Frank Carroll, figure skating coach behind Michelle Kwan, Evan Lysacek, dies at 85

Longtime figure skating coach Frank Carroll, who over the course of a 60-year career helped guide six Olympic medalists at 10 Winter Games, including Michelle Kwan and Evan Lysacek, died Sunday. He was 85.

U.S. Figure Skating, with whom Carroll worked closely for decades, announced his death. It said Carroll died Sunday “after a battle with cancer.”

With a sharp wit and even sharper sense of humor, Carroll was instrumental in the success of American standouts such as Kwan, Lysacek and Linda Fratianne. He retired from coaching in August 2018, not long after his 80th birthday.

“He changed the lives of every skater and parent he came across,” Kwan said at the time.

Carroll, the younger of two children, was born on July 11, 1938, to a shop teacher father and city clerk mother. He was inspired by two-time Olympic champion Dick Button to learn to skate on the frozen ponds near his hometown of Worcester, Massachusetts, and later attended Holy Cross, where he graduated in 1960 with a degree in sociology.

Yet it was on the ice where Carroll showed such a brilliant ability to absorb, and pass along, his vast knowledge. Much of it was gleaned from his own first coach, Maribel Vinson-Owen, the two-time world medalist and 1932 Olympic bronze medalist.

“She taught me great discipline, about being on time, always showing up, never backing out, not saying, ‘Oh, I don’t feel well today,’” Carroll recalled later in life. “You go to the rink and you never complain about the ice.”

Carroll won a junior bronze medal at the U.S. championships before turning professional and skating with Ice Follies, a popular touring show at the time that featured elaborate productions. Carroll also dabbled in acting before getting into coaching, despite having been accepted into the law school at the University of San Francisco.

His first big stars were Mark Cockerell, the 1976 world junior champion, and Fratianne, who would win world senior titles in 1977 and ’79.

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