Stars on Ice
Kurt List

Professional Skaters Scott Hamilton, Rosalynn Sumners, Kurt Browning and Kristi Yamaguchi discuss the Discover Card Stars on Ice tour

CBS This Morning, Dec. 28, 1995

Copyright 1995 Burrelle's Information Services

HARRY SMITH, co-host:

If it is cold where you are, a few hours of ice skating could be just what it takes to warm you up.

JANE ROBELOT, co-host:

And have we got some inspirational skaters for you this morning, great skaters in the Discover Card Stars On Ice tour.

SMITH: And they opened last night in Oakland, California. Many of them are going to be joining us this morning live from San Francisco. Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton is the show's founder and co-producer and an old buddy of ours. How are you doing this morning, Scott?

Mr. SCOTT HAMILTON (Founder/Producer, Stars On Ice): It's early here. It's really early here.

ROBELOT: And we were thinking it was early here, too. You're right. You've got three hours on us.

SMITH: It's a little bit early there. How--how did opening night go last night?

Mr. HAMILTON: It was good. We got to finally do it in front of an audience, I mean, it--the entire show, so we were pretty excited about it. Finally the rehearsal ends. We've been rehearsing this show forever. So we were just really happy to finally get it open and to find out what the highs and the lows are and, you know, to get it going. It's--it was pretty exciting.

ROBELOT: What are the highs? What makes this Stars On Ice show different than some of the other ones, Scott?

Mr. HAMILTON: Well, I just think that we've allowed all of our skaters to really kind of celebrate on the ice who they are, and--and what they do best, and we've put a lot of humor in the show, and there's a lot of emotion throughout; just basically, we're a family and--and we want to be able to allow everybody kind of into our minds and--and just see our personalities. And everybody is so different in the way they approach their skating that the show flies by in--in little time. You think, 'Well, it's over already? Wow.'

SMITH: It's--you've been doing this for 10 years. I remember 10 years ago when you just, you know, were barely getting off the ground. How do you choose the skaters you want to bring in? How do you--what--what is the creative force then that allows you to get the people in that? Because you always have such great folks skating with you.

Mr. HAMILTON: Well, I think it is personality. I think it--success, obviously, in their amateur Olympic careers. Everybody has so much to offer.

(Excerpt shown of Discover Card Stars On Ice, 1988)

Mr. HAMILTON: You know, it's--I don't know, you--how do you choose somebody. Well, you know, you watch them skate. This is way back.

SMITH: Oh, look at that.

Mr. HAMILTON: Oh, look at the hair! I'm loving it.

ROBELOT: ...(unintelligible) that kid.

Mr. HAMILTON: This is our first--this is one of our first TV shows that we did.


Mr. HAMILTON: Brian Orser. I mean, we've had so many wonderful skaters come through this company and really give their heart and souls in order to really make it advance and--and better for the next year. Debi Thomas.


ROBELOT: And skating is...

Mr. HAMILTON: It's been a long run; it's been an exciting one, because each year we get a lot better.

ROBELOT: It's really growing as a spectator sport, too. We love this.

Mr. HAMILTON: Oh, it's wonderful. I mean, the opportunity out there now has never been this extensive. And for all of us, you know, it's just been--it's been a wild year already and we're just starting to tour.

SMITH: I want to--I want to take a moment here to be a little bit serious. The last time we talked was late November when Sergei Grinkov passed away up in Lake Placid. You were--all were getting ready--were rehearsing for this--this very show. How are you all--all dealing with this? And--and is there a way to deal with it in light of the giant tour you're all about to embark on?

Mr. HAMILTON: Well, we miss--we miss them so much. You know, Katya, we've been in constant touch with, and--and she's coping as well as you can expect. But they really--they really kind of exemplified what was everything great about this tour, and their quality and the fact that they grew and they developed so much in the show. I think people that know their skating know that, you know, them being part of the show made the show better, but also the show, you know, really helped them improve and--and gave them another depth of--of audience contact. And--and, you know, there's parts of the show that were theirs that we--we couldn't touch.


Mr. HAMILTON: And--and we miss them. I--I miss them a lot. And...

SMITH: Very difficult.

Mr. HAMILTON: ...I mean, I can't even--I can't even articulate it. It just...

ROBELOT: We see.

Mr. HAMILTON: It's really hard. I mean, it's difficult.

ROBELOT: We see. And we see how much you all are like a family, too. And one of the people who's been with you from the very beginning is Rosalynn Sumners, with you also this morning, for 10 years. Rosalynn, good morning.

Ms. ROSALYNN SUMNERS (1984 Olympic Silver Medalist): Ten years. Good morning.

ROBELOT: What's been the best part? How has the show changed? And what--and what's been the best part for you?

