Photo by Mark Walentiny
 
 

CHAMPIONS ON ICE, WINTER TOUR - 2000


New Orleans, January 6

 "Rudy Galindo music Prince medley ("Let's Go Crazy," "1999"...)
costume Velvet purple suit with high collar & cape with "Rudy" written on it This was a really fun number and I think the first one that really grabbed the crowd. I do think it started a little slow (a little too much dancing at first before he actually started skating), but the music and everything fit Rudy perfectly. He flung off the cape towards the beginning, and later (right after the first music change, I think), he also took off the jacket to reveal a sparkly tank top with "2000" written down the back. Totally fun, and totally Rudy."

 ---Jenny75

 Jenny 75 also reported that Rudy's introduction number was "Mambo #5" and he wore  a "sparkly black and white outfit." She mentioned that the New Orleans arena is new and very nice, and that there was a large crowd.

 Also from Jenny75--the finale seems to be much the same as last year's swing medley that fans really liked. Following is her summary

 "After Brian finished skating, a medly of swing music started playing. Rudy Galindo, Victor Petrenko, Todd Eldredge, and Jerod Swallow skated onto the ice. Liz Punsalan came out after that and joined Jerod. Everyone was wearing turquoise, purple, black, or pink (or combinations thereof). As with the intro, the entire cast was announced one by one, but all sorts of other group things were happening at the same time. It was very fun to watch."

 Also as in last year's Winter Tour, Liz and Jerod came out first and Rudy second, which probably means Rudy is again "dancing" for the duration of the number!

 Little Rock, January 8

 "Went to the COI last night at the new Alltel Arena... all in all, it was a terrific show!...The whole cast was there and the show was pretty much sold out.

"Brian B, Nancy, Oksana, Katarina, Dorothy, Todd, Phillipe, and Viktor all skated two programs. Personally, I would have rather seen Surya and Rudy skate two programs...

"Rudy had the best costume... very Prince-like.

 "The closing number looked good--lots of stuff going on... I'm sure the kinks will be worked out over the remainder of the tour."

 ---Boomba

 Atlanta, GA, January 9

 "Rudy--"Prince Medley". This was cool and lots of fun. Rudy came out in a purple outfit that looked like Prince's from his Purple Rain days, complete with sparkling purple cape. After the "1999" segment, he stripped down to a tank top with "2000" sequinned on the back. I think this will be another signature piece from him."

 ---Mariah

 Mariah confirms that the finale is the same Swing medley as last year, also that Rudy, Liz & Jerod, Surya, Victor, Usova & Platov, and Klimova & Ponomarenko do only one number. The others do two.

 "Also, CLASSIC Rudy, a medley by the artist formerly known as Prince..purple floor length coat and all! It was great!!! Lots of energy, the crowd was great (see SOI??? You SHOULD come to Atlanta!!!)"

 ---Katyabelle

   Providence, RI, January 12

 "Rudy did his new Prince medley, in layers of purple. Had high hopes, but he spent most of the time near the board mugging and gyrating. He's good at acting/interacting with the crowd, but I imagine this will look even worse on TV."

 ---acre

Portland, ME, January 14

 From the Bangor Daily News, Bangor, ME, January 17, 2000
"Skating Luminaries Perform in Portland Showcase," by Dale McGarrigle

 "Twenty of figure skating's brightest lights shone in Portland on Friday night, as the Champions on Ice tour stopped for a nearly sold-out show at the Cumberland County Civic Center. Twenty former world and Olympic titlists and medalists performed, ranging in age from 43-year-old Dorothy Hamill to 22-year-old Oksana Baiul. The audience of 6,534, about 200 short of a sell-out, appreciated the opportunity to see them all live.

"It was a showcase evening, with the skaters or pairs featured in one or two individual numbers each, with the bigger names getting the second outing. Unfortunately, this meant only single performances by the show's most entertaining skaters. Billing seemed to be based largely on past titles, and some skaters are just better entertainers than competitors.

"An early case in point was the flamboyant Rudy Galindo, the evening's third skater. He appeared along the board resplendent in purple, including a cape with fur along its fringe, as he performed to a medley of songs by the artist formerly known as Prince. During "Let's Go Crazy" and "1999," Galindo, dressed in a Prince-like suit, took control of the ice as he danced, sashayed and shook his butt. As "I Would Die 4 U" began, he stripped down to a narrow tank top, emblazoned with the year 2000. He was a hard act to follow."

