As a former regional and sectional gold medal figure skating champion, I’ve had the honor to meet and work with many world-renowned skaters who – like me – have a deep passion for the sport. However, this past Monday in New York City the 2012 Benefit Gala and Performance honoring the legendary Richard “Mr. Debonair” Dwyer trumped a career chock full of memories.
At age 76, Mr. Dwyer is considered one of the most famous skating show stars ever, having skated in both the Ice Follies and Ice Capades. He is the world’s longest performing ice skating professional, and that night he skated wearing his signature look of top hat, tails and cane and pulled off landing two axels perfectly. Wow, I hope I am able to do the same at that age! But what an inspiration to all of us at any age.
I was fortunate to have been invited by my darling friend JoJo Starbuck. Many of you will remember JoJo and her partner Kenneth Shelley, as they were three-time United States pair skating champions (1970-1972) and two-time Olympians (1968 and 1972) – and are both still amazing. The evening was sponsored by The Ice Theatre of New York and held at the amazing Sky Rink/ The Lighthouse Restaurant at Chelsea Piers. I arrived at 6:45pm, already dressed to kill and ready for a night out on the town.
I wasn’t disappointed: I sat with Ken Shelley, and I was thrilled to be amongst the likes of Dick Button, Dorothy Hamill, Tai Babilonia, and Linda Fratianne. Other notable skating stars included Tenley Albright, 1956 Olympic Champion, and 2011 US Champion Ryan Bradley. The skating was superb, the dinner was delicious and the company was simply delightful. What a thrill to be surrounded by many of the most iconic skaters of the 20th and 21st centuries!
Not bad for a Monday night!