Champions On Ice Summer Olympic Tour - 2002 
These photos copyright to Andrea "Hoo" Chempinski

Review of Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh, NC, shows - May 25, 26, and 28

Below this is a review and final observations from the Charleston & Greenville, SC, shows, the final ones of the 90 performance tour; excerpts from fan comments about Rudy in other shows are below the reviews, with several complete reviews located elsewhere linked.

General Information

Champions On Ice came to North Carolina for three performances in Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh, on May 25, 26 (matinee), and 28, respectively. I went to all three since they were within easy driving range and I was able to get good seats thanks to the early ticket sales opportunities AOL and COI provided. I learned there is nothing like center ice. Even a little to the left or right can result in missing something or failing to see an effective angle. At Raleigh I had it. Following are some observations drawing from all of them. I don't expect competitive level programs or skating at COI or SOI, but do admire excellent performances.

Despite the presence of the Winston Cup races (NASCAR) at the Lowe's Motor Speedway just north of Charlotte on the way to Greensboro, all three venues drew well and were over 3/4 full with mostly high up end seats empty. The traffic jam between Charlotte and Greensboro on Sunday afternoon featured race-goers standing by the side of the road holding up available speedway tickets in the event that those in the slow-moving traffic might buy the spares. I couldn't resist politely shouting out the car window to one gray-haired, sparsely pony-tailed would be seller, "Champions On Ice??" He was understandably miffed. This race attracts some 250,000 fans, some who stay all week.

Charlotte's Cricket Arena is the smallest venue with a capacity of about 11-12,000. Greensboro often hosts the ACC Basketball Tournament and can hold over 20,000, but curtains off the very top tier. Raleigh's Entertainment and Sports Arena is also an ACC basketball and NHL hockey venue and probably seats around 17,000??? The latter won the most enthusiastic audience award, maybe due to hockey euphoria (Carolina Hurricanes), but all were great crowds. I can't say there was a huge variation in reactions, not surprising for three cities located so close together (Raleigh is about 180 miles from Charlotte, with Greensboro in the middle).

The cast for the three shows was as published on the COI web site: Kwan, Hughes, Goebel, Plushenko, Slutskaya, Anissina & Peizerat, Bourne & Kraatz, Weiss, Lang & Tchernychev, Bobek, Kazakova & Dmitriev, Candeloro, Galindo, Punsalan & Swallow, Stojko, Hollander, Bonaly, Petrenko, Brasseur & Eisler, Grigorian, and Besedin & Polishchuk, with the exception of Hughes' absence at Charlotte and Greensboro (due to injury), and Candeloro's at Raleigh. Sadly, Philippe received word that his father had passed away shortly before the Greensboro show. He did skate in that show.

The top half dozen in audience response: Michelle, Sarah, Elvis, Rudy, Besedin & Polishchuk, Hollander, with Candeloro and Weiss sometimes moving up when Hughes isn't there. Plushenko, B & K, L & T, Petrenko, B & E, Bonaly, and Bobek if she stays upright, are always well-received, as well. Yagudin and Sasha Cohen will obviously adjust the standings considerably.

The audiences at these three shows left happy, for the most part...but then they came with a positive attitude, too. My estimate is that there were about 35,000 to 40,000 people altogether in attendance. Sarah Hughes' absence at two of the shows had a seemingly brief negative impact, but less noticeable than I would have expected.

The Skaters and Skating

Act 1

The introduction in which each skater or pair does a fairly long solo spot is a nice way to provide audiences not familiar with some of the eligible skaters with a chance to become so. I did discover that the non-appearance of a skater doesn't mean he/she won't perform. The pace of the Raleigh show seemed to be significantly speeded up. Dan Hollander and Besedin and Polishchuk did not skate in the intro, but did in the show. On the other hand, there is something in crowds that likes to see ensemble skating, and some seemed to miss it in this introduction.

Bobek was close to disastrous in Charlotte with barely a fully completed, standing up jump, but pulled it together for the other two shows and was occasionally shaky, but on her feet. She seems slow and more labored than I've seen her. The program should be great for her, but somehow has its problems, for instance, the music transitions are rough. I love to see Nicole perform, and hope she puts in some hard work and develops another program that showcases her considerable abilities. Tim Goebel has replaced Rudy as the deliverer of her can can skirt. It's good for him to come out and do that in the spotlight, but he doesn't quite have Rudy's flourish!

Bourne & Kraatz' superb Enigma program looked better to me with each performance. She was especially impressive--and has the most incredible knees! Their decision to remain eligible made a great deal of sense to me after seeing them in these shows. They are singularly attractive among a very wonderful group of ice dancers in COI this tour, and they move superbly. A definite skating and musical highlight!

Dan Hollander's South Park and "Funky Lady" routine is his best so far, and I can see why Tom Collins wanted him to repeat it on this special tour. The children love it and you can hear their laughter and total delight all the way through it. The skating isn't that important...Dan's acting is so good. In Raleigh he did a big triple that almost got away from him. The extra padding--chest and posterior--can't make jumping easy! This is definitely one of the best-received programs in terms of audience response.

Philippe Candeloro skated somewhere around here in this section. He came in the arena with his clothes hamper! Actually, the music for "Wild, Wild West" is very well put together, and Philippe's COI version is ever so much better than his prop laden World Pros winning version in 2000. His jumps are pretty much off right now and clean landings without turn-outs were rare. His athleticism is most evidenced in his leaps on and over the boards for extreme audience interaction. He even has a real costume for this one, although the white socks with tails sort of characterize his sloppy approach to formal costuming. By the time his shirt is off and he has hit the audience, he always receives a good response. The screamer behind me in Greensboro was forgiven when she unleashed a few for Rudy, too. Philippe was a trouper to skate on Sunday in Greensboro after receiving news of his father's death.

Lang & Tchernychev's "Parisian Walkways" is a once in a lifetime program. Fabulous music with incredible pauses, stops, and drawn out phrasing, gorgeous sensuous couple who interpret it perfectly and provocatively, just everything performance skating should be. I'd never seen them live before--and only a bit in the Olympics on TV. I found myself wondering what they do with less marvelous music??? The audiences don't know them either, but they love the program. Some inveterate skating fans are tired of it, but I was enthralled at all three shows, and all three performances were superb.

Michael Weiss is a bit of a puzzlement to me. He should be hugely popular--handsome, great body, good costuming, excellent movement (no one else "humps" the ice!), sometimes excellent jumps, music that appeals to the younger fans (I haven't a clue what it is), but something is missing. He is well enough received, but not embraced. The new skate blades fascinated me and do offer opportunities for unique moves, especially as he becomes more adept with them. He's definitely an asset to the show, but not in the top half dozen "most-loved" category. It was pretty much the same in each show.

Punsalan & Swallow's "One Is the Lonliest Number" program is also puzzling. I love to watch them skate and don't much care if I don't "get" what they are doing. However, even for one who likes to look for meanings and interpretations, this program is difficult to comprehend. This does seem to interfere with the enjoyment of audiences, maybe excludes them from the program, as evidenced by hesitating, reserved applause after the inconclusive ending. I think this couple has done some remarkable programs and that they are far more talented than they have ever received credit for, but I wonder how long one stays with something audiences filled with casual fans can't quite appreciate. The skating is great, and I do admire them for doing something without depending on the music and/or story to carry them. (Perhaps only they know what the story is!)

Victor Petrenko's "Who Let the Dogs Out" just has too much annoying barking for me. I do think Victor is skating better and looks more fit than in the last couple of years. He actually unleashes (excuse the pun) a few fairly nice triple toes and double axels and looks strong. I loved "Mambo #5" with the doll, but this yappy dog is too much. After three shows, it's almost insufferable.

Surya Bonaly's "March With Me" is one of my favorite programs of hers, other than the female vocalist who sounds like she's gargling. She appears to me to have "slowed down" her jumps rather than powering them so much then almost coming to a standstill on landing. The effect is one of softness and more flow. The problem is that her jumps are not as certain as usual. Surya is consistently appreciated by audiences and should have a place in COI as long as she so desires. I'd love to see her someday have that ingenious program that makes people say "WOW!" She is unfailingly pleasant backstage and in chance meetings, and is always interesting to converse with.

