Photo by Andrea "Hoo" Chempinski


The following excerpt is from Mary Spencer's review article, "The Tom Collins FTD Champions on Ice, Winter Tour," in American Skating World (March, 2000, Vol.19, no. 12). The show took place in Springfield, MA, on January 15, 2000.

 "Performing early in the first half, The Artist (in this case Rudy Galindo) energized the crowd with his Prince medley. In purple velvet pants and jacket before stripping to reveal a matching tank, Rudy delighted audiences with his struts and shimmies, and amazed with his huge double Axel and triple toe/double toe combination. The World Bronze medalist has the ability to electrify an arena. His spirit, enthusiasm, and love of skating zipped through the audience and lasted throughout the show."

 Who could have known all Rudy would go through between this performance and his courageous return to Baltimore on April 6 to skate in the Summer Tour?

 Baltimore, Md, April 6

 "The bittersweet number of course was Rudy Galindo's poignant "Send In The Clowns" -- many were surprised he appeared after he didn't skate the opening."



     Same concept as previous years with each skater doing 30? seconds of a song.  The difference this year is there is a costume 'theme' - all costumes are black and white and have gold plympic rings on them somewhere (For example Todd Eldredge had black pants, and a black v-neck sweater type vest over a white shirt with billowly sleeves and gold glittery rings around the neckline).  It worked well as it made the opening seem more like a group effort.  Don't remember what the majority of them skated to, but for some reason I can remember that Elvis got "Kung-Fu Fighting." Only Oksana crashed on her triple toe - all others clean.

 "Rudy Galindo  "Send In The Clowns"  in a new black and white version of the costume.  He wasn't intro'd int eh beginning so I wondered if he was going to skate, but he did although he too was off his game.  Singled some axels and I think the rest were doubled.  Nice to see him do one of his more serious routines."


 "Rudy Galindo - "Where are the Clowns" I have to admit that I blinked back a couple of tears while he was skating this piece. In the middle he brought out a hula hoop and was doing his spin encircled by this hula hoop and he had many moments where he seemed to be communicating a symbolic meaning. The program conveyed a poignant and emotional quality and I think he touched the audience with it. 2 axel triple jump (dunno what, I think he fell out of it) delayed axel"


 Washington, DC, April 7 (this will be the televised show)

 "Rudy - Biggest and longest standing ovation, and you could tell that he was really moved by it - looked like there were tears in is eyes. The applause just went on and on.  That all followed a flawless "SitC" routine (I really like the black costume sooo much better)

 "Overall the show was much better than it was in Baltimore.  Many less errors and the skaters looked more rested and relaxed.  I ended up with a total of 10+ rolls so it looks like next week is devoted to scanning and posting )"

 ---by Hooloovoo (she took the pictures of Rudy from the violin number on the web site. She's going to let me know if she got a good one of Rudy as soon as these pictures are ready.)

 "There were definitely more highlights than lows.  Overall I thought it was a better show than last year.  The beginning ensemble as well as the ending ensemble were good...the beginning because all the costumes were coordinated, the ending because choreography was better  than last year (and I liked last year's a lot) and generally a longer  number I believe..."

 "Rudy Galindo did well on his Send in the Clowns.  I found it so sad and almost felt choked up at the end, with the words to the song and all. He had very good audience support and cheers.  People began standing and cheering while he was taking a bow and after some seconds, he just got down on his knees in a humble "thank you".

 ---Kathryn Yeates

"Rudy Galindo  "Send In The Clowns" The emotional moment of the night.  Rudy looked pale and sick, but skated with incredible feeling.  A beautiful, sad song, and he couldn't have skated it any better.  The audience rose slowly with an emotional ovation that seemed to overwhelm Rudy, he could hardly get off the ice without help.  How brave of him to put his own personal struggle out there for us to share.  Many people were crying. "Berezhnaya & Sikharulidze Santana Medley. It was hard to change gears from Rudy's progam to focus on this..."

 ---Jane and Donna (George)

"Rudy's Standing Ovation! He was overcome with emotion of the audience's reaction, after his recent announcement related to HIV. He skated to Send in the Clowns and looked as though he was going to pass out after he left the ice. He was truly touched by the audience reaction."


 "I was at the show last night, and to be honest, I thought Rudy looked very good. I thought he was overjoyed by the response in the end of his program and that is why he acted that way. His jumped seemed very strong as well. I guess I missed something!"


 "The show was the best COI I've ever been too. Highlight for me was Plushenko (was rocked!), Rudy Galindo (and the support shown to him by the audience)..."

 ---Dance Belt

 Rudy Galindo was next and the crowd knew about the announcement.  He skated a good program to "Send in the Clowns" with the hula hoop.  Landed a 2A and some other jumps.The only standing ovation of the night.  Some girls behind me were crying at the end, and so was Rudy.  The whole arena felt for him."

 "Oh, LOL, Rudy started

 dirty-dancing with Nicole before the big climax.  Pretty funny."


COI on TNT (Washington, DC show televised)

 "Rudy was so touching, and I found the program much more effective in the less garish costume (not to mention that the black and white pseudo-Pagliacci design was rather poignant)."


 "Rudy's performance broke my heart, especially when he got so emotional after he was done. God bless him."


 "I was actually in tears. I guess thats all there is to say about that. Especially when he started crying after...I'm not usually an emotional person, so this was different. And I'm so happy for him that he has it all in perpesctive. I'm also really happy that him and Nicole have such a good friendship. Two great artists and people, two great friends."


