"Nobody moves like her." I hear that comment often from skating fans and casual spectators about Oksana Baiul (see below right). Whether it was her ballet training or her innate sense of dance and movement, Oksana captured the gold at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer with a combination of excellent jumps, spins and a "nobody moves like her" quality to her skating. The artistic marks clinched the title for her from the U.S.'s Nancy Kerrigan, who also had a beautiful skate, but took silver. China's Chen Lu won the bronze.
Oksana's freeskate was to a medley of Broadway tunes, which struck me as both funny and totally natural. On the one hand, here was this teenager from the Ukraine skating to West Side Story, A Chorus Line, Sound of Music and My Fair Lady. But this girl moved as though she was born to be on Broadway, and to come full circle, Oksana is currently rehearsing for a Broadway ice musical called Cold as Ice, where she skates, sings and acts. Her post-Olympics career was a mix of moving to the United States, breaking with her coach/peudo-mother Galina Zmievskaya (Oksana was an orphan at a young age), battling alcoholism and drugs, completing rehab, and being engaged four times, among other trials and tribulations. Now at 30, Oksana makes her home in New Jersey, is rehearsing for her Broadway debut sometime in 2010, skates at the Ice House in Hackensack, is involved in fashion, supports various charities, and is generally a busy gal. (My video story with Oksana at the Ice House is coming up in a few weeks so stay tuned...)
Her homage to Broadway at the 1994 Winter Olympics is below: