Nancy's 15 Minutes Aren't Up Yet


August 14, 1994|By ELISE ARMACOST

Diane Evans, the normally reserved county councilwoman, could barely contain her excitement.

Dressed all in red and positively sparkling, she rushed into the Annapolis Mall LensCrafters.

There, not 15 feet away, was one of her most admired, most favorite people, ice princess Nancy Kerrigan.

Then she spied council chairman Ed Middlebrooks, armed with a proclamation for the skating star.

The nerve of him, she announced playfully, hogging all the fun assignments for himself!

Too bad Mr. Middlebrooks (whose sole comment about l'affaire Nancy was, "The president is easier to get to than this") didn't turn this one over to his colleague.

Because good-natured as Mrs. Evans was about it, she really wanted to present that proclamation.

Figure skating, it seems, is her thing.

She knows all the big names.





"To me, it's poetry on ice," she rhapsodized. And Nancy Kerrigan "is a tribute to the American spirit."

Time magazine reports this week that public interest in Ms. Kerrigan has waned so much that one network has shelved plans for her bio-pic.

But you'd never know that judging by the hundreds of people who turned out for a look at her last week.

Nancy, who is under contract with Bausch & Lomb and appeared in Annapolis to celebrate the opening of the nation's 500th LensCrafters store, was scheduled to make her grand appearance at 4 p.m. and stay until 6.

People started lining up three hours early, persevering even when Our Heroine was 20 minutes late.

All this for 15 seconds in her presence and a personally autographed Bausch & Lomb advertisement for Ray-Ban sunglasses.

More than a few people (count me among them) found that Nancy-in-person doesn't live up to her bally-hooed billing.

Vicki Schauffler of Annapolis said she wouldn't have been there had it not been for her daughter, Alex, 10, who loves Nancy.

"Now for Phillippe Candeloro, I would wait," she said.

He's the French-Italian heartthrob who rips his shirt off while skating to "Rocky."

Another woman watched Nancy whip off a few autographed ads and quickly concluded, "She has no personality."

Indeed, she didn't smile much, except when she had to pose for a snapshot.

She didn't talk much, either, even when star-struck little girls (who, along with their parents, made up much of the crowd) brought ice skates for her to sign.

A clipped "Hi" was about as good as it got.

Nancy did, however, have something to say to the man who asked how her book was doing.

"You know," he said, "that book about you I see in all the bookstores."

"A lot of people have books out on me, but I have nothing to do with any of them," she snapped.

Whew! Good thing he didn't ask if she'd heard from Tonya lately.

But Nancy seemed to leave more people impressed than disappointed.

"She was just so nice," one woman gushed. "I asked her if she was on vacation, and she said, 'This is vacation.' "

After a nearly two-hour wait, Allison Davis, 8, of Ellicott City, went home happy.

Her father, Gene, said all her little girlfriends are skating fans.

"They play Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding. One will hit the other on the kneecap, and then they'll say, 'Ow! My knee!,' and 'Why me? Why me?' "

Nancy probably could have kept signing sunglass ads all night had not the mall security people cut off the line as the end of her two-hour stint neared.

Some hoped that, since she was late, she would stay until about 6:15.

But, alas, as the clock struck 6, Nancy said, "Bye," and was gone.

Adrienne Wineholt, 11, was close to tears.

She'd been waiting an hour, all for naught.

Mrs. Evans -- who had waited patiently for two hours for an autographed picture -- was going to give Adrienne hers, but figured she'd try to procure an extra from the LensCrafters people first.

She succeeded.

The councilwoman and the little girl both left smiling.

Elise Armacost is The Baltimore Sun's editorial writer in Anne Arundel County.

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