it weren't for the nickname that has stayed with him since birth, we might
be cheering for Val or Val Joe, instead of Rudy, a name that doesn't appear
on his birth certificate! Val came from Rudy's uncle, who passed away when
Rudy was three, Joe from another uncle. Later on Rudy became "Rudi" for
a few years while he skated pairs with Kristi Yamaguchi. There are still
those who spell it that way. For instance, you won't find any articles
on Rudy Galindo in his hometown San Jose Mercury News in 1989 and
1990, when he and Kristi won the U.S. National Pairs Championship, but
there are over 60 of them citing Rudi Galindo. At 1994 Nationals, when
he skated a wonderful long program, his name was announced and appeared
as Rudy Val Galindo on the official videotape. He now seems quite comfortable
to be Rudy Galindo.
Champions on Ice biography of Rudy points out that Rudy's name on the USFSA's
National Pairs Championship trophy for 1989 and 1990 reads Rudi Galindo,
while his name on the National Men's Championship trophy for 1996 says
Rudy Galindo. To further complicate the issue of Rudy's name, the 1997
Greenwood Press biographical compilation, Notable Latino Americans:
a Biographical Dictionary, lists Rudy's "real" name as Valentin Joseph!
The Galindos say it isn't so.
the June 22, 2000, San Jose Mercury News, teacher Ross Jackson wrote
an open letter to the 32 students he taught in eighth-grade history at
J.W. Fair School in San Jose in 1983. In their studies about the past that
year, his students, among them 13 year old Rudy, anticipated the future
and could barely imagine the year 2000, it was so far away. They decided
to bury a time capsule to be retrieved in the spring of 2000. With the
help of students occupying the same classroom at that time, Jackson unearthed
the capsule. Among the treasures in it were students' photographs
and personal letters about the future.
Rudy's words were prophetic: "I love to skate and I love to perform, so if you ever have the chance to see me skate, go for it and you'll be surprised." San Jose watched him and stood behind him in the ensuing years, and he rewarded his home town with a stunning National Championship in 1996, as well as two pairs championships with Kristi Yamaguchi. The rest of us have enjoyed sharing his love of skating and performing ever since.
Rudy's sister and coach
Galindo-Black, without whom...
"One of the great love affairs in American figure skating is that of Rudy and his older sister Laura."
From USA Today, April 5, 2000, "HIV Again Interrupts Galindo's life," by Christine Brennan
"A lot of times Laura and I didn't need to talk to each other when I was on the ice, because unlike anyone else I'd worked with, she could communicate with me just by looking at me. We knew each other so well that each of us could tell what the other was thinking with just a glance. And when we needed to talk, it was always in shorthand...I loved it that Laura let me be myself."
Rudy, from Icebreaker, the Autobiography of Rudy Galindo, Pocket Books, 1997
She's everything. Everything. Love."
Rudy's response to "Laura Galindo," during the word association part of an interview about his book, from Lorrie Kim's Report: "Book Party for Rudy Galindo" held in New York, March 19, 1997
"...my coach, my sister, my best friend. She plays a lot of roles in my life--and she's the love of my life."
From an article in the Evansville Courier & Press (Indiana), January 28, 2000, "Poetry On Ice...," by Rebecca Coudret (only a few days before Rudy became so ill he had to leave the Champions On Ice Winter Tour)
"I want to live for Laura."
Rudy, in People Magazine, April 17, 2000, "Skater Rudy Galindo Faces AIDS," by Alex Tresniowski, Vicki Sheff-Cahan, and Johnny Dodd
Rudy's nephew and niece
Laura and Andy Black's son, Tyler Thomas Black, was born on December 21, 1998. The lives of the Galindo and Black families were forever changed by this handsome boy who is now a very active and strong-willed six-year-old.