Rudy could probably do the "Village People Medley" 100 times in a row and get the same strong response from audiences. I love to watch him come onto the ice and hear his music start. You can see on his face as something clicks on and he is suddenly in sync with the audience, sharing his pleasure when he completes a jump successfully, inviting them to participate in his fun, smiling his wonderful smile, and giving everything he has to them. He encompasses the entire arena with his invitation into what he's doing, and audiences know they've been asked and appreciate it. This program is carefully constructed and neatly choreographed, and Rudy performs it crisply and energetically. By the time he's in and out of the arena, the audience is invigorated, uplifted, and pleased with the attention Rudy has given them. I saw Timothy Goebel watching this program at one of the shows and thought that was a smart thing for him to do. I just hope he really took in what Rudy was doing. It may be as difficult to achieve as two or three quads in a program, and it is certainly as exhausting. Night after night, Rudy is up there in the top half dozen performers in terms of audience response, sometimes right behind Michelle and Sarah. I'm biased, but this is what he does. Tom Collins seems to recognize it, too.

Brasseur & Eisler following Rudy is quite a way to end the first half of the Champions On Ice Show. Their gender switching program made me laugh at all three shows. Their tricks are the best, and the reverse roles in such moves as the death spiral and throw jumps are hilarious. Like Rudy, they came into the arena, they performed, they conquered.

Act 2

Irina Grigorian, the lady of the hula hoops, opens the second half of the show. The basically casual skating fans love the act, and so do I. She didn't make an error that I could detect in any of the shows, and she has a body midsection to die for. She also participated in the finale and did just fine with the ensemble skating. She's quite tall... I read somewhere that she is 35--I'd love to see her in ten years! She could advertise hula hoops.

I'm going to like Elvis Stojko as a professional skater. He looks comfortable out there. This program doesn't have a lot to unify it, yet it has significant content--jumps, spins, original moves (an ice sliding one of the kind that seems to be popular with several of the skaters), and FOOTWORK! He connects with the audience more warmly than I remember from some of his more stylized eligible programs. He did take a hard fall at one of the shows, but I've forgotten which, so it couldn't have been too important! He is definitely in that top half dozen response-getters. I'll be interested to see his work over the next few years. I used to feel as I do with Weiss, that audiences didn't embrace him. That appears to be changing. He is doing an Elvis Tour this fall, and that is something to look forward to, as well.

Also well up in the elite half dozen in audience response are Besedin and Polishchuk, better known as the acrobats. The tutus and Swan Lake music seemed to add to the humor of this variation on the slow motion program that they have done in previous shows. I embarrassed myself laughing heartily on all three go-rounds, and the audiences loved them--and fully appreciated the amazing strength moves they do as much as the hilarious skate blade near misses. I suppose it's trivial, but the big acrobat, Besedin, is a real eyeful away from the ice (saw him at the pool), and Polishchuk is also good looking in a more youthful way (someone mentioned a resemblence to Abt).

Timothy Goebel...skated well enough all three nights. I was excited about him after the Olympics, and thought he had really turned the corner on relating to audiences. However, I felt he was uninspired here. Maybe he was tired...and he did perk up for the "Freedom" part of his program. He was the only skater whose audience responses were as enthusiastic before he skated as after. An interesting thing happened backstage. The person next to me takes pictures of the skaters off and on ice at some of the events, mostly for himself. If he's just coming back to watch a show, he will bring some of the photos to have them signed for himself personally. The skaters are usually very responsive and converse further about the pictures. Some ask to have copies. Goebel politely signed his, which was an especially nice one, didn't interact at all in the process, and moved on. I was in shock at the complete lack of eye contact and even polite chit chat. It wasn't rude at all, just unusual for these performers who always seem to be interested in nice photos of themselves. Perhaps connecting is just not something Goebel does willingly or easily, even on the ice.

Irina Slutskaya's "Cotton-eyed Joe" affects me strangely. I finally realized that I was looking for Liz Manley's spunk in her prime and being disappointed. The jumps are not what they were at the beginning of Irina's competitive season this last year, but that may be due to the injury she suffered. It's a pleasant program, but gets a little lost in a big arena, so was somewhat moderately received. Irina's husband was with her on the tour during this stretch. He's very pleasant and a good sport as evidenced on the COI cast trip downtown to experience some of Greensboro's gay culture and go dancing!

Kazakova and Dmetriev's wonderful puppet program is up there with Lang and Tchernychev's "Parisian Walkways" in terms of being a special offering. Their skating may have varied each night as much as anyone's, but the audiences get so taken up in the plot of the thing that no one notices. Artur isn't much trimmer, but he certainly moves well for all of the weight he carries. His passion is undiminished. The audiences seemed to understand this program and responded well to it and to their classical style of skating. This was one where the applause meter went way up after the performances.

Anissina & Peizerat did their Spanish dance program, although I really wanted to see the whimsical Susannah. One knows they have seen dance when they finish this one. Flamenco and drama prevailed. Liz & Jerod's tango number from their amateur days, redone as pros, was more fluid and passionate. I guess I like it both ways! Gwendal is all they say he is, and what Tchernyshev started, he finished as far as the ladies of the audiences were concerned. She seems reserved in terms of personal expressiveness so they play off each other well. The ice dance at COI was absolutely terrific--all four couples.

Trite as it sounds, Michelle Kwan is indeed a treasure. Her excellence and love of what she does transcends ice skating and carries audiences off to places they dream of in their subconscious worlds, from complete freedom of movement, to total happiness in just being, to the beauty that suddenly belongs to everyone for a few minutes. All three performances were superb and the same only in that respect. The experience of seeing her was different for me each time. Backstage, Michelle is no less a wonder. She signs, poses for pictures, talks cheerfully, and gives just as totally of herself in that atmosphere as on stage. When she had to walk by fans to do something, she always assured them she would be back. She had to be tired, but she was always bright and forthcoming. I hope that she receives as much from the obvious love and admiration that audiences have for her as she gives. Somehow, I think she must or she couldn't do what she does. I have always enjoyed her, but now I have enormous respect for her. This is sacrilege...but I wonder if it's worth it to put herself through another "Olympic experience." I know I won't read one more piece sniping about what Michelle does with her skating or her life. To touch as many people as she does as graciously and in such a positive way is invaluable and extraordinary.

I had an Evgeny Plushenko transformation at these COI shows! I guess you could say I'm one of those who thought it had to be Yagudin or Plushenko, and I adore the former. "Sex Bomb" set me back a little on Plushenko! However, the Carmen is wonderful, and he reminded audiences that this was an Olympic year. His tall slender look is very attractive, and seems more mature than gangly now. He has extraordinary posture--straight as an arrow. His jump rotation is so fast! I can now see that there is room for both of the Russians, although Yagudin started with COI the night after Raleigh, so didn't get equal time! These three arenas were not nearly as tight as many in which the skaters perform. However, Plushenko did pop a jump here and there just for lack of space. I think he has cut some of the length off the back of his hair. Anyhow, it's no longer objectionable to me!

Sarah Hughes appeared only in Raleigh, and I was grateful to see her skate live. I can't help but wonder if she isn't somewhat anticlimactic in the position of skating after Michelle Kwan. This may be a case where following protocol actually disadvantages Sarah. Her skating is very fluid and soft in this program. I guess she has always landed her jumps on such a bent knee, but it was a bit distracting to me, especially since her legs are long for a skater. Like Punsalan and Swallow's music, the program comes to a sort of inconclusive end and the audience isn't sure... Well, she had a lovely attitude and smile and skated flawlessly and didn't seem to be injured seriously. She might be another Michelle Kwan in however many years it takes to become a legend.

The finale works well for me, although I warn everyone that the fireworks at the end are really heavy on noise, blinding light, and whatever it is that passes for smoke. Rudy's nephew, Tyler, is afraid of it, and I did hear some whimpers from little ones. The Jimi Hendrix version of the "Star-Spangled Banner" sets the scene, and the Ray Charles' "America, the Beautiful" provides a gentle rhythm for the beginning. They kind of take the edge off bombastic patriotism. The skaters perform singly and in an ensemble, and it's all very relaxed and pleasant. As far as the patriotic colors go, the Canadians wear red or red and white, and the Russians and French who don the red, white, and blue, are all skaters who have worked in this country for multiple years (with the possible exception of Anissina & Peizerat). Perhaps it is their way of contributing to our solace. It appears that they could have elected to wear all red (Rudy does) or all blue (Punsalan & Swallow do).

Interestingly, there is a ladies long-sleeved, scoop-neck T-shirt for sale among the COI merchandise that has Champions On Ice in silver-gray script across the chest, with five small flags (maybe 3/4" by 1 1/2") across below. They are representative of the skaters in the show--US, Canada, France, Russian Federation, and Ukraine. The US, French, and Russian flags are red, white, and blue, the Canadian is red and white, and the Ukraine is a lighter blue and yellow.

