The U.S. Figure Skating champion reveals the personal and professional challenges that nearly destroyed his career, his difficult childhood in a violent neighborhood, his identity as a gay athlete, and his struggles with losing loved ones to AIDS.
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Rumor has had it that many male figure skaters are homosexual. Galindo was the first to declare his gay orientation; his sometimes startling candor is revealed throughout this autobiography: "When I had sex for the first time, I didn't know I needed to practice safe sex.... you might find that hard to believe. But I was completely immersed in my skating." The youngest of three children of a Mexican American family, with a father who was supportive but tyrannical and a mother who was periodically institutionalized, Galindo grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in San Jose, Calif. His elder brother, George, also gay, was banished from the house after he came out to his parents, served a prison sentence and eventually died of AIDS. A successful young singles skater, the author joined Kristi Yamaguchi to win the U.S. National Pairs Championship in 1989 and 1990, but she decided to go her own way in 1990. Galindo was devastated but, after many vicissitudes, including the death of his father, he triumphed in the singles, winning the U.S. National Championship and finishing third in the World Championships in 1996. Much of his success he attributes to the self-sacrifice of his sister, Laura; and with the help of Marcus, who collaborated last with Greg Louganis in Breaking the Surface, Galindo reveals his debt to her and to supportive friends. The result is a moving autobiography.
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Tonya Harding is not the only figure skater born on the worng side of the tracks--and others, like Rudy Galindo, have achieved respect along with their success. Galindo--a gay Mexican-American who grew up in a trailer park--pulled off a stunning coup in 1996, winning the men's title at the US National Figure Skating Championships; he followed that with the bronze medal at the world championships. It was a wonderful triumph for the 26-year-old Galindo, after a halting career punctuated by tragedy: the deaths of his father, coach, and brother. With the help of Eric Marcus (Making History: The Struggle for Gay and Lesbian Equal Rights, 19451990), Galindo writes in straightforward, unself-pitying prose of his anger when Kristi Yamaguchi ended their successful pairs partnership; his difficulties at home with a manic-depressive mother; and the question of whether the US Figure Skating Association held him back because of his homosexuality. His story is more edifying than Ekaterina Gordeeva's--but can he join her on the bestseller list? -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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