Stars on Ice
Kurt List

Ice Time with Debbi Wilkes

Feb. 13, 2000

transcript written by Kirsten

Here's my transcript of the interview Debbi Wilkes did with Kurt = Browning during the February 13th, 2000 episode of Ice Time...with a few = comments of my own in brackets. :-)

DW: Debbi Wilkes

KB: Kurt Browning

DW: Welcome back to Ice Time. He is 4-time World Champion but back in = 1987, Kurt Browning was ranked only 15th in the world. What a difference = a year would make--by the time he hit Calgary and the Olympic Games with = his coach, Michael Jiranek, he might have had stars in his eyes, but the = details of the Calgary experience remain etched there forever. At = Canadians and back in the Saddledome, Kurt called up those memories.

KB: Actually, I remember Brian, you know, like everyone else. I remember = playing Frisbee outside with a short-sleeved T-shirt on.

DW: We had a chinook.

KB: I remember meeting Eddie the Eagle and the Jamaican bobsled team = asking for directions to the bus. Umm, I remember standing on top of a = bar at Electric Avenue with my coat on waving to the traffic and having = traffic stop and everyone wave back. Free drinks at every bar I went to. = Calgary was a dream; it wasn't real. I mean, it was absolutely = fantastic.

DW: How much of it was Olympics and how much of it was just being at = home in the West? (clip of Kurt taking the ice for his LP at the 1988 = Olympics.)

KB: It was my first Olympics and at the time I just thought that all = Olympics were like this. You went to the Olympics and especially when I, = the couple of years before the Olympics, I just thought that when you = got to the Olympics everything happened perfectly. I really did because = it was the Olympics. Like, I'd never seen the guy who did splat on Wide = World of Sports. I guess Calgary was...everything just about went = perfect. Even figures, the short program I skated clean after 7 guys = skated clean before me. (clip of Kurt finishing his 1988 Olympic LP) I = just think that Calgary was literally, and I didn't know at the time, = one of the highlights of my career, certainly, certainly, my Olympic = career.

DW: The first time I ever heard about you was through Brian Pockar, who = told me way back when you were a junior, "Watch this guy; he's amazing!" = I have a confession--I watched you and I said to Brian "Hmm." (Meaning = Debbi thought Kurt was just "so-so" the first time she saw him. BTW, you = can actually hear Debbi and Brian arguing over Kurt's choreography when = he won 1985 Junior Canadians--very funny! It's also interesting to note = that Debbi had basically the same first impression about G&G at 1986 = Worlds! Kirsten) Now is there ever egg on my face because you have to be = one of my most favorite skaters of all time.

KB: I've been able to create a place on the ice that I'm comfortable and = in doing so, I've been able to make my audience comfortable and I think = that's one of the things that has made me successful. (clip of Kurt's = "Antares" SP at 1999 Canadian Open) If you say I'm one of your favorite = skaters then I think that's probably why. I enjoy other people and I = enjoy the potential of the next 10 seconds of this program or how great = this program would be but how much better it would be if I could throw = an Axel into it or...I've just enjoyed it so much and I think that it's = contagious--it comes from me to you.=20

DW: How did Michael handle you? Did he try to control you?

KB: I think I was probably really fun to teach but hard to steer.

DW: Yeah, it's hard to get focused.

KB: And he didn't try to control me too much, when I think back. He = allowed me to be me and then as I turned professional, I had to then = really learn how to be professional, as the word states it. As an = amateur, I knew how to peak in March. Skate Canada, I'd skate terrible. = Divisionals was awful and if there was only 300 people in the audience, = then I couldn't do a thing. There had to be 18,000 people and lots of TV = cameras before I could skate well. And now as a professional, I've found = a way to reproduce some magic, a little bit here and there every night = and that, for me, I think, is the farthest I've come.

DW: How do you decide what it is you're going to do? What kind of = program and what sort of music you're going to choose?

