Skating entrepreneur Tom Collins, 88, passes away

CellarDweller

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Skating entrepreneur Tom Collins, 88, passes away

By BARRY WILNER AP Sports Writer

To call Tom Collins the father of figure skating tours might be hyperbole. Then again ...

“Tommy treated everyone like family,” Michelle Kwan, the greatest skater of her generation, said Sunday after learning of Collins’ death at his home in Minneapolis at age 88. “I skated for 14 years in his show, and I felt like the daughter he never had."

“Tommy would help any skater. He’d open his wallet to anyone in need. He was very special and we’ll miss him dearly.”

Kwan and 1988 Olympic champion Brian Boitano spoke on the phone Sunday, sharing both tears and laughs as they recalled their days on “Tommy’s Tour,” and Collins’ role in the lives of so many figure skaters whose careers he helped prolong.

“Tom Collins death marks the end of an era, the golden age of figure skating,” Boitano said. “He stood out in the business. He was a man of loyalty, vision, and tremendous generosity.”

https://www.avpress.com/news/newsli...cle_987efd74-cd22-11e9-ba4f-9bd898281738.html
 

mrrice

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Jul 9, 2014
Skating entrepreneur Tom Collins, 88, passes away

By BARRY WILNER AP Sports Writer

To call Tom Collins the father of figure skating tours might be hyperbole. Then again ...

“Tommy treated everyone like family,” Michelle Kwan, the greatest skater of her generation, said Sunday after learning of Collins’ death at his home in Minneapolis at age 88. “I skated for 14 years in his show, and I felt like the daughter he never had."

“Tommy would help any skater. He’d open his wallet to anyone in need. He was very special and we’ll miss him dearly.”

Kwan and 1988 Olympic champion Brian Boitano spoke on the phone Sunday, sharing both tears and laughs as they recalled their days on “Tommy’s Tour,” and Collins’ role in the lives of so many figure skaters whose careers he helped prolong.

“Tom Collins death marks the end of an era, the golden age of figure skating,” Boitano said. “He stood out in the business. He was a man of loyalty, vision, and tremendous generosity.”

https://www.avpress.com/news/newsli...cle_987efd74-cd22-11e9-ba4f-9bd898281738.html

He really was a gift to skating. Those tours and shows he sponsored brought skating to the masses. RIP to a great man.
 

CellarDweller

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Yes, he was a great man.

I loved the Champions On Ice show, I first went to the 1992 tour, when it was called "Tour of World Figure Skating Champions", but I can't remember when I stopped going....maybe 2002?
 

el henry

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Champions on Ice was a great tour, and it would be wonderful to have its equivalent today.

Rest in Peace, Tom Collins.
 

Arriba627

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Champions on Ice was a phenomenal show. I remember treating my mom to the show for Mother's Day, and it seemed that it lasted forever! It probably did, and we were very happy about it. That was a whole lot of talent in one arena! For some reason, Klimova and Ponamarenko stick out in my mind, even though I was never that into ice dance. I can still see her red hair and that costume with the wings! :biggrin:
 

Mathman

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A loss to the skating world.

Tom Collins was inducted into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 1998. I believe he is the only entrepreneur/impresario so honored. (For the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame he joins Shipstad and Johnson, founders of the Ice Follies, in this category.)

Collins had a unique approach to the COI show. No need for a row of Las Vegas show girls on ice, just sign up the best skaters in the world and let them skate. I remember that Michelle Kwan always did a full competitive-style program even as an exhibition, no watered down jumps.

But I always felt that the spine of the annual COI offering were the novelty "family entertainment" acts, which fans looked forward to every year. The hula hoop girl (Irina Grigorean), the acrobats (Besedin and Polishchuk), the crtowd-dazzling performances of Surya Bonaly, the crazy antics of Victor Petrenko, the joyfulness of Rudy Galindo -- they never let the audience down.

My all-timne favorite figure skating picture -- I can't find it now -- was taken on the COI bus sometime in the late '90s. It showed Brian Boitano, Michelle Kwan, and Tara Lipinski, all sound asleep as the bus droned on towards the next stop. Michelle was leaned over on Brian's shoulder and Tara was lying with her head in Michelle's lap. Just like a family.
 
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iluvtodd

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RIP, Tom Collins. Thank you for creating the COI tour , which we attended from 1988- the end of the run.
 
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