I’ve always tinkered with the written word, starting from the time I was seven years old. But when I found figure skating back in 1981, my life took an immediate carpet ride to the most interesting spots imaginable.
I had no idea how much fun it would be. I decided I wanted to know everything there was to know about the sport, so that when I watched a skater on ice, I would understand everything, including their struggles, their personal battles, their life lessons – because figure skating is a microcosm of life. In the rink, skaters learn lessons in front of everybody who watches. It’s not easy. It’s intense, actually. And very fascinating.
I have covered 34 Canadian figure skating championships, 25 world figure skating championships, and Olympics in Calgary, Sydney, Salt Lake City, Athens, Turin, and Vancouver. I have broken stories at all of them. I have won awards for all sorts of things for my work.
I like interesting people who do interesting things. I’ve always had a thing for an oddball, somebody who is different. People are all different, yet the same. A spark lights up in me when I hear their tales. I learn from the people I interview.
Because of this, I’ve had a fascination for people from all countries. I’ve always been curious. Over the years, I’ve developed relationships in all corners of the world, aside from my home turf, Canada: China, United States, Russia, France, England, Hungary, Australia, Mexico, Israel, Sweden, Finland, Romania, Italy, on and on and on.
I have written four best-selling figure skating books from the time when the sport exploded in popularity, with the whacking of Nancy Kerrigan’s knee. People hadn’t been writing a lot of skating books at the time. I don’t tend to do biographies. I have always preferred to explain: how that complicated judging system works, who those people are that sit on the dais, peering over their glasses, how everything works. Figure skating offers so many fascinating nooks and crannies to explore: music, dance, numbers, psychology, boot manufacturing, parents, coaches, nutrition, health, choreography, rules, fans. Actually, I wrote a book about that: “Talking Figure Skating” that won an award as Canada’s sports book of the year in 1997, the first non-hockey book to win. My favourite review of the book came from Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun, who said that he abhorred figure skating and watching it was like getting root canal surgery. But he had read my book to the last word and couldn’t put it down. Mission accomplished!
I had taken a respite from writing books until I got the idea to issue my latest “Skating to Sochi.” It launched last October, just in time for Skate Canada in Saint John, N.B. I thought it would be an interesting idea to write a book BEFORE the Games started, to help people understand the back stories of the people who were putting their lives on the line in front of billions of people. And with this blog, I’ll continue the process.