u ts ,
JENNIFER FINER G ra
Two Jewish Detroiters earn spots on
the 1996 U.S. World Figure Skating Team.
DETROI T J EWIS H NEWS
he music from the movie
Legends of the Fall be-
gins to play fium the are-
na speakers and all eyes
and television cameras
are focused on Dan Hollander. The
figure skater stands in the center of
the ice thinking only about what he
Mr. Hollander, a Huntington
Woods resident and currently the No.
3 men's figure skater in the nation,
takes himself through a mental script
each time he performs his 4 1/2-
minute-long program routine.
"Watch me," Mr. Hollander thinks
as he executes the movements in-
grained into his memory. "I've strug-
gled for so long. Skating is my love."
As the music picks up, he silently
says to himself, "Watch me. I'm the
Mr. Hollander was the one three
weeks ago when he earned a bronze
medal in the U.S. Figure Skating
Championships in San Jose, Calif ,
making him eligible to compete in the
World Figure Skating Champi-
onships next month in Calgary. He
surpassed his goal of a top-five finish
at San Jose.
Last year, the 23-year-old skater
placed seventh in the nationals after
finishing 10th in 1993 and 1994.
"Each year a picture is taken of the
world team and when they took that
picture this year, and I was in it, it fi-
nally hit me," he said. "My head spun
for almost a week before the reality
of skating in world competition actu-
ally sunk in. Now I'm getting ready
Mr. Hollander-is one of several lo-
cal skaters to win a medal in the na-
tional competition. He is one of two
Jewish DetroiterS to= "Surprise the skat-
ing world by earning a spot on the
1996 U.S. World Team.
Pairs skater Eve Chalom, 16, and
her partner Mathew Gates, 20,
earned the bronze medal in their first
senior dance competition.
The duo goes to Calgary as alter-
nates and could skate if the gold-
medal team of Elizabeth Punsalan
and Jerod Swallow or silver-medal
team of Renee Roca and Gorsha Sur
should drop out.
Their third-place finish far ex-
ceeded the dance skaters' initial goal
of placing seventh or their dream of
coming in fifth.
"I was on the podium and I couldn't
believe it was happening," Ms.
Chalom said. "When they handed me
the flowers, I cried. I just couldn't be-
lieve it. Then, after, I skated over to
my mom and I started to cry again."
The pair returned from San Jose
and immediately began preparing for
Worlds and an international compe-
tition being held now in Switzerland.
They don't think about whether
they will be able to skate in the world
competition. Instead they focus on be-
ing ready — just in case.
Their original goal was to make the
Senior World competition two years
from now. This was their first year
skating in the senior division, mak-
ing them the only first-year seniors
to make the world team since 1958.
Ms. Chalom lost 50 percent of her
hearing at the age of 4 when she was
hit by a car while riding her bike.
She wears hearing aids in both ears
and said her skating is not affected
by her hearing loss.
"I can hear the music just fine," she
said. "It's the words I don't under-
stand, but I don't need to understand
them as long-as-I-can-hear the-music."
Right: Dan Hollander, the
artist, stands in front of
some of his work.
Below: Eve Chalom and
Mathew Gates beaming
from their third-place
Eve Chalom and Mathew
Gates: Fire on ice.
There was no magic hour on skates
nor a defining moment when Mr. Hol-
lander and Ms. Chalom decided to
challenge themselves and become se-
rious competitors in the skating
Four years after her accident, Ms.
Chalom put on her first pair of skates
and went to an area rink with a
friend. She liked what she tried. Af-
ter learning the basics of skating, she
seemed to excel. By the time she was
11, Ms. Chalom started going to Col-
orado Springs, the headquarters of
the United States Figure Skating As-
sociation. There, she-was matched
with her first skating partner, Derek
For almost a year, she went to Col-
orado every other weekend to train
with her partner. The pair stopped
skating together because Derek's
mother wanted her son to skate with
"I never really sat down and de-
cided, 'Let's see how far I can get with
skating,' " she said.
But, four years ago, she went to
Boston to meet Mr. Gates, a dance
skater from England.
'When I started with Matt, that's
when I realized the kind of commit-
ment I was making to skating," she
said. "-For him to here from Eng.-