Five favorite things with Tai Babilonia

1979 world pairs champion has affinity for Harper Lee novels, Tchaikovsky ballets

Performing with Richard Dwyer and Snoopy was a "dream come true" for Tai Babilonia.
Performing with Richard Dwyer and Snoopy was a "dream come true" for Tai Babilonia. (courtesy of Tai Babilonia)


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(01/03/2013) - Five-time U.S. champions Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner won the world pairs title in 1979, and they won hearts around the world when they were forced to withdraw after the warm-up at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid.

Since then, Babilonia's life has been full of heartbreak and triumph. She has spoken candidly about her depression and struggles with alcoholism; today, she is proudly sober. She still skates at special events, having taken the ice at 2011's "Caesars Tribute II: A Salute to the Ladies of the Ice" in Atlantic City and at the 2012 Ice Theatre of New York gala, as well as at the 40th anniversary of "An Evening with Champions."

Babilonia has one son, Scout, 17. What is your favorite book?

Babilonia: To Kill a Mockingbird. What is your favorite pairs skating element?

Babilonia: I love the Ina Bauer that Randy and I did -- and still can do. What is your favorite memory of your skating career?

Babilonia: I have a few, but the first would be winning worlds in 1979 and the bonus hugs from Randy and Mr. [John] Nicks after we finished. What is your favorite song or piece of music?

Babilonia: We starred in Nutcracker on Ice in the '90s, and I loved every selection of music from that ballet. What are some things you've checked off of your "bucket list?"

Babilonia: Performing twice with legend/icon Richard Dwyer and becoming a 'Dwyer girl,' and performing with another legend -- and world's most famous beagle -- Snoopy, was a dream come true. [Snoopy and I] performed last Nov. 15 at the grand opening of Downtown Ice at Pershing Square in Los Angeles. Karen Kresge choreographed a number for us, and we had a blast. Be careful what you wish for!