S: Do you miss the competition though, I mean, even though it's
been this long?
K: You know, for the first four years as a pro, I did, and I had
the opportunity to actually compete with the amateurs in what we call
"pro-am" events, and now I'm kind of settling in to the um, watching
mode, and maybe commentating and stuff. I don't compete as much as I
S: So you doing a lot of commentating now?
K: Something that might be happening in the future, but I'm still
very busy with Stars on Ice, obviously, you know, HSBC Stars on Ice.
We're starting to, um, get that rolling, get that excited, get people,
get the word out, and we're here in Lake Placid, and this is where
Stars on Ice in Canada - it actually starts down in the States. We
tour for three months across the states, and then the show will move
up into Canada. (rubbing hands and grinning) So we'll have it nice
and um, oily, and ready, and good and settled for you guys.
S: So I was going to say, I like the sound of this. So you're
doing rehearsals, basically your extended rehearsals is in the United
States, so you know you're going to be in fighting form for the
hardened crowd in Canada.
K: (laughing) Yeah, I like how you're thinking. Sixty-one
rehearsals across the United States, getting ready for Canada (thumbs
up and grinning at the camera).
S: That's right, that's how it works. OK, so you've got Tara
Lipinski, you've got Todd Eldredge, you've got Jamie Sale and David
Pelletier...this must be great fun for you guys.
K: Oh it is a lot of fun, it's um, like you said, I'm getting long
in the tooth, we mentioned, and to get to skate with the guys who
just, not only got to skate at the Olympics but won the Olympics. You
mentioned Jamie and David who all Canadians love and worship. We also
have the men's champion, a fantastic skater, Alexei Yagudin, will also
be joining the cast. Tara Lipinski won't be with us, um, our lady
will be Jennifer Robinson, Canadian champion, and she was fantastic in
Salt Lake City.
S: Yeah, wow, well let's talk about Sale and Pelletier, I mean you
stood there on the sidelines watching as all that happened. How are
they holding up? Have they changed altogether now that they're
professionals? Have they managed to put it all behind them?
K: Well it's one of those situations where, you know, small-town
kids well, and then, you know, David Letterman, Jay Leno, and you
know, their whole life just flipped upside-down. Um, they are great
kids, they're very professional. I've been training with them now,
pretty consistently, six or seven hours a day for a couple of
weeks. Hard working, I can see why they won, and um, you know they're
just good Canadian kids. They want to be...they want to be really good
entertainers and so I'm looking forward - they're looking forward to
their career with Stars on Ice.
S: Did you ever pass any advice on to them?
K: Not really. I've known Jamie since she was eight, so I probably
had some influence on her. Um, and David I'm just getting to know
now. They're two people that really have their stuff together up here
(pointing to his head), um, and they're good frie - they're becoming good
friends. They don't need any advice from me.
S: Well in the wake of that controversy, you know now we've got new
judging rules in skate competitions. Have the changes helped these
controversies surrounding judges in figure skating? I mean, what do
you think of them?
K: Not yet, because the rule changes are..you know, anytime you
change anything there's gonna be some reluctance by somebody. Right
now, the media is reluctant to have figure skating change because they
want that bad judge to point a finger at. Um, I'm hoping that this
gets the changes to work, I'm very optimistic, and it'll get the
attention back to what's important, which is called skating, and um
maybe..that's especially what Jamie and David want to do, they want
to stop talking about what happened and start talking about what's
going to be happening. For example, HSBC Stars on Ice, and they want
to get on with their career and start entertaining people.
S: One of the more controversial...let's talk briefly about some of
the more controversial changes that have been made. One of them is
the judges' anonymity and the fact that we won't be able to put a
score onto a particular judge. Do you agree with that decision?
K: Well, you know what it is? I did another interview, and I've
said something about um, suppose that people just stop stopping at red
lights, and just kept going through them. Well then pretty soon the
whole city would be in chaos and you'd have to have a policeman at
every single stoplight in the city. That's what we have to do right
now. Unfortunately, we have enough people who are trying to, you
know, sidestep all the rules that worked for years. The 6.0
system worked. Um, the judge from Germany giving the mark, and the
judge from France, it all worked. But when you're cheating, it
doesn't work, so here we are, we're having to police the system, and
this is one of the side effects of it. Is it going to stay like this?
Is it going to work? Only time will tell. We haven't even fully
implemented one competition with the new rules yet, and, um, but it's
a necessity, unfortunately.
S: And a lot of people wonder too, what with artistic
interpretation, so many other things being subjective as they are,
you know, might look...I mean, the changes are technical, obviously
technical, but there's a very subjective, a very beautiful element to
skating, but is it possible to find a perfect system to judge it?
K: (smiling) Your soft side is coming out. No, because people are
involved, there is no such thing as a perfect system. Um, you know,
100 meter run, where it's just timed by computers, is about as perfect
as you're going to get. Figure skating isn't perfect, which is also
one of the fun things about it. Everybody's opinion's great. Um it's
one of those sports where it actually goes to the Olympics and then
endures. For example, the professional world, because it has much
more to offer than just the idea of the sport. Ah, no it's not going
to be perfect, but I'm hoping that this system eases some of the
tension that...people don't want to watch figure skating and not know
that the guy who won was actually the guy who won.
S: Let's switch gears and talk about you for a second. Your wife
is a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, you're with
Stars on Ice. How the heck do you guys manage to even see one
another? Especially at this crazt time of year?
K: Um, no, it's just a lifestyle choice that you make, and a lot of
people have to travel. I travel six to eight months a year. Um,
that's going to change in the future. It's...when you make a living
with your knees and your back and your body, you really have to do it
while you can, because once you leave, you don't really get to come
back. So...but it's fun, I'm having the time of my life! It's
fantastic to have this job...like my dad says, you're a lucky kid
'cause at the end of your workday, people clap. How many people get
S: (laughs) That's an excellent way of putting it.
K: Yeah, dads have a way of keeping you under control.
S: yeah, it's funny, that. Are you going to see your family, or
are you going to see your new wife on New Year's Eve? Are you going to
spend any time together?
K: Yeah. I'll be with my wife on New Year's Eve, and um, Stars on
Ice takes a break, and you know it is the Christmas season so it's
time to spend time with your family, and um do all those important
S: And would you care to say that your resolution will be to get
more applause? Even more...?
K: Pardon me, my resolution? You're going to give one to me? Ok.
It should be..it should be...my wife is Spanish, so I have to learn
Spanish. Ask me in five years if I can speak Spanish.
S: Well, lastly, Stars on Ice, you know, all your friends there,
I'm just wondering if you guys abide by the rule that what goes on the
road, stays on the road.
K: Ha ha ha ha the um, the road is a quirky place, um...for example
I've known Isabelle and Lloyd, Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler, on
the tour and uh...you know, I've known these people since I was a
young teenager and, uh..we, we sort of...on the road is like our
college years? And we really do worship and treasure this time and
um, you know when we're in the show, it's a really special place. And
when you're out of it, you're going to miss it badly, so we try to
treasure it, especially as we're getting older.
S: Well if these are your college years, sit back and have some
fun, and I hope they're more productive than mine were.
K: (laughs) well I'll try..I'll try and graduate.
S: Exactly. Well, thanks very much Kurt.
K: Take care.
S: And we'll be right back, here on Canada AM.