"One big thing lacking from the Champions on Ice show was group numbers. There were opening and concluding numbers featuring all the skaters, but they served only to introduce them. It would have been intriguing to see how the skaters worked together in smaller groups.

"Still, many audience members liked their skaters one at a time, in showcases, and that is what Champions on Ice gave them. It's hard to argue too strenuously against a show that brings that much talent to a single location, so that fans can enjoy their favorites."

Albany, NY, January 16 (afternoon)

 [opening number]
"Rudy Galindo skated to "Mambo #5" and did a 2axel and a scratch spin."

 [regular program]
"Rudy Galindo skated to a Prince medley while wearing a purple costume with a purple cape.  Rudy did a 2axel, a 2axel, pushups, 3toe, cartwheel, 3toe - 2toe, sit - Y - scratch combo, and ended with a split on the ice."

 ---Wayne Joy

 "Rudy was a smash.  He did his Prince number and the sight of him in his purple outfit and cape with "Rudy" in sequins on the back was worth the ticket price.  In the middle of the number, the lights went out for a second. When they came back on, there he was in a tank top with "2000" in (what else) sequins down the back.  He really camped it up and the audience loved it, which might be thought surprising considering how conservative an area Hershey is in.  Guess nobody minded his "ramming his homosexuality down our throats" which I thought was one of the more felicitious phrases used by his critics in rssif."

 ---Barbara

 " I think Rudy's posturing & preening is somewhat excessive on TV, but it worked well in the show. I thought this program was very entertaining (Prince medley)-I loved that his drop to the ice was in perfect timimg with

 the music." ---Raquel

Hershey,PA, January 18th

 [Thanks to Shannon for such a great review of the entire show!]

 Champions On Ice---January 18th
Hersheypark Arena,  Hershey, PA

 This years Champions On Ice was really wonderful. I enjoyed almost all of the music choices by the skaters. It was fast and upbeat. As the lights went down and the music started, they had all the flags from different countries displayed on the ice by the colored lighting. The lighting this year was amazing! Very beautiful shapes and colors. Now for the good stuff a group of skaters came out for the opening number and then each came out individually and were introduced. Rudy got one of the loudest responses of cheers from the crowd. As did Nancy Kerrigan, Katarina Witt, and Todd Eldredge. Anyway, there were many highlights in the show for me. I absolutely LOVED Rudy's medley of Prince songs! He came out in this purple outfit with a cape to match and it was so cool. He immediately got the crowd on his side. It was my first time seeing this number, and although I heard he would be skating to Prince music, the program really met my expectations. He is a true show skater that always puts the audience first. "Thank you, Rudy!" It's a shame that many judges don't give him the marks he deserves because he's an amazing talent. I would like to mention some other skaters as well. I was very disappointed that Oksana Bauil was scheduled to be there and then was a no-show. I have this feeling that she may be going downhill again, but I certainly hope that I'm wrong because I'm really pulling for her. She's a beautiful skater who just needs to try and live up to her potential. Katarina is also one of my favorites and she skated so beautifully...she did her Evita program from a few years ago and it was wonderful. Phillippe Candelero did his Braveheart routine which I love. He seems like such a sweetie and I think I even like him more now that I've seen him in person. And what a backflip! He did a few for us...weren't we lucky! Unfortunately, he did fall once on a jump, but it wasn't a bad one. That was one of only two falls the entire night, him and Surya. Now I adore Rudy, but I have to say my favorite program of the night was done by Todd, For The Glory. I didn't think much of this when I saw it on tv, but in person---WOW! He spins sooo fast! I even glanced down at the tunnel and noticed Brian Boitano standing there watching him skate. I thought that was neat. I do like the way they're doing the finale now as a group ensemble. It's interesting and fun to watch. Rudy was right in front of our section at the end so I really lucked-out. Each of the skaters was then introduced one last time and took their final bows. It was a spectacular show with great music, lighting, and costumes...but most importantly GREAT skaters. I'm already looking forward to next year!

