It was the middle of 1964, and 26-year-old Frank Carroll was in San Francisco at a career crossroads.
He had done college, getting a degree in 1960 from the College of the Holy Cross in his native Worcester, Mass., with a major in sociology and Dean’s List grades. He had done competitive skating, with national junior singles bronze medals in 1959 and 1960. He had done show skating, spending four and one-half years with Ice Follies before leaving the show with plans to attend the University of San Francisco Law School, which had accepted him, then deciding he did not want to start academic studies again.
Over the years with Ice Follies, which was styled like an elaborate Broadway review, Carroll had made friends with many actors in musicals like “Kismet,” “Carousel” and “Hello, Dolly.” One suggested he go to Los Angeles, where friends could help get him work in films. He went.
“I would go to auditions, and when they would ask what I did, I said, `I ice skate,’’’ Carroll said. “I was like a joke to them.”
But he was handsome, with a physique buffed in the gym, and that got Carroll parts as a “body person” in three of the eminently forgettable beach movies of the mid-1960s (think “Beach Blanket Bingo,” although Carroll declines to identify which movies he was in or what his stage name was.) He would stand among a group of other “body people” in the background and sometimes sing with the group.
There would be months between film shoots, leaving Carroll to spend his days hanging at the gym or going to the beach until, as he puts it, “I got bored with this ridiculousness.”
A friend who had photographed Carroll at skating competitions suggested he might fill the down time as a skating teacher. After all, he had done some coaching as a Holy Cross undergrad to help pay his school and skating bills and done some more coaching after graduation. The photographer connected Carroll with a rink in the Los Angeles suburb of Van Nuys, where he began working in the 1965/66 skating season.
By 1968, Carroll was coach of a medalist at the national championships. A year later, he had his first national champion: Jimmy Demogines in the novice men’s division. In 1972, he coached Olympic team alternate Robert Bradshaw. In 1976, he coached his first Olympian, Linda Fratianne.
Over the next 40 years, Carroll would become the most successful coach in the United StatesRead More
Canadian choreographer David Wilson was surprised and delighted when he got an “out-of-the-blue” email last week from Kazakh figure skater Denis Ten.
In the email, Ten asked if Wilson would help rework the free skate the choreographer had done for him last season so the program would fit the new time limit, 30 seconds shorter.
Wilson was surprised because he did not think Ten was going to compete next season after enduring another difficult struggle with chronic foot problems.
And Wilson was delighted because it would give Ten another opportunity to show the world a beautiful program to a song called, “SOS from An Earthling in Distress,” that the injuries had kept him from performing the way the skater and choreographer hoped.
“I was really touched Denis wanted to keep this program and thrilled that he was going to have another chance with it,” Wilson said from Toronto Thursday morning. “Now it is gone.”
Ten, 25, died Thursday after what Kazakh media reported was an altercation with two people trying to steal mirrors from his car on a street in Almaty, the capital of Kazakhstan.Read More
We've seen some incredible skating over the last 11 years. We asked our writers tell us what their favorite performances were since the launch of icenetwork in 2007.
(To me, this meant a performance I had seen live and in person. And my choice was easy.)
This is all you have to know about the International Skating Union’s commitment to integrity in judging of figure skating.
The ISU members voted Monday morning at their biennial Congress to continue allowing an unconscionable conflict of interest in the sport without even any discussion on the matter.
Thanks to a move from Skate Canada, whose president’s ethical equivocation created the need for action, the feckless ISU members removed from the Congress agenda an urgent proposal preventing federation presidents from judging major international events.Read More