Brian Boitano’s Skater Stories
Below are various interesting stories from Brian’s life.
I had always wanted to skate on a glacier. And, in 1988 I had the opportunity. It was freezing, though. I was wearing tights, a T-shirt, and a button-down shirt—that’s it! It was thirty degrees below zero, so I’d skate for ten minutes, then go into a warming tent for fifteen minutes, then skate again for ten more minutes. It went on like that all day long. Sometimes an assistant would run out during a break with a thermal blanket to cover me up.
At one point, the director wanted a shot of me sliding into the snow and then just lying there. He told me to lie in the snow and that the helicopter would pull back and get a shot from the air. So I slid into the snow and waited. The helicopter didn’t budge, so I kept waiting. I was getting colder and colder, but I didn’t want to get up and ruin the shot, because I knew I’d have to do the whole thing over again.
Finally, the assistant ran out with the thermal blanket, yelling, “Enough, enough! He’s not moving!” Maybe she thought the director had killed me.
Needless to say, we didn’t try for a re-shoot.
DREAMS AND NIGHTMARES
I used to have skating nightmares. I’d dream that the announcer said, “Representing the United States, Brian Boitano.” I’d think, “I don’t have my costume on. I don’t have my skates on. I’m not ready!” Or I’d dream that I went on the ice with the wrong blades, or wearing someone else’s boots. I used to remember all my dreams, but that stopped for a decade after the 1988 Olympics.
Now, I’m just beginning to remember my dreams again.
Throughout my career, I have had knee problems. Sometimes I skated in a competition even though I was sick or injured, because the event was too important to miss. I always checked with my doctor first. When I was 14, 1 got the flu at the World Junior Championships and kept throwing up.
I couldn’t take any medicine or I would have violated drug regulations, so Linda and I went to a doctor and got something to calm my stomach. We didn’t tell anyone that I was sick because we didn’t want judges to think I was skating in a weakened condition. Somehow I managed to make it through my program and I won the bronze medal.
I’ve skated with stress fractures, repetitive stress injuries, and tendinitis. The only injury that kept me off the ice for a long period of time occurred when I was twelve and trying to learn the triple Sal-chow. My knee hurt, so my parents took me to our doctor. We found out that I had jumper’s knee: the tendons were so overdeveloped for my muscle structure that my kneecap had cracked all over. I couldn’t skate at all for six months, then for three months I could only practice figures.
The silver lining was that I became very proficient at figures, and began to really enjoy practicing them.