I have a distinct memory of Caryn Kadavy at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. After the short program, Caryn was sixth and then, of all bad luck, caught a severe flu, and had to withdraw from the Olympics. NBC showed Caryn in her hotel room with a box of tissues as she watched the rest of the competition on television, and we all felt so bad for her. What an experience that must have been!
Prior to the Olympics, Caryn was a four-time medalist at U.S. Nationals (1985-1988) and won the bronze at the 1987 World Figure Skating Championships. After retiring from amateur competition, Caryn was a perennial favorite in the professional circuit. She also toured with Katarina Witt and Brian Boitano in Witt and Boitano Skating in 1988. A lot of us considered her the classic skater -- beautiful line, elegant, fluid, with effortless jumps and spins.
Life has come full circle for Caryn, as she told me during a recent interview. Last month, she joined Katarina and Brian and others, in eight cities in Germany, for Katarina's farewell tour, and hopes that the shows will be available in the U.S. for viewing. Caryn first went on tour with them when she was 20 years old. Fast forward two decades, and now Caryn said she can't believe that they are all back together -- but this time to honor Katarina's "retirement." Caryn also performed in the 2007 Fashion on Ice exhibition (see below).
Of the current crop of young skaters, Caryn enjoys watching Kimmie Meissner, Mao Asada, Rachael Flatt and Yu-Na Kim (Yu-Na's coach, 1987 World champion Brian Orser, is a great friend of Caryn's, so she roots for Brian and Yu-Na to do well). She says that she appreciates any skater who "feels the music and feels the ice. You can tell when a skater is forcing it. These girls have that 'born to skate' kind of feel to them that I really like." Of the current judging system, Caryn says that
there are so many rules, it's very difficult. The skaters have a lot on their minds when they're skating -- hold the spins for this long, hold the spirals for this long, make sure everything's just right. Sometimes it does make things better, but at the same time, it's hard to be as creative as you want to be and as free on the ice as you want to be. What I loved and still love about skating is that you can be creative and feel the music.
Life is still busy in Erie, Pennsylvania, where she grew up and maintains her roots, but she describes it as "a different type of busy" from her competitive days. In addition to touring and performing, Caryn also coaches ten students at the Westminster Figure Skating Club of Erie, at times travels to Cleveland, Buffalo and Pittsburgh to choreograph for skaters, designs skating dresses (she designed Kimmie Meissner's dresses at the recent World championships in Sweden, at right is short program dress), and tries to balance all this while being Mrs. Carter Doolittle. Caryn and Carter had a ceremony and reception for in-town family and friends on May 25, 2007 (see above). A few days later, they held a reception for out-of-town family and friends in Boca Raton, Florida. As Caryn puts it, "I still enjoy my involvement with skating, but it's nice to be able to cook dinner for my husband, and we'd like to try and start a family in the near future."