Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) Biography » Rudy Galindo: 1969—: Ice Skater Biography - Followed His Sister Into Skating, Paired With Kristi Yamaguchi, Struggled To Build A Singles Career

Rudy Galindo: 1969—: Ice Skater - Became A National Champion

march skating performance triple

Although Galindo was tired of the disappointments of skating, he decided to stick with the sport for one more year, since the 1996 United States National Championships were to be held in his hometown of San Jose. This time he asked his sister Laura to be his coach. Galindo did not have unreasonable expectations for his performance, but he hoped to place in the top five to make the national television broadcast. After skating a clean short program, he was in third place. Todd Eldredge was leading after the long program, but his performance did not have as many difficult triple jumps as Galindo. In particular, Galindo had two triple-triple combinations planned that would make his program technically more difficult that Eldredge's. If he could skate a clean program, he could take the lead from Eldredge. "As I approached the takeoff point, I lifted my arms and jumped," Galindo wrote in his autobiography Icebreaker. "Three and a half revolutions and a split second later I landed smoothly, facing backward, then took off again on the toe of my skate for the triple toe loop—spin, spin, spin. The audience roared so loud I could hardly hear the music. As I landed, I thought, 'This is way too easy.'" Galindo's flawless performance led to high technical marks and two perfect six scores for artistic style.

After several disappointing performances at the United States Nationals, Galindo finally won a national championship in 1996. It was a sweet victory since it happened in his hometown of San Jose. Galindo became an overnight star. He had to hire an agent to help with all of the publicity. The fame also brought more money that he had ever had in his life. Galindo not only felt that he had proven himself as an accomplished singles skater, but he also recognized the greater significance of his achievement. "I also thought about the larger meaning of the gold medal's being awarded to me: an effeminate gay Mexican-American," Galindo wrote in his autobiography. "I thought that my winning proved that whatever discrimination there is—or was—in skating, it didn't keep me from winning as long as I gave a winning performance."

That same year Galindo also placed third in the World Championships, proving that his performance at San Jose was not just a fluke. By the end of 1996, Galindo decided to give up his Olympic eligibility and turn professional so that he could earn money for his skating. Galindo signed endorsement deals and a book contract and began skating in exhibitions. In 2000 Galindo learned that he was HIV positive. This was devastating news for Galindo since his brother and two coaches had died from AIDS. However, Galindo used his fame to educate the public about the disease. He also continues to skate professionally. As he told Clifford Pugh of the Houston Chronicle in February of 2001, "You can live a long and productive life [with HIV], and you can have as much energy as you want."

Selected writings


(With Eric Marcus) Icebreaker: The Autobiography of Rudy Galindo, Cahners Business Information, 1997.



Newsmakers, Issue 2, Gale Group, 2001.

Sports Stars, Series 1-4, U*X*L, 1994-98.


Advocate, August 18, 1998, p. 69.

Houston Chronicle, February 1, 2001, p. 13.

Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, January 20, 1996; March 18, 1996; March 20, 1996; March 22, 1996; March 27, 1996; September 11, 1996; May 23, 2000.

People Weekly, February 5, 1996, p. 126-127; March 11, 1996, p. 52-56; April 17, 2000.

Sports Illustrated, January 29, 1996, p. 36-39; April 24, 2000, p. 27.

Time, March 18, 1996, p. 84-85.


"Rudy Galindo Biography," Rainbow Ice, www.plover.com/rainbowice/rgri.html, (March 24, 2003).

"Rudy Galindo Feature," Outsports.com, www.outsports.com/difference/galindo.htm, (March 24, 2003).

"Rudy Galindo Official Website," www.rudy-galindo.com/index.htm, (March 24, 2003).

—Janet P. Stamatel

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