Michael Weiss is a three-time national figure skating champion, a two-time World bronze medalist, and two time Olympic team member. The 33-year-old accomplished skater has taken his skills on the road with the Smucker’s Stars on Ice Tour. The father-of-two opened up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about life on the road, his love of skating and the unique ways he stays in touch with his family while on tour.
CBS: You and your wife Lisa are parents to two children, Annie-Mae, 11, and Christopher, 10. What is it like to be on the road and away from your family while on tour?
MW: “The bad part is being away from them for 5 months, but the great thing is I have nothing to do for the other 7 months!! While I am on the road, I do as much as possible to stay in their lives day to day. That means helping with homework over the phone, having them read to me over the phone, and sometimes I call them, and put the cell phone in my pocket while I’m skating and performing in the Smucker’s Stars on Ice show – and talk to them while I’m doing a group number 🙂 They love it, and I get a kick out of it too.”
CBS: What is it like to perform in the Smucker’s Stars on Ice Tour. Tell us a funny/memorable story while performing.
MW: “The Smucker’s Stars on Ice tour really is like a home away from home. As the work day finishes, as you get on the bus, it’s very much like plopping down on your sofa at home after a long day. And your “Stars” family is sitting right there next to you. 🙂
I know it sound like a cliché, but I am so lucky to be touring with my best friends. Some of the funniest people I have ever met…so it’s hard to name just one funny story. How about the $1 game last year? Every mistake you made in a show cost you one dollar that went into an “end of tour party” fund. So, while we were skating group numbers, and someone missed a step, stumbled, or fell – you would here someone yell out “ONE DOLLAR!!”
At the end of each show, as we got on the bus, we had to pay up 🙂 Let’s say we had enough $$ for a nice party. 🙂
Another funny story is the time we all had to use the word “macaroni” during the show. Every one of us is on the live microphone at one time or another during the show, and we each had to find an original way to use it! There were references to Sasha being as flexible as a macaroni noodle, Jeffrey Buttle translating Joannie Rochette’s French and saying she likes macaroni & cheese, to me just randomly shouting “Macaroni!!”
Oh the little things that entertain us while we are on the road 🙂 I hope our fun out on the ice shows through to the audience…. because we want them to enjoy it!”
CBS: Are you constantly on the road?
MW: “I travel about 5 – 6 months out of the year – mainly the fall and winter. I take every opportunity to fly home on days off, and try to get a night or two at home.”
CBS: Do you ever get to visit any of the cities you perform in?
MW: “Occasionally… if we get a day off in a city that we are performing in, it usually involves sleeping in after a run of 3 or 4 shows in a row. I have traveled my whole life, and used to go to all of the tourist stops early on in my career, but now I save those outings for when I have my kids with me, so they can experience the culture of the city. My kids are 10 and 11 – a boy and girl – so they are at a great age to bring along to amusement parks, museums, and the best that each city has to offer.”
CBS: How old were you when you started figure skating?
MW: “I started skating at age 9. I used to be a diver from age 4-9, then went to the rink with my older sister (who was a skater) and I have been doing it ever since!”
CBS: Why skating?
MW: “I love the individual aspect of skating. If you mess up, you have no one to blame but yourself. But, if you win, you get all the glory too!”
CBS: What do you say to the critics who think figure skating is just for the girls?
MW: “I’m okay with it 🙂 Any sport that has a ration of 50:1 of girls vs. guys – where the girls dress in tight clothes, and are in great shape – I’m okay with.”
CBS: Have you formed friendships with other figure skaters over the years? Who are some of your best friends in the business?
MW: “My closest friends are skaters. You become good friends with people when you go through the hardships of competing, touring, and performing. And as far as closest friends, it’s such a cliché but I really am extremely close to the whole Smucker’s Stars on Ice cast from the last couple of years. I can’t pick out one or two people, we all get along like one giant, extended family of touring skaters.”
CBS: Do you plan to go to the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver? If so, what sports – besides skating – are you following?
MW: “Yes! I love hockey! I am going to bring my son to a couple of Team USA games. He is big into hockey as well, so it will be a great time for us. He hasn’t been to the Olympics with me yet, so I am looking forward to it!”
CBS: If you are working on any other projects or with any charities, please feel free to discuss.
MW: “I started the Michael Weiss Foundation which supports the training expenses of U.S. Olympic hopefuls. We hold a skating show every year, where all of the skaters donate their time to perform, and we raise funds to award scholarships each season. So far, we have raised and awarded over $300,000 to help support our future U.S. Olympians. Go to www.MichaelWeiss.org for more info.”
** Michael Weiss and the 2010 Smucker’s Stars on Ice Tour will crisscross the U.S. and visit 40 cities, from April 1 – May 30, for more info please visit www.starsonice.com