 "I did see the part where the group was learning the choreography for the finale, and noticed that Nicole and Rudy seemed to be great friends--I've also noticed this at pro-ams in the past, and thought it seemed fitting--they seem like two of the most fun, flamboyant skaters out there--and of course they are two of my favorites."


 "Ironic that Rudy's using "Send in the Clowns" this year.  Somehow the words fit the situation."


 "In a Washington Post article Rudy said he changed to this number because it would be less stressful physically and also he felt like it would be more meaningful.  (He had been planning to do an upbeat number before all this happened.)"


 "Rudy sad music. I hope they find a cure for HIV soon."


 "My raves are for Rudy Galindo- made me cry."

 ---Lorie Wyatt

 "For me the highlights/great programs were
Dan Hollander
Victor>br> Finale


 "Rudy - tears. Loved the "fluff" piece on his HIV status then to follow it up w/Send in the Clowns. I'm excited to hear that he'll be with his sister but I was really looking forward to seeing him in Columbia & especially this program."


 "Rudy...yup, I was teary. Great stuff with the hoop, great skating."


 "RUDY GALINDO - this program was my absolute favorite of the could tell that Rudy put all that artistry that he is blessed with into this program (not to mention his heart & soul) very poignant and moving........made me cry."

 ---Nadine White

 "Galindo -- Touching"


 "Rudy was magnificient during his solo performance.  The crowd was very loving and it seemed that he got the loudest cheers...."

 ---Lois and Amanda

 "Rudy Galindo - Send in the Clowns Always liked this program and Rudy did a wonderful job with it as always - beautiful skater"


 "Rudy's performance to "Send in the Clowns" was extraordinary by any measure. He has often floundered as pro, I think, but this was his most beautiful program ever. I love the way he allows himself the freedom to combine traditionally "masculine" and "feminine" skating moves (like his surprisingly beautiful spiral). And I loved the way he incorporated the hoop into his program. The knowledge of his diagnosis, of course, only added to the emotional impact. If you haven't before, listen carefully to the words of the song. They're eerily appropriate to what I am sure is Rudy's current emotional situation."


"Rudy Gallindo did a beautiful job with the clown number and was so moved by the reception he got from the audience. My heart just goes out to him! I've always thought he was a terrific entertainer, but judges never seemed to quite understand what it was he was doing."


 Boston, MA, April 8

 "RUDY Send in the Clowns. Looked better in his pinkish/red costume instead of the black he wore tonight. The words were SO MEANINGFUL given his current diagnosis......I cried throughout his whole program.Hopefully I had no reason to, and he'll be fine for many years. Crowd was VERY responsive and he soaked up their adulation, hungrily...

 "ENSEMBLE AT END, to Arabian music ( was it Bolero?) Now this was beautifully done. In fact, this was marvelous....better than the SOI ensemble programs this year. Surya was the headliner for awhile, but each skater had his/her moment in the spotlight, and then they all skated together. There were some very special moments when the male skaters lifted the much going on, it was hard to know where to look. Really wonderful...

 "Who were the crowd-pleasers? Without a doubt, Todd got the biggest response. The crowd went wild for GLORY. Absolutely the best. Rudy, Philippe and Dan Hollander also got very strongly positive crowd reactions...

 "For me the highlights were Todd's Glory and the Arabian Ensemble number at the end. I give honorable mention to Viktor, U&P, K&D,  Philippe, Rudy, B&S."

 ---Tracy Marks

 "Rudy skated wonderfully to send in the clowns. I'm so glad to have seen this number live, and not the YMCA one (which I've probably seen at least 10 times on TV). He did not look weak to me and he landed everything (I think). The mood of the number was especially poignant considering his recent news."


 "I Went to the C.O.I tour in Boston last night.  Rudy skated an excellent performance.  He did his "send in the clowns" performance which was probably better seeing that it is a lot more mellow pace than his prince number.  He landed all of his jumps.  One one triple he almost fell but the crowd was there to show him that they admired his effort.  You could tell that he was not 100 percent himself though.  Those of us who watch on a regular basis could probably tell, those that don't would not have noticed.  I admire his strength so much.  The crowd was definitely on his side.  The applause that he recieved was enormous.  Everytime he would skate to an end of the ice the crowd was going nuts.  When he was done his perfomance a lot of people stood up and cheered.  I was glad to see that everyone is supporting him for the excellent skater that he is.  Hopefully by the end of the tour he will have his energy back to do the prince number.  That number is my favorite so far.  He also skated to the ending number in which all the skaters come out and skate together (unfortunately they usually do not show this on television).  It was a long number, probably about 7 minutes, maybe longer, but Rudy skated like a champ.  It was great to see him on the ice doing what he loves.  Keep up the great work Rudy, we all love you."

 ---Jen W (Rudygfan)

 [About Rudy and Send in the Clowns]
"-almost unbearably poignant.  Each time he appeared, the audience response was huge."


 "Rudy, up next, gained the biggest crowd response from anyone to that point. He skated pretty well to Send in the Clowns, landing a 2 axel, 3 toe(step out), 2 axel. The audience was really with him, and he appeared quite emotional(and tired) at the end."


