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(2019 - Fall Issue)


Van Halen’s hit song, “Jump,” would personify Kurt Browning’s life and how he conducts it. Combining athleticism with unbridled passion, the four-time Canadian and four-time World Champion figure skater is in the Guinness World Records as the first person to land a quadruple jump in competition. Browning achieved this amazing feat at the 1988 World Championships in Budapest.

Jumping has been an integral part of Browning’s life since he was a toddler. While growing up in Caroline, Alberta, he had to make a choice between playing hockey or figure skating. His father couldn’t afford both. Inspired by watching Toller Cranston on TV, Browning loved doing jumps and chose figure skating.  

At 53, he still performs around the world with Stars on Ice and other specials. In addition to his skating repertoire, Browning has been a choreographer, commentator, judge, mentor and producer for TV networks and skating productions. Browning’s latest venture is Head Judge for the popular returning CBC series, Battle of the Blades, which pairs hockey players with figure skaters in a high-stakes figure-skating competition. 

Awards and accolades have followed him throughout his career including the Lou Marsh Trophy for top Canadian Athlete, Order of Canada and inductions into Canada Sports Hall of Fame, Skate Canada Hall of Fame, World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and a star on Canada’s Walk of Fame. Though Browning participated in the 1988, 1992 and 1994 Olympics, a medal was his one elusive career achievement. 

Married since 1996 to Sonia Rodriguez, a dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, Browning has two sons, Gabriel and Dillon. It’s unlikely they will follow in their father’s footsteps, which is fine with Browning. Just being a dad is priority No. 1. “I’m kind of wallowing in ‘Dad-ville’ right now,” says Browning.

Browning is content jumping and gliding from family, skating and TV responsibilities while still executing a perfect and graceful landing. 

What’s the most magical or greatest moment in your career?

Defending my title in Halifax at the 1990 World Championships with 10,000 people singing O Canada as loud as they could. To come from such a terrible year and weird injury, I just didn’t expect it to happen the way it did. It was beyond compare.

Favourite city to skate in?

There’s something about Halifax. I don’t really understand why. We have now, for a couple of decades, started Stars on Ice in Halifax. They’re amazing. There were 16 standing ovations in one figure-skating show. 

What do you like to bring back from trips?

I collect hats. Sometimes when I have a hat from a place, I put it on and I am transported back to that trip. 

Favourite family holiday destination?

The four of us love Universal Studios. For some reason, we all resonate really well there. We get along, we like the lines and we love the Harry Potter series.

Where would you have your last beer?

There’s a bar in Hogwarts (Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios) called the Hog’s Head and, if I were to have the last beer of my life, I would want to have it there. I would banish all the tourists, fill it with wizards and drink my last beer surrounded by magical fun.

How do you relax?

I like being on a lake. I like to jump off the dock into the water, have friends around, have a little sun on my face, play catch, and water ski and swim. That’s my nirvana. 

Ever visited a spa?

I get work done on me like a car gets maintenance. I’m often getting that kind of attention but it’s usually really painful! They are digging a muscle out, straightening it out or putting it back in your body.

What do you love most about Canada?

I love its diversity. I love that we have four seasons, but I think I just love the way Canadians ‘are.’ One of the best things about Canada is its people.

Any dream destinations?

In the back of my mind I have this silly idea that someday I’m going to pick three or four amazing waterfalls around the world and I’m going to go see them and the countries they are in.

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