 ShannonJ92

 "Rudy Galindo - Prince medley
"Rudy was a smash.  He did his Prince number and the sight of him in his purple outfit and cape with "Rudy" in sequins on the back was worth the ticket price.  In the middle of the number, the lights went out for a second. When they came back on, there he was in a tank top with "2000" in (what else) sequins down the back.  He really camped it up and the audience loved it, which might be thought surprising considering how conservative an area Hershey is in.  Guess nobody minded his "ramming his homosexuality down our throats" which I thought was one of the more felicitious phrases used by his critics in rssif."

 ---Barbara

 "Rounding out the show were crowdpleasers Rudy Galindo and Phillipe Candeloro, who brought the audience to a frenzy with their hysterical individual performances...

 "But no one had more fun on the frozen surface this night than Galindo, who wore a purple velvet tuxedo and cape as he performed a medley of Prince songs.

 "With each song change, Galindo tossed another part of his costume aside in a mini-striptease, ending with what can only be described as purple velvet bib overalls. He looked like Liberace on ice as he glided across the arena, shaking his body to the cheers of the women in the crowd and getting revved-up from their attention."

 From the Lancaster New Era (Lancaster, PA), January 19, 2000.
"Champions display their magic on ice; skaters spin, jump, wow crowd"

 Rochester, NY, January 21

 "The arena was pretty much sold out--just a few nosebleed seats in the corner were empty. I had fourth row seats in the corner opposite from where the skaters came out...

 "Rudy- his Prince medley was a hit. His jumps were good, and I liked the program, due in part that I really liked the music.

 "I thought the finale was the best I've seen at COI shows. It seemed more choreographed and polished than in the past."

 ---Cindy55

 Grand Rapids, MI, January 23

From the Grand Rapids Press, Monday, January 24, 2000

Article title: "More than nice, on ice: Arena show had more stars than a clear night sky" By the Grand Rapids Press

The review of the entire Sunday COI performance was particularly scathing to Nancy Kerrigan and Oksana Baiul. To read the entire review for as long as it remains available, go to: http://gr.mlive.com/entertainment/index.ssf?/entertainment/stories/20000124gchampion104302.frm

 "The fearless Surya Bonaly of France pleased the crowd with her signature back flips and powerful jumps, but the underrated skater couldn't hold a candle to fan favorite Rudy Galindo. The flamboyant skater, a one-time world bronze medalist, drew twitters from the crowd instantly when lights revealed his purple velvet get-up, perhaps the perfect outfit to pay homage to the former Prince, whose music Galindo skated to. Employing disco moves, over-the-top flirting and the always popular strip-down-to-something-risque technique, the American shook his bon-bon like his life depended on it."

  Madison, Wi, January 25

 "Rudy G. did a Prince medley. Very enjoyable, much dancing and posing. Good skating, good jumps, lots of energy. I enjoyed watching him, he looked as though he was having a good time."

 ---Loretta A

 "The show drew about 6,500 people, mostly families and packs of women who hooted especialy for the male skaters.

 "Among the standouts was 1996 U.S. champion Rudy Galindo's sexy tribute to The Artist (formerly known as Prince).  Galindo came out with glitter in his hair and wore a purple cape and suit.

 "'That's my baby right there!' one woman behind me squealed.

 "Then she did just about everything but break out dollar bills and stuff them down his velvet pants when Galindo did push-ups on the ice and blew kisses to the crowd...

 "For most skaters, the show was more about personality than points. They've already won awards. On this tour they are winning fans."

 From the Wisconsin State Journal, January 26, 2000
"Stars Stir up Passions With Antics On Ice," by Natasha Kassulke

 Topeka, KS, January 29

 "All 18 of the world-caliber skaters did a brief opening number, with the audience quickly showing their appreciation of seeing their favorite skater in person.

 "The performers demonstrated the combination of athleticism, grace and style that has made it nearly impossible to surf the television channels without finding some ice skating program.

 "If there is any saturation of the ice skating market on television, the novelty hasn't worn off that much for Topekans, who were treated to only the second national touring ice show since Landon Arena gained an ice floor for the ScareCrows in 1998...