      I was lucky enough to see the Champions On Ice 2000 performance in Boston, Massachusetts Saturday April 8th.  This year was my third seeing this particular show, and from the first year i went, in 1998, I've been a fan of Rudy Galindo.  His performance last year I remember well and it was so fabulous with his Village People music and exciting performance.  His performance this year, definately less comidy and excitement but very touching and fabulous at the same time, was just as great as ever.  The song was slow and beautiful, and I'm sure meaningful with Rudy's recent struggles (I'm not sure of the title-"maybe next year..where are the clouds, etc ) !!).   Rudy's health seemed perfect,he was strong, and gave a perfect performance for the audience.
At the end of his performance he was given a definately enthusiastic ovation.  He seemed very grateful and happy when bowing, bowing to his knees with his hand to his chest.  We could tell it's a great moment for him i'm sure.   At the finale, having third row seats was great) and it was great because Rudy seemed to know just where to stand, coming over right in front of our seats many times when the skaters formed a circle around the ice skating rink.  He skated everything fantastically, his illness not showing one bit, and his performance seemed like a triumph )   His performance was moving, flawless, and appreciated.  I hope Rudy makes it through a lot of the shows on this tour before returning home to Nevada, because everyone should get the opportunity to see his beautiful performance. It was definately a great time I wont forget.

 *Michele C.  *

 "I've always like this program, but that performance was wonderful.  I, too, was crying."


 "Rudy was definitely the crowd pleaser in the first half of the show. His clown routine was even more powerful considering what he has been and is going through.  I have to give the man credit...he is a fighter."


 "Rudy-he skated awesome and my friends and I gave him a standing O"


 Philadelphia, April 9

    Huge cheers for Galindo.  He nailed "Send in the Clowns" and the little girls sitting near me were awed by his spins with the hoop.  He flashed a huge grin when he caught the hoop up again.  I'm amazed at his axel with the hoop, without pulling in.  He stepped out of his triple toe landing, but otherwise it was a smooth performance and he looked great."

 "The "Bolero" finale was refreshing and easy to watch, despite the large number of skaters.  I am sure that precision skaters would have laughed at some of these formations, but the looseness is all part of the fun.  The costume designer did an exceptional job, especially with Galindo."

---Lorrie Kim

 "I strongly disliked the original version of Rudy Galindo's "Send in the Clowns," but the new version is a very compelling program, even for someone who has never liked anything that Rudy has done (specifically, me -) ).  He landed two double axels and a triple toe with a hand down.  I'm glad he made the Philadelphia show since it was posted that he may need a few days off after the DC show."


 "Rudy-He did a nice job...but a felt sad...he got a great reception. People can be good, sometimes."


 [Opening] "Rudy got a HUGE ovation...Rudy got a HUGE ovation."

 "Rudy Galindo- Send in the Clowns. Wow. Well, a week ago I probably would have just been happy that he didnâ€t do the Village People program again, but this program was very moving. It was probably about the time I started to get into the show. He received a wonderful ovation."

 ---Heather W.

 "Rudy was wonderful.."


Long Island, NY, April 13

"Rudy Galindo
This program was a highlight for me. It was very, very moving and the TV so does not do it justice. The hula-hoop accented his line and watching the big picture makes it better. He did a 2a, and 3t. I think he has the best spiral among the male skaters and the extension he gets on his Y-spin is just as good as Michelle's."


 New York, NY (Madison Square Garden), April 14

 "Rudy G was given a standing ovation, more as a measure of personal support than as a reward for his performance(which was very nice)."


 "Rudi Galindo - "Send in the Clowns" - I was near to tears as he skates it with so much emotion!! He got a great response from the audience and he skated very well!! My heart goes out to him as he has a tough fight ahead of him..."


"Rudy got a great reception (in fact, all the skaters got a great reception) and "Send in the Clowns" is really poignant and has always been lovely. I do think people were moved. He was skating well. More and more, I like the work he does with the hoop in that."


E. Rutherford, NJ, April 15

 "Rudy Galindo was wonderful and he got the biggest ovation up until that point."


 "Rudy got mad applause. People screamed "RUDY!" as he as passing by.  His program was so moving. Brought a tear to my eye."


 Hartford, CT, April 16

 This is what happens when Rudy DOESN'T skate!!!

 "I went...I saw...little disappointment without Rudy there"


 "SOrry to hear about Rudy - do you know if he is off the cast for good, or just taking a break?"


 "Did you find out why Rudy wasn't there? Was he in the arena, but just didn't skate? Or did Laura's baby come early and he's gone from the tour to be with her?"


 "They didn't say anything, and he wasn't backstage. Wonder if the Laura/baby idea could be it...hmm..."


 "I'd rather let Amanda answer this - let's hope she sees this thread, or I'll email to her, but it's my understanding that Rudy is only going home temporarily, to spend time with Laura, etc."

 ---Paula in Ky

 "Sorry we are a little late posting this on Rudy's web site. He went home Sunday for scheduled medical maintenance and to see Laura. She wants him there for a week...!

 He had actually planned on going home after Baltimore and Washington, but ended up staying through New York.

 He's ok--did two shows on Saturday in New Jersey."


"The biggest disappointment for me was that Rudy wasn't there and I had hoped to finally see him skate in person since he is one of my favorites. I understand why he wasn't there and wish him the very best in the future, and I hope someday that I will finally get to see him skate in person."


"I hope Rudy is okay...was he out of the show due to illness or for some other reason? Anyone know?"


"Oh...Rudy is home for a week for a check up and to visit his sister...whew!"


"I hope all is well with Rudy, too. Im glad to hear he's just visiting his sister."

