When installation of an ice floor at Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center was pitched, the prospect was that it would draw other ice-based entertainment besides minor league hockey.
Whether ice shows would draw Augustans was a gamble.
But the first such show, Champions on Ice at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the venue, is sold out.
More than 2,700 tickets moved the first day they went on sale, and that is believed to be the biggest one-day crush for tickets since Leisure Management International took over operation of the Civic Center and Bell Auditorium in February 1997.
"There has never been an ice show of this type here," said Christine Loftin, marketing and sales director of the Civic Center. "It's something people have been wanting to see. I think excitement was generated by the Winter Olympics last year."
The tour, which opened Jan. 5 in Bakersfield, Calif., is playing many smaller cities, including Huntsville, Ala.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Savannah; and Columbus, Ga.
"I've been to all the big cities. It's nice to see the smaller ones," said one of the show's stars, two-time Olympic champion Katarina Witt. "People (in smaller cities) do appreciate it more because they haven't been overexposed."
Other stars slated to appear in Augusta include 1994 Olympic champion Oksana Baiul; 1976 Olympic champion Dorothy Hamill; three-time World silver medalist Surya Bonaly; 1996 U.S. silver medalist Tonia Kwiatkowski; 1988 Olympic champion Brian Boitano; 1992 Olympic champion Victor Petrenko; two-time Olympic bronze medalist Phillipe Candeloro; 1984 Olympic bronze medalist Jozef Sabovcik; 1996 U.S. champion Rudy Galindo; 1998 Olympic champions Oksana Kazakova and Artur Dmitriev; two-time Olympic bronze medalists Isabelle Brasseur and Lloyd Eisler;, 1992 Olympic champions Marina Klimova and Sergei Ponomarenko; and 1998 U.S. dance champions Elizabeth Punsalan and Jerod Swallow.
"Unless somebody gets sick, they should all be there," said a spokeswoman for the tour's publicist.
While the skaters must rely on athletic skill to perform, Champions on Ice is more entertainment than sport -- it's an exhibition, not a competition.
The skaters perform routines they choreograph and select the music for. For instance, Ms. Witt will skate to Sarah McLaughlin's Angel and Rescue Me by German group Bell and Book and Candle.
As a spectator, you don't have to know what a Lutz Jump, a Toe Loop or a Death Spiral is to have a good time, said Ms. Witt.
"The audience gets a great night of entertainment," she said.
Champions on Ice
7:30 p.m. Monday
Augusta-Richmond County Civic Center
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