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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13



AIDS Rudy Galindo speaks out about AIDS
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

This article shared 20061 times since Wed Aug 24, 2011
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Through an online dating service, Val Galindo was set up and after a dinner date, they just clicked. Six months later—and just by chance—his partner realized Galindo's glorious past.

The two had been out to dinner and Galindo put his credit card down to pay, and then excused himself to go to the washroom. The credit card said, Rudy Val Galindo—and his boyfriend saw it.

When Galindo returned to the table, his boyfriend asked him if in fact he was the world famous figure skater—and said that he thought Galindo looked familiar.

Galindo, you see, wanted to make sure he was liked for who he is, not who he was.

Galindo, born Sept. 7, 1969, was a singles and pairs skating sensation. He was the 1996 U.S. national champion and 1987 World Junior Champion. As a pairs skater, he competed with Kristi Yamaguchi and was the 1988 World Junior Champion, as well as the 1989 and 1990 U.S. National Champion.

"I accomplished so much in my career, so many of my dreams in skating. I just didn't go to the Olympics. I accomplished everything that I wanted to in skating," Galindo said by phone. "I have no regrets from my skating career, including not going to the Olympics. I'm really happy with everything that happened in my skating career."

Galindo skated at the national and international level for about 15 years, ending his run in the mid-1990s. He revealed he is gay in Christine Brennan's book Inside Edge: A Revealing Journey Into the Secret World of Figure Skating, which was published just before he won his national title in 1996. He is the first openly gay skating champion in the U.S.

Galindo published his autobiography, Icebreaker, in 1997.

He also is HIV-positive. His skating coach, Jim Hulick, died of AIDS-related cancer in 1989. Plus, Galindo's brother, George, died from AIDS in 1994, as well as another coach, Rick Inglesi.

"Things are good" now, personally, Galindo said. "There have been so many advancements medically over 30 years. The researchers have been doing such a wonderful job; [ HIV-AIDS ] has really come a long way. The advancements are amazing."

Galindo admits he took the news "pretty hard," when he learned his was HIV-positive, especially since his brother passed away from AIDS, "and I saw him suffer for eight months."

"At first, I thought it was a death sentence, but my doctor quickly reassured me. My doctors told me of the medical advances, just at that point.

"And HIV-AIDS is not a death sentence anymore; that's part of the reason I want to be out there, sharing my story. You don't have to sit on the couch just waiting for your dying day; you can go out there and live your life fairly normally, do what you want.

"The money [ raised ] and the research is really paying off for HIV and AIDS."

Galindo's current HIV treatment is now, "just a couple pills a day," he said, laughing. "My health is great, knock on wood. Everything is fine."

But he's well aware of the death sentence HIV/AIDS used to be, and still can be for some.

"It's not the worst news you can get, not anymore," he said. "Once doctors find the right HIV medications for you, then you can live a long and productive life. Just exercise, eat well and just keep positive, look to the future."

Galindo is now living in his native San Jose, Calif., where he is coaching figure skaters. He also enjoys spending time with his dog, going to the gym and watching TV. He also is a Facebook aficionado. Though he recently added Twitter to his social media resume, he prefers Facebook.

"I like the coaching, though it has its ups and downs, just like training or life in general. People will skate well one day, then not skate well the next," Galindo said. "The coaching is, overall, better than I thought [ it would be ] . I really like taking the kids to the competitions. Everything has been good so far."

Coach Galindo will be 'Skater Galindo' once again for a brief, one-minute, special performance at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, set for Jan. 22-29, in San Jose, Calif.

"I'm not going to be doing any triples [ jumps ] , probably just some doubles, etc.," he said, laughing.

Galindo performed Dec. 11, 2010, at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas along with other legends, such as Brian Boitano and Sarah Hughes.

"I have so many skating moments over the years that stand out," Galindo said.

So do his worldwide fans.

More Rudy Galindo:

—Name Game: Val came from Rudy's uncle, who passed away when Rudy was 3, Joe from another uncle. Later on Rudy became 'Rudi' for a few years while he skated pairs with Kristi Yamaguchi.

—Was an Honorary Co-chairperson of the National Minority AIDS Council and promoted the organization's education campaign on HIV-related anemia.

—Was forced to withdraw from the Artistic Program in the 2000 Goodwill Games due to the viral pneumonia that led to his HIV diagnosis.

—After his April 5, 2000, announcement that he is HIV-positive, Galindo appeared on The Today Show, Dateline, Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, the MSNBC morning show, and more.

—In 1997, the Ice Theatre of New York, which emphasizes the performing arts aspects of skating, honored Galindo. Ice Theatre Director Moira North said, "His honesty with who he is, his heritage, his homosexuality, I think seeps into his expressive quality. I hope it will encourage others to be who they are and to find their creative voices."

—Was part of the U.S. Presidential delegation to the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, led by Tipper Gore.

—Led the International AIDS Candlelight March in San Francisco in 2000. At the end of the march, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, on behalf of the U.S. House of Representatives, presented Galindo with a U.S. flag that had recently flown over the Capitol Building and declared that Galindo is a National Treasure.

—The Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund World AIDS Day ( Dec. 1 ) 2000 Report Card awarded Rudy an A, particularly in the area of prevention, for "Achievement and vital results in the fight against HIV and AIDS."

—Received the 2001 Ryan White Award for his contributions to AIDS awareness, prevention, and education and for his work with underserved populations.

—International Figure Skating honored Galindo among 'The 25 Most Influential Names In Figure Skating 2000-2001.' IFS cited Galindo's work as spokesman for the National Minority AIDS Council and for the American Foundation for AIDS Research. IFS cited Galindo's exemplary and tireless work for AIDS/HIV related causes and his goal to continue to improve his skating in the face of his own health situation to provide an example to others living with HIV.

—Appeared at a 2001 benefit for Los Angeles AltaMed Health Services, an organization that provides healthcare and support services to the primarily Latino community of men, women, and children living with HIV and AIDS since 1989. He received a Mario Tamayo Leadership Award for outstanding service to those living with HIV and AIDS.

This article shared 20061 times since Wed Aug 24, 2011
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