SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- John Zimmerman IV, three-time U.S. figure skating pairs champion and son of John Zimmerman III, Wittenberg class of 1955 and Norma Hanley Zimmerman, class of 1958, is the first professional athlete to allow the zany makeover team from the Bravo network’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to critique his flowing golden locks and sense of style. The episode originally aired March 9, but the lasting effects might stay around a while longer, if Zimmerman’s wife, Silvia Fontana, an Italian skating champion, has anything to say about it.
According to a report by the Associated Press, Fontana said, “John is so happy with his hair he is going to the same salon as they use on the show.”
After Olympic competition, Zimmerman began a professional career in skating and now performs with partner Kyoko Ina, in “Stars on Ice 2004.” In fact, Zimmerman will get more air time tonight when his “Stars on Ice” performance will be shown on A & E, airing from 8-10 p.m. locally on Time Warner Cable channel 34.
The Zimmerman legacy is as vast as Wittenberg’s 159-year history and has been an institutional name since the founding years of the university. Beyond his father and mother’s ties to the university, his great-grandfather is John Zimmerman Sr., who graduated from Wittenberg in 1879 and practiced law in Springfield for 61 years. In 1891 he donated funds to the university for the construction of Zimmerman Library. The historic building, now known as Zimmerman Hall, houses the department of psychology and remains a prominent academic building on campus. In addition to his beneficiary ties to the university, Zimmerman Sr. served as college treasurer for 50 years.
His maternal grandfather, Stanley Hanley ‘23, also has a building bearing his name on campus. Hanley Hall, which retains its original purpose as a residence hall, was dedicated to Hanley in 1960 because of his great generosity to Wittenberg over the years.
John L. Zimmerman Jr., his paternal grandfather, graduated from Wittenberg in 1916. Kari Zimmerman Winters ‘49, his aunt and Richard G. Zimmerman ’56, his second cousin join many other family members who have attended the liberal arts college.
Another second cousin to the Olympian, Charles B. Zimmerman Jr. ’56 of Springfield, just might have predicted his cousin’s appearance on the Bravo show two years ago in a Dayton Daily News article about the upcoming Olympic games. He was quoted, “John’s so good looking, he ought to be in Hollywood, and these Olympics might just give him the kind of exposure to do something like that.”
The weekly program, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy features five high-spirited gay men who give their subject a lesson in fashion, food and wine, interior design, grooming and culture. Zimmerman makes a début as the “Fab Five’s” first celebrity makeover.
He described his 60-minute appearance on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy as a bit of a hurricane. Zimmerman explained, “There were five of them and one of me and you can’t control a situation like that. It made me a bit nervous and apprehensive.” It seems the judges at the Olympic games might have made him less nervous.
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