Ilia Kulik: Skater, Actor, and Family Man
Ilia Kulik is an Olympic Gold medalist who won the medal in 1998 in Nagano, Japan. His jumping and clean spinning technique made him a favorite for a gold medal win on the greatest stage. After the Olympics, the Russian winner turned professional, and joined the infamous skating show, "Stars On Ice."
Ilia was a figure skater who was stronger technically but sometimes lacked artistic presence on the amateur stage. In this show, that is all about theatrics and artistry, Ilia was given the chance to sharpen his artistic skills.
While on tour, Ilia Kulik fell in love with fellow skater, Ekaterina Gordeeva. The two shared the ice together where Ekaterina helped Ilia, a singles skater, develop his pair skating moves for their duets on the ice. This adventure saw Katia back in the air for the first time since her husband's untimely death, and apparently back in the world of love. While Katia helped Ilia with his pair skating moves, he helped her improve her jumping technique. The pair spent more time off the ice together, even going sky-diving together. Ilia has stated that he is a danger junkie, and likes thrilling experiences. Katia who is used to heights had no apparent problem joining him for the trip.
Ilia Kulik also has an apparent passion for acting. In 2000, he starred in the major motion picture, "Center Stage." Ilia played an elite ballet dancer at a top New York City ballet school. His character's name was the popular Russian name of Sergei. Ilia's figure skating roots helped him appear credible as a dancer in the film. Although he had to use a dance double for certain scenes because the toe work is highly different for ballet dancers than it is for figure skaters. His role also called for him to be able to be slightly humorous which appeared very natural to the figure skater. He shared most scenes with then unkown actress, Zoe Saldana. This venture into acting seemed to affect his artistry in figure skating making his performances very unique in nature. He even choreographs most of his professional routines.
In 2002, he and Katia were married. They have a daughter, Elisaveta who also wants to follow in her gold medal winning parents ways. He is a coach, along with a father and step father, to Katia's daughter, Daria. The family currently lives in southern California. He continues to inspire figure skaters of all ages.