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Brian Boitano Interview: 'Skating Spectacular' Airs on NBC, Features Rock Band Heart

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Brian Boitano

Olympic gold-medalist Brian Boitano and musical guest Heart star in Musselman’s Apple Sauce presents Brian Boitano Skating Spectacular, a new theatrical figure skating event to be broadcast on NBC Sunday, December 26, 2010.

Heart, with lead singers Ann and Nancy Wilson, has sold more than 30 million records, had 21 Top 40 hits, sold out arenas worldwide, and had a profound influence on rock music, This year Heart released their first new album in six years, Red Velvet Car.

“Well, I asked the producer if he could possibly contact Heart and see if they might be interested and we were excited to find out that they did want to do the show. It’s going to be kind of a rock type show of sorts. Heart will perform some of their classics and also some songs from a new album.”

Special guest stars include three time National Champion and two time World Bronze Medalist Michael Weiss, as well as eight time British National Champion Steven Cousins, US Silver Medalist Ryan Bradley, World Champion Yuka Sato, two time World Professional Pairs Champions Elena Leonova and Andrei Khvalko, seven time British National Champions Sinead and John Kerr, and American Open Champion and specialty act Irina Grigorian and Mikhail Panin.

The one-night-only gold medal spectacular will be taped in the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

Boitano is a member of the USOC Hall of Fame. His competitive record includes four national titles, two world titles, and more professional titles than any other skater in the history of the sport. Among those titles are six World Professional Championships.

In addition, Boitano starred in his own tour Boitano/Witt Skating and won a Primetime Emmy for his starring role in Carmen on Ice (HBO). The forty-seven year old California native also stars in his weekly cooking show, What Would Brian Boitano Make? on the Food Network.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Brian, let’s talk about your skating spectacular.

Brian Boitano: I think it’s our 14th show around the holiday season … my 14th skating spectacular. We’re filming it in Sioux City and have Heart as the musical guest. I’m so excited about that because I’ve always wanted to skate to the music of Heart.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You chose Heart yourself?

Brian Boitano: Well, I asked the producer if he could possibly contact Heart and see if they might be interested and we were excited to find out that they did want to do the show. It’s going to be kind of a rock type show of sorts. Heart will perform some of their classics and also some songs from a new album.

Brian Boitano

Brian Boitano (Keith Sherman and Associates)

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You will be performing as well as other championship skaters?

Brian Boitano: Oh yeah. I’m actually going to do “Crazy on You” for my solo. The opening is “Barracuda” and the closing is “Magic Man.” Those are some Heart classics.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Irina Grigorian is a juggler.

Brian Boiano: Yes, she’s amazing. Irina does a hula-hoop act. She has about 100 hula-hoops on her body and she juggles these hula-hoops while she skates. She has them on her arms, legs, neck, and everywhere (laughs). Her husband is Mikhail Panin and he’s in the show, too. They’re both skaters, but they do all this other stuff on the side.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Not only could I not do one or the other effectively separately, but I wouldn’t even attempt to perform them at the same time (laughs).

Brian Boitano: Right (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Why Sioux City, Brian?

Brian Boitano: We’ve never had a spectacular before in Sioux City. We always try to look for new and different buildings so we can go to different audiences. I like the location. We like doing them in a smaller city. It’s nice for the cast. We’ll be there for four days. It’s about the convenience of the entire week and how we transport skaters. Sioux City has been really receptive and a great partner.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What year did you stop competing?

Brian Boitano: The last year I competed as an amateur was 1994, but I competed professionally until 2002 or 2003.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I assume the Olympics is the ultimate high for an athlete. Describe that experience.

Brian Boitano: It’s like you said, the ultimate high. The first Olympics I attended I was hoping to get into the Top 10 or 5. I was 20 years old so the whole time I was going, “Wow, I’m in the Olympics! This is so cool!” The next time it was like, “Wow, I’m in the Olympics again! That is really cool and I have a real chance of getting a medal!” That was even more amazing and to actually win is honestly surreal. It’s like you can’t imagine that you’re representing your country and that you won a Gold medal. It’s just completely surreal.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You won a championship as a teenager, isn’t that correct?

Brian Boitani: I was a Bronze medalist in the world championship before the Olympics, and before I won the World. When I was 14 I was a Bronze medalist in the Junior World Championship.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): When did you really decide on skating as a career?

Brian Boitano: I was serious from day one when I was 8 years old. I knew it was what I wanted to do for my life. I knew that’s what my calling was so I was really lucky to have found that at a very young age, but at the same time you don’t want to do anything else. I just wanted to be a skater and go skating and just do that whole thing. I was lucky to have had that type of commitment at a very young age.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did skating come naturally to you?