After the Greensboro show

A friend and fellow Rudy fan and I stayed in Greensboro the night after the matinee performance. Since Jen had just graduated from the first part of her college accounting program, we decided to treat ourselves and stay at the Grandover Resort where the skaters stayed. I warned Rudy ahead of time! The next day was the skaters' day off, and several of them were going on an excursion to downtown Greensboro to see a drag contest and go dancing. The former was very good, among the best I've seen! Rudy kindly invited Jen and me to go along (we were dying to, of course, and thought he'd never ask). I found myself getting wide-eyed when I discovered that so many of the skaters were going as well. It was a great evening into the early morning! Later the same morning, we found Rudy at the pool to say good-bye and drive back to Charlotte. While I was dragging from so little sleep, he looked fabulous, like a movie star to my blood shot eyes! Then it was another drive up to Raleigh on Tuesday. I had played with the idea of going to Roanoke (VA) the following day and am glad I gave it up. Exhaustion had set in! Being an aging groupie is tough work. So was going back to work Thursday.

There are links below to Allegria's review of the entire Atlanta, GA, COI tour stop, Joe Erbentraut's complete review of the Milwaukee, WI show, Ron Narciso's review and pictures of the Chicago show, Janet Swan Hill's review of the Denver show, and Sylvia Rodemeyer's review of the Anaheim show.

Charleston and Greenville, SC, shows, August 10 & 11 - final observations

I went to both the Charleston and Greenville shows, after having seen the above Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh shows in May!. After all, COI might never again come within a few hours of my home five times!!! The major disappointment was that Alexei Yagudin was not performing at these shows due to a hip injury, but I knew that well ahead of time. Nor was I able to see Sasha Cohen at all this year. Here are some final observations.

Michelle was the unqualified star of the show throughout the Tour--her skating, her charisma, her wonderful treatment of the fans. She's special and the cast seems to see it that way, too. I doubt that she fell more than a couple of times before the last weekend, but she took a hard fall in Charleston, and another in Greenville on the same jump (lutz?). It didn't bother the audience at all other than suffering her pain. For these last two shows, there was a large group of non-backstage passes holders who gathered cheerfully around the parking lot entrance. Michelle, along with Elvis, Tim, and perhaps others I didn't see went over to this crowd to cheers and signed programs for several minutes after going through the passes line.

Rudy was right up there in Charleston and even more in Greenville in the applause category. He skated very well the last week of the tour in a considerable amount of pain from his hip problem. But he still skated and smiled like the program was brand new and the audience was all that mattered. I saw practice before Greenville, and the neatest thing was Rudy and Shae-Lynn happily doing a two minute segment of the Village People side by side in absolute unison. She has all of the moves down perfectly. Rudy missed ten performances (give or take one!) during the course of the tour due to his hip situation.

Plushenko has a fan in me after this tour. He's matured ever so nicely--beautiful posture and carriage, quick, efficient jump rotation, just an elegant presence on the ice to go along with his stellar athleticism. Plushenko helped me forget about not seeing Yagudin. I would imagine that, like Victor Petrenko, Plushenko will have a long term spot in COI if he wants it. I'd have never said or cared about that even a year ago.

I love the novelty acts--the Russian acrobats and Irina Grigorian. Skating has lots of faces and that's one of them. The audience at Greenville had SUCH a good time. After Michelle Kwan, Besedin and Polishchuk were often the biggest applause receivers. Their finale bit where they actually skate at good speed with Polishchuk in a full hand stand above Besedin brings a roar from the crowd.

Tim Goebel is enormously talented as a competitive skater, but did little for me as a performer. His arms, and general posture are so...unwelcoming. He doesn't seem to care to draw you into what he's doing. He didn't improve his presentation from the end of May to August, in fact, looked quite tired (understandably). He was still receiving more applause before he skated than after. The same was true of Irina Slutskaya doing the Cotten-Eyed Joe number. Although I have really liked other things she's done, this didn't seem to fit her.

I admit Elvis' program has little choreography, but I like Elvis so much better now that he takes himself less seriously. He seems like a nice guy who can certainly uncork some big moves and great footwork! At least he gives something on the ice to the audiences and seems to LIKE us. Weiss didn't appeal except for the new skate blades move. He SHOULD be a better performer than he is. He has everything to go on.

Candeloro was skating much better at the beginning of the tour. I'm not sure he landed one jump cleanly last weekend. Fortunately, he was still able to load all of his discarded clothing into the hamper. He has his strong following, and we all know he can do some wonderful "epic" numbers. He's well worth the watch when he's on.

Surya Bonaly was one skater who was skating much better at the end of the tour. I believe she had had hip surgery before the tour started and her jumps early on were uncharacteristically uncertain, but she was fine last weekend. She is always appreciated for her superior athleticism, and, as in the earlier shows, she seems to have more flow now than ever before in her career. Frankly, her jump landings were smoother than Slutskaya's, whose landings seemed to stop short.

Lang and Peter T, the gorgeous and unspellable, and that program (Parisian Walkways) are fabulous. I hope they are able to find other music and choreography that suits them as well. This is wonderful and was a terrific addition to the Tour throughout. For a couple that most of the COI audiences didn't know, it was a superb introduction.

Dan Hollander did the "Old Man" number Saturday in Charleston and the Mrs. Doubtfire in Greenville. I may be too old myself to watch the struggles of an old guy on the ice, and admit that may be the reason I didn't care for the former at all. Lots of people did though. It kind of made me feel like the animal shows when a moose gets stranded on the ice and keeps breaking through it! Since I adored the very active and capable "Funky Lady," I guess it was just seeing the more realistic side of old age that I didn't like.

Kazakova and Dmitriev's fine "Clubbed to Death" number was well-done and well-received throughout the tour. Most audiences really got into it, and this, like L & T's program, was one of those getting more applause at the end than in the introduction.

Bourne & Kraatz were terrific everywhere I saw them. Her costume had lots of folks staring--my SC born and raised friend exclaimed with mock horror, "Don't they know it's a Sunday afternoon in South Carolina!!" During the tour, I came to appreciate their strong skating much more, and Shae-Lynn's attractiveness and forthcoming personality on the ice. She is so pretty, and so charming, and much more fragile than I had thought.

Punsalan & Swallow skated so well throughout the tour, but their program proved too inscrutable for most audiences to fathom and fully appreciate. They have had some terrific, audience-pleasing programs in the past, and their skating is always excellent. I wouldn't mind seeing them bring something old back...

Brasseur and Eisler were a hoot everywhere. (Skated well throughout, too.) They are apparently retiring after the Winter Tour, and will be much missed.

Petrenko's barking dog drove me nuts (or more nuts), but he did uncork some very big 2Axels (Victor, not the dog). The kids seemed to like it (and they LOVED Dan Hollander's program).

Nicole Bobek actually got a little more consistent as the tour went on. This wasn't one of her best offerings, and I'm sure she'll come up with something that works a little better and has fewer jarring transitions.

At Greenville, there was a lot of cutting up during the finale, something that seems to be traditional for the COI tour final performance. Although I didn't notice it, some of the women wore those ugly teeth that kids wear at Halloween. Rudy wore Irina Grigorian's bandana and hair piece, and when he did his scratch spin in the center of the circle, all of the guys slid up around him on their knees (surprising him), paid mock homage to him, and nearly knocked him down, and there was a lot of bumping and laughing. Backstage was a zoo with lots of fans looking for last chances to meet skaters and get pictures and autographs, and skaters saying good-bye.

Thus endeth that endless Tour!

Fan comments about Rudy from several of the shows
Orlando, FL - April 5

Other skaters who I think had a great impact tonight were
Kasakova & Dimitriev
Dan Hollander
Rudy Galindo
Michael Weiss
Besedin & Polishcuk
Irina Grigorian
Bourne & Kraatz and
Brasseur & Eisler

Rudy Galindo - Village People Medly (In the Navy, etc) Crowd loved it. I've seen it so many times. I was hoping for the creative hula hoop number.

Rudy AGAIN did YMCA, etc. He's a beautiful skater, and it was still a little fun, but this is the 3rd year on COI. Enough is enough. I love when he does something like "Send in the Clowns" or "Annie's Song" and I feel cheated watching all that booty-shaking and pelvis-thrusting instead.

Ft. Lauderdale, FL - April 7

Rudy Galindo/Village People Medley: I know many people are tired of this program but I was glad he brought it back because I never got to see it live (so there ;-p). His jumps are very smooth with good flow in and out like Michelleís. Rudy is a great showman.

rudy- village people-Audience gets into this,It is fun,he gets the crowd going

Rudy Galindo skated to Village People, In the Navy, Macho Macho Man and YMCA. He is fun to watch and the audience was doing the YMCA along with him.

