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Kurt Browning Vicki Gabereau Show Interview Transcript

Dec. 4, 2003
Transcribed by Kirsten in PEI

VG: Vicki Gabereau
KB: Kurt Browning

VG: Four-time world and Canadian champion figure skater and new daddy Kurt Browning is here today to tell us what he's been up to. I'm completely confused. (applause) How do you do?

KB: It's nice to see you.

VG: Nice to see you, but you can't sit still. You're an energetic person.

KB: Yes. It comes in very handy now with this new daddy thing, as you call it.

VG: Yes. Are you grown up now?

KB: No. Like so many people say, it's that excuse to play with toys again.

VG: Yes, it's perfect. You get to see what you were like when you were your own self as a child.

KB: You get to see what you were like, yeah.

VG: Because you can't ever remember.

KB: It's amazing my mom and dad didn't toss me out with the bathwater!

VG: I have to say that in the olden days when skaters that were in the Olympics and so on didn't do a million ice shows was much easier to follow. Now that you are out of that competition and you are running around to all these ice shows, I'm utterly confused about what you're doing when.

KB: Especially the "when."

VG: Yes, the "when" is a problem, because everything's taped and then aired.

KB: Yeah, I was in Japan last night and then I bumped into somebody--I wasn't really, but I'll bump into someone at the gas station and they'll go, "But you were in Japan last night." Actually, no.

VG: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. The old magic.

KB: The old magic of TV.

VG: Yeah, but it seems you talk a lot about going to the gas station. In fact, I just read a quote of yours the other day and it was about judging and you said, "I'd just like to go to the gas station one time and have some guy come up to me and say, 'That was so cool, your skating last night,' rather than, 'That judging sucked.'" And does this happen to you all the time?

KB: Especially at gas stations. You know what, it seems to be subsiding a little bit, but with the Olympics and what happened to Jamie and David and everything, it really blew into perspective--out of proportion, I was going to say--but no, it made us realize how corrupt something beautiful really was out there. And it's like what's at home stays at home, sort of. You know, Mommy and Daddy and no one talks about it. But in skating, it's always been...

VG: The elephant in the living room.

KB: Yeah, or the skeleton in the closet and judging has been, at best, as good as human nature would allow it to be. But we got carried away and so now we're trying to do a lot of damage control. Nobody wants to watch a sport where you don't even know if the person actually won. That's not cool, and I think that skating is full of great athletes and great entertainment and it's what I based my lifetime doing and I want to make sure that people respect what I do. I can't do that if it's not real.

VG: Do you think that you have ever been deceived in judging in your career?

KB: Once, definitely. I was deceived into thinking I should have won. (laughs)

VG: I just about spit water all over you!

KB: There was one year at Canadians where I think Elvis should have won and I was sitting there and watching my marks come up and I thought, "That's kind of embarrassing." It was a message to go to Worlds and do better, but that night I thought Elvis should have won. So I have one Canadian title that's kind of tainted for me, but there's other moments where I think I kind of got screwed over, but it wasn't always to my benefit. There was that one time.

VG: You've been living in Spain.

KB: I spent the summer in Spain.

VG: You've lost your tan. Were you not outside? What, were you in the rink all the time?

KB: Yeah, I was in the rink.

VG: Go to Spain and skate? That's odd, isn't it?

KB: Oh, I went to Spain and had a baby.

VG: I know you did.

KB: So yeah, there wasn't a whole lot of at the beach stuff going on. It was mostly learning how to take care of this new thing that we found in the cabbage patch.

VG: But what about the skating thing in Spain?

KB: Actually, it's growing and Spain has some couple of rinks to choose from instead of just one and I think it's interesting to go to Spain and see young kids skate and they seem to have an urgency about them. They really work harder than our kids and I think we take ice for granted. The Chinese are really good. Really good.

VG: First rate. But so have you been teaching any Spanish kids? I mean, how could you not, actually, when you see them?

KB: While I was there, I traded ice time for coaching. So I didn't pay for my ice time and I just taught and a lot of it was gesturing because my Spanish is limited at best.

VB: It will pick up.

KB: It will pick up. It better. But teaching is hard. You know, teaching is like being a parent and now I think I'd love to do choreography and put some shows together, but teaching, wow! My hat goes off to teachers of all kinds.

VG: Yeah, because you have to start the day the earth cooled, don't you, really, and you have to start from the very beginning.

KB: And then you have to stick with it.

VG: Yeah, you have to say, "All right, I've taught you that. You can skate backwards now."

KB: Like parenting. You can't get bored with it.

