weir_johnnyWhat does Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir have to do with gay guinea pigs? The talented Sarah Brannen, author and illustrator of Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, the much-challenged children’s book about two male guinea pigs who marry, made a name for herself with photographs and watercolors of ice skaters long before she turned to furry rodents.

unclebobby2She’s captured the images of Olympic skaters like Weir, Rachael Flatt, Sasha Cohen, and many others. Check them out in the Figure Skating section of her Web site. (Please keep in mind that they are subject to copyright.)

Brannen is a regular contributor to Skating Magazine, and along with 2006 Junior World Champion pair skater Drew Meekins, writes and contributes photographs to a regular column on Ice Network. One of Brannen’s drawings is in the collection of the World Figure Skating Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

If any of you have children who skate, you might want to read Sarah and Drew’s column from a couple of years back, in which they ask Johnny Weir’s mom Patti for her thoughts on being Johnny’s mom and her advice for other skating parents.

I took my own son skating for the first time yesterday, and he had a blast. I have no idea if his interest will last, but I think Patti Weir’s tips could be applied to many other sports and endeavors. It sounds like she has a healthy perspective on what really matters: “Be the positive reinforcement to your child.”

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