Just two nights before their show opens at the Delaware Theatre Company, legendary figure skaters Dorothy Hamill, Randy Gardner and Tai Babilonia laced up their skates and took to the ice at the Riverfront Rink for a special “Family Skate Night with the Stars.” While Wilmington has long been recognized as a training center for elite skaters with Olympic dreams, there may never been a more dazzling assemblage of world champion and Olympic skaters on the same ice in state history.
Hamill, Gardner and Babilonia will appear in “Go Figure: The Randy Gardner Story” at the Delaware Theatre Company from Wednesday, Jan. 17 to Sunday, Jan. 28. On Monday evening the skating trio spent two hours cheerfully mixing with young families in the frigid winter air, posing for pictures and signing commemorative DTC performance posters — leaving a lasting impression on everyone who turned out for the special affair, including several women who considered Hamill their childhood idol.
Hamill of course was both the 1976 Olympic and World Champion in ladies’ singles figure skating. Five-time World Champion “pairs” figure skaters Gardner and Babilonia were considered heavy favorites to win Gold at the 1980 Olympics until an injury just before the competition sidelined the pair. In fact, Gardner and Babilonia trained in Wilmington on and off in their formative days as a pair.
Gardner’s life story is incredible — full of high moments and low, and events that surprised even him. Click here for TSD’s interview last week with Gardner about the show and his incredible life.