---Tara D

Cleveland, Ohio, April 21

"Galindo: Send in the Clowns. Normally I'm not a fan of clowns, but Rudy makes me forget that. Still love the spins with the hoop, and Rudy's line whatever he does."


"Loved the show and didn't want it to end as usual. I was so happy that Rudy was back on tour. But was disappointed that he didn't receive a standing ovation like other cities bave him. Myself and a handful of people stood up."

---Ice Queen

"Yes, Rudy was there and skated quite well..."


"I was so happy to see Rudy at COI in Cleveland - he really did a beautiful job. Even my husband, who was not especially interested in the show, thought Send in the Clowns was touching and well done."


 "Rudy Galindo "Clowns" Very well done. He landed all his jumps. The crowd seemed to enjoy this one..."

 "Bolero Finale AWESOME!  And Rudy--it looks like he has a tatoo on his right arm!"


 "Rudy's tatoo on his arm is Laura, his sister's name. I watch Jane P interviewed him las pm Dateline, and saw that."


 "Rudy What can I say? It had me in tears. I know it must be hard on him to continue, but I know thats what keeps him going."


  Detroit, April 22

 From Detroit--NicoleM's practice notes, Rudy related

 "While Nicole's program music was playing, Rudy and Brian were standing at rinkside. They jokingly did some of their own dance moves to the music for a moment. They seemed to be getting antsy waiting for the men's practice to start. Michelle encountered a few jump difficulties while practicing. She did have one fall, but in typical Kwan style, got the kinks worked out by the end of the session. When Michelle did a beautiful triple toe-triple toe, Rudy clapped for her."

 About the Weiss family and Annie Mae

 "They are the cutest family. It was really a joy to watch this little girl interact with her parents, and with the other skaters. She decided to share her snack with the men during their practice, and managed to get both Elvis and Rudy to come over and accept the crackers she offered them. (And of course her dad).

 "When Rudy ate the cracker, his eyes got very big, and he made a very animated face, to show her that the cracker tasted good. Well, from then on, Annie Mae kept feeding Rudy, because she wanted him to make that face again! He obliged her several times. It was obvious that Rudy is one of her favorites on the tour."

 "Rudy skated over to the boards and took Annie Mae for a lap around the ice, which contented her for awhile. Later, Annie Mae began dancing to the music that was playing in the arena. She made her way over to where Evgeny was standing by the boards, and showed off a little for him, which elicited a smile from an otherwise serious-faced Evgeny. I think Annie Mae has everyone on the tour quite under her spell!

 "Brian did a huge 'Tano triple lutz in the corner in front of me, and Rudy applauded."

Orlando, FL, April 27

Rudy G.-my favorite performance of the night. I love what he does with the hula hoop."


"Did Rudy skate in Orlando? He was planning to be back on tour then."

"Yes, he was back and skated beautifully, too. Really nice applause."


Ft. Lauderdale, FL, April 28

"The audience was very warm to Rudy. It's obvious that the skating world loves him. I'm glad I brought my tissues, as I needed them just at the site of him (which was before the show, BTW). He was walking around in the stadium, coming back from talking to someone in the audience. He looks good - healthy and fit. I hope he really is."

---GratefulMKfan (Debbi)

 "Rudy very moving perormance in blue light with the hoop...he is sooooo graceful!"


 "*Rudy Galindo got a partial standing ovation..very emotional."


 Houston, May 2

 "I just saw Rudy and the COI in Houston at the Compaq Center last night. I have always loved the Send in the Clowns program and seeing it live was even better!!! Rudy has alot of fans here! Keep up the terrific work and keep your faith!!

 ---Sarah (from Rudy's Visitors' Book)

 "I liked Rudy Galindo's program ("Send in the Clowns"). I don't usually like his programs (especially the over-the-top programs), but this one was very pleasant to watch. He was very popular with the audience, and you could feel everyone being very supportive of him and sending good vibes towards him."


 "Rudy - As I have read, the crowd was on his side. Everyone was cheering and he gave them reason to. Skated with a lot of feeling and was clean. Did 2axel, 3toe, 2axel. The thing with the hoop got the crowd going wild as always."

 ---Oksana For Gold

 "Rudy got the biggest cheer. He was really the crowd favorite of the night...

 "Rudy Galindo
Send in the clowns...wonderful program. The use of the hula-hoop was very cool and different. People cheered for anything that he did and got standing ovations by some."


 "Rudy had great responses every time he was out. He did Send in the Clowns. The audience appreciated both the number and the hoop work. I like how Rudy works WITH the props instead of letting them take over the number. He did 2 double axels and a 3 toe."


Dallas, May 3

 "Rudy was wonderful and as always well-received. I'm afraid I lost his photos in the film jam."


 "Did Peg say Rudy was there? I'll tell you Rudy was there. Skated to "Send in the Clowns" and did just fine. He looked a little mad at himself that he singled a jump, but ah, who cares? The emotion.......superb.

   "Some kids close to me got Rudy and Dan mixed up during the finale, which got Dan and Rudy to laughing and I'm still laughing over Dan's program."


 "Rudy was in Houston and skated fine. The audience really liked him."


 "Rudy Galindo -- My heart goes out to him.....he skated great! Loved "Send In The Clown" routine....and got a strong ovation from the crowd!

