Shyly, Nancy Kerrigan admits there are things on ice skates that she can’t do anymore.
“There’s lots of them,” said the two-time Olympic medalist, smiling on a virtual press tour.
“I’m in my 50s! They don’t expect that I can do the things these 20-year olds can do.”
But what Kerrigan can do and wants to do is put figure skating back in the mind of the American sports fan.
She feels like people have forgotten the artistry and beauty of the sport — so much so that she is headlining the Ice Dreams Tour. It will open in New Jersey on April 8 and put on 10 shows throughout the Northeast, including Buffalo and outside of Chicago.
“It’s sort of disappearing,” said Kerrigan.
“I did a show called Champions on Ice for years and years and it’s not in existence any more here in the states. I want to share and give back to skating because it’s given me so many wonderful things I wouldn’t have had otherwise.”
Nancy Kerrigan still a captivating figure
Kerrigan — who is 52 now, if you can believe it — looked spry and comfortable during her interview about the upcoming tour with a dog barking behind her.
She played a role in making figure skating the most popular sport in the world and her name is completely synonymous with the sport. Unfortunately, at the height of her fame, she was the victim of an attack perpetrated by one of her rivals in 1994.
The world has moved on, and so has she. She’s the mother of three, the only one who ever did some competitive figure skating. Another child is a costume designer in New York, and the other is in a ballet school.
“They know all about my career,” Kerrigan said.
“They didn’t live through it. They know what stories I’ve told and that I toured and that I went to the Olympics and worked hard.”
Kerrigan got involved with Ice Dreams through her connections with the current generation of figure skating stars. She did a Holiday Spectacular on Ice with Max Aaron and Courtney Hicks.
She enjoyed working with them and seeing their skills and the intimate nature of the smaller rinks. None of the Ice Dreams tour rinks are large, allowing for a connection between the performer and the crowd.
“This is a nice place for that, there is so much going on in the world,” said Kerrigan.
“We all need entertainment to sort of escape that. We all need two hours to put it aside, stop watching the news. We need that escape now and then to enjoy life and appreciate the hard work these skaters have put in.”
Skating and giving back
Ice Dreams is working with Purely Inspired to raise one million meals for those in need through Feeding America. Each purchase of a Purely Inspired product at Walmart donates a dollar to the organization.
“It’s always important to give back,” Kerrigan said.
“It’s amazing and such an honor to be able to use the celebrity and notoriety to bring awareness and notice to different things, so I can help somebody else. It’s such an amazing thing.”
The world of figure skating has changed since Kerrigan last competed on the international stage. The scoring metrics have been altered, favoring more of a technical approach than the artistry mixed with athleticism that was the style in Kerrigan’s day.
“Everybody looks very young,” Kerrigan said.
“In some ways it’s sad. In some ways there is a mathematical equation to the programs, so they all kind of look the same instead of having more originality. That’s the thing that’s lost. There’s an equation now to getting the points so you lose that originality.”
Ice Dreams tour schedule
April 8 – Mennen Sports Arena (Morristown, NJ)
April 9 – Buffalo State Arena (Buffalo, NY)
April 10 – Capital Ice Arena (Clifton Park, NY)
May 13 – University of Delaware (Newark, DE)
May 14 – Milford Ice Arena (Milford, CT)
May 15 – New England Sports Center (Worcester, MA)
June 3 – OBM Arena (Strongsville, OH)
June 4 – Suburban Ice (Rochester, MI)
June 5 – Northbrook Sports Center (Northbrook, IL)
June 10 – Northwell Health Ice Center (East Meadow, NY)
For tickets, visit www.icedreamstour.com