Isn't it the greatest compliment to be compared to your childhood hero? Four-time Canadian and World champion (1989-1991, 1993) Kurt Browning has been called the "Gene Kelly of skating" and no one else can claim that title (except Robin Cousins and John Curry in my opinion). Kurt has been told by many that "If Gene ever skated, [we] think he'd skate like you," and he considers this to be a great honor. Although an Olympic medal alluded him, Kurt brought a whole other dimension to figure skating with his intricate footwork, the first quadruple jump landed at the 1988 World Championships, and totally original choreography.
In June 1996, Kurt married Sonia Rodriguez, a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada. Today they reside in Toronto (see left) with their two sons, Gabriel, age 4, and seven-month-old Dillon. Kurt is currently touring with Stars On Ice (in Canada only) and also does extensive skating commentary for Canadian television -- he just confirmed to be an analyst for CBC for the 2008 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Sweden, starting March 17. And I just have to add, Kurt was pretty darn good on Skating with Celebrities where he was paired with pop princess Debbie Gibson!
Below is one of Kurt's most famous pieces -- recreating Gene Kelly's Singing in the Rain. The simulated "rain" was kept warm to not freeze Kurt, but the warm temperature kept melting the ice, so filming was done every 30 seconds in order for workers to clear off excess water. The shoot took ten hours and the result? A four minute piece that is on any true skating fan's all-time favorites list. (By the way, I happen to come across R&B singer and dancer Usher also recreating the piece, sans skates, and it's quite impressive. link to Usher's homage to Mr. Kelly)