Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Todd Eldredge: From Thin Ice to a Hot Red Ferrari after Years of Struggle, the World Champion Skater Finds Success

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Todd Eldredge: From Thin Ice to a Hot Red Ferrari after Years of Struggle, the World Champion Skater Finds Success

Article excerpt

When he was an adolescent, Todd Eldredge took the most significant step of his life: He left home with a one-way ticket.

It was the start of an unpredictable journey, like skating on thin ice, you might say. There were titles and triumphs. Doubts and debts. But for 14 years Eldredge skated on.

"It's all kind of a blur," he said after he won the men's World Figure Skating Championship as an underdog, earlier this year in Edmonton, Alberta. "And I was like: Huh? It seems weird ... world champion." He's gotten used to it. He's made winning a habit and has been acclaimed as the successor to the throne of Brian Boitano, the last great American skater. Last month Eldredge won both season-opening international figure skating events. First, he claimed the Skate America title in Springfield, Mass., with a flawless routine set to the music of the film "Independence Day." Last month Eldredge won the Lalique Trophy in Paris. "When I saw him in the 1993 Nationals he looked stiff," said James Nicholls, a self-confessed skating buff. "But now he's more relaxed and a lot more graceful." Eldredge finished third in the World Championships in 1991 and second in 1995. He won the US Championships in 1990, 1991, and 1995 and finished second in the event in 1996. He has won US titles at all three levels (novice, junior, and senior). But this year has brought stability to a career that once flickered like a firefly. A national title won, lost, regained again, and lost again. The change came in 1993. Years of injuries battered his confidence. He briefly traded his blades for golf irons and the ice rink for the greens. "He was into soul-searching," his mother says. Eldredge then had a heel lift inserted in his shoes and skates, because one leg is slightly shorter than the other. "Todd always had the ability to persist," says Eldredge's mother, Ruth. "Even when some people did not believe in him, he believed in himself." Ruth Eldredge knows a lot about her son. He made her a modern day wayfarer and changed the way their family would live. It all started when Eldredge was 6. As the son of a commercial fisherman in Chatham, Mass., Eldredge would go out to sea in search of cod and haddock. …

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