Nancy Kerrigan isn't ready to hang up her ice skates anytime soon. The two-time Olympic medal winner — bronze in 1992 and silver in 1994 — will lace up her skates again for The Gateway's "Holiday Spectacular on Ice," a family-friendly icefest in Bellport through Jan. 1.
The show is a welcome return to Long Island for Kerrigan, who last performed here in the Ice Dreams Tour at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow last year. It's also her first time back in the Gateway show, which she last did in 2021.
Kerrigan, 54, recently spoke with Newsday's Daniel Bubbeo about the "Holiday Spectacular on Ice," her new children's book and her documentary about athletes and eating disorders, a situation she dealt with in her figure-skating heyday.
What's different about this edition of the 'Holiday Spectacular on Ice' from the last time you did it?
Every time I do the show, they bring some new life to it. There's always a new surprise, so it's like opening up a Christmas gift. This time there's some flying, some aerial acts and, of course, some great skating. There's a fresh group of skaters who bring a new energy to the show, which is fantastic.
What's your role in it?
I'm the host and I ice skate, of course. Not the same way I did 30 years ago. But I love that I'm still able to do something that I love, and I'm thrilled that there are still people asking me to do it. I also have a little Sugar Plum Fairy moment and there's a little country number I do. Our lives are all a little crazy, so it's nice to have a feel-good show like this.
You've performed a lot on Long Island. What do you like about performing here?
What I love is how intimate the theater is. … It's so pretty. I love the woodwork. And I love how welcoming the community is. I could be walking down the street or getting coffee and everybody is so friendly. … That's nice to be around, especially since I'm away from my family.
How much training did you have to do for this show?
I've been going to the rink four or five times a week for a couple months. I did hurt my knee and had a contusion. The doctor said it was OK and I could do this, but he definitely wants to see me when I get back.
You have occasionally gotten to act. Is that something you like doing?
I do enjoy acting, but because I'm Nancy Kerrigan, I mostly end up playing myself, which isn't that exciting. The skating shows that I look back on and really enjoyed doing were "Grease" and "Footloose on Ice" because I got to play a character.
Can you talk a little about your children's book that just came out?
It's a picture book, although I don't know why they call it that because there are words in it. It's called "Stronger Than She Thinks" and is about little Nancy trying to get through her axel jump. The theme of the book is to keep on trying, That's a really important message that I learned through skating and that has helped me through life. … It's funny, I had a 30-year-old who said the book really inspired him [Laughs.] … I like to think that we're all stronger than we think we are. When we're faced with something difficult, I think we all have a whole reservoir of strength inside of us.
There are some young kids in the show. Have any of them come up to you and said that you inspired them?
Yes, some of them have said to me, "I saw you in the Olympics." I usually say "No way, you weren't even around back then," but then they say they watched videos and that's so good to hear. Then I'm thinking, "Gee, I hope she doesn't still think I can do what I did back then." [Laughs.]
You've produced a documentary, 'Why Don't You Lose 5 Pounds,' which deals with eating disorders in the world of sports, a topic that's obviously very personal to you. How did that project come about?
It's a really important topic. It's one of those taboos that people wouldn't talk about. … It wasn't my idea. Someone came to me and said there were people making this documentary and asked me to be on board and I said yes. We follow people through their progress in therapy. You think of this as an issue for gymnasts, figure skaters and ballet dancers, but there are so many more athletes dealing with eating disorders. Football coaches even say, "Why don't you lose five pounds?"
What plans do you have after this show ends?
I think I might sleep. I haven't done this many shows in a long time. I want to go home and be a mom since I have a 15-year-old at home.
WHAT The Gateway's "Holiday Spectacular on Ice"
WHEN | WHERE Through Jan. 1, The Gateway, 215 South Country Rd., Bellport
INFO $27.50-$95; 631-286-1133, thegateway.org