Ms. SUMNERS: Well, I think the best part is that I am heading into my 10th year, and that 10 years ago when Scott came up with this idea, he did look to me to--to join this and to be part of it and to be part of the nurturing process. And--wow, 10 years. I mean, I can't believe it is 10 years. And last night was very special. He gives me a wonderful introduction that--I know I got choked up having him introduce me and to know that we've grown as--as friends and as a family, and to still be here.

SMITH: What do you tell the new ones when they come on with you?

Ms. SUMNERS: You know, to really just come out and just become a part of our family and to give, like Scott said, your heart and soul to the show, and that everyone out there, there's no egos on this tour. We are all out there for the--for the best and for this show. And just come out there and give it your best and love it, and--and just be part of it. And--and have fun every night, because I will tell you those 10 years go way too fast.

SMITH: Well, Scott and Rosalynn, we want to take a little bit of a look at " Remember Me This Way." Do we need to set this up at all or can we go ahead and roll it, Scott?

Mr. HAMILTON: Just roll it.

SMITH: All right, let's--let's take a look.

(Footage of Sumners skating to the song "Remember Me This Way")

ROBELOT: Quickly, Rosalynn, how did you pick that number?

Ms. SUMNERS: I found that piece of music this summer. And just the words, "Remember Me This Way," it was--it was my way of thanking the audience for everything that they've given me for the last 10 years, and as I move on in life, and we all change, and...

Mr. HAMILTON: It's like, 'This is going to be my farewell song.' Not a chance.


Mr. HAMILTON: We're going to drag her out of this tour kicking and screaming. It's like, "Remember Me This Way." OK, remember me this way next year, the year after, the year after.

SMITH: There you go.

ROBELOT: Glad to hear that.

SMITH: Rosalynn and Scott, stand by; we've got more to come. Fifteen minutes after the hour. Stay with us. More great stars. Kurt Browning and Kristi Yamaguchi coming up next.

(Commercial break)

ROBELOT: She is an Oscar winner and one of the most glamorous women ever on screen. Sophia Loren, tomorrow on CBS THIS MORNING.

SMITH: Eighteen minutes after the hour. Let's continue our Stars On Ice hour right now, as we go back to San Francisco where four-time world champion Kurt Browning and 1992 gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi are standing by.

Good morning, guys.

Mr. KURT BROWNING (Four Time World Champion): Good morning.

Ms. KRISTI YAMAGUCHI (1992 Olympic Gold Medalist): Good morning.


ROBELOT: Wow! They love you here.

SMITH: They love you, they love you in New York. Kurt, they've been--Kurt, I--I imagine Scott's been trying to get you on this tour for about ever. Last year was your first year. What--what was it like?

Mr. BROWNING: Well, I knew that touring life was hard. And--and they say that being professional is harder than being amateur, and I was tying to prepare myself for that. Not even close. I--I wasn't prepared. I--I thought, you know, nobody is throwing up marks, it can't be that hard. But I wasn't prepared for the longevity of the tour, the fact that you have to perform at such a high level for months on end and...

SMITH: Wh--what is--what is...

Mr. BROWNING: ...without their help, I wouldn't have made it.

SMITH: What is the big difference, though, between performing for marks and performing purely for an audience?

Mr. BROWNING: Well, it's a--I think it's a lot more fun to perform purely for an audience, really. And there's a high that comes with really tackling that challenge of a competition. But I found that now that I'm touring with these guys, if I don't skate well in the show, anybody doesn't skate well in the show, you have that same feeling that, you know, you've let everybody else down, you let yourself down, and the audience. So even though there's no marks at the end of the night, we're really judging ourselves. We really are.

ROBELOT: Kristi, I imagine that the pressure on you is particularly tough, because you are performing before the hometown crowd there in the bay area, at least opening up.

Ms. YAMAGUCHI: Oh, it was definitely a double whammy having opening night and the hometown crowd right there. But, you know, I was very excited; all of us have had a long month of rehearsal and we were just so excited to get the show finally out there. And it felt really good. I think we were all pleased with how the reaction was.

SMITH: You've got--go ahead.

ROBELOT: No, I was just going to ask if you kind of pay attention to who's in the crowd when you're performing at home. You know, Mom's watching or a boyfriend from long ago that you really want to kind of, 'Ha, look at me now'?

Ms. YAMAGUCHI: Oh, yeah, definitely. I mean, we had Brian Boitano sitting in the front row last night.


Ms. YAMAGUCHI: And my father had about 30 guests there. And my whole family was there. So, I mean, it's--it's a thrill and, once again, like Kurt said, it's so wonderful to go out there and perform just for the love of skating and--and not to be worried about the competition.

SMITH: We want to take a look at something called--from a part of the show called, Put Your Groove On. You do something called, Oh, So Quiet, which leads to a segment where you and Kurt skate together. We want to take a look at that right now.

