And although Hamilton won't be skating, his presence won't be far
away. Fans will hear his voice introducing skaters on the tour.
"We'll make sure to keep the essence of what Scott put into the
tour," Browning says. "We will miss him but we'll carry his torch."