May. 26 1999
Washington, DC - The CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS today announced it will co-sponsor “Skate with the Stars,” a 10-city figure skating clinic featuring Olympic gold medalist and CAMPAIGN spokesperson Tara Lipinski. The summer instructional tour will kick off on May 30 in Detroit and will conclude with a visit to suburban Chicago on September 6. The skating clinics will target all levels of figure skaters from the ages of six to 18. Each day-long clinic will include on-ice skating instruction; off-ice classes on conditioning, nutrition and goal setting; and an autograph session. There will be at least two star skaters at each clinic – Lipinski and one of several other champion-status skaters. Rudy Galindo, Ilia Kulik and Kurt Browning will join Lipinski in select cities. “As an athlete and role model, I want to help kids understand the dangers of tobacco use and the importance of never starting to smoke,” said Lipinski. “I learned at an early age that you can’t be a smoker and an athlete. I hope that I can set an example for the kids participating in the ‘Skate with the Stars’ clinics – that they should choose not to smoke and that they can get involved in their own communities in the fight against tobacco addiction.” One of the CAMPAIGN’s most powerful and effective strategies in the fight against tobacco use by kids is youth advocacy. By teaming with Lipinski, the CAMPAIGN hopes to inform and help empower these young athletes to become leaders in the fight against this deadly addiction. News conferences with Lipinski and local tobacco prevention advocates will be held in each city. Young people will be encouraged to join the fight against youth tobacco use. The schedule of clinics includes Troy, MI/suburban Detroit (May 30); Plano, TX/suburban Dallas (June 17-18); Hackensack, NJ/suburban New York City (June 26); Bloomington, MN/suburban Minneapolis (July 3); Anaheim, CA (July 17-18); San Jose, CA (July 21-22); Coral Springs, FL/suburban Miami (July 31-August 1); Marlborough, MA/suburban Boston (August 8); Dale City, VA/suburban Washington, DC (August 13-14); Woodridge, IL/suburban Chicago (September 5-6). Approximately 320 youngsters are expected to attend each “Skate with the Stars” clinic. Rink space will limit the number of participants in Detroit to 240 kids, and will permit a total of 480 children to take part in the Chicago event. Lipinski was named an official national spokesperson for the CAMPAIGN in May 1998. “Tara’s gold medal-winning Olympic performance inspired millions of young people to follow their dreams,” said CAMPAIGN President Bill Novelli. “Now, skating with young people across the U.S., she will continue to inspire kids to stand up to the tobacco industry and protect themselves from the dangers of tobacco addiction.” In her role as spokesperson for the CAMPAIGN, Lipinski has appeared with President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore at a White House event in support of the passage of comprehensive, national tobacco control legislation. The event was followed by a rally on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where Lipinski, U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Kent Conrad (D-ND), and more than 1,000 kids called upon Congress to pass “Tobacco Legislation Now!” As the youngest Olympic, world and national figure skating champion in history, 16-year-old Lipinski began her domination of the sport at age 14, capturing the U.S., National and World titles in 1997 and the Champion Series Final in both 1996 and 1997. It was at the 1998 Winter Games in Nagano, Japan, where she became the youngest skater ever to strike Olympic Gold. The title sponsor for “Skate with the Stars” is Snapple. Co-sponsors of the ice clinics are the CAMPAIGN and Capezio. In each of the 10 tour cities, the local Boys & Girls Club will host its own “clinic session” for approximately 100 youngsters on the day before or after each clinic. These free sessions will include an hour of on-ice time followed by another hour for the young participants to meet and talk to the skating champions. The Washington, DC-based CAMPAIGN FOR TOBACCO-FREE KIDS is the largest non-government initiative ever undertaken to decrease youth tobacco use in the United States. Its mandate is to focus the nation’s attention and action on keeping tobacco marketing from seducing children, and making tobacco less accessible to kids. For registration or other information on “Skate with the Stars,” contact Jolie Brandon or Taylor Clark, Edge Marketing, at 704-335-0051 or call toll-free, 888-438-4562.