Brian Boitano: Yes, but I did have a lot of falls just because I was a daredevil. I was this little kid who wanted to go faster and jump higher. I was doing triples by the time I was 11 years old so I was this little daredevil. I couldn’t get enough of the speed, the precision, and the flinging myself in the air. It was all really interesting to me.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is the quadruple the most difficult jump?

Brian Boitano: Yeah it is. I was among the cast of the first guys who tried that in competition. We were just starting to try and do them in competition back when I won the Olympics. Now it’s not as commonplace as you would think it would be 22 years after, but certainly guys do them on a regular basis.

Brian Boitano

Brian Boitano (Keith Sherman and Associates)

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You were the forerunner of that jump.

Brian Boitano: Yeah, definitely.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What are your feelings about Olympic athletes using steroids to enhance performances?

Brian Boitano: Well, you know, it has never been an issue in skating and I think we’re fortunate about that. Athletes using steroids is unfortunate but I think that it just happens. It’s part of the business.

If you look at cycling or other sports I feel sorry for the people who don’t use steroids just because they don’t have the advantage. If people can figure out how to skirt around the subject, there’s always going to be the problem of people using steroids. We’ve been really fortunate that it hasn’t been in skating.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You’re saying that sometimes it may be necessary to use performance-enhancing drugs in competition?

Brian Boitano: You’re certainly at a disadvantage against those who use steroids. It’s tough to be an athlete and have to compete against guys who are doing that. I think it would be frustrating.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Brian, have you finished the second season of What Would Brian Boitano Make? on the Food Channel?

Brian Boitano: Yes and actually it’s going to move over to the Cooking Channel and they will show the catalogue there. The Food Network and the Cooking Channel are two different networks but they are owned by the same company.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did you ever take cooking lessons?

Brian Boitano: No, it was trial and error for me. After I retired from Olympic skating, I was on a quest. My diet was so restrictive when I was competing so I said, “Now I want to search out a way to eat good food but keep fit and keep my weight maintained.”

That started a 20 plus year quest of finding different recipes and ways to cook that were clean, fresh, and healthy, at the same time not scrimping on flavor and not being too bogged down with, “I’m not going to cook with fat at all.” I didn’t go that way but I wanted to have some clean eating so that’s really how it developed. Now I’m going to be doing a cookbook so that will be fun.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you have a projected date of release for the book?

Brian Boitano: Actually I’m developing the recipes right now so it’ll be a while.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What would your ideal meal be, Brian?

Brian Boitano: I like everything and I eat everything. The way that I eat regularly every night is a lot of fish. I have a very Mediterranean diet. It’s clean food so it’s very simply prepared fish. I love dark greens like kale or chard or spinach, just wilted and simply prepared with garlic, salt and pepper, and olive oil.

Very rarely will I have a carb with dinner but I will make carbs as a side. I love eating pastas, but as I get older I find that pastas fill me up too much. It depends on what I feel like that night, but I love pasta and I love fish.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What would Brian Boiano make for a Christmas brunch?

Brian Boitano: Wow, I don’t think I would do a Christmas brunch because I’d be eating all day long. When I entertain at my house there’s food coming out all day long so I have to remind people that there’s going to be a dinner.

What I would serve for a Christmas dinner is probably a horseradish crusted prime rib and maybe some mashed sweet potatoes or some wilted greens, a nice big salad, and some really crunchy fresh bread. My family always wants me to make a dark chocolate bourbon pecan pie. Sometimes I make a double crust and do that whole thing.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I’m heading for your house during Christmas (laughs).

Brian Boitano: Yeah, exactly (laughs).

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Do you watch South Park or did that whole “What Would Brian Boitano Do?” thing get a little old after a while?

Brian Boitano: I do watch it because they are so funny. They are really funny people and they’re so cutting edge and so great. I still have never met the guys, but I’d love to meet them sometime. But, yeah, I was lucky because they were nice to me (laughs). You know what I mean?

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Yeah, it could have easily gone the other way (laughs).

Brian Boitano: Right, I was worried in the beginning, but I was lucky and I catch it when I can. My nieces and nephews watch the show all of the time.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You will be a presenter at the TASTY awards in January.

Brian Boitano: I will be a presenter and I’m actually nominated for a TASTY award.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Congratulations!

Brian Boitano: Yes, and anyone can go online and vote at tastyawards.com. I’m under the Best Home Chef in a Series.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Will that be the only votes taken?

Brian Boitano: I think that it’s two different categories. It’s the people’s vote online and also a separate category where a panel of 200 people in the business decide who wins in each category.

Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Well, Brian, good luck at the awards. I’ll be watching the skating spectacular!

Brian Boitano: Awesome, thanks.

© 2010 Smashing Interviews Magazine. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written consent of the publisher.

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