Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner

B. Rickerson of Yorba Linda, Calif., asks, 'Whatever happened to ...?'

Figure-skating darlings Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner lit up the ice in the 1970s, becoming one of only two United States pairs ever to win a World Championship. "Tai and Randy" began skating together when they were 8 and 10, respectively.

"To get me to hold [Randy's] hand was a major, big thing," says Tai from her Los Angeles home. "I thought: 'He's got cooties.' " Tai had to be bribed with Barbie dolls, stickers, and candy to skate with Randy. But now, "He is my best friend," Tai says.

Five years after they were paired, they won the 1973 US Junior title. In 1977 and '78, they won bronze at the World Championships, and in 1979, they took gold.

But in a major disappointment, they had to drop out of the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics when Randy was injured. They subsequently turned pro.

Randy is still active choreographing and directing ice shows. Tai is home with her preschool son, Scout, and is interested in jewelry design. She and Randy tour occasionally, most recently in 1998 for their 30th anniversary as a pair.

If you wonder 'Whatever happened to...' write us at: One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115 or e-mail: whatever@csmonitor.com

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