Book Review:  Forever Two As One

by Janice Mayne

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Forever Two as One

Tai Babilonia & Randy Gardner
with Martha Lowder Kimball

186 pages, 8.75 X 11.25 in.
Hardcover binding
Color and B&W photographs

Published by Millpond Press, Jamestown, NY
$59.95 U.S.
$89.50 Canada

Forever Two As One is a beautiful book.  When you open it up it’s almost as if you’re being let in on a secret that has been shared by Tai and Randy and finally you have been let in too. The book is like a delightful secret garden that has been veiled, but finally let out into the open. In the book and you can feel the love that Tai and Randy share as you read the wonderful story that is a part of them both.

The way they switch back and forth in telling their life stories together with the interesting tale of their skating history is nothing short of enchanting. The book makes you realizing that not only were they a beautiful pair team on the ice, they were also great friends off it, which is always so rare and lovely. The many inserts from other competitors, close friends and mentors, give a nice change of pace by offering different points of view of Tai and Randy’s partnership.

The story of their Olympic experience really draws you in.  The joy they felt going, the concern of Randy’s injury and the letdown of not being able to compete, are all included. With all their little inside jokes and their highs and lows you feel like you really know them, and that you were right there with them. The stories of how they grew up and the little side tales of the tiny things that made them the magical people they are today, are wonderful.

The story of how they took up ice skating makes you recall when you first saw, or ice skated yourself. The reminiscences of their first coach reminds one of your greatest first mentors. The accounts of how they trained show you some of the labor behind the allure that surrounds Tai and Randy. The books covers how they grew up on the ice starting as young skaters, and how their skating grew with them.

You can feel the pride and joy they had, and still have, for their skating. The trials that they had to go through along the way make their victories seem all the more magnificent. The book shows how they started out as just normal kids growing up, and how they had to accomplish so many difficult tasks to be where they are today.

Tai and Randy were beautiful skaters with amazing death spirals and wonderful side-by-side spirals sequences that are missing in so many pair teams today. You normally picture great skaters as being stuck up and snobby, but this book makes you realize that they both are nice people with an assortment of quirks that make them even more endearing. You become so involved in the book that you lose yourself in their rises and falls. It’s a truly great read that lets you see the inside world of this intriguing sport. In the end it concludes beautifully.  Tai and Randy are an inspirational team with an inspirational story that is captured in this book.

Janice Mayne is a Junior level pair skater.  She has competed at U.S. Nationals at the Novice and Junior level for the last three years.

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