Boitano's Edge: Inside the Real World of Figure Skating

Boitano's Edge: Inside the Real World of Figure Skating

by Brian Boitano

This large format, full-color photo essay is the ultimate skating book for fans ages 8 and up. In an accessable and conversational tone Brian Boitano reveals what it is like to move up through the sport and compete at an international level. Brian Boitano's personal stories and anecdotes as well as his lively personal commentary illuminate the sport for young


This large format, full-color photo essay is the ultimate skating book for fans ages 8 and up. In an accessable and conversational tone Brian Boitano reveals what it is like to move up through the sport and compete at an international level. Brian Boitano's personal stories and anecdotes as well as his lively personal commentary illuminate the sport for young readers and skating fans of all ages. Here's everything you'll ever want to know about figure skating — with Brian Boitano serving as the expert host.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Just in time for the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, Boitano joins fellow figure skaters Tara Lipinski and Michelle Kwan (see Children's Forecasts, Nov. 10) in offering a book about their popular sport. A former World, National and Olympic champion as well as a professional performer, Boitano has much to spotlight in his stellar career. But this stylish tome far exceeds the limitations of a formal biography: it's both fun and a valuable reference for any figure-skating enthusiast. Part scrapbook, part history book and all fascinating, the volume covers every angle of the sport, from those first tentative strokes on the ice to world-class competition. With an enthusiastic and knowledgeable tone, Boitano intertwines personal anecdotes with general skating information; sidebars pipe in specifics about such topics as the cost of costumes and rink etiquette. The book's large format allows not only for a profusion of crisp color photos but also for such appealing design elements as a time-lapse photo of a jump. Also included are a detailed glossary of skating slang, a section on how to judge a competition (with comments from a 40-year veteran) and a passage on blade sharpening (contributed by the master craftsman who handles Boitano's skates). Capsule biographies of famous skaters as well as an extensive listing of champions add to the heft here. Young skaters are sure to give this title a top score of 6.0. Ages 8-up. (Dec.)
Children's Literature - Mary Sue Preissner
Boitano and Harper have put together a delightful and comprehensive book about competitive figure skating. It begins with Boitano's prespective on the 1988 Olympics and winning the gold medal in men's figure skating, followed by a glossary of skating terms, which will enhance the reader's understanding of the remainder of the book. While part biographical, the authors have included a wealth of information on the sport, including the origin of the name of figure skating, history of the skates, training, diet, skating slang, blades, choreography, costuming, etiquette of practice sessions (with photo of Kerrigan and Harding sharing the ice), judging, touring professionally, descriptions of various skating moves (spins, jumps), lists of competitions, Olympic, U.S. and world champions, pairs skating, and developing friendships in this highly competitive field. Stunning color photography enhances the presentation; in particular the stop-action photography of a quadruple toe loop is breathtaking.
VOYA - Marian Rafal
In this book that is jam-packed with photographs and personal anecdotes, Olympic gold medalist, and world and professional figure skating champion Brian Boitano takes us behind the scenes, onto the ice, and into the world of competitive skating. Boitano offers not a biography but information on what it takes to be a world-class skater. From the blueprint of his 1988 Olympic long program to skating on an Alaskan glacier, Boitano shows what it is like to train as a skater, to challenge oneself to be the best, and to push the sport in a new direction. Included is a brief history of the skate, profiles of famous coaches and their students, information and tips on breaking in boots, blade sharpening, choreography, costumes, judging, and even how to keep warm. Several pages are devoted to Linda Leaver, Brian's coach of twenty-five years, who discusses how to teach skaters to develop their "motion memory." Sandra Bezic gives insight on how to create effective choreography. Fascinating information from an International Skating Union judge includes a score sheet and notes, as well as how to become a skating judge and how to judge a program. A complete listing of Boitano's competitive history, as well as Olympic champions through 1994 and U.S. and World champions through 1997, are included. The one jarring moment in an otherwise captivating book is the photo of pairs skaters Sergei Grinkov and Ekaterina Gordeeva training. There is no mention of Grinkov's unexpected death in 1995. This is a delightful coffee-table-style book for young people to read from cover to cover or to dip into and browse. Glossary. Index. Photos. Charts. Further Reading. Chronology. VOYA Codes: 5Q 5P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written, Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday, Middle School-defined as grades 6 to 8, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
School Library Journal
Gr 5 UpAs coverage of Olympic and championship competition in ice skating increases, there is growing interest in the lives and training of these dazzling performers. This oversized account of the career of Brian Boitano, the 1988 Olympics Men's Single Champion at Calgary, Canada, is filled with full-color photos, quotations from fellow competitors such as Scott Hamilton, statistics, and skating hype. There are double-page spreads on U.S. champion skaters from 1914 to 1997, including ice-dance winners since 1936 and that sport's inclusion in national competition. Additional sections give world championship and Olympic records from 1896 to 1997 in the first category and from 1908 to 1997 in the latter. A portion of the text concerns the rules, structure, and scoring of competitive events. A technical section includes instruction in jumps, loops, drops, and spins in their infinite variety. This title is both handsome and informative.Frances Reiher, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
9.30(w) x 12.19(h) x 0.73(d)
Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter Five: Competing