On April 20, 2000, Tyler was joined by his sister, Marina Jesse Black, whose middle name is after Laura's and Rudy's father (Jess C.). Her arrival brought joy to a difficult period in the Galindo's lives (Rudy's HIV+ diagnosis). She's a real spitfire who does very well at keeping up with her big brother.
|Rudy was born on September 7, 1969. If you are into the signs of the Zodiac, he's a Virgo and, so they say, devoted to work, duty, a desire to be of service, and the pursuit of perfection. Virgos are also concerned with physical fitness and health and pay much attention to detail. There are a number of very fine Virgo skaters in addition to Rudy: his idol, John Curry, Nicole Bobek, Michael Chack, Josee Chouinard, Todd Eldredge, Timothy Goebel, Scott Hamilton, Peter Barna, Judy Blumberg, Tai Babilonia, and Marina Anissina (perhaps the inspiration for Rudy's niece's name).|
notable people born on September 7:
|A couple of years ago, Laura's and Rudy's mother, Margaret, moved from San Jose to Reno to be closer to her family. Until then and after Rudy's '96 Nationals win, his mom had remained in the home she shared with her husband, Jess, son, George, and where Laura and Rudy grew up. She now is a big help to Laura and a full time grandmother to Tyler and Marina. Mrs. Galindo, Rudy, and Laura and her family all live within a few blocks of each other.|
an article by Christine Brennan that appeared in USA Today on Wednesday,
April 5, 2000, Rudy reported that he is living with HIV. When the pneumonia
he had been suffering with for the early part of that year failed to respond
to treatment as expected, doctors advised that he be tested for HIV. Results
showed that he is HIV positive, and he began antiretroviral treatment in
March, 2000. He responded quickly and exceptionally well to it and continues
to do so four years later.
Rudy is open and honest, reflective, yet optimistic in the Brennan article. "I've made my mistakes, but I want to tell everyone that 'safe sex' is not an empty slogan. People always think that it can't happen to them, but it can. I didn't want to hide this illness. I didn't want to live a lie. I've always wanted to be truthful." Rudy reaffirmed his love of skating and intention to continue. His physician, Dr. Steven Parker, commented, "He should be able to get back to skating the way he was...It's a new disease today...It's not a death sentence anymore." From Rudy, "I'm enjoying life so much, I'll do anything to survive." He has indeed competed and toured as before--and enjoyed his family to the fullest.
Rudy went back to work on April 6, 2000, rejoining the Champions On Ice Summer Tour and skating throughout except for five performances when niece Marina was born. He then skated a three week stint during that July in "Broadway On Ice" at the Andy Williams Theatre in Branson, Missouri, and competed very successfully during the 2000/2001 professional season, taking a close second in the World Professional Skating Championships in December. He assumed a role as Honorary Co-chairperson of the National Minority AIDS Council and promoted the organization's education campaign on HIV-related anemia.
Some wonderful journalism about Rudy resulted from his 2000 ordeal, many articles by writers who also covered his 1996 Nationals and Worlds successes. Most of them are cited or linked to full text from the Articles and Rudy In Print pages on the web site. Those by Brennan, Ann Killion (San Jose Mercury News), Randy Harvey (Los Angeles Times), Jere Longman (New York Times), Jo-Ann Barnas (Detroit Free Press), Shana Naomi Krochmal (POZ), and John Trent (Reno Gazette-Journal) are especially eloquent and informative.
Rudy continued to flourish during the 2001/2002 season of touring and exhibitions, including the grueling Champions on Ice Olympic Tour that lasted through mid-August of 2002. Due to a recurring hip problem, he missed 10 performances of the nearly 90 city Tour. However, he was back in November to skate the Elvis (Stojko) Sk8 Tour through Canada, from east (St. John, Newfoundland) to west (Vancouver, BC).
Rudy's hip problem was diagnosed in summer, 2002, as Avascular Necrosis (AVN). The name of the condition describes it--death of the bone (head of the femur) due to lack of circulation. Rudy skated with the deteriorating condition for over a year, completing the long 2002 Olympic Tour, the Elvis Tour in Canada in the Fall, the 2003 Champions On Ice (25th Anniversary) Winter Tour, and the abbreviated Summer Tour through early June. During the latter the hip became increasingly painful, excruciatingly so a short time after the Tour's completion. (The head of the femur in the left hip was fractured and held together only by the hip socket.)
By this time, Rudy had accepted the fact that total hip replacement (THR) was his best option and that he needed to have both hips replaced. Laura had become aware of the ceramic on ceramic technique of total hip replacement that was FDA approved in February of 2003. Use of this product and technique has given hope to young and active people needing hip replacement. They now have the prospect of living lives requiring very little change in their regular activities. This includes athletes. These hip implants wear significantly better and longer, have a decreased chance of dislocation by permitting an optimal range of motion, and are less apt to be affected by osteolytic wear.