(Footage of Yamaguchi and Browning skating)

SMITH: Whoa! Excellent.

ROBELOT: That's so much fun. What a blast.

SMITH: We've got to take a break. We've got more from the Stars On Ice tour after this. Twenty-three minutes after. CBS THIS MORNING continues.

(Commercial break)

SMITH: We want to reintroduce Scott Hamilton, Rosalynn Sumners, Kurt Browning, Kristi Yamaguchi. And they had opening night last night, and it's--What?--it's 5:25 in the morning. Did--now did you all go to bed or are you still awake or what?

Ms. YAMAGUCHI: Opening night was just a few hours ago.

Mr. BROWNING: I'm still in my costume.

SMITH: So thanks again for joining us. We have some folks in our audience who want to ask you some questions.

ROBELOT: Yeah. This young lady is from Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Unidentified Woman #1: Will any of you be participating in the next Olympics in any way?

ROBELOT: Kristi, do you want to...

Mr. HAMILTON: I'll be doing the commentary. I'm doing the commentary.

ROBELOT: What about you, Kristi?

Ms. YAMAGUCHI: At this point, no. I'm definitely happy where I am as a professional and, of course, being on Stars On Ice, it would be hard to give up.

ROBELOT: Yeah. Kurt?

Mr. BROWNING: No, I--I'm finally here. I waited my whole life for this; I'm not going back.

ROBELOT: Really, this is what you aspire to as an Olympian?


ROBELOT: This is the...

Mr. BROWNING: I wanted so badly to--to get a chance like this and to be with Discover Card Stars On Ice, and...


Mr. BROWNING: ...I wanted it two years earlier than I got it. And so I'm just going to get here and enjoy it.

ROBELOT: Rosalynn, will we see you there doing anything at all?

Mr. HAMILTON: Come on, Ros, big comeback, you can do it.

Ms. SUMNERS: No, remember, I've been here the longest; and again, like Kristi said, it's too hard to give this up and to--and to be out there every night, and it is much more fun than all the hard training.

SMITH: I want to talk to some of you old road dogs out there. Scotty, that's--how many...

Mr. HAMILTON: What are--what'd you say that to me for?

SMITH: How many--how...

Mr. HAMILTON: Old road dogs?

SMITH: How many nights--how many cities in this tour?

Mr. HAMILTON: This year, we're doing 55 shows.


Mr. HAMILTON: Yeah, it's pretty good. Then we might add a couple here and there. We might add one to maybe Hershey. We might add one to Portland, Maine. We're talking about it, but...

SMITH: How--how do--you're on the road all the time; you're eating in restaurants all the time. It's--that's a long--how do you--how do you keep it together?

Mr. HAMILTON: Good question. I'll tell you sometime in May how we kept it together. It--it's hard. Caffeine, sugar, helps a lot, it really does; and to be around young people. You know, to sit there and watch them--you know, like Kristi and Kurt and a lot of the--the people like Paul Wylie who have been with the tour a few years, who have the experience but all the energy level and everything else; it's very contagious, and that helps a great deal.

ROBELOT: Here's a question for Kristi.

Unidentified Woman #2: Yeah, Kristi, how many hours, now that you're a professional, do you have to practice every day?

Ms. YAMAGUCHI: Well, six hours--no. A couple hours a day is--usually when I have training time, I'll try to get that done. When we're on Discover Card Stars On Ice, we have about a--45 minutes before each show to get on the ice, warm up, get used to the environment, and then the two-hour show. And that's pretty much what we have once we're on the road.


Unidentified Woman #3: Scott, I want to know who is responsible for all the choreography in the show.

Mr. HAMILTON: Who is responsible for all the choreography?

Woman #3: Yes.

Mr. HAMILTON: It is Sandra Bezic, she--Sandra Bezic is our director, choreographer; Michael Seibert, Lea Ann Miller. And a lot of the skaters come with their own choreography. I work with Sarah Kowhar in Los Angeles. So, you know, everybody works with somebody different on their personal stuff. But as far as the show itself, Sandra Bezic, Michael Seibert and Lea Ann Miller.

SMITH: And, Kurt, what is your favorite music to skate to?

Mr. BROWNING: Any music that at the end you're standing up and smiling, that's my favorite music. But I did a routine called "Singing in the Rain"...

SMITH: Oh, that's a classic.

Mr. BROWNING: ...which is not necessarily my favorite music...

SMITH: Yeah.

Mr. BROWNING: ...but it's not really the music, it's--it's what the whole program hap--like, how it happens, how it comes together.

SMITH: We need to take a break, but we got more--lots more with the Discover Stars On Ice. Twenty-nine minutes after the hour. We'll be right back.