The Ice King
Figure skating is currently the only sport where out gay men regularly compete at the highest international levels. But today’s Olympians like Adam Rippon and Johnny Weir owe their acceptance to a pioneer who singlehandedly changed the sport: British Olympic figure skater and choreographer John Curry, who in the 1970s broke the mold for how men could perform as artists—and gay athletes—on the ice. The Ice King is the captivating story of Curry’s struggles and triumphs.
The product of a difficult home environment, Curry became convinced early on that figure skating—rather than merely showing off jumps and spins— should exhibit the artistic and emotional power of his other great love, classical ballet. When his coaches instructed him to tone down his expressiveness, he stubbornly ratcheted up his routines’ technical difficulty so that his scores could not be denied. Curry’s competitiveness led him to vie for a gold medal at the 1976 Innsbruck Winter Olympic Games, during which he was also outed by an American journalist and defiantly refused to deny the report.
James Erskine’s exquisite documentary skillfully weaves Curry’s warts-and-all life into the tapestry of 20th-century gay history, following him to the 1980s in New York and London, and into the AIDS crisis. With rich archival film of his skating and choreography and remarkable use of audio interviews, The Ice King brings to life a unique, complex figure who etched an indelible mark on a beloved sport.
— PETER L. STEIN
- Premiere Status: North America