I've written before about my sneaking suspicion that my love of figure skating stemmed from my love of soaps. When I worked as a researcher at ABC, we even talked about what "storylines" we would be pushing for a given broadcast, be it a rivalry between two skaters (Brian Boitano/Brian Orser), a bad boy/girl trying to redeem their image (Christopher Bowman/Tonya Harding), overcoming adversity (Elena Bereznaia post-taking a blade to the head), and, of course, the ever-popular love story.
Even non-skating fans are familiar with the tale of Ekaterina Gordeeva and the late Sergei Grinkov, or the now divorced Jamie Sale and David Pelletier.
But before those skating sweetheart stories captured the public's imagination, there was another couple: Ludmilla Belousova and Oleg Protopopov (read a recent interview with them, here).
The Protopopovs were six-time USSR National Champions, 1965, 1966 1967 & 1968 World and European Champions and two-time Olympic Champions in 1964 & 1968.
Many pairs innovations have been attributed directly to them including but not limited to the lovely “death spiral” which they feel should be more aptly named the "cosmic" spiral.
In 1979, Oleg and Ludmilla defected from the then Soviet Union to seek asylum in Switzerland, which is now their winter home.
This September 3, 2011, at their summer home in Lake Placid, NY at the Herb Brooks Arena (Olympic Center/2634 Main Street) at 7PM, the Skating Club of Lake Placid, in cooperation with the NYS Olympic Regional Development Authority presents a tribute to the Protopopovs.
Tickets are $10.00 for Adults, $8.00 for Youth (7-12) and Seniors (65+). All proceeds to benefit the Skating Club.
Contact: Liz De Fazio (518-523-1655, x.226 or firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information on seeing the team that's been described as "beloved around the world and best known for their romance and artistry on the ice. Their beauty of line and perfection of unity, along with their harmony with the music, have often been emulated by many pairs’ teams but duplicated by few."