Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Skating Fans Can Figure on Seeing Plenty at Museum

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Skating Fans Can Figure on Seeing Plenty at Museum

Article excerpt

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- In the shadow of Cheyenne Mountain,

just a triple-Lutz away from the legendary Broadmoor Hotel,

figure skating fans from around the world can indulge their

passion at The World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and Museum.

Curator Beth Davis describes the museum as "kind of a hidden

secret, tucked away here in Colorado Springs." But with interest

in figure skating at an all-time high, the word is spreading.

More than 15,000 people a year make the pilgrimage, and the

numbers are growing steadily.

The museum claims to be "the only institution of its kind in

the world, devoted exclusively to the preservation of all

aspects of the sport of figure skating through the years."

"All aspects" is not understatement. For example, the first

thing visitors encounter is a bronze sculpture of Nicole Bobek

in the middle of a layback spin, wearing the dress she wore in

1993 at the nationals competition. Nicole's Layback is one of

several Douglas Taylor-Gebler sculptures displayed on a rotating

basis.

In another exhibit, Scott Hamilton leads visitors through a

videotaped tutorial on the axel, loop, Lutz, and Salchow jumps.

After Hamilton teaches visitors the nuances of these challenging

jumps, they can admire the Gold Medal he won in Sarajevo for

mastering them.

Visitors who remember Sonja Henie's impact on figure skating

and on popular culture are rewarded with displays featuring her

last pair of skates, posters from her films and Sonja Henie

dolls.

It's all part of a collection so vast the 10,000-square-foot

museum can display less than half of its memorabilia at a time.

That's not bad for what began in a broom closet in Boston as the

personal collection of America's first Olympic skating

medallist, Theresa Weld Blanchard.

After winning the Bronze Medal in ladies' singles at the 1920

Olympic Winter Games in Antwerp, Belgium, Blanchard helped

launch Skating, the official publication of the U.S. Figure

Skating Association.

She continued to compete as well, winning four consecutive U.S.

figure skating championships. Along the way, the memorabilia she

collected formed the nucleus of the museum's collection. By

1969, that collection occupied two display cases in the Skating

Club of Boston.

In 1980, influenced by William Thayer Tutt's world-renowned

Broadmoor Hotel Skating Club, the museum moved to Colorado

Springs. The facility is home to the U.S. Figure Skating

Association, which sponsors the museum and is the national

governing body of the sport.

The museum rotates its exhibits to provide even repeat visitors

an ever-changing segment of the world's largest collection of

skating art. Drawings, paintings and prints by artists ranging

from Winslow Homer to Andy Warhol to former skater Toller

Cranston line the walls. …

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