February 1, 1996
by Yolanda Reynolds
Rudy Galindo, whose name is now a household name in San Jose, is a breath of fresh air in the ranks of star athletes. After years on the ice and countless other hours of exercise Galindo achieved a major mile stone in his career choice of competition ﬁgure skating. Galindo, competing for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships held for the ﬁrst time in San Jose, won, last week, the men’s gold medal.
Galindo projects a refreshing lack of conceit and frustration over the many rebuffs and difficulties he had to overcome to achieve his dream. At a recent press conference when asked by the press to describe how he felt when the scoreboard announced near perfect scores by the judges, Galindo smiled, seemingly relishing the memory of the moment, and just says “Wow!”
Galindo and his sister, who acts as his coach, conﬁdante and protector both explained that his entire energy and attention are focused on the March competition in Canada.
Galindo has captured the hearts and admiration even of those who do not know the difference between roller blades and ice skates. Galindo is the embodiment of “sheer grit and determination.” He has taken his dream this far without the usual financial support many other athletes enjoy. Galindo has had to pay for his own costumes, music, choreography and, until recently, his coaching. His sister is his coach since he lost his other two coaches to terminal illnesses.
Laura explains that Rudy earned his GED (high school equivalency degree) with home study (extension courses) because his performance schedule could not be accommodated by the local school.
In almost every way Rudy has had to overcome obstacles that others would have been unable to surmount.
Skating equipment is expensive – skates begin at $300 a pair, there are fees for getting on the ice and very costly are the travel costs to attend competitive events across the country. According to Laura, Rudy himself with, constant support from his family, covered these costs.
Rudy and his sister Laura spent most of their time at the Ice Centre of San Jose at 1500 S.10th Street She is a skating coach at the Centre.
The Ice Centre is located at the former site of the Mi Tierra Gardens where many families enjoyed growing a bountiful crop of vegetables in the community garden. It is interesting that a young Mexican American from
San Jose’s East Side would have his career ﬂourish in such a dramatic way. The Gardens held a very special spirit and then provided a space for childhood dreams to ﬂourish. Galindo began his skill on skates at the Eastridge ice rink when, at the age of 7, he accompanied his older sister to the rinks. He entered his first competition when he was 8 years old. The ice rink nearby and Galindo’s talent and determination have brought to him his long held dream of winning the top prize for men in his trade in the United States.
The story of the Galindo family, in particular the pair, Laura and Rudy, is both interesting and inspiring. There is no doubt that there is a lot of caring and respect between the siblings. As well, there is a demonstration of determination and talent, qualities that many adults claim is not found in today’s young people.
Reports from those who have attended recent receptions in Galindo’s honor say that many young people now express an interest in following his example. Laura indicated that there have been numerous offers for additional acclaim, opportunities such as a book about Rudy, a movie and even offers to perform on TV. Laura and Rudy both state that they will not act on these offers until after the world championship in March. “Until then,”
Laura says, “Rudy will be concentrating entirely on preparing for Edmonton”.
Galindo’s winning 4.5-minute performance included what was described as “stunning and ﬂawless triple axle-triple toe loop combination” along with seven other triple jumps.
At the press conference hosted by the Fairmont Hotel a chocolate cake baked by the Fairmont’s Executive Pastry Chef, Yoni Morales, was presented to Rudy and Laura. It featured the judges scores awarded for Rudy’s technical and artistic ability at the U.S. National Figure Skating Championship in San Jose, making Rudy the gold medal winner. Most of the scores were 5.9 or above. 6.0 is the highest score possible.
At the World Championship Galindo will be Competing with other ﬁgure skating champions from all over the world. Beyond this there remains possible Olympic competition. © La Oferta Newspaper.