Brian Boitano, Olympic figure skating champion, on his bar, dreams


Brian Boitano is still an ice cream maestro, but today he mixes cocktails with triple sec without performing triple axels.

The 1988 men’s Olympic figure skating champion created the food and drink menu for Boitano’s Lounge at the Kindler Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska. The triple sec selection – one of some 60 signature cocktails in his repertoire – is called “The Brando” (after Marlon), but the most popular is “The Gold Rush”.

Even though it has been almost 34 years since Boitano mined Olympic gold by winning the famous “Battle of the Brian” against Canada’s Brian Orser in Calgary, his memories are still incredibly vivid.

“I think you have a lifelong reservoir of energy,” said Boitano, “and I feel like I’ve probably spent 50 years of that focus overnight. That’s what entrenched this moment. in my brain. I remember I didn’t dream for years after that, and I was always a keen dreamer. “

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The three-time Olympian thinks he has exhausted his reservoir of “life force” and had to replenish it.

“When I started dreaming again,” Boitano said, “I remember waking up and going, ‘I’m back.’ “

He competed in another Olympics in 1994 in Lillehammer, then returned to headlining shows and television specials. In 1999, his animated character appeared in the movie “South Park” accompanied by the song “What would Brian Boitano Do?” “

“I watched this alone at the back of a movie theater,” said Boitano, “and everyone is laughing and they don’t even know I’m here. It was a bit surreal.

Diversify your activity to “avoid aging”

When Boitano embarked on a career as a cook, his Food Network TV series was naturally called “What Would Brian Boitano Do?”

He always exercises his creativity in the kitchen and at the bar. There are plans to create two more Kindler boutique hotels in Kansas City, Missouri and Baltimore, each with a Boitano’s lounge that will use locally inspired ingredients.

Currently, some of his favorite dishes are Italian chicken sliders with tomato jam and braised Hawaiian pork shoulder sliders.

Yet while Boitano has concocted dozens of drinks, he has yet to develop an elixir of youth.

“I’m always trying to discover different things to help me avoid getting old,” said Boitano, who celebrated his 58th birthday in October.

So when it comes to staying in shape after 50, the obvious question is: what would Brian Boitano do?

“I think to diversify and keep looking,” he said. “Find things that are age appropriate for your body. “

Boitano still skates two days a week for about an hour – a reduction from the hour and 45 minutes he spent on the ice before the pandemic – but he doesn’t do a lot of jumps.

“I can do doubles,” Boitano said, “but it hurts my knees. It hurts my back. I’m like ‘Is this really worth it?’ I spin, do footwork, workout on the crossovers and continue to skate. I try to hold on as long as possible. This is something that I have loved since I was a kid and I don’t I haven’t lost my passion for it, I just lost the possibility of doing more technically.

Linda Leaver, who trained Boitano and is now his manager, said skating is still the best aerobic training Boitano can get.

Brian Boitano is pictured at the Boitano Lounge at the Kindler Hotel in Lincoln, Nebraska.  Boitano is also an accomplished chef.

She said her skating was always “breathtakingly beautiful. There is no one who moves on the ice like him. There is still so much power and grace. He could do triples, but it would hurt his knees.

Boitano remembers doing a double axel in front of an amateur skater who encouraged him to try a triple. “I’m like, ‘I would kill myself,'” said Boitano, “and they don’t understand. I said, ‘Imagine you have two five-pound sandbags wrapped around your ankles and then a sandbag. weight of 10 pounds wrapped around your waist.This is how slower your reflexes are as you get older.

The two-time world champion also goes to the gym three days a week, rides outdoor and stationary bikes, inline skates, and does yoga and stretching. “I think stretching is really, really important as you get older,” he said.

At the height of the pandemic, Boitano was on his indoor stationary bike for 45 minutes a day. “I’m in better physical shape,” he said, “but it also gets boring doing the same thing all the time. So I try to diversify myself and find other things that interest me and that don’t hurt my body.

Brain health and fitness

Boitano plans to add boxing and swimming after discovering an aqua gym on a recent trip to Italy.

Although he mainly lives in San Francisco, Boitano typically spends three months a year in Italy. He bought his great-great-grandfather’s house in northern Italy and renovated it for a TV show for HGTV. Boitano has also done a home cooking show, where he enjoys entertaining friends. “It’s a really fun party house,” he said.

Is Boitano counting calories while in Italy? He’s laughing. “Yes, 2,001, 2,002…. Me no, but when you are in Italy, you walk everywhere.

Boitano wandered around cities like Milan and Bologna for weeks. “I would literally go and lose myself in a city to find the gems they had hidden in their streets,” he said.

Living in Italy has also helped Boitano work on his brain health and fitness. “I have learned to speak Italian over the past five years and still continue to take Italian lessons,” he said.

The new language skills help Boitano communicate with his dozen of cousins. “They don’t speak any English at all, absolutely none,” he said. “They don’t say ‘one, two, three’.”

Boitano is also exploring a new learning curve as executive producer of an upcoming Netflix movie titled “Take the Ice,” about a young black figure skater who is on a synchronized skating team. “It’s a touching story that I can’t wait to share with everyone,” he said.

Brian Boitano skates during the "Tribute to American ice cream legends" at the Izod Center on December 11, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

Although Boitano no longer participates in shows, he could make a special appearance on the ice, such as the opening of an ice rink. Boitano is also a keynote speaker for corporate events, sliding effortlessly between sport and cuisine.

He will be there for the next national championships in Nashville where the US Olympic team will be selected.

“I always try to take a moment to let them know I’m in their corner,” he said.

He will also make appearances at the Beijing Olympics, including one at the United States Olympic and Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“I’ll be nervous and bite my nails wherever I am,” Boitano said.

And although he admits he can’t do multiple quadruple jumps like Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou, Boitano said his brain doesn’t accept its limits.

“Never!” said Boitano, who recently completed a five-day fast to reinvigorate his immune system and metabolism. “I’m always looking for more and better.”


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