At the moment Canada’s Eric Radford is rightly being applauded for being the first officially ‘out’ person to win a Winter Olympic Gold Medal (in the team figure skating). However, back in 1976 there was John Curry, who became European, World and Olympic champion in the same year he was outed by a German newspaper. I meant that while he may not have opted to for his sexuality to be made public, when he took home the Olympic Gold Medal, he became to first person to do so at a time it was known he was gay.
A new documentary about him, The Ice King, looks at his life and the effect he had on skating.
Here’s the synopsis: ‘From award-winning director James Erskine (Sachin: A Billion Dreams, Battle of the Sexes) and producer Victoria Gregory (Shooting for Socrates, Senna) comes a new feature about the figure skating legend John Curry. Based on the book by Bill Jones and narrated by Freddie Fox, THE ICE KING is a searing documentary of a lost cultural icon, a story of art, sport, sexuality, and rebellion, releasing in cinemas across the UK and Ireland on 23 February 2018.
‘Watch any figure skating and it falls into two camps: before and after John Curry. From what was a macho, technical sport whose judges punished deviation, blossomed – through Curry’s stubborn beauty – ice-dancing. Featuring incredible unseen footage of some of his most remarkable performances, and with access to Curry’s letters and archive interviews, as well as contributions from former British skating champions Robin Cousins and Lorna Brown, legendary coach Christa Fassi, and interviews with his family, friends and collaborators, this is a portrait of the man who turned ice-skating from a dated sport into an exalted art form.
‘After winning gold at the Winter Olympics for a rebelliously balletic routine, audiences and reviewers alike were enthralled by his genius. Following his Olympic triumphs, Curry went on to defy expectations and to continuously redefine ice dancing as a true art form by pursuing his dream of forming his own company, which brought the sport to theatres and new audiences across the world. But Curry’s story is about more than skating. On the night of the Olympics final, Curry became the first openly gay Olympian at a time when homosexuality was barely legal. From bullying and prejudice, to relief in the gay underworld, to his untimely death from AIDS, Curry’s story dovetails with the experiences of a generation.
‘John Curry was no activist, but an artist expressing his authentic self – yet in a world where his existence was taboo, his life was unavoidably political.’ [Read more…]