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Rudy Galindo

Difficult Times

Reluctantly, Galindo returned to the men's singles competitions. He won the Pacific Coast regionals, but the results at the Nationals were disappointing. He placed 11th in 1991, climbed to 8th place in 1992, and then peaked at 5th place in 1993. In the 1994 Nationals, he placed 7th, and in 1995 was back at 8th place. At this point Galindo considered dropping out of competition altogether.

His personal life wasn't going any better. His mother continued to struggle with her depression, sometimes lashing out in uncontrollable rages. His father suffered from diabetes and in 1988 he suffered a stroke. Indeed, illness and death seemed to haunt Galindo in these years. The coach he shared with Yamaguchi, Jim Hulick, had died from AIDS in December of 1989. In 1993, his father died of a heart attack. By that time, his brother George had been diagnosed with AIDS, and shortly afterwards he began to visibly decline. Galindo took care of George in his last year, changing him, bathing him, and often waking up at night to sounds of screaming as George slipped into AIDS dementia. George died in 1994, while Galindo was taking first place in the Vienna Cup. As he told Sports Illustrated, "He died the same time I was doing my long program. I came right home. That was hard. I went from the ice to the funeral." The next year, another coach, Rick Inglesias, died from the same terrible illness.

Galindo himself was not doing much better. Disappointed in his skating results, shell-shocked from all the suffering around him, he began drinking heavily, experimenting with drugs, and (perhaps most dangerously) engaging in unsafe sex. While Galindo had realized he was gay at a young age, and accepted it, it was not always easy for him. His father had reacted badly when his brother George came out to the family, and Yamaguchi's mother simply refused to believe him when he confided to her that he was gay. Not that Galindo lived a life of closeted isolation. He had close gay friends, who took him in when life in the family trailer became overwhelming, and he had occasionally gone to gay bars with George, but in 1993 a recklessness seemed to take hold of Galindo. He took up with a man, identified as "Kurt" in his autobiography, who got him onto drugs, cleaned out his bank account, and even threatened him physically before dropping him. Galindo seemed to be spiraling out of control.

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Famous Sports StarsFigure SkatingRudy Galindo Biography - A Trailer Park Childhood, A Prodigy And A Partnership, Difficult Times, Turnaround And Triumph - SELECTED WRITINGS BY GALINDO: