The Robin Cousins Page

Biography

Born August 17, 1957, in Bristol, England, Robin Cousins began skating at age nine. A natural skater, he rapidly advanced under his first coach, the late Pam Davies, to make the British international team at the age of 15. He distinguished himself with his exceptionally high jumps, fast and varied spins performed in both directions, and musicality, and his dance training showed in the clean lines accentuated by his six foot height. Already a crowd favorite, by the 1976 season Robin was establishing his technical and artistic reputations on the international scene. His Olympic long program included five triple jumps, the most done by any skater in the competition. Shortly before that, freshly recovered from knee cartilage surgery, he had nearly upset John Curry in the British Nationals, winning both the short and long programs against what was one of John Curry's weakest performances just prior to John's stunning sweep of the 1976 European, Olympic, and World titles.

Robin's first major medal, a bronze at Europeans, came in 1977, followed by his second knee cartilage operation after a painful withdrawal midway through the long program in '77 Worlds. That year also marked his move from working with the late Gladys Hogg in London to training with the late Carlo Fassi and his wife Christa in Denver. From the fall of '77 on, he was undefeated in the free skating (short and long programs combined) for the remainder of his amateur career, and scored at least 15 perfect 6.0s in various events, mostly for artistic impression. Poor placements in the school figures that made up 30% of the competition limited his overall titles. The first of his three World Free Skating Championships came in 1978, but he narrowly missed the overall World title in one of the closest contests in history. In 1980, he finally broke through to the top, winning the Olympic and European Championships. He capped his amateur career with one of his best performances, and 3 more 6.0s, for a final free skating title and an overall silver medal at the World Championships in Dortmund.

Following the 1980 Worlds, Robin began a diverse professional skating career that included twenty years of on-ice performances and competitions. Never one to rest on his laurels, he has brought his own hit ice shows Electric Ice and Ice Majesty to the West End and on tour, performed in numerous ice shows, tours, and TV specials throughout the world, and done a remarkable 16 consecutive years of professional competitions, winning numerous professional titles including two World Professional Championships and scoring perfect 10.0s on a regular basis. Possibly the first skater to perform a layout back flip, he also performed two consecutive layout back flips in competition in 1986 and was doing back flip-triple toe loop combinations in practice in 1985. Robin placed 2nd in his final pro competition, the 1997 Legends event, and continued to perform in shows until January 2000. The aftereffects of a third knee cartilage operation in 1988 prevented him from including triple jumps in his programs after that time.

In addition to his own skating, Robin has long juggled numerous other careers. He is a successful choreographer for other skaters and for major ice shows, including Kenneth Feld's productions of The Wizard of Oz on Ice, Toy Story on Ice, and Starlight Express on Ice (which he also directed), as well as Holiday on Ice's Colours of Dance, In Concert, Celebration, Hollywood, Fantasy, and Mystery shows which have toured Europe, Asia, Mexico, and Central and South America. He co-choreographed and performed in three Symphony of Sports TV specials, combining skating and gymnastics, from 1989-1991. A trained dancer and singer, he also has enjoyed a varied and successful career in musical theater, having played roles ranging from the Prince in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella to one of the leads in Cats to Frank N Furter in The Rocky Horror Show in the West End. Robin has produced and directed many shows and invented a number of skating moves (including the Cousins Slide, a backward outside spiral sliding into a forward inside spiral, the Russian Split Axel, and numerous spin variations) and several mechanical devices for movie and TV work. He has done TV commentary for the BBC in the UK, where he is currently the lead commentator on figure skating and has covered several Olympic Games as well as the World and European Championships, and for NBC in the US, designed skating costumes, co-authored two books (Skating for Gold, his 1980 autobiography, and Skateaway, written to accompany his learn-to-skate TV series), and had his paintings exhibited in art galleries. For a number of years, beginning in 1986, he served as Vice President and Head Coach/Director of the Blue Jay Ice Castle in California, working with a wide range of skaters, from beginners to National competitors. Robin's nephew Tristan Cousins has skated competitively for Britain, and Robin has choreographed programs for Tristan, but Robin is not related to Steven Cousins.

Robin now resides in England and has his own production company, Cousins Entertainment Ltd., which will be producing both ice skating and non-ice events. With his former production company, Adventure! on Ice, Robin co-produced A Skaters' Tribute to Hollywood and A Skaters' Tribute to Broadway in 1998, eight StarSkates shows on NBC in 1999 and 2000, and Improv-Ice from 1998-2000. Since 1999 Robin has choreographed, and sometimes directed, multiple shows for Holiday on Ice in Europe, The Colours of Dance, In Concert, Celebration, , Hollywood, Fantasy, and Mystery, as well as other productions, and he has an ongoing contract with Holiday on Ice.

After over 30 years on the ice and 20 years of professional skating shows and competitions, Robin finally decided to retire from skating due to knee and back problems from his years of jumping. He skated his final on-ice performance in Holiday on Ice on January 30, 2000, performing a special one-time-only number to Frank Sinatra's rendition of My Way in front of a sold-out British audience, but Robin will remain involved in skating as a choreographer, producer, director, etc. and plans to continue to perform on stage in musical theater. In July 2002, Robin sang Gershwin's "Strike Up The Band" in a Jubilee Gala ice show before Queen Elizabeth II. In 2004, he was elected to the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame.


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