Friday, January 11, 2008


This morning I checked my email and saw a link that a champion figure skater had died. I clicked on the link and my jaw dropped when I saw the name Christopher Bowman. I guess i had expected one of the current skaters was in a car crash or something (which would have been equally tragic)Bowman was one of my all-time favorite skaters and I had a huge crush on him (which is a little embarrassing but I was 12 and loved figure skating, who else). In 1991 when the US Nationals were in Minneapolis I took a black baseball cap and put silver puffy paint on it that said “Congratulations Chris”. When I gave it to him I received the sweatiest hug known to man.

He was 40 years old and died in his sleep at a Motel in California. It is posited that it was a drug overdose. He had many problems over the years in that area. Seen as one of the “bad boys” of skating he could easily serve as the prototype for Will Farell’s character in Blades of Glory. As I was reading some comments on the story I was shocked at how many negative things there were about him. People commenting that he couldn’t’ have been that good because they had never heard of him. Maybe they were just too young or maybe they were just assholes.

For those who followed the sport in the late 80s and early 90s, Bowman couldn’t be missed. He had a flair that few skaters have and it earned him the nickname, “Bowman the Showman”. In the article I read Boitano named Chris as one of the top three male figure skaters of all time. Maybe of US male figure skaters…. Regardless, he brought a sense of levity to the sport that is in many ways lacking in this day and age. He’ll be missed.

Bowman’s Short Program from the 1988 Olympics in Calgary. It exemplifies who he was as a skater and you can easily see where he got his nickname.

Bowman’s Long Program from the 1991 Nationals. It’s a more subtle performance, although still great.

1. Every second/ of every minute of the day/ I let my fancy play

2. OOOHH Baby/ Cry Baby/ Cry Baby/ Welcome back home

3. There are people going hungry/ Far away/ They got nothing on their plates

4. Deep in the bosom of the gentle night/ Is when I search for the light/ Pick up my pen and start to write.

5. Glue/ Stuck to my shoe/ Does anyone know why/ We play with an orange rind.


Blog Antagonist said...

Wow. I remember him...he was big during "my" era, and yes, he was tremendously talented. I remember him on Little House know how I feel about Little House. What a shame. RIP Christopher.

Katrina said...

As I was reading the article on Yahoo news before coming here I thought about you and figured you'd know who is and would probably at least say a little something.

How cool for you that you met him AND got a hug! Too bad I'm at work and can't check out the links. I'll try to remember over the weekend. I can't remember him at all although I'm sure I saw in the Olympics, I know I watched them in '88.

The guy I remember liking so much was Scott Hamilton. Loved him

Beth said...

This is sad news indeed.

I never knew he was on Little House! I only knew about his credit The Lost Boys. Check Apparently he was in a movie that is currently in post-production.

He was a great skater he always marched to his own drummer. So sorry he's come to a sad end.

Thanks for the performance links, Natalie!

Mom said...

Huh? Why did I just comment with 'Beth' and not 'Mom'?


terry said...

made me so sad when i heard the news. he was so talented.

i love the sweaty hug memory. that's sweet.

Anonymous said...

That triple was flawless! And I didn't know he was on The Lost Boys. I'll have to look for him now. Sad. Sorry you lost your childhood crush. ):

CS said...

I trememebr watching him in the Olympics. He was impressive. So sad that he died that young.

Johnny Yen said...

I saw the obit in the New York Times. I don't know enough about figure skating to have known who he was, but I was saddened by the fact that someone who was obviously immensely talented was cut down so young by his demons.

Natalie said...

BA- I dodn't remember him on Little House and I certainly remember liking that show.

Katrina- I was 5 when Hamilton won in '84 and, while my Mom tells me I watched I don't remember them much.

Mom- Yeah I'll have to check out the movie that is currently being made one of these days.

Terry- Thanks, it was sweet but gross.

Auld Hat- I haven't been able to see him in the movie and I have looked, although not that hard.

CS- I read somewhere that at one point he had a $950 daily cocaine habit. Almost surprising he lived as long as he did.

Johnny Yen- It is truly sad.

Mom said...

Geez, wasting that much money every day on cocaine...!

BTW, you may (or may not) recall that it was while watching the '84 Olympics that you decided you wanted to skate. The women skaters inspired you the most, at that time.

And actually, you watched the 1980 Olympics with me too! I seem to remember we both had colds and watched the Olympics huddled in blankets.