 "Rudy Galindo reigned in purple as he skated out in a purple costume complete with French cuffs and a faux fur-fringed cape to the music of Prince (or the artist formerly known by that name)."

 From the Topeka Capital-Journal, January 30, 2000
"Ice Show Dazzles 6,700 at Landon Arena," by Bill Blankenship

   Wichita, KS, January 31

 From the Wichita Eagle, February 1, 2000, "Champions on Ice Grace Wichita," by Jessica Marshall

 "The evening started with performances by three-time World silver medalist Surya Bonaly, Rudy Galindo, Nancy Kerrigan and Oksana Baiul. Bonaly's athletic jump combinations and trademark backflip, and Baiul's Latin dance- flavored routine were definite crowd-pleasers, while Kerrigan's performance to Aerosmith's "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" was almost as creative as Galindo's tribute to The Artist Formerly Known As Prince.

 Dressed in a glittering, velvety purple suit, complete with a fur-trimmed purple cape and a white ruffle-sleeved blouse, Galindo danced and gyrated to the Purple One's greatest hits, including "Let's Go Crazy," "1999" and "Baby, I'm A Star."

"I loved his Prince routine," said Cline. "The costume and the way he danced to the music really made it wonderful."

CHAMPIONS ON ICE: Charlotte and Raleigh, NC (Feb. 3 and 4) and Greenville, SC (Feb. 5)

   Although I enjoyed what was the dream of every skating fan for the three Carolinas stops of the Champions on Ice Tour, Rudy's illness made it somewhat of a bittersweet experience. Photographer/web designer Debbie Mowry came east to spend several days in Charlotte, NC, my home, from which we could travel easily to the Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greenville, SC, tour stops, where she was able to photograph to her heart's content. She is webmaster of Liz Punsalan and Jerod Swallow's official web site and has done some great photography for Rudy, as well. As her host and transportation, I was included in having all access backstage passes at the three venues. (Being one of Rudy's web people also gave me an excuse for being there!) Thanks also to Liz & Jerod and Lou McClary, Tom Collins intrepid Security person, who were wonderful and hospitable to us throughout our visit.

 The compressed Winter Tour must be a very different experience for the skaters. A day off each week is a luxury, and they are literally on the go every minute. Last year they spent a week in Charlotte, bussing off to a few cities, and Rudy and Liz & Jerod had time to rent a car and tour to Asheville, NC. This year, they arrived late Tuesday night from Tulsa, OK, had Wednesday off, and had to perform Tuesday through Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon, all in different cities. We showed up in Charlotte on Wednesday to watch practice, got our passes, and again checked out practice on Thursday, when they performed in the evening.

 Because of the upcoming Goodwill Games, the practices were probably more intense than in past years, and Tom Collins had apparently arranged ice time in as many venues as he could. Everyone was working on programs other than their Tour programs, and it was obvious that Victor and Philippe meant business. Philippe interested me up close. He has some technique problems, but he gets the job done. Victor spent much time dancing with his "Mambo #5" mannequin partner, and it was fascinating. What a neat program! I wonder how much Rudy is responsible for giving other skaters the freedom--and initiative--to do this kind of thing?

 We had talked to Rudy for some time both days, and he told us about his lingering respiratory/stress induced asthma problems from the flu bug that hit the tour cast, but he was optimistic that he was getting better. However, in practice, he would skate for a while, then lean on the boards, a little like I've seen emphysema victims do to get more air in their lungs. Not a good omen. In the meantime, Surya would have skated for six hours if she could have, and when she usurped some of the men's ice time, saying she was replacing Rudy (!), she and Todd had some words (probably good-natured, but it was hard to tell!). The pairs, Kazakova and Dmitriev, and Brasseur and Eisler, and the Dance couples (Punsalan & Swallow, Klimova & Ponomarenko, and Usova & Platov) worked very hard every day. Oksana Baiul skated, often fell hard, but picked herself up immediately and continued as if nothing had happened. Her body must be made of steel. She's pretty tough in that respect. Nancy Kerrigan skated as well in the first two of her three performances as I've seen her in years. Dorothy Hamill is a joy to watch any time; she was fun and funny in the practices, and watching her closely makes her superior technique all the more evident. Katarina Witt may have impressed me as much as anyone, especially in the performances, where she completed two double axels each night in "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina."