After sixteen years of hard work training, sixteen years of practicing in cold rinks at dawn, sixteen years of jumping into the air, crashing to the ice, and getting up to do it all over again, I was standing on Olympic ice.

My lifelong dream was about to come true -- or about to be dashed. I would know in four and a half minutes.

The long program was the last phase of the competition. I had won the first phase of compulsory figures, which counted for thirty percent of the score; Canadian skater Brian Orser had won the second phase of the short program, which counted for twenty percent. On that night, we were in a dead heat for the Olympic gold medal. Now we were set to skate the long program, and the final showdown -- what the press had dubbed the "Battle of the Brians" -- was about to take place.

By the luck of the draw, I was skating first. That was my favorite position, I liked to set the standard that all the other skaters had to meet. But on this night, I knew that I had to skate the best performance of my life.

My choreographer, Sandra Bezic, had created majestic and emotional programs for both my short and long programs. Before I stepped on the ice, she said, "It's your moment. Show them your soul."

A lot of people don't realize that the judges come to practice sessions at competitions, so they've watched all the programs before the actual day of the competition. The judges aren't supposed to talk among themselves or compare notes; most of the time they sit in the stands and concentrate on watching each skater's program. I think that 's a good idea because its important to see how the skater skates on a regular basis. If youknow that someone skates consistently well in practice and performs well in competition, you know he's a good skater.

Skaters do think about impressing the judges when they're practicing at a competition. The better a skater performs in practice, the more the judges are going to prejudge and think, "He's doing so well." That's what it means when you hear people talk about which skater is "winning" the practice sessions. The judges have noticed which skater is doing the best during practice and have mentally placed that skater a little higher than the others.

To keep up my confidence, I always tried to leave a practice with a good move. If I was having trouble with a jump, I'd try to do just one good one. I paced myself so that I wouldn't be exhausted and miss jumps at the end of the practice. If I was skating with an injury, I'd sometimes do just the preparation and entry, then visualize the jump itself I knew that if my entry was solid, my jump would be good.

Skaters always wear workout clothes at a practice, never costumes. Sometimes they'll hang out and watch the other skaters practice. I never did that, but Linda used to watch to get an idea of who's doing what.

The night before a competition, I'd usually eat pasta for dinner. I'd try as hard as I could to not think about the next day, because nervousness uses up so much energy. I didn't talk to Linda about what I was feeling because there didn't seem much point. After all, I'd just say, "I feel really nervous."

Copyright© 1997 by Brian Boitano

Meet the Author

Brian Boitano began his skating career at the age of eight and won the Olympic gold medal in 1988 in Calgary, beating Canadian Brian Orser in the legendary "Battle of the Brians." Brian Boitano has won over fifty titles, including two World titles, Four U.S. National titles, and as a professional he has won a record number of championships. Brian Boitano tours nationally, is a commentator for ABC Sports, and is the international spokesperson for the Starlight Foundation, which helps grant the wishes of seriously ill children. He lives in San Francisco, California.

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