Here's my conversation with one of my favorite skaters -- Jeremy Abbott -- at Figure Skating in Harlem's 2011 benefit gala. The two-time US National champion and 2010 Olympian had a tough 2010-2011 season, finishing fourth at this past US Nationals, second and third in his Grand Prix events, and third at Four Continents. With his fourth place finish at Nationals, he didn't make it to the World Championships (which begin April 27 in Moscow, Russia) which was a huge disappointment for him. Apparently, his Reidell boots were a major part of the problem and he's working with the company to correct whatever issues hampered him this season. In addition, he's seriously thinking about the 2014 Sochi Olympics(!) but hasn't fully committed to the idea yet.
Figure Skating in Harlem's annual gala this year also featured Sarah Hughes (who was also an honoree for her long-time support of the organization), Evan Lysacek, Johnny Weir, Joannie Rochette, Sasha Cohen, Timothy Goebel, Tanith Belbin, Benjamin Agosto, Todd Eldredge, Emily Hughes, Lucinda Ruh, Adam Rippon, Fumie Suguri, Vera Wang, as well as Donald and Melania Trump, Kenneth Cole and the list goes on. The event raised over $500,000 for a new academic center that will open year-round. Currently, the program, which combines ice skating lessons with academics, runs for most of the year but founder Sharon Cohen wants the academic portion to run all the time. As she told me at the event, "Figure skating will teach the girls about discipline, hard work and perseverance, but the education factor will take them even farther."
Coming up next...Johnny Weir designs his first "little black dress"