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Thread: Dana Plato - Figure Skater?

  1. #1
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    Dana Plato - Figure Skater?

    Randomly looking through old 80's TV shows on youtube, I started looking up some of the actors/actresses from the shows. Apparently Dana Plato from Different Strokes (who sadly died of overdose in 1999) was a figure skater before she was an actress. She also claimed to have qualified for the olympic team before leaving skating for full-time acting... that sounds hard to believe, but does anyone know how far she actually made it in competition? I have to believe she at least competed as a novice, if not a junior or senior. I'd like to know where she placed.

    Different Strokes started in 1978. Supposedly she was on The Gong Show before this, and that was how she was "discovered" for her role in Different Strokes. I can't find a date for the Gong Show appearance. So she must have left skating in 1978 or earlier, when she could have been no older than 14 (there are even discrepencies about the date of her birth, heh.) I tried searching for more info, but I just find lots of stuff about her life troubles, and nothing about her skating...

  2. #2
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    http://www.eskatefans.com/skatabase/...adies1970.html

    Skatabase says US ladies competitors for the Olympics in the 70's were:

    1972, Sapporo Janet Lynn, Julie Lynn Holmes, Suna Murray
    1976 Innsbruck Dorothy Hamill, Wendy Burge, Linda Fratianne
    1980 Lake Placid Linda Fratianne, Lisa Marie Allen, Sandy Lenz
    1984 Sarajevo Rosalyn Sumners, Tiffany Chin, Elaine Zayak

    So if she qualified, she never skated at the Olympics.

    A check of Worlds for the 1970's and 1980's shows she also never skated at Worlds.

    That is, unless she skated under another name. Maybe she's Carrie Rugh or Dawn Glab? Here's all the US medallists:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...onships#Ladies

  3. #3
    Tripping on the Podium
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    There used to be a Jr Olympic (US only) event.... not sure if this still exists in the US?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coach View Post
    There used to be a Jr Olympic (US only) event.... not sure if this still exists in the US?
    That was briefly the name of the event that was originally called Juvenile/Intermediate nationals and is now officially known as "U.S. Junior Championships" -- which is confusing because it's for juvenile and intermediate skill levels, not junior level.

    It didn't exist under any name at the time when Plato would have been skating.

    There was also in the 80s and early 90s an event called the U.S. Olympic Festival run by the USOC that included many sports including figure skating.

    There may have been other less-than-national/international events that used the word Olympics in their names.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dana_Plato
    I can't listen to the Stern interview linked here at work -- someone could try and report back what she says about skating.

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    I can't listen to it at home either.

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    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    According to IMDB, Dana's DREAM was to be an Olympic figure skater. No indication that she actually skated competitively.

    http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0686818/bio

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    Many of you may not know this, but there was an episode of Different Strokes in which Dana Plato's character was interested in skating, and Dorothy Hamill appeared as herself and gave Plato some skating lessons. Plato DID actually skate with some display of skill during the episode, but in the end Plato's character just didn't have the ambition to train for Olympic level skating.

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    Awesome! Just checked, it's in season 5, episode 5-18 called "Family on Ice". For other star trek nerds - this is also the season with Rosalind Chao (Keiko on Deep Space 9 ) I never really watched the show much as a kid, but that would be fun to see...

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    If I remember correctly she was also on a talk show (can't for the life of me remember what is was) and she skated on there or they played a clip of her skating. She seemed pretty decent, but not Olympic material - even for back then.

  10. #10
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    I am not sure about her status as a figure skater, but she may have taken some lessons. There was an episode which featured Dorothy Hamill teaching Dano Plato to skate - then she (Plato) decides to give up the sport and her dream of going to the Olympics. It was sad that she died so young.

  11. #11
    Custom Title IDLERACER's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsteam4501s View Post
    Many of you may not know this, but there was an episode of Different Strokes in which Dana Plato's character was interested in skating, and Dorothy Hamill appeared as herself and gave Plato some skating lessons. Plato DID actually skate with some display of skill during the episode, but in the end Plato's character just didn't have the ambition to train for Olympic level skating.
    There was also an episode of "Family" in which Kristy McNichol skated, but whenever she did anything fancy (a jump or a spin) the film suddenly got blurry. I've heard rumors to the effect that Linda Fratianne was hired as a stunt double for that episode (which given the time frame, would make sense).

  12. #12
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    It is amazing how so many ex skaters credentials change as time goes on.It is bizarre that they think that no one remembers!!

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