Atlanta, GA - April 8

Rudy Galindo (Village People Medley including In the Navy, Macho Man, and YMCA)
Same costume and costume changes as previous years. 2x, 3t, 2x, 3t, 2x. Well, he has that 2x down! I thought that I would hate seeing this program again, but even though it's cheesy and campy, there is a lot of skating in this program. Rudy has wonderful edging and spins, and it really comes through in this program. The audience did the YMCA with him. ;)

Read Allegria's excellent review of the entire show at
(Click on Act 2 to get there at the end of Act 1!)

Rudy -- did his Village People medley. He came up to our board and flirted with the guys in front of us.


Then Rudy Galindo. I said, "I feel so stupid doing this as an adult." Duh. Stupid thing #1. He was nice and said, "That's okay. Don't." He had "Rudy" in sequins down the sleeve of his jacket.

Rudy did his YMCA routine, which although itís not new it was still a crowd pleaser. (I definitely got into it.)

The pro acts were excellent: Rudy, Dan Hollander, Brasseur and Isler, the two comic Russian men, Victor were all well received.
---Merry Jane

Rudy Galindo's Village People medley and Viktor Petrenko's "Who Let the Dogs Out" number with a dog on his arm also made the crowd roar, but Hughes got a standing ovation before she even started skating to the song, "I'll Never Say Goodbye."

---From the Atlanta Constitution, April 8, 2002: Olympians entertain, flirt, and entrance, by Karen Rosen.

Hampton, VA - April 10

Rudy Galindo (Village People Medley) -- Now this is who my mother came to see. She went crazy when he came out, and he was his usual self. He did 2axel, 2sal, another 2axel, a 3toe or sal, and a 1axel. All three of us loved his routine and my mother said he alone was worth the price of the ticket.

Baltimore, MD - April 11

Maybe someone shoud tell Tom Collins that the reason why Rudy's and Dan's numbers were such crowd pleasers before is that no one had seen them - I think there's a certain amount of novelty that influences audience reaction. Both did a nice job and got a big response, but please Tom, let them do something different next year. This was the third time Rudy's done his number (skipping a couple of years) and the second time in a row for us that Dan's done his (COI didn't come here last year.)
---Debbie S

From a pre-show publicity article in the Washington Times, "Ice Champs Team Up On Tour." by Jenine M. Zimmers, April 10, 2002

Fun is the key word for Champions on Ice. In competition, the talk was of quadruple jumps. On tour, that      buzz has been replaced by tales of Rudy Galindo's sense of humor, which keeps everyone entertained on the tour bus.

Washington, DC - April 12 and 13 (two shows)

YMCA was funny a few years ago but now is boring, and Wild Wild West was never a good program in the first place. I disagree with Tom Collins about bringing back the same programs that we have seen before. I'm disappointed in Philippe and Rudy for not coming up with new programs, they are both very creative, we the audience deserve more and so do they. If it is Tom Collins insisting that they do these programs, I disagree with him about this.

The highlights for me were Dan Hollander, Rudy, Brasseur & Eisler (did you catch him flirting with Rudy when Rudy was coming off the ice?)

I was also incredibly bored with Candelaro's cowboy strip routine. On the other hand, Rudy's sailor strip routine was much crisper and much sexier, and much more fun to watch. It was also a little more tasteful.

Hollander/Galindo/Besidin & Polishuk - All skaters whom I like, and all who disappointed me. It's not that they didn't perform well, it's just that I've seen those bloody programs too many times. All of those skaters have other newer programs that I'd have loved the chance to see live (esp
B&P's coalminer routine!). Too bad Collins cared more about the Joe Sixpack skating fan.

Rudy Galindo-always a crowd favorite. All I'll say is that I am impressed with his strength to skate with such a rigorous schedule, but I think part of his strength comes from his fans. I hope he can find a new program though.

Rudy was great as always I could never get enough of him.

COI on TNT - April 13 and April 15

The Nicole and Rudy Show -- there were various vignettes of them hanging out together back stage that made me wonder if either JesseJones has hung out with them on tour before, or if they read JesseJones' World's commentary article and thought it sounded like fun :-) Those two could put together a really fun number together if they put their minds to it. By the way, Rudy looks awesome.

I thank TNT for giving us 3 hours and for showing the finale. I loved the interviews and the backstage stuff. Nicole and Rudy were really cute together.

Rudy, I know we have seen this one a lot and was surprised that it stands up so well. Tommy Collins knows what he is doing.

Rudy looked the best physically I have seen him look. He looked so healthy, and that was wonderful to see. He was full of life and is always the showman. I loved his program, old or was nice to see him look so good.

Loved loved loved Rudy! What a hoot!

I love Rudy! My son (6) asked me if I loved Rudy more than him! No, dear, but you gotta admire a man with glitter in his hair skating to the Village People. Bet Mikey W. covered his eyes backstage!

Rudy's Village People Medley was well-skated and had the same wonderful enthusiasm as always. Some might say it's cheesy, but I love it and I'm not ashamed to admit it!

#1 R...u....d.......MichelleKwan. (Worth the price of admission all by herself.)
#2 Rudy Galindo. (Dear Tom Collins: Keep having Rudy back and make him do YMCA every time!)

Philadelphia, PA - April 14 (afternoon)

"Love Shack" and Rudy Galindo, also perfect. He fit a Charlotte, a double axel-double toe, and a side-catch spin into back scratch into his few seconds.

Several people groaned aloud when they saw that Galindo was doing "Village People" again. I don't know why Tom Collins wanted this program three different years, but I think the repeat customers in the Philadelphia market are ready for something new from Galindo. He did 3toe, 2axel, nice spins, 3toe, 2axel. I watched his trucking movements near the end of the "YMCA" section and it struck me again that nobody on this tour dances as well as Galindo. I remember a lecture by Jill Shipstad Thomas on different kinds of 20th century made a big impression on me because so many of the dances are similar but she was able to emphasize what made each of them distinct, and Galindo was the only skater -- including the ice dancers -- who demonstrated today that he has that kind of full mastery over distinguishing between dances. He understands how to wring fullness and commitment out of every movement and how to convey instantly what he wants the audience to see -- here, a serious movement; here, a campy macho one; here, a campy effeminate one; here, enthusiasm; here, hipness. He's a gifted dance skater.
---Lorrie Kim

Absolutely. This is a masterpiece of a program and I enjoyed it despite having seen it so many times. Still, I want a different masterpiece.

Rudy Galindo: charlotte spiral, 2axel/2toe combination, flying camel/back sit/Y/scratch

Rudy Galindo ? Village People medley
2axel, 3toe, 2axel, butterfly into scratch, stripping, 3toe, 2axel, traveling camel into camel/back sit/Y. Why did we have to see this program AGAIN, Tom Collins?

Rudy Galindo: split jumps

Rudy, no matter how many times I see this routine, I never tire of it...Definite crowd pleaser.

Rudy Galindo: The Village People medley, seen it before but it's so energetic and fun to watch.

I thought some of the best performances were Rudy- he's such an engaging showman...

Rudy Galindo was fabulous. He did an old program which I love. First to "In the Navy" in a white sailor costume to macho man (took off the white shirt to show a sleeveless american flag shirt) and then skated to YMCA. He was great!!!!

As with Dan Hollander, everyone loved it and no one said "This again?" Guess Tom Collins knows his audience.
---Barbara Hoffman

Philadelphia, PA - April 14 (evening)

Oh, and I wanted to note that Rudy hit every jump perfectly. They were all easy jumps, but he did his combos and it was very neat and clean and easy. A totally "on" night for him.

Atlantic City, NJ - April 18

I stood for Peter....ah....and Naomi, Rudy, the crowd LOVED him... Rudy was a big hit as were the other "sexy guys.

But she [friend] knows so little about skating ..she loved all of the stories...When I told her Rudy's life story...she loves him...she now wants to read the book.(Icebreaker)

During the intermission I was schmoozing with a security guard who was standing at the balcony overlooking where the skaters enter the tunnel. I did see Nicole and Rudy hanging out together and they were both on cell phones.

Everytime that Rudy skates and the crowd reacts so positively to him, I think of his magical 96 "Skate With The Gods" performance and how those 4 minutes changed his life forever. I am so happy for him.

I am not going to review the show because it was similar to Phila....except the AC audience clapped loudly but were stingy with their standing O's...I , however, was not....I stood for Peter....ah....and Naomi, Rudy, the crowd LOVED him, Plushy, and the magnificent Miss Kwan....

