I used some of my free time today, during this slow and lovely holiday weekend, to search for videos on YouTube. No, those were not very productive parts of the day, but I started a list of favorites, and am now glad to share one here.
I’ve always enjoyed watching figure skating, but it wasn’t until the 1994 Olympics that I began to follow figure skating, to watch as much as I could, and learn lots of skaters’ names, histories, and programs – not as in TV programs, but as in short or long, technical or artistic. It was a big Olympics because of the Nancy Kerrigan – Tonya Harding “rivalry,” and the incident at the US Championships where Nancy was whacked on the knee (and yes, Tonya was part of the plan). But by the time the competition had ended, it was Oksana Baiul, the 16-year-old orphan from Ukraine, who had won the gold medal. It was Oksana’s skating, her incredible grace on the ice, like no one I’d ever seen before, that had won my heart.
This is one of the programs she skated at the Exhibition following the 1994 Olympics, though I don’t think this video is of that same performance, but a bit later that year – she was still 16. The music is “The Swan” by Camille Saint-Saens, part of his piece called The Carnival of the Animals. I purchased a Saint-Saens CD because I loved the music so much. I could watch Oksana skate this program every day, and never grow tired of it.