This compelling doc zones in on British figure skater John Curry, who glided his way to glory at the 1976 Winter Olympics. The next day, when an offhand comment was reported worldwide, Curry found himself outed and became the first openly gay Olympian. Hence ‘The Ice King’ reveals an extraordinary trailblazer well worth commemorating, yet also delivers a fascinating study in troubled psychology, since Curry’s inner demons allowed him to take little comfort from his myriad achievements.
With extracts from Curry’s own diaries and rare archive video capturing his legendary ice-dance troupe, the film traces a driven individual for whom Olympic gold was just the jumping-off point for the creation of a new art form – something he’d dreamed of since childhood when his domineering father stopped him taking ballet classes, so he went ice-skating instead. Still, like so many of the male skaters of his generation, Curry was struck down by Aids (he died at just 44). While the film leaves us feeling saddened and angry at such loss, this rounded, unflinching and compelling biography concludes on a positive note since today’s top skaters exist in an atmosphere thankfully freer of the prejudice Curry had to confront.