Frozen Teardrop: The Tragedy and Triumph of Figure Skating's "Queen of Spin"

Frozen Teardrop: The Tragedy and Triumph of Figure Skating's "Queen of Spin" - Lucinda Ruh Oh dear, Lucinda Ruh is a terribly earnest young woman. Given her life history, which consists chiefly of an overextended and destructively co-dependent relationship with a true horror of a skate-mother, resulting in serious deterioration of both her physical and mental health, you can understand why she hasn't yet found the power to laugh at herself. And I'm truly glad for her sake that she's in a better place, and obviously set on the road to actual maturity. But still, this autobiography was a painful read, not just for the record of abuse and poor coaching decisions, but because it's apparent that Lucinda is still only part-way out of the woods. Her extensive philosophical reflections are still naive and entirely self-obsessed, and her constant recurrence to the theme of her own high performance are disturbing not because they reflect too high an opinion of her innate talents (which they do) but because they are so obviously the product of massive and ingrained insecurity. Her decision to withhold the names of everybody she talks about (despite the fact that most of them are extremely obvious or easily determined with a little googling) is clearly not a legal one, nor a real desire to conceal identity, but simply a desire not to give direct offence.

That said, Lucinda *is* talented, both in her skating (which was always extremely musical, as well as having the 'hook' of those amazing - and physically destructive - spins), and in her general intelligence and sensitivity. And she certainly had a broad range of experience of the skating world; her description of the pitiful training conditions at Harbun (not a surprise, but certainly the most vividly detailed picture I've read) was worth the price of the book right there, as was her chapter on her abortive training relationship with the ineffable Toller. Indeed, reading that in conjunction with Toller's corresponding chapter in "Ice Cream" was enough to make me laugh out loud. Talk about two worlds that never connected!

I could have wished that Lucinda's obliteration of names had not obliterated also a more direct acknowledgment of the people who *did* treat her well, or whom she admired greatly (Kurt Browning in the first category and Katia Gordeeva in the second, for instance). Nonetheless, I honour her for her attempt to move into a more healthy life, and as for her still propitiatory attitude towards her abusive mother - well, a stranger can sigh, but we all do what we have to to preserve the most important relationships in our lives.

I wish her well, and I thank her for the pleasure and little thrills she gave me with her skating.