Skating to save lives

Figure skating legend, and former Greenwich resident, Dorothy Hamill and two-time Olympic medalist Michelle Kwan are joining the biggest names in figure skating tonight, April 17, for a livestream benefit event supporting Americares’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Japanese champions Miki Ando, Shizuka Arakawa, Yuka Sato and Fumie Suguri have also joined the roster of skating stars raising funds for Americares’ COVID-19 relief, along with three-time Olympian Todd Eldredge and World Champion pairs skating team Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner.

The special one-hour “Blades for the Brave” livestream, hosted by Jason Brown and Gracie Gold, will air on Bladesforthebrave.org, Americares’ Facebook and Twitter feeds and on its YouTube channel at 8 p.m.

Skating fans will have the opportunity to hear how their favorite skaters are coping while quarantined and watch entertaining videos of them on and off the ice. The skaters will encourage viewers to donate to Stamford-based Americares, a health-focused relief organization providing critically needed protective gear, training and emotional support for health workers in COVID-19 hot spots in the United States and around the world.

“We have it easy staying home and social distancing,” Hamill said. “Our true heroes are the health professionals who risk their lives every day. I can’t imagine the fear and the courage they have as they leave their homes and their loved ones to care for COVID-19 patients. That is why I am doing my part to support Americares and help the brave health workers.”

The participating skaters represent nine countries, including Canada, Czech Republic, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Russia, Ukraine and the United States.

Jeremy Abbott, Brian Boitano, Michal Březina, Kurt Browning, Alexei Bychenko, Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc, Sasha Cohen, Amber Glenn, Melissa Gregory and Denis Petukhov, Ekaterina Gordeeva, Scott Hamilton, Nancy Kerrigan, Naomi Lang, Tara Lipinski, Vakhtang Murvanidze, Viktor Petrenko, Matteo Rizzo, Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim, Elvis Stojko, Bradie Tennell, Rohene Ward, Johnny Weir and Paul Wylie are also confirmed to participate. 

“The support that we’ve received from the figure skating community has been incredible,” said Americares’ President and CEO Christine Squires. “We are delighted to add Dorothy Hamill and Michelle Kwan to our roster of special guests and look forward to a great show that will help Americares raise the funds needed to protect frontline health workers.”

In the United States alone, Americares has delivered 25 tons of protective supplies such as masks, gloves and disinfecting supplies, to health facilities in 40 states. Americares is also training health workers in infection prevention and control, mental health and psychosocial support and disaster preparedness.

Tara Modlin-Maurizi, owner of Fireworks Sports Marketing, came up with the concept for Blades for the Brave after speaking with friends, colleagues and clients from the elite figure skating world who wanted to do something to help the efforts of the frontline health-care workers and first responders. For the past 20 years Fireworks Sports Marketing, based in Ridgewood, N.J., has represented figure skaters and Olympic athletes and has produced worldwide events.

Viewers can support Americares COVID-19 response by making a donation on americares.org or by texting “BRAVE” to 80100 to make a $25 donation.

edited by Georgette Gouveia

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