Fortunately, the Galindos were able to find a surgeon in Reno who was experienced with the ceramic on ceramic technique and who shared their optimism about Rudy's ability to continue to skate with artificial hips. Dr. Eric Boyden first operated on Rudy's left hip on September 19, 2003. Six weeks later, on October 30, he operated on the right hip. Rudy started physical therapy immediately after the first surgery, and was on the ice a few weeks later. He worked hours each day afterward on and off the ice to get into the condition that allowed him to be ready to skate in the 2004 Champions on Ice Tours that began April 3. He got back the triple jumps he was performing before AVN (flip, loop, toe, and salchow, as well as double axels), and can do his shotgun spin. He finished Tour 1 and Tour 2 without missing a performance and pain free. He had no ill effects from performing day in and day out. (In Tour 2, he did two programs, in addition to the introduction and long finale.)
Rudy started out 2005 with several skating in some Broadway on Ice shows in Florida and Georgia, will be doing Detroit's Winter Blast and Bensenville, Illinois' Dreams On Ice, also in conjunction with a Winter celebration, and will participate in the first annual First Annual Gala of Figure Skating In Harlem, a not-for-profit organization established in 1997 "to provide exciting new educational, cultural and athletic opportunities for girls in the Harlem community through the unique discipline and art of figure skating." After that, he will do the 2005 Champions On Ice Tour. The hips are holding up very well!
Rudy hasn't competed since the end of 2002 due to his hip problems and ensuing double total hip replacement surgery. Since his surgery and rehabilitation, he has become much at ease with his hip implants, works very hard at staying in shape and keeping up his skating skills, and would very much enjoy competing again should the opportunity arise. He has maintained the four triple jumps he regularly performed in competition as much as most of his flexibility.
Rudy also appears, speaks, and performs at HIV/AIDS-related conferences, benefits, AIDS Walks, etc. He has tirelessly promoted AIDS awareness and education, while serving as an inspiration and example to those living with HIV and AIDS that they can still pursue their lives and dreams. Skating on two new hips, he is again an example of how life can go on if one has optimism, determination, and courage.
|Rudy resides in Reno, NV, a short distance from where Laura, Andy, Tyler, and Marina now live, and his mom is close by. He regularly trains at TotalSports in Sparks (near Reno) to be closer to his family. He and Laura still make trips to San Jose for skating, costumes, music editing, and to see friends.|
|You may remember Rudy talking about kissing his cats for luck before he won Nationals? His mom cared for his lucky cats ever since, and they moved to Reno with her! Laura and Andy have Max, the handsome and smart yellow lab (he likes Rudy, too). They recently acquired Ruby, a female yellow lab puppy, so Max could bring her up to be like he is!|
Rudy's choreography & costumes
Franke choreographed Rudy's memorable "Swan Lake" Nationals long program
from '96 and the very popular and hilarious "Village People Medley" he
debuted on the 1998 COI Winter Tour and which is already a signature program
for him. She also did "Babalu," at the time, a change of pace for Rudy
as a performer, the "Brady Bunch," "Dancin' With Myself," with which Rudy
placed a close second in the Technical program at the 1997 World Professional
Championships, and "Studio 54 Soundtrack."
Randy Gardner created the very successful "Ice Castles" ("Through the Eyes of Love") program and "The Rose," from the 1999/2000 season. Laura and Rudy came up with the brilliant and much emulated concept and choreography for "Send In the Clowns." 1998/99's well-received "Rondo Capriccioso," also referred to as Rudy's violin program, was the work of Alexander Zhulin, and may be one his most successful ventures for a singles skater. Though Rudy seemed to open the door for regular use of props in professional skating, his hoop and violin bow stand out for elegance and gracefulness.
the 2001 season, Rudy performed to "Elephant Love Medley" from
Rouge, "Pie Jesu" (a piano version by NatureQuest) from Requieum,
"Gaite Parisien" (Offenbach) and "Let's Hear It For the Boy," from Footloose,
a 2000 program never seen except in Branson, MO, and on local television
(in New York City). Laura and Rudy again did the choreography for his competitive
and exhibition programs this season. The Moulin Rouge program featured
a gorgeous jacket with a woman's face embroidered on the back.
