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Skating on Air: The Broadcast History of an Olympic Marquee Sport Paperback – May 18, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Kelli Lawrence, an award-winning freelance writer and producer, has published in Skating, PSA Magazine, and several other publications. She lives in Indianapolis.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland (May 18, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786446080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786446087
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,945,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By nashvilledancer on June 30, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book is for anyone whose heart used to beat faster at the words, "Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport...the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat". On the screen, we saw Peggy at the Olympics in her chartreuse dress, Janet Lynn's grace after falling in Sapporo, the media frenzies over Nancy and Tonya and the Salt Lake Olympic judging scandal. This is a great behind-the-scenes look at how events such as these unfolded during the golden age of skating on TV.

Some of my favorite parts were learning about the innovations the ABC, CBS, and NBC broadcast teams invented to cover figure skating, why Nationals, Worlds, and Olympics coverage changed from one network to another, and how various broadcasters began their jobs. This book also really clarifies why skating coverage has waned on television. I enjoyed the many tidbits from Susie Wynne, Traci Wilson, Janet Lynn, Doug Wilson, and Terry Gannon (to name just a few of a large cast of characters), as well as all the Dick Button anecdotes.

The book isn't overly gossipy and certainly is about broadcasting as much as skating (this is reflected in a number of the black and white photos). It is exceptionally well written and I found it fascinating.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marilyn Piety Foley on February 9, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I've read on skating in years. It isn't simply that it is refreshing and informative to read about skating from the perspective of the individuals involved in televising it. It's also that it is very well researched and written. Of particular interest to most readers will be the reflections on skating by sports broadcasters, such as Verne Lundquist, who are known primarily for their work on other sports. This book also gives important insight into the reasons behind the gradual elimination of school figures for skating competition. All-in-all, this is a great book and a must-read for skating fans!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Q. Dorwin on August 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
I was fortunate enough to read parts of this book, backstage, at a community production of "Annie". Kelli was in the cast and had carried in a copy of "Skating On Air" for another cast member to read. Being an avid fan of ice skating as seen on television I had to look at the book. What fun to read the backstage items and the inside information about a beautiful, graceful sport. The book is very well done. If you enjoy televised ice skating (in my world, who doesn't?) you will love this book. It does bring back memories of going to see the Ice Capades and Holiday on Ice, and the thrill I got getting to watch Sonja Henie, live and in person, in one of her last tours. Those days are long past but I loved the splendor of those productions.
Should you get the chance to meet the author, you will enjoy talking to her. She is a lovely lady. Oh yes, I did buy the book and she autographed it for me.
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By Debbwin18 on April 19, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you grew up watching Figure Skating on television, you will love reading this book. Ms. Lawrence goes into the genesis of putting skating on the big screen with Sonja Henie, winner of 3 Olympic Gold medals in the 1930's and thus becoming a Hollywood Movie Star, to putting skating on the small screen to million of viewers in their living rooms. The author tells us of the first televised Winter Olympic Games in Cortina, Italy in 1956 when a torchbearer tripped over -egads- a TV camera cable; the first "live, in color, via satellite" Winter Games of 1968 in which Peggy Fleming was the lone American Gold Medalist; the 1972 Sapporo Games in which a smiling Janet Lynn fell in a sit spin and won bronze along with the hearts of millions; the 1994 Nancy Kerrigan assault which skyrocketed skating popularity; the Kwan years of 1994-2006 - my favorite - in which ABC dominated the Nationals & Worlds TV coverage -thank goodness - but not the Olympics which went to CBS in 1994 & 1998 and NBC in 2002 to the present; and the fallout after the judging scandal in Salt Lake City in 2002, resulting in the New Judging System & subsequent decline in popularity, at least in the U.S. Ms. Lawrence kept me fascinated throughout this book with interviews with skating legends such as Scott Hamilton and Janet Lynn, skating commentators Verne Lundquist & Terry Gannon, and ABC Sports producer/director Doug Wilson along with many producers & directors from CBS, NBC & ABC. A thoroughly delightful and informative book for all skating fans, young and old alike.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great book for skating fans and spectators.

I really enjoyed the behind the scenes of how skating competitions were televised. The book highlights the sport in early days and how the skating world and sports television influenced each other as skating began to be featured on television. Kelli highlights how the compulsory figure portion of the competition, as well as the short program where shaped by the growing skating television audience. There are also great tidbits about "the whack" with Nancy Kerrigan and the resulting television coverage and Olympics. I also found it interesting to learn about how much Dick Button was involved in skating's broadcast history. He wasn't just a commentator, he was often behind negotiating with the skating's governing bodies for the rights to broadcast.

While the book explores international skaters, the focus is on American broadcasts, and touches on some Canadian broadcasts. It may have been interesting to have some of the international perspectives, that also influenced the sport. Overall great book for fans of skating and former skaters!
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Skating on Air: The Broadcast History of an Olympic Marquee Sport
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