As a four-time world champion and three-time Olympian, you wouldn’t expect Caroline native Kurt Browning to have a problem dealing with high pressure situations.
But when Browning comes to the Centrium on Friday to skate the Holiday Festival on Ice, he’s hoping nerves won’t get the best of him.
“You’re trying to concentrate on just the moment, which is the music, the lights and the audience, but it’s not that. You’re concentrating on your neighbour whom you haven’t seen for a long time, your sister who’s there with your niece, or maybe your brother who drove a couple of hours to see you,” said Browning.
“If it’s Pittsburgh, and I get out there in front 8,000 people that I don’t know, then it’s OK. In Red Deer, in front of 2,000 people where I know 10 of them, I’m only thinking about those 10 people.”
At 50-years-old, it’s been a long time since Browning has skated competitively, but he’s kept himself busy over the years appearing multiple times in television programs like Skating with Celebrities and Battle of the Blades.
“I love my job. I enjoy the curving, the speed, the power, going into a jump, and controlling the flow. The connection with the audience I’ve always enjoyed, but it is truly the skating,” said Browning.
“When you get off the ice after a good skate, and you’re putting your guards on, and walking back to the dressing room, it’s a good feeling.”
In 2006, Browning began a new adventure at the CBC as a regular colour commentator for figure skating.
The transition from skating to broadcasting was something Browning said wasn’t that difficult.
“I’m a skating fan as well as a skater, and it keeps me close to the sport that’s been so good to me. It also gives me a chance to give back and when my time comes, and it’s not my time to commentate anymore, I’ll miss it,” said Browning.
Browning has also choreographed programs for many figure skaters over the years including Canadians Jamie Sale, David Pelletier and Patrick Chan.
The Holiday Festival on Ice is a three-day tour with stops in Red Deer, Medicine Hat and Vernon, B.C.
Browning, now living in Toronto, said he won’t have any time to spend with his family and friends while he is here, but said he is coming back with his family to celebrate the holidays.
He’s married to Canadian ballerina Sonia Rodriguez. They have two sons Gabriel, 13, and Dillon, 9.
With no plans of slowing down, Browning and fellow Canadian figure skating legend Elvis Stojko will be headlining the 2017 Canadian Stars on Ice tour beginning in April.
Tickets to Holiday Festival on Ice can be purchased at www.ticketmaster.ca. Doors to the event open at 7 p.m.