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On January 20, 1996, Rudy Galindo stepped from the shadows to claim national glory--and a place in history. Those present at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, California, witnessed nothing less than a miracle: a series of flawless, transcendent performances that whirled Rudy Galindo to his surprise win... But the true miracle was that he competed at all. In this candid, inspiring autobiography, Rudy Galindo reveals the personal and professional challenges that nearly destroyed his career, but which ultimately gave him the push he needed to achieve his lifelong dream--and earned him a place alongside the great champions in figure skating history. As a young, gay Mexican-American from a working-class family, Rudy grew up in a neighborhood where drugs and gangs were far more prevalent than Olympic hopefuls. But his future was bright: hard work earned him two U.S. pairs skating championships with partner Kristi Yamaguchi--and they seemed headed for Olympic gold. His hopes were dashed when Kristi decided to go it alone. Despondent, his career in crisis, Rudy soon faced even greater personal trials. Within six years he would lose his brother, George, and two coaches to AIDS, and his father to heart attack. Feeling cursed and hopeless, Rudy fell into a period of self-destructive behavior and an eight-month hiatus from training that almost marked the end of his career. Supported by his beloved sister, Laura, Rudy got back out on the ice, where he discovered something far more elusive than a gold medal: a sense of inner peace. With Laura as his dedicated coach, Rudy overcame many hurdles, including his decision to go public with his sexual orientation. At the 1996 Nationals he trusted his own artistic instincts for the first time and delivered two stunning programs that brought the electrified crowd to its feet, and to joyous tears. No one could deny the poetic beauty of Rudy's achievement. A remarkable story, ICEBREAKER portrays much more than one man's difficult, intensive quest to be the best, it chronicles the making of an American hero, one who proves to us all that dignity, determination, and honesty can transform adversity into triumph. The appendix and photo captions are included at the end of the book.