Ice Network

Waggoner still carries 'soft spot' for Team USA

1988 U.S. Olympian cherishes friends, pride gained from competition
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Todd Waggoner -- pictured here on a European trip with his wife, Kristan -- enjoys sharing the stories of his time as an Olympian with his family. -Courtesy of Todd Waggoner

Although Todd Waggoner doesn't take to the ice much these days, the 1988 Olympian remains connected to the sport of figure skating thanks in large part to his wife Kristan, who is the director of the Annapolis Skating Academy in Maryland.

While his medals and trophies are packed away in boxes, Waggoner -- the 1986 U.S. pairs champion with partner Gillian Wachsman -- still experiences a bit of nostalgia each time the Winter Games roll around.  

"I still have that Olympic wool coat and I can fit in it," Waggoner said. "Once an Olympian, always an Olympian. You always have a soft spot for the U.S. team. You were a part of it. You trained for 20-something years to do it, and you never forget the friends you've met along the way and your sense of pride."

Upon arriving at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Waggoner and Wachsman felt a rush knowing that North American audiences would be watching the events live on television. With their U.S. teammates Jill Watson and Peter Oppegard being the reigning world bronze medalists, Wachsman and Waggoner were competing without heightened expectations, which allowed them to enjoy and appreciate the whole experience even more.

"A lot of the pressure wasn't there for us, and it was the best two weeks of my life as far as having pure fun, being around super athletes and staying in the Olympic village," said Waggoner, who finished fifth with Wachsman. "The pairs were done so early that we had plenty of time to do everything else and really enjoy it."

He and Wachsman also walked in the Opening Ceremony, which Waggoner described as "tingling" and "fantastic."

In addition to their backgrounds in skating, Todd and Kristan are also the parents of three sons: Eric, Kyle and Drew. Eric recently completed his first year of community college, while Kyle and Drew are both avid athletes; one or both of them may even pursue getting an athletic scholarship to college or perhaps apply to the nearby U.S. Naval Academy.

Kristan's work involves a lot of learn-to-skate lessons. She said seeing her students advance their abilities is an immense source of pride for her.

"I get them going," said Kristan, who coaches 3-4 days a week. "I love it. The rink is still my happy place."

When the Olympics begin next February, the Waggoner family will be keeping a close eye on the figure skating events.

"They get me involved in it," said Waggoner, who is currently a pilot for United Airlines. "When we watch the opening ceremony, the kids ask, 'Dad, you marched in that?' I say, 'Of course. We were at both the opening and closing ceremonies.'"

When his mother, Cecilia, passed away earlier this year, Waggoner discovered she'd saved every story and clipping she could find about his skating and had programs from every event.

"The pictures she took were amazing," he said. "I've been going through little bit by little bit. Incredible memories."