JoJo Starbuck: 3-Time US National Pair Skating Champion

Soviet figure skater Irina Konstantinovna Rodnina (right) signs the badge of American skater JoJo Starbuck at the World Figure Skating Championships in Lyon
Soviet figure skater Irina Konstantinovna Rodnina (right) signs the badge of American skater JoJo Starbuck at the World Figure Skating Championships in Lyon. (Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

JoJo Starbuck won the United States national pair skating title in 1970, 1971, and 1972.

Starbuck competed in both the 1968 and the 1972 Winter Olympics, placing 13th in 1968 ​ and 4th in 1972. At the 1971 and 1972 world figure skating championships, she won the bronze medal.

Alicia Jo Starbuck was born on February 14, 1951, in Birmingham, Alabama. Her parents were Hal Francis Starbuck Jr. and Alice Josephine Plunkett Starbuck.

When JoJo was a baby, her mother tried to teach her how to pronounce her given name, "Alicia Jo Starbuck." Instead of saying Alicia Jo, the baby said, "JoJo Buckle," so after that, she was always called "JoJo." Her father died of a heart attack when she was very young, so JoJo was raised by her mother. JoJo and her mother lived in Florida until she was six years old and then settled in southern California.

Kenneth Shelley was JoJo Starbuck's pair skating partner. They began skating together in a small rink in Downey, California when they were both seven years old. Like Tai Babilonia and Randy Gardner, they continued skating together for many, many years and skated together as professionals.

Shelley also competed in single skating and also won the US men's figure skating title in 1972. He competed in the 1972 Olympics and the 1972 world championships in two events.

In 1968, Starbuck and Shelley became the youngest athletes that the United States had ever sent to the Olympics.

Through almost all of Starbuck and Shelley's amateur figure skating career, the team was coached by John A.W. Nicks. When the studio ice rink they skated at in Downey, California closed, the pair ventured to Iceland in Paramount and first began ice dancing lessons. Since they were children, they didn't understand ice dancing, so after their ice dancing instructor dropped them as students, they approached John Nicks since they heard he was a world pair skating champion.

The children liked pair skating. Nicks coached the team from the time they were young children until the time they were young adults.

Professional Show Skating Career

Starbuck and Shelley toured as stars with Ice Capades after they retired from amateur figure skating. They also competed professionally. Starbuck also did some acting and appeared in ice skating films including the Snow Queen, The Cutting Edge, and Beauty and the Beast: A Concert on Ice. Starbuck and Shelley have remained close friends. For a time, they worked together on their own skating production company.

Family

JoJo Starbuck was married from 1975-83 to NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw. She later remarried and became the mom to twin boys: Abraham Starbuck Gertler and Noah Starbuck Gertler. Since the birth of her sons in 1995, her primary focus has been on her children.

Teaching Adults Figure Skating

Since Starbuck's life revolves around her children, she has decided to teach only during the hours her children are away at school. She teaches a class at Rockefeller Center's ice rink once a week. That class is made up of people involved with intense professional careers in New York City. She teaches another class in New Jersey made up of mothers who enjoy doing something for themselves and "feeling beautiful" once a week.

Both classes emphasize the joy of figure skating.

Honors

In 2006, JoJo Starbuck and Kenneth Shelley were honored by the Ice Theatre of New York. In 1994, they were inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.

Artistic Director of the New Ice Capades

In 2008 JoJo Starbuck became the Artistic Director for the new Ice Capades, with a goal of reviving the ice entertainment show that America loved in the past.