Brian Wright, a world-renowned figure skating choreographer, died on July 29 from AIDS. He was 42.
Wright watched the 1968 Winter Olympics and immediately started clipping coupons out of the newspaper for free skating lessons. “The day I walked on the ice, it was instantly home,” Wright once said.
He placed second as a novice at the national championships, and toured with the Ice Capades for four years, but soon realized that on-ice choreography was his true passion.
At 17, Wright learned he was HIV-positive. He went public with his homosexuality and HIV status, and give speeches in schools about safe sex. He also refused to let his illness stop him from choreographing hundreds of winning figure skating programs, including routines for Scott Williams, Michael Weiss, Michelle Kwan and Kristi Yamaguchi. In 1994, Wright was named the U.S. Figure Skating Association’s choreographer of the year.