Champions on Ice intersperses up-tempo and slower-paced acts throughout its 21/2-hour length. The best acts, if you're not in awe of people who can balance on one leg while skating backward to soulful music (think bronze medalist Michelle Kwan), are those that get the audience involved. Elvis Stojko is a pro at this. So are Philippe Candeloro and Rudy Galindo.

Galindo, the 1996 U.S. champion, won over the spectators with his Village People medley of "In The Navy/Macho Man/YMCA." Even if you didn't know Galindo, 32, is the first openly gay skater and you didn't get the "in" joke here, you couldn't help getting caught up in his jaunty number. Wearing a white sailor suit, he saluted his way around the ice before doffing sailor cap and shirt to reveal a glittery tank top, with red and white stripes on the front and blue stars on the back. He ended on his back on the ice, spelling out the letters to "YMCA."

---From the Press of Atlantic City, April 18, 2002: "Olympic Skaters turn in gold-medal performance," by Cindy Nevitt.

Providence, RI - April 19

Rudy Galindo's brought back his Village People medley, which was fine with me--like the Lang & Tchernyshev program, it was one I enjoyed enough to be happy that I was seeing it live even if it needs to be retired for good. Terrific crowd response.

Boston, MA - April 20 (afternoon)

Rudy Golindo skated to the Village People medly. He is just great. The audience really liked him. His jumps weren't that high or difficult, but he really got into the music. He was so good.

I also agree that Rudy can skate YMCA for as long as he wants to I never get tired of seeing it.

Boston, MA - April 20 (evening)

Rudy Galindo did his Navy/Macho Man/YMCA routine and the audience absolutely loved it! Yes, it's an old program, but it's highly entertaining. His gestures and mannerisms during "Macho Man" are classic - making a few catlike gestures with his arms in one moment, only to pump his arms the next. It's also a treat to see the entire audience doing the arm movements to YMCA.
---New Yorker

God bless Rudy - still going strong, with no signs of illness. I love this old Village People medley, especially the effeminate moves to 'Macho Man' - always makes me laugh!

The highlights from the introduction were: Sasha, Rudy, Michelle, Alexei, and Sarah.

I love Rudy and all, and he certainly exuded much enthusiam, but The Village People again?

For my money, Rudy can do YMCA from now till doomsday. It's the one program I never get tired of.

Well, OK, he could throw in a Send in the Clowns once in a while.

Hartford, CT - April 21

Rudy Galindo--UGGH!! Village People medley again?? People in the stands were doing the friggin' signals for "YMCA"! Anybody notice this at other performances? And girls were screaming for him?? Why?? Not making sense!! LOL!! I like Rudy, and even though I thought he's done this too many times, I watched it anyway since it was the first time since 1998 that I've seen it in person.

Galindo - It's an old program, but it's one of the best (entertainment-wise), on TV and live. I was just smiling from ear to ear. He has a great sense of rhythm, I love the way he moves. He fell on one jump. The audience liked him very much. I had this person with a funny laugh in my section, Galindo managed to get him going a few times. His martini spin at the end was great.

The best performances which seemed to get the audience going included Rudy's YMCA program, Brasseur and Eisler (he dressed as a woman & she as a man), the russian acrobats doing their Swan ballerina number, and Dan Hollander's Mrs. Doubtfire program.

Similarly, Rudy Galindo's Village People routine was roundly applauded, as was Elvis Strojko's impressive footwork and sliding splits .
---Review from the Hartford Courant of the COI performance: Champions Skate Fast, Fun, Flashy Show, By NAEDINE JOY HAZELL, Courant Staff Writer, April 22, 2002.

Detroit, MI - April 27 (afternoon)

I have read a lot of complaints over the skating boards about Rudy and Dan Hollander repeating programs. Frankly, the crowd could not have cared less and probably did not even know they were recycled. Both skated with lots of energy and the crowd really liked them. Rudy has never been my cup of tea, but even I was grinning at how much fun he seemed to be having.

Detroit, MI - April 27 (evening)

Even though Rudy and Dan Hollander used old programs, the audience didin't care. There is so much energy in those programs that the audience went wild for them. Phillipe stripped, and the women loved it. Enough said.

- hit all his jumps
- was very fun to watch

E. Lansing, MI - April 28

I could watch Dan Hollander and Rudy do that same program forever. I've seen them 3 times and they still make me laugh.

Champaign, IL - April 29

-- Huh? moment: Rudy Galindo, announced at the beginning, and he skated in the opening, but then wasn't seen again. I hope he's not injured or ill.

-- Personal disappointment of the evening: Yes, it's true confessions time. No Rudy = no YMCA. Yes, I know. But I've never seen it live, and even after all these years, every time I see it on tape I laugh, whether I want to or not. And comedy programs and I usually don't get along.

So shoot me.

Moline, IL - May 2

We did not see Rudy (hubby VERY sad about that)...

Chicago, IL - May 4 (two shows)

Rudy - I remember when I saw his Village People program the first time...and the second time...and the third get the idea - this is probably the fifth time I've seen it live. However, it's popular, fun, and the audience loves it, so I can see why Tommy asked Rudy to bring it back.

Rudy Galindo (Village People medley) - Great way to close out the first half of the show. He could probably do this routine on tour for the next 10 years and crowds would still eat it up. Got some nice 3toes and 2axels in before popping another 3toe then singling an axel. The crowd clapped along through most of the routine and many people joined in the "YMCA" portion. :)

From the finale... a great scratch spin from Rudy Galindo
---Ron Narciso

Check Ron's review of the entire show and link into his quite good pictures here:

Milwaukee, WI - May 5

Rudy Galindo "In the Navy/Macho Man/YMCA" - Rudy always seems like he is enjoying being out there in front of the audience, and they respond. Today was no different. Although he scaled back a few of his jumps to singles or doubles, the program didn't suffer and he skated well with good spins and energy.
---The Skate Blade (Joe Erbentraut)

To read Joe's fine review of the entire show, go to:

Madison, WI - May 6

Rudy is a classic showman. This is my first time to see him in person and he was GREAT! He did an incredible scratch spin in the finale.

From the Capital Times, Madison, WI, May 7, 2002

"Champion Skaters Strut Their Stuff," by Harriet Brown

Highlights included Rudy Galindo skating a high-energy macho parody to "YMCA," and Irina Slutskaya as a cowgirl in fringed pants that created a certain amount of audience excitement.

Cincinnati, OH - May 12

Rudy Galindo Ė He can do the Village People program every time and it still entertains me. He is a great showman and so adorable.

Rudy Galindo-Did his Village People medley number and it went over very well! He is a hoot. Great skating and another natural performer!! Lots of these skaters are so natural on the ice. He has always been one of my faves to watch. Very expressive eyes!

Rudy got a huge ovation/cheer, which made me smile, along with Michelle and, of course, Sarah The Olympic Champion.

Rudy Galindo- "Village People" This was the YMCA/sailor thing again and I suspect Tom Collins asked him to do it again as he did the second year for this program. I have seen this 1000 times and I still enjoy it, especially live. The crowd LOVED it. He's just a hoot. You can tell he's done this number 4000 times because it's totally polished, no rough edges. He did three 2x's, a 3toe, and a 3toe-2toe combination. He has such a pretty exit from his jumps. This was the most energetic and well-received program of the night and he put a lot into it. As the lights went out after he skated he looked really tired.

Columbus, OH - May 14

Rudy- When he started and went for his first jump, I think he slipped off his edge and just did an awkward turn, he was laughing at himself. He slipped the same place Elvis did so our side of the rink must have been jinxed Overall he was great. Crowd was into it, did the YMCA hand thing with him.

Buffalo, NY - May 17

Rudy, crowd went wild and sang along. This routine is getting old though, but the fans love it.

Rudy...I thought the music and the costume were a bit much but it was very enjoyable. Got the crowd going.

Rudy: Always sooo energetic! Yea, we have all seen this number sooo many times! I don't understand why he does it soo much?? He's had better ones IMO! But it was still good!

I was dreading Rudy Galindo's 3-season-old Village People medly, but it came off very well. The audience *loved* it. He hit some very nice triples and is a superb show skater. Galindo went about his career in the best way for his talents: get enough competitive cred to get you out of being the third tree from the left in Snoopy on Ice, and sign a long contract for a good tour

(ideally one that won't dress you up as a woman and subject you to Sandra Bezic's 'Sluts on Ice' whoreography).