For the 2002 Elvis Sk8 Tour, Rudy's new program was controversial--and wonderful--"Sweet Transvestite" and "Time Warp" from the Rocky Horror Show. He also did "Colors Of the Wind" to please the more traditional members of the audiences! Rudy's Frank N Furter was a marvelous characterization, the costume was perfect, and Rudy skated it extremely well. The choreography included everything from a couple of jump combinations to a slinky crawl on the ice! For a look at the costume see the reviews of the ElvisSk8 Tour and the COI Winter Tour. After a few trial performances, Rocky Horror was deemed to be a bit much for the more family-oriented COI audiences. For the remainder of the COI Winter Tour, he did the Prince number, somewhat revamped from the 2000 Winter Tour.
Rudy and Julie Rose work together on many of his costumes, with Rudy doing most of the design, and Julie making them happen. To the left is one of Rudy's favorites from his "On Golden Pond" program. Rudy was featured in this costume in a cameo appearance in the delightful and successful 2001 French film, Amelie. The mother of the title character was fond of figure skaters' costumes, and Rudy was the example shown! Like Rudy, Julie Rose and choreographer Sharlene Franke are from the San Jose area.
has appeared in 33 professional and pro am competitions and two unjudged
exhibitions ("The Improv" in 1998 and 1999) from his October 1996 debut
at the U.S. Professional Championships, through the 2001 season.
He performed 25 different programs in competition (27 if you count his
two self-choreographed "Improv" numbers). All were new except for "Ave
Maria," which he had skated as an amateur (World Championships exhibitions
and Hershey's Kisses Challenge). See Professional Competitions
and Programs for complete listing.
In addition, he appeared in 14 exhibitions/shows, of which twelve were televised (see ToursShows). He skated to eleven programs in these shows that he hasn't used in competition:
Rudy has done twelve programs only once in professional competition.
Rudy on tour and TV
forced to withdraw from the Artistic Program in the 2000 Goodwill Games
due to the viral pneumonia that led to his HIV+ diagnosis. See Professional
Competitions and Programs. In
a remarkable turnaround in the 2000/2001 season, he finished a close second
in the World Professional Championships in December, 2000, and had strong
finishes in his other 2000 competitions.
missed a tour performance until the end of his fifth year on the Champions
On Ice Winter Tour (2000), when he missed the last eight performances due
to the same illness, undiagnosed at the time. After doing a limited number
of dates with the 1996 Tour of Champions Winter Tour just after his Nationals
win, he completed the 1996 TOC Summer Tour through the 1999 Champions On
Ice Summer Tour (renamed with the 1998 season).
Champions On Ice Tour 1 - 2004
Champions On Ice Tour2 - 2004
Rudy returned to start the 2000 Summer Tour and missed only five performances--for planned medical maintenance and to be with Laura after Marina's birth. He skated in all performances of the 2001 Winter and Summer Tours much to the pleasure of audiences. In 2002, he skated the entire Winter Tour, but missed ten performances of the grueling 90+ performances Summer (Olympic Tour) due to a recurring hip problem.
Earlier, he was also a part of the two-week Elvis Tour through Canada from 1996 through 1998, and again performed in this successfully revived tour in 2002. Almost all of his professional competitions and tour appearances in the U.S. and Canada have been televised nationally. (The exceptions were the 2001- 2002/03 COI Winter Tours and the 2004 Tours 1 and 2.)
Rudy participated in the Champions On Ice 2004 Tours 1 and 2 on two new ceramic on ceramic hip implants. He didn't miss a performance and skated very well throughout the tours. (His only fall on a jump was the last night of the second tour!) Those who are acquainted with the effects of major surgery, as well as bilateral total hip replacement, knew well what he accomplished by being back on tour doing triple jumps and flexibility moves six months afterward.
