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Figure skating champions take to ice for families

Kurt Browning will take to the ice during the Holiday Festival on Ice at Kal Tire Place Dec. 4. - Michelle Harvast photo
Kurt Browning will take to the ice during the Holiday Festival on Ice at Kal Tire Place Dec. 4.
— image credit: Michelle Harvast photo

A Canadian figure skating legend highlights an impressive array of past world and Olympic champion skaters that will put on a show in Vernon.

Caroline, Alta.’s Kurt Browning, four-time men’s world champion, will be joined by 2014 Olympic ice dance champions Meryl Davis and Charlie Davis of the U.S. for Holiday Festival on Ice, a figure skating show that will take place Sunday, Dec. 4, at 4 p.m. at Kal Tire Place.

The show is being promoted by Vernon’s David Hesketh.

Proceeds from the show will be used to support North Okanagan Youth and Family Services Society (NOYFSS).

“Dave and I partnered up about six months ago and talked about an idea to bring a family event to Vernon that was exciting and would utilize this venue (Kal Tire Place),” said Dean Francks, director of business and fund development with NOYFSS.

“We’ve also worked very closely with (City of Vernon arenas manager) Stan Mitchell.”

Said Hesketh: “This family friendly show is a great fit in how the community can support the efforts of NOYFSS.”

Browning represented Canada in three Winter Olympics with a best result of fifth in 1994.

He was Canada’s flag bearer for the opening ceremonies at the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway.

At the world championships in Budapest, Hungary in 1988, Browning landed the first quadruple jump ever in competition. He was inducted in the Canada Sports Hall of Fame in 1994, and the Canadian Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2001.

Davis and White won the silver medal at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, finishing behind Canadian’s Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir.

The Americans won gold four years later in Sochi. They also captured world titles in 2011 and 2013.

Browning, Davis and White will be joined in Vernon by Ekateriina (Katia) Gordeeva, Jeffrey Buttle, Yuka Sato, Kaetlyn Osmond, Ryan Bradley and Shawn Sawyer.

Russia’s Gordeeva burst onto the pairs figure skating scene with her partner, Sergei Grinkov, in 1986 when they won the world championship in Geneva, and again the next year in Cincinnati.

They captured Olympic gold in Calgary in 1988 and Lillehammer in 1994. The pair won four world titles. Grinkov died of a heart attack in 1995.

Buttle, from Barrie, Ont., is a three-time Canadian champion who won the world title in 2008. He also won an Olympic bronze medalist in Torino, Italy in 2006.

Sato, from Tokyo, won the women’s world championship in 1994 and has participated in two Olympics.

Osmond won the 2013 Canadian women’s championship. Bradley is a former U.S. men’s champ (2011) and New Brunswick’s Sawyer is a three-time Canadian men’s bronze medalist.

This will be the first such ice skating show in Vernon in six years and will be the only B.C. stop for Holiday Festival on the tour.

“We’re super excited to have such high profile skaters here,” said Hesketh.

“Because it’s the only B.C. stop, we are expecting a sellout. It’s starting at 4 p.m. because it’s a family event and for people who have to drive a distance to get to the show.”

Tickets will go on sale through Ticketseller Saturday at 10 a.m., starting at $45.

“We’ve lowered the price for one section so it’s an affordable family ticket,” said Hesketh.

Sponsor Kiss FM will also be giving away tickets through on-air contests.

Francks is also putting together a VIP section with an opportunity to meet and greet the skaters after the show.

For more information about the event, call Francks at 250-545-3572.

 

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