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Brian Wright
(1959 - July 29, 2003) U.S.A.

Brian Wright

Figure skater, choreographer

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Brian began skating at 13 after watching the 1968 Winter Olympics on television. As a novice, he placed second at the national championships and many people believed he would go on to the Olympics one day, but Brian was more interested in designing moves on the ice than the fiercely competitive world of competition.

In 1986, Brian learned he was HIV-positive. He went public with his homosexuality and HIV status from the beginning and is credited with opening the door for gay and lesbian figure skaters to discuss their sexuality. He also encouraged other skates with HIV to go public. When he was not working out routines for his skaters he toured schools to give speeches in schools about safe sex.

He also refused to let his illness stop him from choreographing hundreds of winning figure skating programs. He lived 17 years with HIV and 8 with full blown AIDS.

In 1994, Brian was named the U.S. Figure Skating Association's choreographer of the year.

Brian was one of the top choreographers in the skating world. At an international level, he was perhaps best known for creating U.S. champion Michael Weiss' breakthrough "Santana" free program in 1995, which introduced Weiss' signature muscular poses, adept footwork, and innovative jumps such as a walley-reverse walley-triple lutz combination.

Brian lived and worked many years longer than expected. During the 1998 Nagano Olympics, CBS aired a segment about Wright choreographing Weiss' Olympic programs. In December 2001, he served as a judge at the American Open professional skaters' competition.

His last out-of-town trip was to Los Angeles in March to work with Kwan, a five-time world champion. Brian passed away in Seattle, Washington, of AIDS-related complications, at the age of 43.

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