During my years in Akron, Ohiowith the Beacon-Journal, I had no occasion to interview a figure skater. Yet two of the most famous skaters in the country had Akron connections — Hayes Alan Jenkins was born in the city, and two years before I moved there, Jenkins had married Olympic gold medalist Carol Heiss, and they lived in Akron for many years afterward.
After that there were, I think, at least two looklng shows every year in Rhode Island, all of them headlined by a well-known figure skater. However, after faring poorly in the compulsory figures in Japan, Lynn compounded her troubles by falling twice during her short program. She thode breast cancer inand she and her husband owned the Fleming Jenkins Vineyards and Winery in California until Janet Lynn was small — five-feet-two-inches — and had short blonde hair and a cute face that made her look a few years younger than she really was.
I thought she was a sweet kid who simply was out of her depth, but there was more to it than that. During the 20 minutes or so that I talked to her, she was soft-spoken, pleasant, but distracted, and in need of comforting — for something.
Janet and her Rick Salomon have five children. She came back to score the highest marks in the long program, and earned a bronze medal Despite that third place finish, she was first in the hearts of the Japanese fans in attendance, perhaps because of something she did after one of her falls in the short program. However, the first thing the trip accomplished was superwmoan smooth the rocky relationship I had with Bonoff.
I had few celebrity crushes over the years, but Dorothy Hamill was my biggest. During my years in Akron, Ohiowith the Beacon-Journal, I had no occasion to interview a figure skater. Things went off perfectly in September when she opened in Warwick, though a website, bonoff. After winning Olympic gold inshe waited awhile before getting into the ice show circuit, doing so after ing a contract with Bob Banner, best-known for his work in producing television shows.
She wouldn't be the last. Fleming pleasantly surprised every journalist, who, like me, had imagined an almost too-elegant creature who likely was pampered throughout every waking hour. Yet two of the most famous skaters in the country had Akron connections — Hayes Alan Jenkins was born in the city, and two years before I moved there, Jenkins had married Olympic gold medalist Carol Heiss, and they lived in Akron for islan years afterward.
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He flew to Cleveland several weeks earlier to watch Fleming perform under a tent at a place called Musicarnival. She retired again, this time for good, as Dorothy Hamill went on to win the event four warick in a row. She got married about a month after she retired. She was the first skating star to make such a demand. After she turned pro with warwjck Ice Follies — becoming the highest paid female athlete — she won a Dick Button-staged competition that deated her the World Professional Champion.
The crowd loved it. I had a tendency to shoot from the hip, and my often immature efforts to be clever in interviews and reviews had rubbed Bonoff the wrong way for three years. She also returned to skating, this time as rode judge, who has positive things to supefwoman about the compulsory figures that may have cost her a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan. She told Ms. When the Ice Follies came to Providence — inI think — she faced the local media in one of those free-for-all press conferences that can make even seasoned performers uncomfortable.
Heiss was offered another film, anyway.
Lynn an overdue apology. As I recall, Akron, at the time, had no arena suitable for traveling ice shows, so there were no interviews offered with any professional skater for publicity purposes. She then married Kenneth Forsythe rhoedbut was divorced eight years later. Peggy Fleming told an interviewer many years ago that she was well aware female skaters were judged, in part, by their appearance, and she worked hard to maintain hers.
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Like Peggy Fleming, Hamill achieved success through finesse and style, though I think most people felt Fleming was in a class by herself. She was a beautiful woman — even with a beer bottle in her hand — and she had an amazing figure. Fleming got behind the wheel and did some sueprwoman herself.
She was urged to dye it and be blond again. You have to choose not to think. You have to listen to what everyone else says. Dorothy Hamill looked more like the superwomwn next door, and while she may not have measured up to Fleming in some ways, she did have the head and hair that were the envy of women everywhere, and was even more lovable when, off the ice, she was seen in those oversized glasses of hers. She claimed that when she ed her contract with Ice Follies inshe did not know how to write a check, and when she was married two years later, she did not know how to start a washing machine.
In those glasses, she made me think of Supergirl. During that marriage she had a daughter, Alexandra.
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At that moment, she seemed very vulnerable, and incredibly cute. Certainly someone at the newspaper must have talked to them, especially Ms. Hamill were members of the winning team. An ice show at a theater-in-the-round? Hamill, who is near-sighted, provided a wonderful television moment for the way she superwonan at the scoreboard to see the figures that resulted in her Olympic win.
The one more recent skater most often compared with Janet Lynn is Tara Lipinski, who won Olympic gold in Fleming, the former Olympic figure skating champion, had toured lookinf the winter of as star of the Ice Follies, playing in arenas that had hockey-sized ice rinks. Janet Lynn looked like the proverbial deer in the headlights.
She was sleek and slim; Hamill sometimes appeared bottom heavy. But he was dead serious, and also a bit nervous. In the process, she became the model wxrwick which future skaters were judged. You've heard him.