Nicole Bobek (born August 23, 1977) is an American Figure skater. She was the American in 1995, and won a bronze medal at the World Figure Skating Championships the same year.
An Only child, Bobek has been raised by her mother Jana since birth. Her parents divorced shortly before Nicole was born, and she has never met her father.
Skating career[edit | edit source]
Bobek's fondness for skating started at age three. She first came to national prominence by placing 2nd at the novice level of the U.S. Championships in 1989; Nicole was eleven years old. In the next few seasons, she worked her way up the competitive rankings at the national level. She was known as an athletic jumper and a charismatic performer, but an erratic competitor. For example, Nicole placed 4th at the 1992 World Junior Championships, but the next year dropped to 16th at the same event. She made her first appearance at the senior World Championships in 1994, as an alternate (after both Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding dropped out of the event), but failed to advance out of the qualifying round.
The following 1995 season brought Bobek her greatest competitive success; she won the U.S. title and placed 3rd at the World Championships. In late 1995, Nicole toured with an ice show production of The Nutcracker, rather than rehabilitate an ankle injury or train for the upcoming 1996 U.S. Championships. Said injury forced her out of the championships, and off the World team for that season. In both 1997 and 1998, she placed 3rd at the U.S. Championships. But at the 1998 Winter Olympics Bobek finished in a disappointing 17th-place. She withdrew from the subsequent World Championships due to another injury.
Bobek left Christa Fassi and returned for the 1998/1999 season with former coach Richard Callaghan. Callaghan got Nicole back into shape and prepared her for the Grand Prix Series. She finished 4th at Skate America and an impressive 2nd at Trophee Lalique. But her season ended quickly with a series of injuries and health problems, which prevented her from competing at the 1999 U.S. National Championships. Bobek then turned professional, touring with Champions on Ice for several years. She also appeared in numerous other shows and professional competitions. Bobek currently works as a skating coach in Florida. In 2006, Nicole added acting to her resume; she appeared in All the King's Men (2006 film), as a skater mesmerizing Governor Willy Stark.
At her peak, Bobek was a strong jumper although some of her jumps did not have the best technique; for instance, she had a very marked Flutz. She had a lasting impact on ladies' figure skating because of her signature move, a Spiral (figure skating) with the free leg extended very high. Television commentators including Dick Button and Peggy Fleming were so complimentary of Bobek's spiral that it was widely copied by other U.S. skaters...setting off a fad for extreme flexibility moves in general.
Bobek was notorious for her poor training discipline, for being an occasional smoker, for wearing a lot of jewelry while performing on the ice, and for having changed coaches at least 11 times during her eligible skating career; at one point, she was labeled "figure skating's answer to Madonna (entertainer)." Yet Nicole always rationalized her unorthodox behavior: "I'm a teenager. That's what we do." Bobek's coaches included Debbie Stoery, Carlo Fassi, Kathy Casey, Hoon Kim, Richard Callaghan, Barbara Roles, Frank Carroll, Robin Cousins, and Mary and Evy Scotvold. She was coached by Callaghan during her period of greatest success in 1995, and by Fassi at the time of his death from a heart attack at the 1997 World Figure Skating Championships.
Endorsements[edit | edit source]
Bobek's skating has led to (among other things) an endorsement contract with Campbell's Soup. Along with fellow skaters Michelle Kwan and Tara Lipinski, Nicole appeared in a commercial in the winter of 1998: all three perform dazzling routines at an ice rink. Then they stand around shivering in their skate dresses. The threesome drink bowls of steaming soup which causes the ice to melt where they stand and then wade back to the edge of the rink.
Home Invasion Charge[edit | edit source]
In November 1994, Bobek was charged with First degree Home invasion after using an access code to enter a friend's garage and home. She allegedly took cash from a purse, only to be foiled when the house owner arrived (at which point she returned the money). She claimed to have been given permission to enter the house and retrieve the cash by another member of the household. Bobek was 17 years old at the time; under Michigan law, anyone 17 or older may be subject to adult criminal laws and is no longer considered a Minor (law) for legal purposes.
She plead guilty under Michigan's Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, which directs Defendants between 17 and 20 years of age to Probation and counseling. If they complete their probation, they are excused from a more permanent charge and given a "clean" record, with all records of the prior charge Sealed from the public.
On January 19, 1995, Bobek was given "youthful trainee" status, along with two years' probation and a choice between fifty hours of Community service and thirty days in jail. Information regarding her case was soon leaked by the media and spread widely through skating circles, as well as in the news media at large. Under the Youthful Trainee Act, cases are to remain confidential; so on February 16, she filed for dismissal of her case (though journalists and legal scholars have argued that Michigan law allows journalists to release information about juvenile criminals if there is "compelling public interest," which could be argued due to her status as a figure skater in world class competition). She was given a closed (private) hearing, where the trial court granted her motion for probation discharge.
Competitive highlights[edit | edit source]
|World Figure Skating Championships||13th (QR Group B)||3rd||13th|
|World Junior Championships||4th||16th|
|American||2nd N.||4th J.||8th||7th||5th||3rd||1st||WTH||3rd||3rd|
|Cup of Russia||6th|
|U.S. Olympic Festival||7th||1st|
- J = Junior level
- N = Novice Level
- WTH = Withdrawal