Springfield, MA
Hershey's Kisses Figure Skating Challenge

Greetings from Springfield, Massachusetts, site of the Hershey's Kisses Figure Skating Challenge, which featured some of the world's best figure skaters at the Springfield Civic Center, April 17, 1998. Olympic and World champions past and present and current World and U.S. competitors came to skate in a "two team concept" of competition. This competition is unique as it hosts Olympic eligible and professional skaters competing against each other in a team format.

Team One featured headliner 1998 Olympic Ladies Champion Tara Lipinski, also the youngest gold medallist in the Winter Games. Current World Men's Silver Medallist Todd Eldredge, National competitor Tonia Kwitatkowski, U.S. Ice Dancers Elizabeth Punsalon and Jerod Swallow, Current World Pair Silver Medallists Jenni Meno and Todd Sand, newcomer and Junior Series Men's champion Timothy Goebel, and professional Olympic Silver Medallist Nancy Kerrigan rounded out the team.

Team Two featured current World's Ladies Champion, Michelle Kwan, fresh from her victory at this years Worlds which were held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Current U.S. Men's Silver Medallist Michael Weiss, U.S. Ladies Silver Medallist Nicole Bobeck, current U.S. Pairs Champions, Koyoko Ina and Jason Dungjen, professionals Rudy Galindo-former U.S. Men's Champion and World Men's Silver Medallist, Olympic Champion Viktor Petrenko, and Olympic Silver Medallist Nancy Kerrigan completed Team Two.

The skating was relaxed, the judges in place and the audience enthusiastic as they cheered on their favorite skaters. Indeed, we all were entertained with wonderful performances by all the skaters. One highlight of the evening was an exhibition of the newly crowned Olympic Men's Champion Iliia Kulik of Russia who is currently training in Marlborough, Massachusetts. Since this event was televised by ABC sports, the mood was exciting at the Civic Center and the arena was filled to capacity by cheering spectators who came to experience the "thrill and excitement of Live Competition."

The evening was successful for Team Two, who won the event with a total of 434.75 points to Team One's 431.30 points. Skaters from both teams took a victory lap skating with oversized Hershey bars and thrilled the spectators by tossing miniature bags of Hershey Kisses into the audience.

(pictured above) Michelle Kwan's grace and beauty in motion.
Photo Jackie York.

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