Syracuse, NY - May 18

Rudy (Village People): The audience loved this one, too. Even though Iíve seen it a hundred times, I always find it entertaining!
---Martian Girl

Rudy (Village People): The audience loved this one and some were doing the Y M C A arm signals. I thought Rudy looked less energetic but that could be from doing bazillion shows night after night. It got a few laughs with me but I'm not into his stuff tonight.

From the Syracuse Post-Standard, "Syracuse Gives Warm Welcome to Ice Champs," by Suzanne Connelly, May 19, 2002:

For this crowd, perennial favorites included the flirtatious Candeloro, who held the proverbial smoking gun in his skate routine, "Wild, Wild West." He, of course, stripped off his shirt and added some sex appeal to his performance. Rudy Galindo pleased the crowd as a star-spangled guy, getting the audience involved with "YMCA."

Cleveland, OH - May 19

Rudy skated an old routine to YMCA. He was a crowd pleaser and skated perfectly. however, he looked very thin and pale. I was a bit concerned but he skated without difficulty.

Rudy Galindo - I groaned when I heard it was the Village People again but it is such an entertaining number and he does it so well that I was laughing and clapping along with everyone else. I really love his skating too. He really moves well to so many types of music.

Evansville, IN - May 21

From the Evansville Courier & Press, May 22, 2002,"Michelle Kwan's Performance is Solid Gold Here." For as long as it's available, go to the complete review at:,1626,ECP_792_1160958,00.html

Rudy Galindo, a U.S. champion, showcased his own compact power and had some campy fun in a sailor suit with a piece set to three Village People classics.

Louisville, KY - May 22

There were quite a few crowd favorites actually. Rudy, Irina G., B&E, Dan, Victor Petrenko, and Surya. They all got loud cheering and applause. Acrobats and Michelle were the only ones to get the feet stamping, and the loudest  screaming...

I thought the audience couldn't get louder than they did after Rudy's and Dan's, except for Michelle, but they thought the acrobats from Ukraine were the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Charlotte, NC - May 25

Galindo- He was good. All his jumps were fairly clean but he only did one triple. He did his Village People number. I liked his presentation also. He is a very pleasant skater and I wish him the best in life and in health.

Greensboro, NC - May 26

The numbers that received the most crowd response were: Philippe, Dan, Michael, Rudy, Besedin & Polishuk, Elvis, and Michelle.

I always love Rudy, but wish Collins had let him do something different. I was glad it was something upbeat, though, since the last time I saw him skate was only a week or so after his HIV diagnosis was made public, when he did "Send in the Clowns", and I cried through the whole thing and half of the next person's number. So it was nice to be smiling instead of crying this time, and see him looking so energetic and happy.

Raleigh, NC - May 28

During the actual performances, the biggest responses (aside from Michelle and Sarah) were Dan Hollander, Besedin and Polichuk (sp.?), Bourne and Kraatz (they were there and were incredible - yea!). Elvis, Michael W., Rudy all got a fair amount of applause as well.

Rudy Galindo - Receives the largest crowd response yet - some folks even dance along to YMCA, including the ladies in front of us, LOL. His program was clean, but I remember him almost putting a hand down on one of his jumps.

Even though Rudy's program was one from a few years ago, he still shows alot of energy and excitement. Seems to enjoy the crowd.

Roanoke, VA - May 29

Now Rudy -- oh that Rudy! I can't remember exactly where he came in the line-up but it was in the first part of the show and it seemed that's when the REAL skating began! As if all the showmanship and the fun stuff weren't enough, that man can skate! Always could, and tonight I was so very, very impressed I wanted to jump down on the ice and hug him. He sure is clean and in command! The crowd was crazy for him.
As for the ovations, Sarah and Michelle received the loudest, of course, and like other places Michelle's was lengthier. Other big audience responses were Elvis, Dan Hollander, and Rudy.

Richmond, VA - May 30

Richmond loved everybody. During the intros, Michelle and Sarah got huge applause, and Rudy, Victor and Elvis got big hands too.
We also really liked Victorís dog number, Surya, Rudy (big response) and Elvis.

[Intro] Rudy to "Love Shack" with spiral with leg held to the side, 2A, flying camel into combo spin (I think ended with "egg beater"? into nice fast scratch spin)...Rudy Galindo in sailor gear to the Village People medley. Good dancer. Big ovation at end.

E. Rutherford, NJ - June 1

Rudy looked like he was in a lot of pain from his hip flexor injury or whatever it was as he left the ice.

Well, I haven't polled most of the country, but I was at COI in NJ yesterday afternoon...Judging from the crowd's reaction, I'd say they came to see Michelle, Sarah, Rudy, Phillipe and Elvis...oh, and Tim Goebel got a pretty
nice hand also.

Rudy G--YMCA program.  Everyone in the audience was doing the YMCA dance.  Lots of fun!

From a United Press International article about the show titled "Assignment America: Those Pre-teen Skaters,"  by a guy named Joe Bob Briggs. Though dated June 20, 2002, it referred to this show:
"Rudy Galindo brought down the house with his energetic Village People Medley, complete with a wardrobe Ru Paul would kill for."
[The costume seems both authentic and relatively tame, hardly Ru Paul fare!]

Long Island, NY - June 2

Rudy Galindo closed the first half of the show. Village People Medley, but i think that was a given. the crowd really got into it, and it was a great performance. no mistakes that i could see.

Rudy & Dan - why oh why are people still screaming for these programs? They are old as the hills, but the audience just loves them.

Tops with the kids:  Viktor "Who Let The Dogs Out" Petrenko, Dan "Dude Looks Like a Lady" Hollander, Phillipe "Wild Wild West" Candeloro, Irina "Start the Commotion" Grigorian, and Rudy "Village People" Galindo.

Due to a case of food poisoning, Rudy didn't skate at the Birmingham, AL or Baton Rouge, LA shows on June 11 and 12. He was back in Houston, TX on June 14!

Interesting comment in response to a person at the Birmingham, AL, show who wanted to see more competitive programs done at COI:

I think if you look at the show in its entirely, Tom Collins knows exactly what he is doing. The balance of this show is outstanding; he's got props numbers with Irina S and Kazakova and Dimitriev, he's got comedy with Dan and Victor, he's got soft beautiful ballady programs with Michelle and Sarah, he's got competitive style programs with Yags and Pluschy, he's got Chippendale programs with Michael and Phillippe, he's got top of the line show skating with Rudy and Elvis, the novelty acts with the acrobats and Irina G. and a slow romantic (I think) number with Punsalen and Swallow. I don't think it is so much trying to get a little something for everyone, bit more to give a broad picture of all that skating can be, what a versitile art form it is. I think Tom Collins is a genius in fact for being able to put this together.

Houston, TX - June 14

Rudy Galindo ... this program maybe old but Rudy got the crowd going with his YMCA medley ... the crowd singing, clapping and doing the YMCA thing ... big applause from the audience.

Rudy looked good and performed well, so he must have recovered from his injury.

Rudy Galindo got most of the crowd to do the YMCA with was funny!

Except for Rudy and Phillipe, most of the singles skaters seemed a tad out of sync with their music at times...
Phillipe, Dan, and Rudy did their usual great jobs working the audience, and Houston loves broad comedy and outrageous mugging... Biggest applause-getters, in reverse order: the ice dancers, Elvis, Michelle, Rudy, Brasseur and Eisler, and......Besedin and Polischiyuk, the Acrobats!  I kid you not!

Biggest applause-getters, in reverse order: the ice dancers, Elvis, Michelle, Rudy, Brasseur and Eisler, and......Besedin and Polischiyuk, the Acrobats!  I kid you not!

Austin, TX - June 15

Rudy--great skater, but I'm a little tired of YMCA. Audience still loves it.

Dallas, TX - June 18

Oh, yes, I'm so glad Rudy returned with his disco medley. First time for me to see that number live, and he brought down the house with it! Curious though, humm, it seems that the females around me enjoyed him so much more than the males. A pity, but still he has enormous crowd appeal. So glad to see that he is maintaining his health. I'll love him always.

Rudy did his usual Macho Man, etc. It's a good thing the number is so much fun, or I'd be complaining about how many times I've seen it. Everyone seemed to enjoy it for the umpteenth time.
---Dallas COI fan

Everyone loves Rudy! He really knows how to work the crowd, and I was glad to get to see the "YMCA"

Rudy skated in the 1st half & got screams and much applause. I love this routine, but I would love to see him again doing one of his beautiful programs.

These were the highlights for me: Rudy Galindo, Kyoko and John, Bourne and Kraatz, Lang and Tchernychev, Marina and Gwendal, Plushenko, Michelle and Alexei...Rudy was a joy to see. I was smiling from beginning to end, and the crowd loved him.