 "Finale -- tribute to Torvill and Dean. Nice buildup from Surya to Victor to the others a segment at a time.....nicely done, Sarah Kawahara! One funny thing out of this finale Rudy accidentally fell on his double axel....and wound up laughing it off with Brian B. egging him on in their closing pose!"


 "Rudy was there and he skated to "Send in the Clowns".  He skated well and I was very moved and engrossed in his number but hubby was bored and commented on the sad music selection.  What to do more explaining to hubby about Rudy and his challenges in life."


 "Rudy...clown & hoop #...he had the best speed of anyone this evening, looking very good."

 --Countess Lana Martin

 "Galindo I was so impressed. So many lovely positions in perfect timing with the music. So much emotion. No more wondering why Rudy says he gets undermarked and overlooked. He surely does, and it's just not fair! o/"


St. Louis, May 4

 "Rudy Galindo skated to "Send in the Clowns". You see him and you just want to give him a hug.  He got a nice ovation from the crowd and he skated well.  This isnâ€t my favorite program, but it seems so fitting to skate to now, even though I think that "Through the Eyes of Love" would have been nice to resurrect too....

 [Backstage] "Some random thoughts, everyone seems very nice, especially Rudy."


 The Champions on Ice Summer Tour 2000 played to an approximately half-full, but very enthusiastic house at the Kiel Center on May 4th.  Most of the show regulars were there, but there were some newer faces.  No Sarah Hughes or Sasha Cohen, but rather, Naomi Nari Nam. Jamie Sale and David Pelletier of Canada were on the roster as well.

 Evgeni Plushenko delivered one of the technically most difficult programs of the evening, decked in very bright, tropical colors and sporting a bright yellow hat.  Among his arsenal of well-executed jumps  3t, 3l, 3axel, 3loop, a gorgeous death drop/sit spin, and a quick and well-centered final spin combination ending in a superb Biellman spin.  I'm glad to see a male skater stretch and perform a position that's a little different from the norm. The crowd was very appreciative of his performance.

 Little Naomi Nari Nam showed that she's a technically polished and mature skater at her young age.  Skating to "Rockin' Robin" she energized the crowd while throwing a 2axel, 3f, 3t at us, and performing some very fine spins and spin combinations.  She just flew across the ice!  She's very appealing and secure.  I'm sure she'll figure in the mix again at next year's Nationals! Watch out, Sarah and Sasha!

 Dan Hollander's routine has acquired polish and nuance since the COI broadcast last month.  He had the crowd going with his antics, and cleanly (if you disregard all that costume) landed a 1axel, 2sal, 2t.  He played directly to a couple of audience members in the routine, and has crafted himself a very fine and funny performance number.  You go, Dan!

 Jamie Sale and David Pelletier of Canada showed why they were barely edged out of third place in this year's World Championships.  They displayed great unison, style and energy.  Their lifts were beautiful, and sustained.  The throw 3l was HUGE!, and the split 3twist was gigantic.  The blades of her skates were even with his shoulders at the peak of the throw.  This pair has all the parts, and next year's World Championships should be a breakthrough year for them.

 Will she or won't she compete?  Lots of people are wondering what's on Nicole Bobek's agenda.  You hear all kinds of speculation.  What she did do at the Kiel was skate a very energetic and clean program with a 3t, three 2 axels (all huge---is she trying the triple in practice)?  She showed off her great flexibility with a beautiful sustained spiral, and a great Illusion spin. Her final scratch spin was very quick and well-centered.  I hope she gets back into the competitive mix.

 Maya Usova and Evgeny Platov were elegant and moving; a real pleasure to watch.  They presented a number of interesting and original positions in their routine.

 Michael Weiss packed the technical difficulty in his routine.  He's also a great spinner.  Among his bag of jumps was a 3lutz, 3f, 3t, and the crowd-pleasing backflip.

 Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow skated a clean, entertaining routine.They are a very engaging pair, with beautiful line, great technique, and good speed.  They assumed some great positions on the ice, and performed with a palpable connection to the audience.

 Rudy Galindo skated a very poignant and moving "Send in the Clowns".  Rudy and Laura have choreographed what deserves to be a classic showpiece.  He was very solid technically, landing what I recall being all the intended jumps.  There was great nuance and expressivity throughout the piece, and his positions on the ice (always original and well thought out) were stunningly beautiful.  It was interesting to experience this live.  The audience was very quiet, almost reverent throughout the piece.  Certainly, there was applause for the jumps, spins, and positions, but we quickly resumed silence.There were times when it was so quiet; all you could hear was the occasional edge on the ice.  Rudy has great qualities as a skater.  You know that there's lots of inner energy and the great athleticism he possesses, but in "Clowns" he delivers a controlled, quiet, introspective program.  That was very palpable during this routine.  Certainly Rudy was skating for the audience, but one also feels that he was truly communing with himself, going way down deep inside and tapping that great store of energy, feeling and emotion.  This is a program of wonderful contrasts Rudy out there, engaging the audience--Rudy detached, within himself.  Rudy in charge--Rudy vulnerable.  Rudy, wide open for all to see--Rudy aloof,  with-holding a part of himself.  But, in the end, what we see is the truth the talented human being that we have come to know, admire, and respect.  The audience was as touched by this program as I was, and gave Rudy a very energetic and enthusiastic (many standing) ovation.

 Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze move with great speed across the ice. It's almost scary.  I certainly feel for Elena!  Their skating is energetic, real in your face.  Anton almost seems to take great pleasure in throwing, lifting, hurling her.  Their delivery keeps the audience on edge and rightfully so.  Their lifts and throw jumps are explosive and huge! They performed a split triple twist that inspired gasps from the audience.  The throw 3sal was incredible!  They are always exciting to watch.  I look forward to next year's European and World Championships!

 Victor Petrenko closed out the first half with a routine featuring a Velcro'd partner. He had some good technical content, a 3t, 2axel, some nice spins, but the skating was obviously tempered to accommodate the prop, which to this observer, added nothing to the program.  I hope that he just skates next tour.

 The second half opened with the acrobatic duo of Vladimir Besedin and Oleksiy   Polishchuk.  These guys are awesome.  Oleksiy is very brave.  Vladimir is obviously very strong.  Both are very secure in their very athletic and technically dangerous routine.  Very entertaining and different!

 Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz skated a very sensual, yet playful routine.  They  demonstrated strong technique, great line, and a variety of beautiful positions.  It is obvious why this pair is so popular with the audience.

 Surya Bonaly's routine is still reaching for that elusive artistic touch. It's good to see her head in this direction.  There is no doubt that she is one of the most technically proficient women skating today.  Her strength and jumping ability are legend.  Yet, there were only glimmers of a well-rounded program in "Exotica".  She wore a beautiful, multi-colored costume that looked great in the lighting scheme.  Still bothersome is her tendency to skate "flat". In addition to a number of other triples,  she completed a great jump combination of a single axel, half-loop, loop and 3 toe that was outstanding. Her backflip is one-of-a-kind, and exciting when coupled with a jump afterward (2sal).  I hope she continues to explore her artistic potential.  With more polishing, her's could be a truly total package!

 Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko demonstrated why they are still Masters of Ice Dance.They skate with a style, grace and line that is all their own.  A beautiful routine.  They are always great to watch.

 Todd Eldredge's "Glory" is well-known to many.  He packed the routine with a number of great jumps.  He is arguably without peer as a spinner.  Among his jumps 3l, 3axel, 2loop, 3t.  He executed a great and huge death drop into a back sit spin, and performed two more combination spins.  But, what is it about Todd's arm positions that still bothers this viewer?  I think it is the basic stiffness. The arms seem to be locked at the elbow, very unrelaxed. Some of the gestures don't communicate a meaning or attitude.  For my money, if he got with a dancer or choreographer and drilled on this for a short period of time, the final product would raise his artistic impression for me by several notches.  Actually, Rudy or Evgeni  please help Todd with his arms, guys!

 Oksana Kazakova and Artur Dmitriev have always been powerful and exciting to watch.  They did not disappoint this time, either.  They skated a very well-rounded and technically difficult routine with their trademark moves and positions.  The only thing that bothered me was the use of the same music as was used by Usova and Platov in part I.  I'm sure the majority of the audience probably did not recognize this, but I thought it very odd, given the wealth of great skating music out there.

 Phillipe Candeloros "Braveheart" routine seems to have brought him back from the edge in terms of some past routines that seemed to sacrifice technique for cheap theatrics.  Candeloro is a very talented technician, and was more or less in charge this night.  He completed a huge 2axel, 3t, 3l, 3loop (hand), 2sal, 3t.  His spins were very good, and I enjoyed the story he set out to tell with this routine.

 Oksana Baiul is very inconsistent.  Her routine this night was riddled with problems in her jumps.  She obviously loves skating and playing to the audience, and she has a definite presence on the ice.  She opened with a great 3t, then proceeded to do another 3t and fell out of it.  She later fell out of a 2axel, and seemed to re-choreograph her routine to attempt it again. She achieved the same result.  Her spins were high quality.

 Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler are dynamos!  And Isabelle has to be the bravest of the female pairs skaters!  They performed some very bold and athletic lifts and throws that had many in the audience gasping in anticipation.  As I watched this energetic and well-skated (especially for a recent mom) routine, I kept saying to my companion, She's very brave!  It was great to see them skate in person and so well.

 Brian Boitano?s routine showed glimmers of his jumping ability.  He scaled back a number of triple jumps to doubles, and fell out of a 2 Tano lutz. He completed 3t, 3t, 2loop--2sal combination. His spins were OK.  His overall routine didn't make an impression on me one way or another.  It was nondescript.  I'd suggest different music, costuming and direction.

 Closing the evening, Michelle Kwan wore a beautiful, two-colored, asymmetric bodystocking costume and skated a fabulous program.  Her 3t, 3f, 3sal, 3t, 2-2axels were effortless and technically perfect.  Her spins were great.  Her layback position is getting better.  She really has a unique presence and ease on the ice, and truly makes this sport look easier than those in the know, know.  She really touched companion (who is new to figure skating). He was enamoured.

 The Finale, "Bolero," is a well-conceived and well-skated ensemble routine. The music is very interesting to start with, and the choreography uses the strengths of the skaters to provide for some great moments, and beautiful vignettes.  The skaters are in colorful and coordinated costumes (focusing on red), and as they appear on the ice and perform, add to increasingly interesting and stimulating pictures. Oksana finally landed that 2axel! Hallelujah!

I found "Bolero" to be a very successful vehicle for giving the audience a last look at an extremely talented group of athletes and artists.

Thanks to Tom Collins Enterprises, Inc. for assembling such a group of champions!

St. Louis, MO

 Minneapolis, MN, May 5

 "Best "shapes"  --  Meaning that they got into gorgeous positions that even the back row coud appreciate.  Rudy and Dorothy...