KB: That's a good question. I don't, actually--usually I don't consider = myself the best source of my next solo. Sandra Bezic, Louis Stong has = picked some music and his wife, of course and together, Casablanca was = implicated by them. And Jef Billings does great costumes--I've been = really lenient with my image and have loaned it out to great people and = it's given me good work...Christopher Dean and Michael Seibert and even = Doug Ladret did a great program for me. I mean, I don't mind--I just = toss it out there and get good stuff back!

DW: It's interesting that you work with all of these other people and = you never feel threatened about who you are or losing who you are. = (another clip of Kurt skating "Antares" at 1999 Canadian Open)

KB: If I look at somebody, you know, that I respect and they say, "I = think you should skate to this." I mean, you know, I get a thousand = ideas from everywhere you go. But if there's someone I want to work = with, then if they think I can do it, then I know I can.

DW: Have you got a favorite all-time program?

KB: Uh, yeah, same as most everyone else. It's...Singing in the Rain is = my all-time favorite (clip of "Singing in the Rain" from You Must = Remember This) and it's a unique situation that happened only once with = the rain machines and the beautiful set and the ability to recreate, for = me, which is one of my favorite moments in any movie which was that = movie. So, for me, I mean, lots to choose from, but that's my favorite.

DW: Fans will be interested; so am I--what are your plans for the = future? Any new TV specials?

KB: Yeah, we might do one more TV special. You know, I'm trying to...I'd = like to incorporate my wife into working with me somehow...(clip of Kurt = and Sonia in the kiss and cry area at 1999 Canadian Open) an incredible = talent that's right beside me and you know, we just haven't got around = to joining it somehow.

DW: She's a dancer...

KB: Of course, sorry! (drops his voice to a whisper) My wife is a dancer = with the National Ballet of Canada (returning to normal voice) and that = would be something I would like to do. Another TV special, but I'm so = busy with just, you know, I'm just enjoying my personal life and just, = my family and touring with Stars on Ice and that, right now, is all I = need to keep me happy.

DW: What would you consider your biggest disappointment and your biggest = thrill? (clip of Kurt falling during his SP at the 1994 Olympics)

KB: I should say that not getting a medal at the Olympics is my biggest = disappointment but I'm not sure that's it.

DW: Would your life be any different?=20

KB: Exactly! I mean, the Olympics, as Scott Hamilton says, it changes = you to be a better person. It doesn't matter what happens, you come out = of the Olympics, you know, a more solid individual. So it's not a bad = thing...I wouldn't be...I wouldn't have my wife if I had won! (laughing) = (Since Kurt and Sonia were dating at the time of the 1994 Olympics, I = originally thought this last statement made absolutely no sense, but = after rewatching the interview I began to figure it out...Kurt has = stated several times that he would have turned pro back in 1992 had he = skated well at *those* Olympics. In which case, he probably wouldn't = have moved to Toronto in the summer of 1992 and probably wouldn't have = met and married Sonia! :-) That's just my interpretation, though! = Kirsten) and you know, I just, I don't know what it was...my biggest = disappointment.

DW: And biggest thrill?

KB: Biggest thrill...I suppose...carrying the flag at the Olympics was = really one of my biggest thrills. Skating with Brian Orser in a duet in = Edmonton at Stars on Ice after I was world champion was really a thrill = for me. (clip of Kurt and Brian skating together in matching blue and = red sequinned outfits at 1989 Champions on Ice) (I'm embarassed to = correct Kurt on that last statement, but the tour where Kurt and Brian = performed that number together in 1989 was Champions on Ice, not Stars = on Ice. At the time, Champions on Ice was an all-Canadian tour similar = in format to Skate The Nation...although not to be confused with the Tom = Collins tour, which was something different altogether! Sorry, Kurt! = Kirsten)

DW: I remember that number.

KB: Yeah, and I wore his costume, too! You know, it's not always the big = wins, you know. (clip of Kurt's quad at 1989 Worlds) Doing the quad was = a huge thrill, but doing it 10 years later in Stars on Ice in the United = States on the exact same day that I did it was maybe something that I = respected better. I don't know; lots of things to choose from.

DW: Thank you. It's a real treat to have you with us today. = Congratulations on your induction.

KB: (imitating trumpet fanfare) Thank you.

DW: Kurt Browning, one of my all-time faves.