Sunday, November 25, 2007

ilia kulik

Smucker's Stars on Ice, this year titled "Live and in Color," makes its annual U.S. Bank Arena visit at 7 p.m. March 20. Tickets go on sale Tuesday.

Created by skating icon Scott Hamilton and Jef Billings, the 2008 edition of the 22-year-old show is led by 2006 Olympic Silver Medalist Sasha Cohen and includes such veterans as 1998 Olympian Ilia Kulik, Olympic Pairs (2002) Champions Jamie Sale and David Pelletier, six-time U.S. National Champion Todd Eldredge, six-time Canadian National Champion Jennifer Robinson, three-time U.S. National Pair Champions Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman.

Newcomers to the cast include two-time Olympic Bronze medalists Xue Shen and Hongbo Zhao and five-time Canadian National Ice Dance Champions Marie-France Dubreuil and Patrice Lauzon.

Ilia Kulik
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Olympic medal record
Figure skating
Gold 1998 Nagano Men's singles
Ilia Alexandrovich Kulik (Russian: Илья Александрович Кулик) (born May 23, 1977 in Moscow, Russia) is an Olympic figure skating champion.

1 Biography
2 Competitive Highlights
3 Film
4 See also
5 External links
6 Navigation

[edit] Biography
When 20-year-old Ilia Kulik stood at the top of the Olympic podium in Nagano, Japan in February 1998, he was only the second man in figure skating singles history to achieve a gold medal on his first trip to the Winter Games (the first being the United States' Dick Button in 1948).

Kulik's "big dream" as he has called it, started when he was five years old in his hometown, Moscow. His mother took him to a children's skating class to see if skating might be his sport. After watching her son fall and fall again at his first try on skates, Mrs. Kulik thought perhaps they should try out another sport right away. She was surprised to hear the teacher ask her to bring her son back.

"But why? He keeps falling."

"Yes," said the teacher, "but he keeps getting up."

Fifteen years later, with days marked by the same determination, an Olympic champion emerged.

Kulik's talent in his formative years enabled him to work with the distinguished Russian coach, Viktor Kudriavtsev. Later in his eligible career and in the final years before Nagano, he worked with Russian coach and choreographer, Tatiana Tarasova.

Kulik's first significant international win, at the age of 13, was a gold medal in the 1990 Piruetten Juniors competition in Norway. Early competitive achievements included gold at 1994 Russian Junior Nationals (age 16), 1994 Nebelhorn Trophy, 1995 Junior Worlds (age 17), and most importantly, a gold medal at 1995 European Championships in Dortmund, Germany. On his way to the gold medal in Nagano, Kulik won a wide variety of skating honors including two Russian national championships (1997, 1998). See Eligible Competitive Highlights below.

At the games in Nagano, Kulik placed first with both his short and long programs, "Revolutions" and "Rhapsody in Blue." "Rhapsody in Blue," one of the most ambitious Olympic programs ever successfully skated, included a flawlessly executed quadruple toe loop, 8 triple jumps (including a triple-triple combination), intricate footwork, multiple spins and sweeping connective choreography. In total, Kulik achieved an "overpowering" Olympic performance according to Time magazine.

As a professional skater, Kulik has distinguished himself as an innovative choreographer and as a mature performer who continues to stress technical excellence and classic elegance. He has toured with both Champions on Ice and Stars on Ice in the U.S., Prince Ice World in Japan and performed with Stars on Ice and Art on Ice in Europe. Kulik has also explored other professional avenues, the most noticeable being a major role in the 2000 dance film, Center Stage.

In the past several years, Kulik has become more active as a coach, working with promising young skaters and Olympic contenders in the U.S., Canada and Europe. He has often observed that he is committed to passing along the excellent coaching he received as a young skater. In his off ice time Kulik enjoys playing tennis and is a serious student of Aikido, a Japanese martial art. Kulik is married to Olympic and World champion, Ekaterina Gordeeva. They live in southern California with their daughters, Daria (Dasha) Grinkova (b. September 11, 1992 - Gordeeva's daughter w/ Sergei Grinkov) and Elizaveta (Liza) Kulik (b. June 15, 2001).


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