Greetings to everyone! Just a quick note to the winner's of the Mabon giveaway, I will be mailing out your gifts to you tomorrow afternoon so if you still haven't e-mailed me your address in which to send your gift to at Ladycaer1964@yahoo.com, please do so. ;)
"Hans Brinker From Hell" is a title which Bowman gave to himself in regards to his own real-life rebel, bad boy persona. In a sport that is, for the most part anyway, considered effeminate, Bowman took a rather aggressive approach to proving his masculinity. According to his coach of 18 years, Frank Carroll, he "had a girl in every part of the world including communist countries." He had very unconventional training habits, and when he improvised his long program at the 1990 World Figure Skating Championships (an unbelievably gutsy performance which won him the bronze medal), it frustrated Carroll so much that he had decided he had had enough. And, in spite of all that he had done to try and help Christopher throughout the years, including getting him into the Betty Ford Clinic and further taking care of him while he was in drug rehab, he finally gave up. After that, Bowman had been coached by Toller Cranston for a short period of time and then, finally, the reputable John Nicks who coached him until Bowman's retirement from competitive skating in 1992.
In her book, “Figure Skating: A Celebration,” author Beverly Smith says of Bowman:
‘The most amazing quadruple jumps ever seen were probably those done during a sparsely attended practice session at the World Championships in Munich in 1991. American Christopher Bowman, a self-described “Hans Brinker from Hell,” knew that his coaches Ellen Burka and Toller Cranston, were angry with him for his poor training habits and hearty enjoyment of party life. During the final practice, he skated up to the boards, held up one finger to his disgruntled mentors, and said, “Watch this.”
The controversial skater landed three quadruple toe-loops in a row, just to please them and to ease the stoney silence. He had never landed any before, and he has never since. Had Bowman ever trained with any discipline, any skater, including Browning, would have been hard pressed to defeat him.’
Brian Boitano, the 1988 Olympic champion, once told the Chicago Tribune, "If I had to pick the three most talented skaters of all time, I would pick Christopher as one. He had natural charisma, natural athleticism, he could turn on a crowd in a matter of seconds and he always seemed so relaxed about it."
*Oakland, California, USA - 1992 World Figure Skating Championships, Men's Free Skate - Christopher moved up from 5th to 4th Place after this skate!*
During what would be his last amateur performance at the 1992 World Championships in Oakland, he injured himself near the end of his long program. Always a fighter, he bravely finished his competitive routine, pushing through the pain which you could see in his face with every jump he did. After he had finished, he hobbled off of the ice holding his left knee while his coach John Nicks helped him to the “kiss and cry” area to await his scores from the judges.
His cause of death was ruled an accidental drug overdose, leaving his fans and admirer's wondering how someone who, as his former coach Frank Carroll was once quoted as saying, "could have been one of the greats," had never quite found the drive within himself to live up to his full potential.
All the same, the skating world had lost a very talented, unique, and truly beautiful individual who, for better or worse, lived his life on his own terms ... always.