Rudy also performed in the televised 1996 Reno Holiday On Ice and Nutcracker On Ice productions. He did two TV specials seen in 1998: Brian Boitano's Skate Against Hate, and Mannheim Steamroller's original production, A Christmas Angel, which has been shown every year since. In addition, he filmed an episode of Will & Grace and an oft-repeated E! True Hollywood Stories feature about him, and worked with Tara Lipinski on her TV special, From This Moment, all shown in 1999. Later in 1999, he did several televised exhibition programs--Star Skates Ice Jam (Robin Cousins' production), Skating Goes Country (Nancy Kerrigan's show), and the locally (NYC) televised opening of the rink at Rockefeller Center. In 2000, he performed in Broadway on Ice (Branson), which was not televised, and Star Skates Latin. He did his first Brian Boitano's Holiday Skating Spectacular on January 1, 2002, and Jamie Sale & David Pelletier's "Golden Homecoming" Show shortly after the Olympics. On February 20, 2004, Rudy made his first post-hip surgery appearance on the Today Show, skating a beautiful program to John Denver's "Sunshine On My Shoulders." He was also shown skating at his Reno training base and briefly interviewed by Matt Lauer. He had a second "Broadway On Ice" stint in late 2004/early 2005.
Along the way earlier were appearances on Oprah!, the Maury Povich Show, Rosie O'Donnell, Today, Prime Time, Caryl and Marilyn, and interviews on various shows about his book. In February of 2003, he was included in a Where Are They Now segment about ice skaters, and on a week long Family Feud battle between the women and men of Champions On Ice.
After Rudy's April 5, 2000, announcement that he is HIV positive, he appeared on the Today show (interviewed by Katie Couric), Dateline (in a terrific interview with Jane Pauley), Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, the MSNBC morning show, etc. In February, 2004, Rudy made another TV comeback making his first public skating appearance with his new ceramic hips on the Today Show. Matt Lauer interviewed him this time.
From Rudy's auspicious arrival in prime time in January, 1996, through 2004, he has appeared on television well over 100 times! See ToursShows for a summary.
book, Icebreaker; the Autobiography of Rudy Galindo, written with
Eric Marcus, is out in three versions: the original 1997 hard cover publication,
the later 1997 paperback with an updated chapter, and the Spanish edition,
de Rudy Galindo, all published by Pocket Books. An edition or more
of the book is now in several thousand libraries in the U.S. Both the English
and Spanish editions are still in print.
On March 20 1997, when Lorrie Kim interviewed Rudy about Icebreaker and asked some questions sent to her by fans, he answered one about whether or not there would be another book later on updating his life with the following, "No. I'm pretty content with my life right now. It's just a great ending." From a February 10, 1999, article titled, "Rudy Galindo Hopes for Smoother Skating," by Dan LeRoy in the Daily News (Charleston, W VA), Rudy gave Le Roy a different answer that might make a few of his professional colleagues squirm a bit--if he was serious! "I would love to write about my life as a professional, all of the cities I've been in. A little bit gossipy, about the turmoils of the other skaters, of course."
A year later in an interview with Milton Wendland in the February 2000, issue of The Liberty Press, he again talked about writing another book. "Will the next book be juicy?" asked Wendland. "Oh, Yeah!" responded Rudy.
We'll look forward to that one!! Rudy has been keeping a journal since his HIV+ diagnosis, so he will be prepared.
See Rudy's book for reviews and commentary
Rudy's amateur career
an amateur career that spanned 15 years from 1982 into 1996, Rudy won two
U.S. National Championships in singles and three in pairs with Kristi Yamaguchi,
as well as having two third place finishes in National Junior Men's Championships:
Rudy announced that he was turning professional on September 11, 1996, saying "My dreams as an amateur skater have been more than fulfilled." Laura added, "...the bronze medal at Worlds was just a treat," and Rudy later reflected that his win in San Jose was his Olympic medal. Dick Button agreed in his World Championships commentary saying his performance in San Jose was good enough to be just that. See See Amateur Competitions
|Rudy stands tied for fourth in the number of "6.0's" received in the Men's Competitions at the U.S. National Championships having been awarded two of them in the artistic scores for his 1996 free skating performance. He's in excellent company. Ahead of him are Boitano, with nine, Wylie with seven, and Hamilton with six. Tied with him with two are Terry Kubicka (1975), Charles Tickner (1975, 1977), and John Misha Petkevich (1968, 1971).|
Rudy's 2nd oldest men's champion record?
