The ice will be cold, but the reception is sure to be warm for two-time Olympic medal winner Nancy Kerrigan as she glides into the Patchogue Theatre.
The two-time Olympic medal winner is serving as host and performer in the "Holiday Spectacular on Ice" being presented by The Gateway, Patchogue Theater’s sister company, from Dec. 17 through Jan. 1. Making the experience even better is that her son, Matthew, 25, is designing the costumes for the show.
"I can’t wait to see what he’ll dress me in," says Kerrigan, 52.
Since her Olympic glory days (and the headline-making scandal preceding the 1994 games when her kneecap was bludgeoned in an attack engineered by the ex-husband of her rival Tonya Harding), Kerrigan has constantly reinvented herself. She’s done movies (the 2007 comedy "Blades of Glory"), competed on "Dancing With the Stars" in 2017 and served as a Super Bowl correspondent on "Inside Edition" in 2018.
Newsday’s Daniel Bubbeo recently chatted by phone with Kerrigan, who was in Boston, about her role in "Holiday on Ice," as well as being a mom and her Olympic glory days.
What exactly will you be doing in the show?
They wanted me originally to skate in a couple of numbers … but now I have a character throughout the show. Instead of just coming on twice, I get to be part of it a little bit more. I pop in and out between numbers. It’s always fun to be busy during a show.
Obviously, your Olympics days are past, but do you still do much skating these days?
Oh, not very much typically. I did some in the spring and I actually hurt myself, so I was pretty surprised to get a call to do this. But I thought, what a great opportunity to get out there and have some fun with something I love. … Of course, facing the reality that I am not under 25 years old, is not always fun to face, but I don’t think people expect that I can do what I did 30 years ago.
The last time you performed on Long Island was about 15 years ago at Cantiague Park [in Hicksville]. Do you remember anything special about that appearance?
I can’t think of anything, but certainly I always felt that the audiences there are always so fun and engaging and that’s always something that is really great for any performer. To feel that energy is really nice and helpful.
You have had some difficult experiences both in your career and personal life [Kerrigan has been open about her many miscarriages]. How did those experiences help make you a stronger person?
Going through anything tough, I think we realize we are all stronger than we think we are. You’ve just go to hang in there and find moments to enjoy life and see the beauty around you and find things that make you laugh. It definitely helps you get through those hard times. And things do change. If you’re patient and you work hard things can get better. It’s not the struggles, it what you do with it afterward.
Are your children also skaters?
No. I used to say "Oh, they’re smarter than me" jokingly. One’s a gymnast [son Brian], and he‘s a junior in high school and looking at colleges. My daughter [Nicole] is 13 and she’s in a conservatory ballet school. My oldest, Matthew, has lived in New York for years and he’s a costume designer primarily.
So, your daughter is a ballet dancer and you did "Dancing With the Stars." What did she think of your performance when you were on the show?
She was so young still, but even then, she was more graceful than me. She loved it and loved being at the show and seeing how it all operated. It gave her ideas to think outside the box in terms of her own dancing.
Did you continue dancing after the show?
Just at home. My daughter has been teaching me some tap lately. I had tap shoes and I never really wore them very much. She’ll come home and teach me tap, which is great. She volunteers … the kids that don’t go to the conservatory, she helps with their class, so she teaches me all of their routines.
Back when you were in training for the Olympics, what was a typical day like for you?
When I was young, we still had the figure eights. It wasn’t until 1991 when they got rid of those. So, it was typically five or six hours a day practicing. I would do tap, ballet, jazz. I did weight training. I rode a bike or ran every other day. Your whole life literally revolves around sports.
When you won the silver medal?
I was so excited because I got to be there. Just being on the ice, being at the Olympics was a thrill. It was amazing after being hurt and having to come back in such a short time. … Being able to represent the United States was such an amazing honor and to be able to come home with a medal on top of it was incredible.
WHAT "The Gateway Holiday Spectacular on Ice"
WHEN | WHERE Dec. 17-Jan. 1, Patchogue Theatre, 71 E. Main St.
INFO $29.50-$89; 631-207-1313, patchoguetheatre.org