VG: No, you can't, because they won't go away. All right, we have a clip, you know. This is with Michael Buble. You know him.

KB: Yeah, a great guy.

VG: So what were the circumstances of this and then we'll run the clip and it's going to air on the 21st of December.

KB: 21st of December.

VG: I don't know how you keep it all in your head.

KB: It's Smucker's Gotta Skate. It's my third one. The first one was here in Vancouver and I can't believe I have--I keep coming back for more punishment. They want this Kurt Browning TV special down in the United States. Michael Buble, a good Canadian kid, fantastic career, a young guy, a good-looking kid. All the women went "Yay!" when he sang.

VG: I bet he hated that.

KB: Oh, he loves it! He's a natural-born star. So we put the show together in Hamilton and Michael had a lot of fun on the ice and I bet you're going to see him skate.

VG: Okay, let's watch this clip.

(clip of Kurt's Moondance with Michael Buble singing live. The clip ends with Kurt pulling Jennifer Robinson on the ice)

VG: Ah! Now see, she could skate, that girl you pulled out from the audience.

KB: That was Jennifer Robinson, another Canadian champion.

VG: Your hair, the hair was very blonde there.

KB: Yeah, this (indicating his hair, which is pretty much returned to its natural color) what you see is what's left of what happened the night before that show.

VG: Right. What did you do to it after?

KB: Well, we were set in a dance hall and I was supposed to be the crazy guy and Brian Boitano was my foil. He was the straight-laced guy and we were supposed to be kind of competitive, so I thought--you know, when you don't have a lot to work with, it's--I can't fluff it up, I don't know, so I dyed it.

VG: You didn't do it yourself?

KB: No, I had help.

VG: And do you think you were adorable with that Nordic look?

KB: I think that I created many different opinions about how I looked.

VG: And what did your wife say?

KB: Oh, she loved it!

VG: Oh, she did?

KB: Yeah, she was fine with it.

VG: Oh, good! Well, why don't we go out and do it again?

KB: I probably will.

VG: Really?

KB: Oh, yeah. I'll do it every once in awhile. I mean, while it's there, I gotta play with it.

VG: Brian Orser, you're doing a thing with Orser.

KB: Well, actually, I'm working with Brian a lot this year. Brian's in great shape and he's also producing now a lot, so...

VG: I ran into him a couple of months ago somewhere. Did you say hello?

KB: Probably shopping.

VG: I hope so. I'd like to go shopping with him.

KB: You do.

VG: Do I? Does he spend a lot?

KB: Brian has a flair for everything he does, so if you go shopping with Brian, bring a lot of credit cards that don't max out.

VG: And he's doing Holiday Festival on Ice. That's his thing.

KB: Brian's taking care of that and I'm in that with Jamie and David and that should be a fun, fun show.

VG: Okay, now Ice Wars. It's over.

KB: Ice Wars is over and oooh! Anybody who watched it on TV, we were that close! (makes a sign with his finger indicating how close the final score was)

VG: I know. What happened? What is it with those Russians?

KB: Oh, they're good. I don't know, but they were better than us that day by about that much! (makes another "close" sign with his fingers)

VG: What was better?

KB: You know what it was? It was Oksana Baiul, actually, kind of. She hasn't been skating that much lately. I haven't seen her, and she came on the ice and turned some triples and I think she was the thing that...

VG: So she's recovered? Because she had a tough time.

KB: Oksana took success hard. I don't know if that's a good way to say it.

VG: She was here once.

KB: Was she?

VG: Yeah, and she was good. She had a little problem before, then she was good here, then she had a little problem after.

KB: Yeah, I don't know much about Oksana's story except for...

VG: She racked up a car.

KB: Yeah.

VG: But she was very young.

KB: Stay on the ice.

VG: Stay on the ice. Don't ever go off the ice! Are you every day on the ice?

KB: I'm more on the ice lately with Scott Hamilton.

VG: I guess you wouldn't today because your skates aren't here!

KB: No, no, but they're coming.

VG: Aren't they?

KB: Yeah, Air Canada promised.

VG: Isn't that terrifying? Doesn't your heart just sink?

KB: Yeah, I mean...

VG: You don't carry them on hand luggage?

KB: You can't anymore. They're weapons.

VG: Oh, yeah, post-September 11th. Anyway, lovely to see you, happy daddy. Look at this. He's got stuff written on his hand like a kid. (Vicki takes Kurt's hand, which has something scribbled on it, but we can't see what he's written)

KB: I have to make that phone call!

VG: Oh, yeah. Kurt Browning. Check his website, kurtfiles.com. (the www.kurtfiles.com URL is displayed on the TV screen)