Rudy was often reported to be the second oldest Men's National Champion,
that wasn't so according to USFSA records, even in 1996. He was actually
fourth oldest behind the following men:
On Ice bio on Rudy said that he was the second oldest men's AMATEUR champion,
so perhaps a couple of pros slipped in among the above gentlemen!
|Rudy has received several honors in the skating world and from the various communities he contributes to and represents. Following are many of them:|
recently for the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR), IFS cited both Rudy's exemplary and tireless work for AIDS/HIV related causes and his goal to continue to improve his skating in the face of his own health situation to provide an example to others living with HIV. Of the honorees, IFS said, "Whatever the forum, they made an impact not only on the skating world but also on the public in terms of how it perceives that world."
reviewed Dan Woog's book, Jocks: True Stories of America's Gay Male
Athletes, published by Alyson Books, in the June 30, 1998, issue of
Voice. In the article, Gambaccini states, "Among American men, only
figure skater Rudy Galindo came out while still at his athletic apogee."
Rudy is usually mentioned in the same sentence as Greg Louganis and Martina
Navratilova, both of whom were well past their primes in their sports when
they spoke publicly about being gay. Rudy is not only the first openly
gay skater to be competing and performing at an elite level, but the first
such athlete and first out U.S. national champion in ANY sport. To use
Dick Button's words about Rudy from '96 Nationals, "Now that's guts."
Later on, the November 19, 1998, issue of PlanetOut News further clarified Rudy's position in the skating world, "The only top skater to voluntarily publicly identify himself as gay while still active in the sport is U.S. Professional Rudy Galindo." Rudy still stands alone in this category.
Rudy is among the first and only athletes active at a high level in a sport to report his HIV positive status. Because of the individual nature of skating, he is able to continue to compete and perform without controversy, something that wasn't possible for Magic Johnson in a team sport. PlanetOut News refers to him fondly now as "openly gay, openly HIV+."
In 1998, Rudy introduced his now well-known and much-loved "Village People Medley." He blithefully drew audiences into this program, and people all over the country enjoyed and had fun with it. Also in the 1998 season, Rudy performed a beautiful version of "Over the Rainbow" at the U.S. Professional Championships which most of us will never see as it was inexplicably "chacked" from the ABC broadcast. The network later showed a less perfect televised performance from the Keri Lotion Classic (pro am). Here's hoping we see another version of it during Rudy's career.
For the group introduction to the 1999 COI Summer Tour, Rudy answered the requests of many fans and did a bit from The Rocky Horror Show to "Time Warp" that had audiences begging for a full program. See Ann Jensen's picture of Rudy as Frankenfurter. Rudy's "Studio 54" program, as performed during the 1999 professional competition season, proved more controversial than these earlier ones. Lorrie Kim has written an in depth essay on it and reactions to it which appears on her web site (see below). Programs with implicit or explicit gay images and themes would have been unheard of only a few years ago. Rudy admits he "pushes the envelope" on occasion!
By the 2000/2001 season, Rudy had audiences at his competitions and the two Champions on Ice tours eating from his hand and applauding loud and long for his Fosse I number. This program incorporates some of the moves "you don't see the other men do," according to Roslynn Sumners. Audiences seem to have become very comfortable with his choreography and style, a giant stride from the reaction to Studio 54, and even occasionally, "The Village People."
We may have spoken too soon! Rudy had done a brief introductory bit to "Time Warp" for the 1999 COI Summer Tour. He expanded it to a complete program featuring "Sweet Transvestite" and "Time Warp" that he did on the 2002 Elvis Sk8 Tour through Canada (see ElvisSk8 Tour review for pictures). The Canadians received it very well with few exceptions. However, when Rudy tried it out on the 2003 COI Winter Tour, the American audiences weren't quite as receptive and he had to abandon the program for this year anyhow.
Just when we thought he was out of firsts and comebacks, Rudy became the first skater to perform triple jumps and shotgun spins on two artificial hips! His comeback from August and September total hip replacement surgery occurred on February 20, 2004, less than four months after his second hip surgery, and he was ready for the 2004 Champions On Ice Tours by the starting date of April 3, 2004.
November (1998) flavor of the month ("Rudy Galindo flies over the rainbow")
(1999) flavor of the month ("Rudy Galindo's 'Studio 54'")
Photo and other credits:
photo on left by Troy Chinn from the cover of Skating Magazine, March,
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last updated January 15, 2004