Terry DeVine column: Fargo native gets top U.S. skating job

Fargo native Chuck Foster has been elected unopposed as the 27th president of the United States Figure Skating Association. Foster, former secretary of the U.S.

Fargo native Chuck Foster has been elected unopposed as the 27th president of the United States Figure Skating Association.

Foster, former secretary of the U.S. Olympic Committee and a champion figure skater himself, acknowledged in an interview shortly after his election that his tenure is likely to be turbulent since the USFSA has been weak in its dealings with the sport's world governing body, the International Skating Union.

Foster said although the USFSA supports the principles of the World Skating Federation, it is keeping its distance from the splinter group.

"The principles are universal. I endorse the principles, but I am unable to endorse the WSF," said Foster. "With membership in an organization comes obligations. We are members of the ISU with obligations to support that federation such as we have obligations to support the United States Olympic Committee and through that the International Olympic Committee."

The skating associations of the world must belong to the ISC if they want to field competitors in the Olympic Games.


Theoretically, the ISU can expel the USFSA from membership if it does not fully comply with the loyalty article in the ISU rule book. Of course, without U.S. participation in figure skating events, U.S. television companies would not be willing to pay as much for Winter Olympics broadcast rights.

Figure skating needs to clean up its image after the Salt Lake City Olympic pairs scandal, in which French judge Reine Le Gounge confessed to dishonest judging.

Foster, of Duxbury, Mass., was in Fargo last summer for the 50th reunion of his class at Fargo Central High School. He also is a Harvard graduate and widely known in international figure skating circles.

He comes from a family known for figure skating. His parents, the late George and Irene Foster, were responsible for the first skating arena in Fargo and spent many years working in the sport. His two sisters, Linda Moses, now of Detroit Lakes, Minn., and Sydney Arnold of Duxbury, also were active skaters in their youth.

Foster was the national junior pairs champion in 1955 in competition in California. A year later he was the senior champion in pairs in Philadelphia. He said he attended Harvard because former figure skating champion Dick Button was attending at the same time.

He's judged several world championships and the 1980 Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y.

He is a world-level ISU referee and has been an administrator with the ISU, USFSA and the USOC.

Foster replaced Phyllis Howard as USFSA president. "I think one of the reasons they probably selected me is that I'm as well-known as I am internationally and I don't need an introduction," said Foster. "I've already heard from many members of the council and many presidents of other federations. I think that I have as good an opportunity to try to get others with similar ideas to help us increase our influence in the ISU."


He was secretary of the U.S. Olympic Committee back in 1994 when Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed in the knee and forced to withdraw from the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. It was subsequently discovered that people close to her competitor Tonya Harding were responsible for the attack on Kerrigan. Both skaters eventually competed in the Olympics.

Readers can reach Terry DeVine at (701) 241-5515 or

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