Thousands Attend Eliot Skating Benefit

It was a night of Olympic proportions.

Nearly 2,800 people attended the first of three Evening With Champions benefit performances last night at the Bright Hockey Center.

The 23rd annual Eliot House event, hosted this year by 1992 Olympics silver medalist Paul E. Wylie '91, is expected to raise more than $100,000 this weekend for the Jimmy Fund, which supports research and patient care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

In addition to Wylie, 10 other Olympic medalists will perform during the event, including 1992 bronze medalist Nancy Kerrigan and Ludmila and Oleg Protopopov, who were awarded gold medals in 1964 and 1968.

The show opened with a performance by Somerville resident Katlin McKenna, age 9, who skated to "Magic of the Night," from Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Phantom of the Opera."


After several local residents shaved some ice, the event's feature skaters dazzled the audience with their graceful musical interpretations.

The event was the first performance at Harvard since the February Olympics for Wylie, who was an Eliot House resident as an undergraduate.

In an interview yesterday Wylie said his first contact with Harvard was through the benefit. "I came as a [high school] sophomore for a show," he said. "I knew that I had to live in Eliot House."

Wylie will be returning to Harvard in 1994 as a Law School student.

Students involved said they were excited thatall their work had finally paid off.

"We all put a lot of time in because we knowthat this money does good for the children," saidAileen M. Kelly '93, co-chair of the Patrons andSponsors Committee. "Schoolwork is suffering."

Organizers said the event was already sold outfor all three performances. Executive managerBrian T. Kim '93 said he expected almost 9,000people to attend.

After the show the audience gave high praise tothe international performers.

"I really liked the routine with NataliaAnnenko and Genrich Sretenski," said Adam J.Freudenheim '96. The pair placed fourth in the1988 Olympics.

Prior to the evening's event, children from theJimmy Fund Clinic came yesterday to the HockeyCenter to share the ice with the Olympians