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Hamill honored at FSH's 'Skating with the Stars'

Young girls unite with their skating heroes on the ice

Dorothy Hamill shows off her new award and a rose at Figure Skating in Harlem's "Skating with the Stars, Under the Stars" in Central Park.
Dorothy Hamill shows off her new award and a rose at Figure Skating in Harlem's "Skating with the Stars, Under the Stars" in Central Park. (Getty Images)

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By Linda Przygodski and Todd Hinckley
(04/01/2008) - Figure Skating in Harlem (FSH) celebrated all things skating with their mega-watt, celebrity-studded gala "Skating with the Stars, Under the Stars" at Trump Wollman Rink in New York City's Central Park on Monday night. Intermittent showers did not dampen the spirit of the young FSH skaters, who were even able to skate with U.S. and Olympic champions.

The skating stars who participated were five-time U.S. ice dancing champions Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto (2004-08), two-time U.S. men's champion Evan Lysacek (2007-08), 2007 U.S. ladies champion Kimberly Meissner, 2006 U.S. ladies champion Sasha Cohen, three-time U.S. men's champion Johnny Weir (2004-06), 1992 Olympic gold medalist Viktor Petrenko, 2002 Olympic gold medalist and two-time U.S. silver medalist Sarah Hughes, 2001 U.S. men's champion Timothy Goebel, three-time U.S. pairs champions Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman (2000-02 -- Ina also won in 1997 and '98 with Jason Dungjen), six-time Canadian ladies champion Jennifer Robinson and the guest of honor -- skating legend Dorothy Hamill.

After the FSH teams performed their own routines, hosts Donald Trump and Terry and Tina Lundgren presented the club's annual award to Hamill, the 1976 Olympic gold medalist and three-time U.S. champion. Looking fit and healthy, Hamill spoke to the crowd of how proud she was to receive this honor at the same rink as her first competitive event, some 42 years ago. She also noted how important skating still is in her life: "I still skate every day."

Among the stars in attendance were Christopher Meloni from Law & Order: SVU; Tamara Tunie, also of Las & Order: SVU; Tika Sumpter of One Live to Live; and Carson Kressley from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Tunie is also a chair at FSH and helped put on this extraordinary event.

"Skating With the Stars, Under the Stars" is FSH's signature fund-raising venture, bringing Olympic skaters and celebrities together with more than 650 guests to enjoy an evening of skating under the stars, with Manhattan's skyline as a backdrop. Proceeds benefit the deserving young girls of Figure Skating in Harlem.

FSH has created a devoted following amongst its celebrity supporters. Meloni was one of those who was making a repeat appearance at the Central Park event, and the skaters really enjoy the chance to take a break from their touring or competitive schedules to skate with their young fans.

Zimmerman was one of the skaters who noted his particular affection for FSH's cause because of their educational efforts, not just the athletic pursuits on the ice. Sharon Cohen, the founder of Figure Skating in Harlem, has created opportunities for young girls in the Harlem community to help them thrive in all sorts of real-life arenas.

Despite the weather, it was certainly an event that the youngsters on the ice will not soon forget.

In coordination with the gala, charitybuzz is proud to be hosting the first online auction for Figure Skating in Harlem. Prizes include skating with some of the stars that were in attendance, like Cohen and Petrenko. For more information on the auction, which runs through April 9, click here.

About Figure Skating in Harlem
For more than a decade, Figure Skating in Harlem has served more than a thousand girls with a truly innovative education and ice skating program that transforms young lives and helps Harlem girls grow in confidence, leadership and academic achievement. By using the popular sport of figure skating as a powerful magnet, FSH brings girls into a supportive, after-school environment complete with academic tutoring, counseling, career workshops, mentoring, cultural field trips and more. Our innovative girls' development program links lessons learned on the ice -- focus, determination, character development and self-motivation -- to lessons in the classroom and life. In addition to learning the discipline of figure skating and the many life lessons that accompany it, throughout the school year students regularly attend classes in leadership, public speaking, financial literacy, counseling, academic tutoring, dance and nutrition.