Finding the right words to introduce and present the newest inductee into the Hall of Fame is no easy task…especially when it is someone of Anne Gerli’s status. But luckily for me, the second I was invited to present this honor tonight, I started hearing from a wide range of people whose lives Anne has touched. Whose lives she has changed for the better. People like Terri Levine, Skating Club of New York’s President; Lucy Brennan, Anne’s global partner in crime; Troy Goldstein, Olympic official; and, of course, Coco Shean, Anne’s daughter, who herself has an illustrious career as a judge spanning over four decades. These conversations only verified what I already knew. Anne is the model for all things GOOD about skating.
ESPN called Anne an “innovator.” How true. For many years Anne observed people trial judging. She watched compulsory figures take 12 hours with different panels for each figure. And it bothered her. She knew there must be a better way to do this. So what did she do? She REVOLUTIONIZED the judging system. Anne created an accelerated program for judges so that former skaters could move into judging positions faster. Her new system encourages skaters to get back into the sport.
Her program has produced some of our country’s finest judges, many of whom have represented the U.S. at World Championships and the Olympic Games. Some of the officials she has had a big impact on are here in Greensboro: Shawn Rettstatt, Robbie Rosenbluth.
In all of Anne’s years in skating, no one knows who her favorite skater is! Anne just wants to help people who LOVE to skate. Sometimes they turn out to be the best in the world and sometimes they don’t. It doesn’t matter. What matters to Anne is that the skaters, and the judges she mentors, ALWAYS come first. She was, and is, constantly doing everything she can to make the sport better for the skaters.
Our last two individual Olympic champions, Evan Lysacek and me, are beneficiaries of Anne’s craftsmanship. Anne created the Young International series. One of these events, Anne and Lucy Brennan organized in 1997 in Milan, Italy. Not only did Anne and Lucy organize the event but they came to the event directly from the World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland. There was no obvious reason for Anne to pick me and Evan. Evan and I were both only 11 years old. This would be our first international. Neither of us won in Milan but, thanks to Anne, the competition gave us the initial taste and experience we would need to succeed in the sport at the highest level.
Anne’s club, the Skating Club of New York, has produced three Olympic gold medalists. Carol Heiss, Dorothy Hamill and me. Sometimes we are referred to as the three H’s. Maybe it is just a coincidence all our names begin with an H, but some of us don’t believe in coincidence. Rather, some of us believe there’s a reason G comes right before H in the alphabet.
It has been a joy for everyone in skating to have Anne in our lives, peppering us with her wisdom and humor. I know some of you here made it to the “150 Years of Skating in New York” Gala and laughed out loud at her witty speech. Moments like that are why we treasure her.
It is my distinct honor to introduce the G that has supported the entire alphabet of skaters on the ice and off for almost seven decades. The U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame is more complete and innovative now that Anne is a member. Please help me give a warm welcome to Ms. Anne Gerli.
- Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes, introducing Anne Gerli during her induction into the US Figure Skating Hall of Fame at the 2015 Prudential US Figure Skating Championships