The new Netflix series Spinning Out shines a spotlight on the darker side of figure skating, telling the story of Kat, an Olympic hopeful struggling to balance love, family and her own fragile mental health as her dream of winning takes hold.
A once-promising figure skater who suffered a brutal fall which killed her confidence, Kat has inherited bipolar disorder from her domineering mother.
When Kat’s best friend Jenn quips about a rival skater, "I could whack her knee with a bat? Or is that too ’90s?", we’re immediately reminded of one of the biggest scandals in competitive skating — when US skater Nancy Kerrigan had her leg broken in a bid to rob her of an Olympic medal.
The famous story was a rare insight behind the scenes of the fiercely competitive sport, where talent mixed with ruthless ambition leads to intrigue and illness.
In the build-up to the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway, while preparing for the US national Championships, skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were fierce rivals.
One day, Kerrigan was attacked with a baton as she finished training.
It turned out Harding's ex-husband and her bodyguard had hired a third man to break Kerrigan’s leg, hoping to ruin her Olympic hopes and to boost Harding's.
The story — told in the award-winning 2017 movie I, Tonya — didn’t end well. Harding struggled with a broken lace on her boot and finished a lowly eighth in the Olympic final.
She was then banned for life by the US Figure Skating Association, despite claiming she had no prior knowledge of the attack — and the squeaky-clean image of women’s competitive figure skating took a serious battering.
Why look at you, Miss January. Threading that needle as perfectly as it’s ever been threaded.
That’s a perfectly cute little frock (admittedly shaped a bit more like a smock than a frock) that shows off her legs to the camera but keeps the rest of her pretty firmly under wraps.
It’s colorful and visually interesting and it doesn’t look like it’s asking much of her. It’s got a vaguely retro vibe to it that’s helped along considerably by the flipped hair (and by how insanely good she is at wearing retro styles) and yet the whole look feels kind of fresh to us.
Even though skaters try to make it look easy, figure skating is a tough sport that is certainly not for everyone. While the cast members of Spinning Out learned how to skate in order to prepare for their roles, there are just some things you can't learn a couple of months before you start a new project. Luckily, some professional skaters came in and did some of the cool moves and tricks that you see on the show. Some of them are Olympians, while others are just getting started in their professional careers. Here are all the pro figure skaters that appeared in Spinning Out...
Johnny is a two-time Olympian, 2008 World Figure Skating Championship bronze medalist, two-time Grand Prix Final bronze medalist, three-time US Men's Figure Skating National Champion, and current NBC Figure Skating commentator. Now, he's able to add “actor” to his incredible resume thanks to his recent role in Spinning Out where he plays Leah's partner, Gabe. If you've already seen the show, you know Johnny is the ultimate scene stealer in the series and fans were ecstatic to see him do his signature slide during some of the episodes.
He might not be a professional figure skater, but he has been taking the skating world by storm thanks to his fun videos showing his progress as he learns how to skate. He makes an appearance in episode 3 as Bruce, Gabe and Leah's new choreographer.
Kim is the 2014 Canadian National Junior Championship gold medalist. She then moved on to the senior level and came in fifth during the 2015 Canadian National Senior Championships. On Spinning Out, she is Kat's jump double and Serena's skating double.
Michelle is a Canadian figure skater and has participated in Four Continents and the Challenger Series. She recently came in 6th at the 2019 Canadian National Senior Championships. She is Kat's skating double.
Elizabeth is a pairs skater who represented Canada with partner Sean Wirtz. Together, they are the 2006 Four Continents bronze medalists and two-time Canadian National Senior Championships bronze medalists. She is Kat's pairs skating double on Spinning Out.
Evelyn is a Canadian pairs skater who is currently partnered with Trennt Michaud. Together, they are the 2019 Canadian National Senior silver medalists and 2017 Canadian National Junior champions. Evelyn is Kat's pairs skating double.