LAKE PLACID, N.Y. // Kimmie Meissner will return to the ice for the first time since her August knee injury and 1984 Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton will go head over heels on a pair of skates -- his signature trick -- in a live music ice show on Dec. 29.
For Hamilton, the Holiday Concert on Ice presented an opportunity to get back in skating shape since his retirement five years ago and return to the spotlight and audiences he missed.
For Meissner, the former national and world champion from Bel Air, the show was a way to work with one of her sports heroes.
"Any chance I get to be with Scott and work with Scott, I'm there," she said. "He has spent his life helping and inspiring others. Who wouldn't want to be skating with him?"
Others in the show include Steven Cousins, Ekaterina Gordeeva and the ice dancing team of Patrice Lauzon and Marie-France Dubreuil.
A band based in Nashville, Hamilton's home, will back American Idol contestants Phil Stacey and Melissa Doolittle.
Hamilton skated the first show of his comeback last weekend at his charity event in Cleveland, with Meissner in the front row. Physically, his body held up and his spirits soared with the sound of applause.
Hamilton hopes to do more than just the Lake Placid show, which he labeled "a prototype." He'd like to produce and perform live music shows to give skaters a way to extend their careers once their competitive days are over.
He relearned his back flip first at a gym with an instructor and then in a harness at a rink. Saturday afternoon, he performed two on a side rink at the Olympic Center while Skate America competition went on next door.
His last back flip in 2004 ended in disaster. Weakened after treatment for a benign brain tumor, he landed "on my forehead, shoulder and knee, in that order."
Hamilton said he knew that if he returned, fans would want to see the trick jump.
"I got over my fear in about 3 or 4 days. Doing it in Cleveland was scary," said Hamilton, adding that he continues to challenge his 51-year-old body.
"I'm a work in progress. I have a long way to go, but I'm getting there," Hamilton said with a grin.
2009 Skate America
* Skate America TV schedule (bottom of article)
* Sun coverage of Kimmie Meissner: