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Around the world of figure skating - Oct. 23

Kimmie Meissner performs at 2007 Skate America.
Kimmie Meissner performs at 2007 Skate America. (Michelle Harvath)

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(10/23/2007) - From Katarina Witt's retirement to Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov's new free program set to the music of Love Story, this week's Around the World of Figure Skating hydroblades across the ice to bring you all the highlights.

Witt to bid adieu
Two-time Olympic champion Katarina Witt of Germany will bring her professional skating career to a close in 2008. The German powerhouse will perform farewell shows in galas in Chemnitz, Moscow and St Petersburg as well as one show in the United States. More >

Condoleezza Rice in tights?
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice just doesn't make foreign policy, she also does a mean sit spin. As a teenager, Rice was a competitive figure skater; her love of the sport prompted her to visit Moscow's Central Army Sports Club during a trip to Russia last week. More >

Japanese/Russian team overcomes culture clash
This would make Ali McGraw so proud: Pair team Yuko Kawaguchi and Alexander Smirnov have put together a new free program to the music from the 1970's classic film, Love Story. Under the tutelage of Russian-born former U.S. Ice Dancing Champion Peter Tchernyshev, the ambitious duo is also working toward adding a quad throw to their program. More >

Qing and Jian jazz it up
China's figure skating pairs Pang Qing and Tong Jian are looking to finally shine this season. With a newly choreographed free-skating routine set to the music of Romeo and Juliet they will start this season's international competition in Reading, Pennsylvania, for the first stop of the ISU Figure Skating Grand Prix. More >

Fleming still inspires
At 59, figure skater Peggy Fleming still inspires fans worldwide. She is an Olympic gold medalist, Mother, Grandmother and cancer survivor. She is not just a champion on ice; she is a champion in life.

"When you're a competitor, you have to have that spirit, that positive attitude," Fleming said during her appearance at the 2007 Cancer Awareness Event at the new Emanuel Medical Plaza. More >

Hamilton throws first pitch
Figure Skating legend Scott Hamilton threw out the first pitch before Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. The four-time world champion and 1984 Olympic gold medal winner turned skating commentator grew up with baseball. Hamilton, who is an Ohio native, is a HUGE Indians fan. More >

Cohen surprises young skaters
Why were skaters at the Salt Lake City Sports Complex so excited last Thursday? Because two-time Olympic figure skater Sasha Cohen decided to swing by for a workout. Cohen was in town to advance the world premiere of her acting debut in the film Moondance Alexander. More >

Lace up New York!
The Pond at Bryant Park will launch its winter season Monday, October 29th. The Grand Opening Celebration of the third season of Manhattan's only free admission ice-skating rink, will feature a skating extravaganza with championship skaters from Smuckers Stars on Ice, America's most prestigious figure skating tour along with other live performances. To celebrate the official opening, the first 300 skaters will be treated to free skate rentals, courtesy of Citigroup. More >