Saturday, January 19, 2013
Countdown to the U.S. Figure Skating Championships: Great Moments in U.S. Championship History: Brian Boitano's 1994 Freeskate to "Lincoln Portrait" and "Appalachian Spring" by Aaaron Copeland
In the years leading up to the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, Brian Boitano, 4-time U.S., World, and 1998 Olympic Champion, petitioned before the powers that be to change the rules and allow professionals to reinstate to amateur competition. Boitano wanted to return to Olympic competition because he had a strong desire to grow as a person and athlete. He told ABC Sports commentators, "You cannot live on what you've done; you have to keep making challenges for yourself and not rest on the past." He also said, "The greatest feeling you can have is if you've challenged yourself and won."
The International Skating Union and the U.S. Olympic Committee agreed to Boitano's request. Subsequently, the rule change was known was "The Boitano Rule."
At the 1994 U.S. Nationals in Detroit, an event that is now infamous because of the assault on Nancy Kerrigan, Boitano returned to national competition after a six year absence to make his bid at making the U.S. Olympic team.
Though not his greatest performance from a technical viewpoint, Boitano's freskate to Aaron Copeland's "Lincoln Portrait" and "Appalachian Spring," is classic skating at its finest.
Commentator Dick Button, 1948 and 1952 Olympic Gold medalist, said during the broadcast: " This program, an exercise of simplicity-- grand movements, strong edges caressing the ice, not an ounce of mannerism."
The spread eagle section in the middle of the program is evidence of the power and beauty that holding a simple edge can have, a contrast to the frantic footwork and windmilling arms that we see in many programs in men's skating today.
Boitano's freeskate features the shaker song, "Simple Gifts." The lyrics go, "Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free..." These words ring true to Boitano's skating as he fills the space of the arena with a freedom and simplicity that is profound.