Quick—what legendary skating couple annually spends a month in Maui (Maui!), makes their own buttermilk (buttermilk?), and was once allowed to keep only $53.25 of their $10,000 earnings (thanks, U.S.S.R.!) at a Madison Square Garden performance?
Pat yourself on the back if you guessed Oleg and Ludmilla Protopopov. These and other fascinating facts on their life and times are currently featured in a Lake Placid News article, just in time for their annual appearance at the upcoming An Evening with Champions, aka “The Jimmy Show”.
If you’re like me, The Protopopovs were ahead of your time and you “know” them best via their Jimmy performances. But in many ways, they were (and perhaps still are) ahead of their time in general. Other interesting tidbits from the article:
+ They’ve never had a coach
+ They walk or bike “wherever they need to go”
+ They defected to Switzerland in 1979 and remain Swiss citizens (though they live in Lake Placid nearly half the year)
+ Ludmilla designs AND makes all their costumes
The article also details their eating habits, which are geared toward “longevity”… and, considering the fact that they are now 76 and 72 and continue to skate professionally, it might be safe to say they are on to something!
To read the article in its entirety, click here.
Another thing the article addresses is how the Russian Federation denied them the opportunity to defend their Olympic title at the 1972 Games. This Clip of the Day (from the early 70s) shows a little glimmer of what might have been.
(It’s worth mentioning that the Protopopovs must’ve been in their mid-late 30s at this point in their careers. Guess the signs were already in place that they wouldn’t run out of steam anytime soon!)