 "Skaters who made me tear up -- Rudy, Sal/Pel, and Dorothy."


"Rudy Galindo - pretty good crowd response. Here and in the finale, he was wearing so much body and hair glitter that he was literally giving it off as he skated...LOL"


 From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 6, 2000, Saturday


"Rudy Galindo's performance set to "Send in the Clowns," by Judy Collins, was a beautiful, poignant program. Last month, Galindo was diagnosed as being HIV-positive. Although his jumps were less spectacular than in past performances, the lack of revolutions hardly took away from the number.

"It was gratifying that nobody ran for the exits to beat traffic when the cast members performed their 12-minute-plus finale to "Bolero." The finale, choreographed by Sara Kawahara, was the icing on the cake. The best of the best proved why they are Champions on Ice."

"Rudy did his "Bring in the Clowns" program. It was so wonderful to see him NOT skate to YMCA!! ...and remember what a wonderful talent he has.  I enjoyed this program immensely, and didn't feel that he was "milking" the audience for anything.  He was warmly received."


 Chicago, May 6

 "Rudy...Send in the Clowns...He skated great...landed his triple jumps, his spins were wonderful, he just looked very happy to be there...I noticed he had some glitter in his hair, it looked good in the spotlights."


 "Rudy- He wore lots of glitter and performed to "Send in the Clowns" in a black costume with white collar and sleeves- the crowd was very warm towards him."


 "Rudy Galindo - Send in the Clowns. I really like this number for Rudy. He had a great night, landing all of his jumps. Got a standing ovation from a lot of people in the crowd."


 "It's nice to see Galindo doing "Send in the Clowns," as I've liked that program for some time; but the melancholy quality of the song was sort of heightened by the recent news about his HIV status. He seems to be skating pretty well now ... I've seen him give more energetic performances, but I can't say whether that had anything to do his health or just the night. Lots of applause and support from the audience, which was great."


 "Rudy's program was just flawless - he was brilliant and perfect.  Really enjoyed seeing him skate to "Send in the Clowns," as this my mom's favorite program of his."


 "Rudy Galindo - Send In the Clowns
Rudy had his own cheering section... "We Love ya Rudy!" "Go Rudy!" Sensitive number for him... Such a switch from YMCA? I like when he rolls the hula hoop and then comes back for it... Half watched him so I didn't record jumps landed... Nice laybacks... Crowd went wild when he was done... body glitter that he had on was a bit much in my opinion though...

 [And an up close account of the now annual joke played on Brian Boitano's last day on the Tour...]

 [After the first half]
"Collins comes out and climbs up right in my section... I said hi to him, but shied away from asking how could I get backstage passes... I imagine that he is asked that question a lot... Anyway he goes up top like above the sign that is over the tunnel where the skater's come out and he sets something up, like he is planning something... He climbs back down and disappears under the tunnel and comes back with Eldredge and Collins begins whispering "... When he comes out we can just get him while he is isolated..." They begin to laugh and Todd says "that's sweet". Rudy Galindo is told about the plan as well as he appears in the tunnel... I say "Hey Rudy" and he looks at me with a 'raised eyebrow' look that said, (snapping fingers) "do I know you girlfriend..."

 "Tom climbs back up to the stands and holds up a blue recycle only can and says to Rudy we are going to isolate him Rudy... Rudy responds with a "no way!" I asked one of the COI guys (staff) who they were going to play a joke on and he says "someone - just wait and see honey"... I'm like ooh, you've got a secret - gosh darn it, then I'll just have to wait won't I... Whatever...

 "I am waiting for the end so I can see who the joke is going to be on and I find out that it is Brian Boitano - he leaves the tour after the Chicago stop... Glad I could see him... As the skaters approach the tunnel, Collins is standing at the top and Boitano stops dead in his tracks like... "No way!" Michael Weiss comes out with a whipped cream pie and chases Brian out on the ice with it... they finally all get him with something... It was sooooo funny!"


 Milwaukee, May 7

 "My three favorite programs were Rudy's, Todd's and Michelle's."


 "Rudy got a great hand..."


 "Rudy was there and didn't fall.  He touched down on one jump but received the biggest admiration for his ability to keep the hula hoop spinning on the ice.  Funny isn't it, how despite all the practice and training  it's the simple trick that leaves the audience most impressed."


 "He [Rudy] was there and got a great welcome from the crowd during the opening. He skated beautifully! It was my first time seeing his "Send in the Clowns" program live and I loved it! I was impressed that the hula hoop didn't go rolling away on him ! LOL!!"


 Colorado Springs, CO, May 10

 "Rudy Galindo "send in the clowns". When the announcer said his name most of the audience started cheering and despite the rude woman in front of me that said "oh thats the___ with aids" . Everyone else waas behind Rudy. Rudy looked healthy and happy and I love this program, its very well choreographed and when he brings out holahoop its wonderful. he landed a double axel, triple toe, double axel, double axel."


 Denver, May 12

 "Rudy, "send in the clowns". I was very happy he didn't do one of his stripping/buttwiggling programs. This was very nice. His jumps were not on, but the hoola-hoop is effective. Got a partial standing ovation."


 "Rudy Send in the Clowns. Very poignant, very much an audience favorite. Jumps weren't that on, but great presentation. Nice work with the hoop. Although, I had to disagree with that line in the song that says the world needs more clowns. NO, the world does NOT need more clowns!!"


