Wednesday, February 10, 2010
How Now Salchow?
Given former U. S. Olympic skater Nancy Kerrigan’s familial woes, the impending Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, and this past weekend’s Super Bowl win by the New Orleans Saints, the following seemed appropriate.
For those of you have been living under a rock the past month, Kerrigan’s brother was arrested in connection with the death of his and Nancy’s father a couple of weeks ago. Her father died of a heart attack during an altercation with his son who had his hands around his dad’s neck at the time.
I met Kerrigan briefly shortly after her return from the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, where she won the silver medal (Ukrainian Oksana Baiul won the gold) only seven weeks after the infamous “knee-capping” attack by rival Tonya Harding’s then husband, Jeff Gillooly, at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Detroit.
I was gigging at a trade show in New Orleans (hence The Saints reference) for Marvel’s newsstand department, which deals with comic sales through major distribution channels as opposed to direct distribution, which was how comic specialty shops received their books. A recently-signed Kerrigan was appearing at the Revlon booth. A few years earlier Ron Perlman, Revlon’s owner, had purchased Marvel, so I was splitting my appearance time between the Marvel Comics and Revlon booths.
Kerrigan was certainly affable enough, but somewhat cold (no pun intended). I wouldn’t say she was aloof, but rather there was an uncomfortableness that may have come from her unfamiliarity with stardom and the endless stream of fans wanting to meet and get an autographed photo with her. As a native Bostonian, I tried cajoling her into opening up, as she was from Stoneham, Massachusetts, a town north of Beantown. I had actually visited the town’s zoo—now called the Stone Zoo—as a child while on a field trip and remembered the trip fondly. Alas, my feeble attempts fell flat and her demeanor remained reserved.
Obviously, the feelings she had from meeting Spider-Man so overwhelmed her, it was all she could do so as not to faint.