[Comment from a NJ show fan in comparison of that show to the "sedate" Dallas fans...]
But the crowd loved all of the skaters especially Michelle, Rudy, Elvis and Sarah (she trains in NJ). Some did the YMCA with Rudy.

[And from one of those who is tired of the Village People Medley...just to be fair to the minority!]
I didn't write down Rudy's jumps in Austin since I tried not to watch, but he did 2a, 3t, 2a, 3t/2t, and 2a in Dallas. No one tried any jump combos on the small ice in Austin, but four or five skaters did some combos in Dallas.
(My friend and I congratulated each other for enduring yet another performance of Rudy's YMCA program......I don't get why/how the crowd loves that one so much?!?)

Oklahoma City, OK - June 20

But after Surya came the techno blasting of a Village People medley and it wasnít too difficult to guess who was next, Rudy Galindo! Looking absolutely precious in a navy uniform, Rudy put on a high-energy performance with his usual showmanship and great expression.

St. Louis, MO - June 23

Rudy Galindo: "In The Navy/Macho Man/YMCA" I was lucky enough to see this program when it was new on the 1999 COI tour and it was still as funny and as entertaining as ever!

In addition to skating relatively cleanly, there were quite a few additions to the cast since COI appeared in my town: Alexei Yagudin, Brasseur & Eisler, Bourne & Kraatz, Anissina & Peizerat. Also, Rudy Galindo was on the injured list for the performance in my town, so I was glad to see him skate in St. Louis. Even though I'd seen his Village People medley four years ago, he puts so much enthusiasm and showmanship into his performance that it's hard to not have fun watching him have such a good time.

Omaha, NE - June 26

[From a generally negative consider it a compliment!]
And maybe Rudy's Village People is old, but geesh at least he actually SKATED while pandering.

[Discussion about the Omaha, NE, and Kansas City, MO (June 22), tour stops seemed to take a particularly negative direction insofar as the professional skaters doing older numbers, the crowd-pleasing skaters (um, isn't that what they are there for?), and, oddly, the general success of the tour in terms of audience size and probable financial return were concerned. It would see more logical that real fans of skating, even if their tastes favored more demanding skating and routines, would be less resentful of the success of a major tour and look for more positive aspects of a show. Rudy was included in these although they couldn't quite say that he didn't skate well! Perhaps some long time fans have seen the Village People quite enough, but the fact that it is still a very well-choreographed and interesting program throughout sets it apart from some less inspiring offerings that are still nonetheless audience favorites.]

Rudy has never been a real favorite of mine (I don't dislike him, just not wild about some of his numbers), but I found myself feeling so sorry for him at the Omaha show Wednesday night. What is this, four years of the same number? And he did it well, with some good skating and nice positions and all that, and with a smile on his face. But he strikes me as someone who would like a chance to do more creative things, but apparently to pay the bills and be in this show, he is forever stuck with the Village People. His life has become "Groundhog Day".

And he has; the hoop number (blanking- was this "The Rose"?) is a professional skating favorite of mine (superb use of a prop, IMO), while the "Studio 54"/"Village People" type programs of his... well, remotely liking the music would probably help.  ;)

[While he may tire of night after night on a long tour, Rudy seems to genuinely enjoy performing the Village People. I feel sorry that the skaters don't get more breaks, but not really for Rudy's having a fun program to do!]

Minneapolis, MN - June 28

Rudy Galindo - The crowd ate him up! He was entertaining and fun. He landed lots of triple toes and double axels. Even a double axel/double toe combination. He did a real good job.
---G MAN

Rudy, wearing pink and black, did a stretch spin and a double axel/double toe and a scratch spin...[Introduction]

Rudy is next in his white sailor suit, doing his Village People medley. He starts off with a double axel, triple toe (maybe triple sal?), double axel/double toe combo, butterfly, scratch spin (short), triple toe/double toe combo, double axel, stars into camel spin/sit spin/his always perfect martini glass spin combo. Skated with Rudy's usual verve and conviction, it was a great crowd pleaser, probably the best-received program of the night so far.

Denver, CO - July 5

Rudy Galindo- Talk about entertainer. He was on tonight. He had everyone dancing.

Galindo:  (Village People).   Galindo gave an all out performance, as always. He probably COULD do this number in his sleep by now if he wanted to, but he paid the audience the compliment of doing it as if it were fresh to him and us. Although Galindo is a VERY tiny man, he's impressively muscled in arms and shoulders.   I was interested in his finale "solo bow" that instead of doing a jump or spin, he did a circular step of something like chaine turns ÖÖ. From toe to toe, each time with a 180 degrees revolution.

To read Janet's entire review, which includes many observations not made in other reviews, go here:

YMCA was a hit with all the kids around me, and many of the people in the audience were motioning along with it.  I have this fear that it is the only thing he's going to be allowed to do for as long as he still skates with COI, and that's too bad.
---Barb K.

[And from one Michelle Kwan fan who had a terrible day at work and getting to the show, then a parking nightmare that caused her to miss much of the first half...)
I missed most of the first half, and was back in my bad day mood. Finally, Rudy's good cheer and a lovely performance by Plushenko lifted my spirits, and left me ready for Michelle.

[The Colorado fans seemed to come to the two shows there in a frame of mind to enjoy them and look for the positive qualities of the skaters and the shows!]

Albuquerque, NM - July 7

Rudy skated to his Village People number. I have seen it so many times but it is still a fun number. I still like his Send In The Clowns the best.
---Remembering Sergei95

Tucson, AZ - July 9

Two words to start ....LOVED IT !!!!!...
Loudest crowd reactions for Michelle,Rudy, Besedin&Polishchuk,Sasha and Philippe...
I've seen Dan's and Rudy's programs many times before but I still enjoyed the energy they produced ,crowd still has a lot of fun with them...

Some other things I wanted to mention. Rudy looked really great up close compared to the last time I saw him up close.He had great color to him and he had his big smile shining bright, last time he had a hat on, put down his face and walked by everyone and his color was pale and he looked tired but this time he looked great.

Phoenix, AZ - July 10

It seemed to me that Elvis, VP, PC, Timmy, Rudy & Michelle got the biggest welcomes...
I could watch Rudy's YMCA number anytime...

Long Beach, CA - July 11

Other highlights were Elvis, Rudy and B&K...Rudy was on fire, clearly the favorite of the first act. YMCA is a brilliantly conceived put together and performed program...Michael did not convey any sense of the hard rock feel to the Stone and he should take a cue from Rudy's brilliant YMCA to learn how to put several songs together.

I particularly enjoyed Rudy Galindo, the acrobats (amazing!), K&D (even tho' they weren't as powerful as I remember and the throw jump wasn't clean), and B&E (I love them!).

Rudy stole the show!! He was so wonderful.

Anaheim, CA - July 13 (2:00 and 8:00 shows)

A few comments...Rudy's awesome! He can skate that program for the rest of his life and I wouldn't mind.

...of the professional skaters, Victor P and Rudy G got the loudest applause...

[Some fans expressed disappointment in the overall performances here, particularly from the eligible skaters. As usual, Rudy more than did his job!]
Biggest applause went to Candalorio [sic]. Galindo, and Michelle...but it wasn't only the girls who skated poorly. Elvis almost fell, Mr. P didn't show any personlality like he did last year, and Mr. Y was technically great, but came off as a cold fish. Sascha was skating in front of her home crowd so maybe that pressure got to her. It's also Michelle's territory so maybe it got to Sarah too. Even Irina's Cotton Eye Joe lacked the oomph I've seen on t.v. Rudy did his old YMCA number, but he got the audience into it from the second he stepped on the ice. Michelle got a standing ovation-the only one of the day.

Rudy was his usual great showman.

Rudy did his Village People routine. The audience just loved him, and I think he really pulls that energy in and uses it. I loved it.

Rudy receives the award for most spirited of the evening. His energy was through the roof and by the end he had the whole audience participating in the infamous "YMCA" dance. He seemed to have lost a little speed from recent years, but he could very well have been conserving his energy for the second show later that night.
---Sylvia Rodemeyer (on The Skate Blade )
See The Skate Blade for the entire review

[Rudy injured a knee and was unable to skate at the San Diego Champions On Ice show (July 14). He did skate in Bakersfield, CA after a couple of days off (July 16) and again in Sacramento after another short respite. We'll see how the knee holds up in the two-a-day San Jose stop on July 20.]

Sacramento, CA - July 19

Rudy - skated to his Village People medley - jumps were a double axel, triple toe a tad wonky, double axel, triple toe slightly wonky, double axel. Skated with his usual verve and conviction, and his always excellent martini glass spin, LOL. They absolutely love Rudy in Sacramento.

San Jose, CA - July 20 (2:00 and 8:00 shows)

Michelle was introduced as "America's Own" (of course!  ) and my goodness.... FOG in person is just an emotional experience. Also, something cool-- Rudy was introduced as "San Jose's Own", which I thought was so nice !

At 8PM Rudy Galindo also got the audience into his "In The Navy, Macho Man, YMCA" routine. San Jose is his home town. He was announced as "San Jose's Own" He got a partial standing ovation as well...
But it was overall a brilliant show from everyone. Honorable mention to Nicole who skated well during both perfromances, Bourn and Katz--brilliant program, Rudy, Alexie, and Pleshy in the evening performance...just everyone was great. It was a wonderul show with Michelle skating at the end as the "icing" on the cake!

Anyway, this being Rudy Galindo's hometown he received a great ovation, but not as much as Ms. Kwan who appeared to be the crowd fave and did a lovely rendition of Fields of Gold.

I would have to say that Rudy Galindo is by far the best performer. You can tell he loves to skate. Everytime he landed a jump a big smile was on his face. His YMCA number is a lot of fun. He took the time after his program to hug one of his fans.

Rudy ending with a simply fantastic, blurred spin. Also wow...Loved being in the arena where Rudy won his National Title - got some chills thinking about that, thanks to Ginny who reminded me!

Rudy Galindo (Village People Medley)
2axel, 3toe, 2axel, 2toe, 2axel
Yup, he's still "San Jose's own!" I know this is an old program, but he just sells it like it's brand new, LOL. He's got great presence and a keen awareness of what his arms are doing, LOL. (Call it effeminate if you must, but at least he knows where they are! ahemcoughcough Timmycough)

Oakland, CA - July 21

I also liked Rudy. He got a big applause since we're only about an hour from his hometown.

I've seen Rudy perform many times that same program on tv but live, he just has this certain charisma that makes the program fresh...
There were some performances that surprisingly looked better live. For me it was Rudy and Phillipe. Rudy was just so energetic and although I'm not a fan of Phillipe's stripping, he was very engaging towards the audience.

Sasha was great. Elvis was fabulous. Tim was great also. Irina was cute, but somehow I like her program better on TV. Rudy was good too.

Indeed Rudy was one of the crowd favorates.

As for Rudy, he is a crowd favorite wherever he goes. At the Pond, Rudy and Phillipe got the biggest applause after Michelle and it was Sasha's home turf as well as Michelle's. L.A. crowds love Rudy because he's not afraid to be himself and respect his courage.

I agree that Rudy is....well...Rudy is Rudy! I have come to think that saying his name is the same thing as saying..."FUN!FUN!FUN!" When Rudy is on the ice, he is so busy being Rudy......he justs pulls us all into the fun and we have to enjoy ourselves.

There is a saying that "there are angels walking beside us diguised as human beings"....I think Rudy is a skating angel and the people around him are a lot richer having him skate next to them.
---Lee Navin

[General comments on thread that appeared during this time.]
 I'm sure Rudy has been asked to continue in perpetuity to perform his YMCA number, which is always a hit with audiences - what I can't believe is that he delivers that number with as much freshness and enthusiasm as if it were brand new (and that audiences still do the hand gestures!).
---Sandra G

 It's being asked to pay top dollar to watch good skaters like Viktor and Michael do silly routines with little skating content, or to watch other good skaters like Rudy do the same ol'...

Fresno, CA - July 23

[In anticipation]  I DO wish Collins would let Rudy and Dan H. do some other routines!  But to tell the truth I love "YMCA", and I've never seen "Southpark/Mrs. Doubtfire" in person, so I don't mind TOO much.
---Wendy E

Phillppe and Rudy brought the house down with their respective routines, and landed mostly triple jumps and double axels.

Reno NV - July 24  HOME!

See the Reno Gazette-Journal pre-show article/interview with Rudy, "Skaters Show Off Personalities in Champions On Ice," by Neil Baron, July 18, 2002 and the post-show review by Elaine Anderson, July 26, 2002, "Review: Laughter, beauty figure in Lawlor skating show."

[Practicing beforehand} Both Rudy and Surya had some trouble and I wondered about the condition of the ice here, as well as the smallness of the arena...We had a terrible time getting to the venue, as did most everybody else...Fortunately they held the opening of the show, perhaps realizing that 80% of the audience was still outside...

In general the best responses were to the "showy" numbers, especially the comedy. In my section we tried to represent our city well. I didn't see any falls, and only a few step-outs. However, we did notice that the ice was really wet by the end of the show. I can't imagine these were easy conditions to skate in. In general the audience favored comedy and American skaters..The best responses (as far as I could tell) were for Dan Hollander (got a stomachache from laughing!), Rudy (of course Reno loves him!), the acrobats (who were amazing), and Michelle (who skates like an angel)...

In general I probably had the same favorites as the audience. I laughed so hard at Dan Hollander...and was singing along with Rudy's number...I was impressed with Irina Grigorian. I really liked Evgeny's performance, and I liked some of Elvis' moves too. Michelle's performance was beautiful. [Yagudin was her favorite.]
---Dr. Beastie

[Due to Rudy's recurring hip problem, he did not skate in the Oregon (Portland), Washington (Tacoma, Seattle, and Spokane), Idaho (Boise), and Utah (Salt Lake City) shows.]

[From a Spokane, WA (July 30) review]

Rudy Galindo was supposed to skate, I think, in this slot.  He was sorely, sorely missed...
[About Plushenko] Response of the panel was unanimous - highlight of the night.  (Keep in mind, though, at least in Spokane, who wasn't there - Yagudin, Anissina and Peizerat, Rudy Galindo.)...
Final thoughts: Galindo, Anissina and Peizerat, and Yagudin were sorely missed.

Las Vegas, NV - August 3

Rudy Galindo ~ "In The Navy/Macho Man/YMCA": Costume: He first had a sailor outfit on, then it became just the white pants w/ a stars and stripes tank top. He did some triples and played around w/ the audience. I think he fell on one of his jumps.
---nice angel

Dr. Beastie from the Reno review above filled in on Rudy in Las Vegas. She said that Rudy did have trouble and a fall on one jump, but recovered quickly and seemed to be in good spirits. "I was very happy to see him too. He is such a good entertainer."

Little Rock, AK - August 7

It was wonderful!!!! The audience was very receptive. Loud applause and cheers for everyone. I was so pleased that the Arkansas fans made up such a good audience. Some of the biggest responses from where I was sitting seemed to be for Elvis, Surya, Rudy, and the comedy acts. [Other than Michelle!] All the skaters seemed to be pretty "on" and they really were all wonderful.

Rudy Galindo:  I thought I'd heard he wouldn't be here, but I'm glad he was. The Village People routine got a big reaction and he looked like he was having a great time.

Rudy Galindo--This routine never gets boring. We could watch it over and over again, which we have!! His speed and jumps are still there, and he looks very good. Canít help but smile when he takes to the ice. He is still a crowd pleaser.
---Doug & Sherry

Huntsville, AL - August 8

Former U.S. Champion Rudy Galindo skated out in a sailor suit and had the audience clapping along with the Village People's "In the Navy."

From the Huntsville Times review article, "Just Being Themselves On Ice," by Deborah Storey (August 9)

Nashville, TN - August 9

Lucy was particularly enamored by the men, and particularly liked some of he novelty acts, Victor with the dog, Rudy (I had thought we were going to miss Rudy and was glad to see him too), Phillipe taking his clothes off, and
most of all the ballerinas.
---Carol Downton

Rudy Galindo - Rudy had a great night! Right from the opening, it was clear he would skate well. He had the audience in the palm of his hand. They clapped with the music for literally the entire program, myself included! He landed several double axels, and his charm and presentation were irresistable. His program was all about FUN and that is what everyone had. Love him!

I really liked Rudy and so did the crowd. My dad really liked him and I think it made him feel good because he knew him and he didn't know a lot of the skaters and him and my mom remembered watching him at Nationals on tv.

Charleston, SC - August 10

Although the Charleston crowd was smaller and a little "flatter" than the Little Rock and Nashville crowds, Rudy was still one of the major attractions (along with Michelle, of course, the acrobats, Elvis Stojko, etc.)

Greenville, SC - August 11

First, the Greenville crowd was really subdued in my opinion - the biggest applause was for Rudy, Elvis, the Russian acrobats, and of course, Michelle.

Back to Reviews index

Back to home page

Last updated August 17, 2002