 "Rudy Galindo got a hero's welcome -- clearly an awful lot of the folks in attendance knew of his recent announcement that he is HIV positive. He had some jump problems, but it was such a pleasure to see him do a routine filled with as much skating content as "Send in the Clowns."


 Right on target there. Rudy had a wonderful skate, even with the miscues. Great connection with the audience.


 Anaheim, May 14

 "Dan Hollander's South Park/Mrs Doubtfire was the big crowd favorite. He probably got the loudest ovation of the show, along with Rudy. Rudy was the only skater to receive a partial standing ovation. The finale also received a standing ovation."


 "Rudy was Rudy.  He's always enjoyable.  He also received much warm applause. He skated to "Bring In The Clowns" in a more subdued  clown costume than usual."


 "Rudy--"Send in the Clowns" Black & white clown outfit. Did this trick where he rolls the hoop and then does a jump and some stuff and goes back and its still rolling and catches it again. Amazing. I had tears, and I'll bet a lot of other people did, too."


 "But Rudy being Rudy, his hair was a *sparkling* chesnut reddish brown. -)

 "Har!  Upon viewing Rudy's "sparkling" hair, my sotto voce comment to the fine gentleman sitting next to me was, "I wonder how he gets that stuff outta his hair after the show.  If it were MY hair, I would still be combing out sparkly stuff two years from now..."

 "My other observation, re Rudy Being Rudy is he had no Tushy Touches.  Four other male skaters did perform the dreaded act, however.  It was a very Tushy Feely moment.


San Diego, May 16

 "Galindo Got a huge applause. Very moving program. Wouldn't mind seeing this over and over again instead of his Village People Medley."


 Phoenix, May 17

 "11. Rudy Gallindo had glitter in his hair - did "Where are the clowns" with the hoop and lots of good jumps.  I can't figure out how he throws the hoop, and it keeps spinning while he does a jump or two and then comes back and picks it up. very cool!"

 ---Sue Widemark

 "The biggest stars -- judging by ovations -- of the night were (in order) 1) Todd, 2) Rudy, 3) Michelle tied with The Acrobats, 4) Dorothy 5) Phillipe. Not that I had an applause meter going, that was just my impression.

 "Rudy was really "on" -- to say the least.  The crowd was obviously entranced by his "Send in the Clowns".  I thought that I'd seen that one enough times on TV to be jaded by it -- but that wasn't the case at all.  It was truly wonderful."

 ---Amy Rork

 "11. Rudy Gallindo had glitter in his hair - did "Where are the clowns" with the hoop and lots of good jumps.  I can't figure out how he throws the hoop, and it keeps spinning while he does a jump or two and then comes back and picks it up. very cool!"

 ---Sue Widemark

 "Rudy Galindo - Send in The Clowns is a wonderful change from the "shake your buns" routines he has been performing lately. The crowd was very intrigued by the hoop and Rudy's ability to control it."

 Oakland, CA, May 20

 "Rudy Galindo  The crowd loved him.  I think he and Michelle got the most applause in the intro, and his "Send In The Clowns" number drew a very good response.  I could hear more than a few shouts of "We love you Rudy!"


 "Rudy Galindo

 2axel, step out on 3toe, 1axel, 2axel
I have always loved this program. Very well received by the audience. Rudy did a great job."


 San Jose, CA, May 21

 "Rudy Galindo's "Send in the Clowns" was my second favorite performance.  It was especially moving knowing the struggle that Rudy is going through.  He skated it well, too.  Rudy probably got the biggest applause of the night, followed by Michelle Kwan and Victor Petrekno."

 ---Kevin C. Rushforth

 "RUDY GALINDO- Was introduced as "San Jose's own Rudy Galindo." I'm not a Rudy fan, but this was much better than any of that butt-shaking stuff he'd been doing before. Big applause at the end."


 "Rudy Galindo of course is a hometown favorite. He was wonderful. There was a front page article in this morning's San Jose Mercury news by Ann Killion about Rudy."


 "Rudy Galindo was back on the tour, and when he was introduced, the place absolutely exploded (this is his home ice, after all).  He did Send In the Clowns, and there wasn't a dry eye in the place.  He looks great.  Does anyone know what Laura's baby was?"


 Seattle, WA, May 25

 "Rudy Gallindo Send in the Clowns is quite touching, and he got a lot of applause. A woman behind me whacked me in the head in her haste to be part of the standing ovation."


 "The highlights of the show for me were...
"Rudi brought me to tears and had a huge reception from the audience... "(COI's Bolero was a real winner, though. Rudi had the rest of the skaters in stiches. He kept cracking jokes about the melodrama of the number, probably cause its the second to the last show. It was fun to see the personal exchanges between the skaters during this number.)"


 "Rudy--This was very meaningful--I've been a fan for several years, and this year has only strengthened my fan-dom. He skated incredibly well, especially considering what he's been through already this year. The "clown" number is amazing, and the hoop part almost defies the laws of physics. I don't know how he does it. What a wonderful experience. I hope he keeps on skating. He's on his way to becoming a legend, if he's not already there."


 Portland, OR, May 27

 "Rudy Galidno skated his "Send in the Clowns" program and got a huge reaction the moment he stepped on the ice.  It definitely seemed like a "watered-down" program to me, but he did a nice triple toe and a double axel.  He did a single axel and douible salchow with the hula hoop that he uses as a prop.  His spins are first rate."


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Last updated October 13, 2001