A Cornucopia Of Skating Miscellany

When it comes to interesting stories, the proverbial cup always runneth over... and this time of year is no exception. A lot of times when I am sifting through material looking for blog ideas, I come across some pretty interesting facts and stories that may not be "enough for a whole blog" but definitely deserve to be shared with all of you. I saved a handful of these very interesting factoids and stories to share with all of you as a little holiday gift of sorts. I hope you find these all as fascinating as I did:


Prior to marrying Nancy Kerrigan, Jerry Solomon was briefly married to Sandy Hill, the second American woman to to ascend the world's Seven Summits: Mount Everest, Aconcagua in The Andes, Mount McKinkley, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanazania, Mount Elbrus in Russia's Caucasus Mountains, Mount Vinson in Antarctica, Puncak Jaya in Indonesia and Mount Kosciuszko in Australia. If you've read Jon Krakauer's best seller "Into Thin Air" about the 1996 Mount Everest disaster, you'll remember Sandy well... and if you haven't I highly recommend it. I read it on a really long bus ride to Ontario once (NEVER again!) and it was definitely a page turner.


It might be a little muggy... but who knows? Maybe in the year 4018, they'll be holding figure skating competitions on Mercury. In 1991, astronomers fired radar signals at Mercury's poles and their findings led them to believe there could be ice at both poles of the planet. This was further confirmed by 1999 measurements. In 2011, NASA confirmed that there was indeed ice at the planet's North Pole, a very curious fact considering the rest of the planet can reach temperatures as four hundred and twenty seven degrees Celsius. Just a tad balmy... but it gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "when hell freezes over".


Bridget Hitler, Adolf Hitler's sister-in-law penned a book in the thirties that was published in 1979 affer her death called "The Memoirs Of Bridget Hitler". The book, which has been widely dismissed by historians as a hoax written to cash in on his fame, claimed that Hitler actually briefly lived in England in 1912 to evade military service. Some claim that a pair of his skates were displayed behind glass at the Wavertree Ice Rink in Liverpool but much like the claims in the 1979 book, finding proof of this claim was an elusive task.


Princess Margaret of Connaught was the Crown Princess of Sweden and first wife of the future Swedish King Gustaf VI Adolf. Sadly, she passed away before her husband's ascension to the throne. Margaret, who was known as Margareta when she moved Sweden, not only took great interests in photography, gardening and painting, but was also an avid hockey player and ice skater. Her tragic and sudden death in 1920 due to an infection after an operation - while she pregnant with her sixth child - sent an entire country into mourning.


On December 6, 1901, Henry Albert Harper, well known journalist and personal friend of Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King, attended a skating party thrown on the Ottawa River below Rockcliffe by the Governor General, the Earl Of Minto. The ice gave way and Bessie Blair and Alex Creelman found themselves in the water. Creelman pulled himself to safety while Blair struggled in the water. Harper dove in to save Blair and both ended up drowning. It's all so sadly reminiscent of The Regent's Park Skating Tragedy, isn't it? There seems to be some debate as to whether his last words were indeed "What else can I do?" when friends tried to talk him out of attempting to save Blair. Some say he quoted Galahad's famous "If I love myself, I save myself" before gallantly diving to his ultimate death. King was very distraught over his friend and former roommate's death and arranged to fittingly have a statue of Galahad installed at the entrance to Parliament Hill in Ottawa, where it remains today.


After putting all of these together, I realized that this was turning into one DEPRESSING Christmas gift so I wanted to finish things off on a lighter note with yes, you guessed it, a little skating! From the wonderful world of YouTube, here's Jessica Jamieson skating to "The Gingerbread Man". I kind of think this is the best thing ever.

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