To be honest and as unbiased as I can, although we couldn't see a lot of Rudy in practice, he has exquisite technique. Everything is tight and quiet and flowing, and his extension is superior. Todd, Victor, and Philippe jump huge and seem to land soooo hard. Whatever turns you on, I guess, and I like light and gentle and complete.

 Although Rudy performed his Prince number in good form at Charlotte and the crowd (at least the one I was with!) gave him a great ovation, I realized when I saw the televised COI how much more energetic he was in it. He was also delightful in the backstage area, and made a special effort to speak to a friend of mine who has scanned pictures for his web site, saying "Hi, there, Web Scanner," and chatting amiably.

I hoped he would feel even better the next day in Raleigh. Unfortunately, he was on a new antibiotic and had dizziness and disorientation to add to just plain feeling rotten. Practice was worse than in Charlotte. He said he felt like he was skating in a dream, and not one like '96 Nationals. I took my form acquired seat a few rows from the front and was relieved when he came out in full costume. He did the opening 30 or so seconds, completed the first jump (double axel??), bowed his head, and glided to the ice surface entrance amid gasps from the crowd. His exit was explained as a minor injury suffered in the opening number, and Nancy Kerrigan was immediately announced and on the ice. Not one to "use" my all access pass, I took off up what turned out to be about 60 steps, met Debbie, who had the same idea from her photography stance, and we went down to the skaters' area. Rudy was in the trainer's room. When he came out he spoke very pleasantly with us explaining he just couldn't get any air and his muscles were like water, thanked us for our concern, and said that he was ok. By then, I certainly wasn't ok, so I hung around where Debbie was shooting to see what happened in the finale. There was Rudy, double axels and all. He was sheet white when he came back from it.

 We started back on the three hour drive to Charlotte, and when the bus passed us about 3/4 of the way home, had to get back in front of it, and did. That thing moves!! Debbie was trying to see what movie they were watching. The next day we found that it was "Stepmom." We and they got home about 3:00 AM.

 Off to Greenville, SC, about two hours away, the next day. When we arrived, the skaters had just gotten there (4-5 in the afternoon), late because of a bus problem. Rudy was there and we found that he wasn't skating that night, but was taking the luggage bus to Atlanta to try and get some sleep and feel better. I had a nice opportunity to talk to him while he was waiting for the bus and found out a little about his move to Reno and his new life in his own house. In asking him about his mother's move, he said that she actually sold the trailer in San Jose and now has a house of her own in Reno! Rudy and Laura are so happy she will be able to spend more time with Tyler. Rudy says the culture is different than the Bay Area lifestyle he's been used to, and he misses his friends, but he seems happy to have all of the family together. He also talked about Raleigh the night before and said he thought the adrenalin he got from the crowd would carry him through, but he just couldn't breathe. That had to be a surprise and scare for him.

 Now that I've seen how long and seriously this lung infection has affected Rudy, and how he must have felt during the four days we spend hanging aroung the COI Tour, I can genuinely appreciate the graciousness he showed us and the time he spent with us. He's a really good guy his fans can be proud of in every way. Even in Raleigh, when he felt awful, he went through the line and signed autographs until the end.

 I also came out of this experience with a much greater appreciation for the machine like efficiency of the Tom Collins organization, especially when they manage to look so friendly and casual about it. If you have passes like we did, they do give you freedom to go wherever you want, though I guess they would take people violating normal courtesy to task. You are like one of them. Everything else is regulated and carefully watched, but not in a manner that makes people uncomfortable. Time is a very important factor, especially in the compressed tour, when the skaters often have to travel to another performance in a limited amount of time.------
 

Topeka Capital-Journal, February 4, 2000>br> "Review--No Doubt They are Champions," by Angie Allendorf Price

 "The highlights included Rudy Galindo, (an audience favorite last year), skating to a medley of music by Prince, clad in a purple velvet costume inspired by the artist himself. Halfway through the number, while skating to "1999," he removed his jacket to reveal a rhinestone "2000" on the back of his jumpsuit. The audience went wild and was sorry not to see him return in the second act...

 "If a show was ever worth the price of admission, this was it."
 
 

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Last updated October 13, 2001