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Diane (Zakos) Bennis

Peterborough native, Diane Zakos, joined the Peterborough Figure Skating Club in 1948 at the age of seven. Skating in singles and pairs competition, she was the PFS Club Singles Champion in 1952-53. For a number of years, Diane was enrolled in the Cobourg Summer Skating School under the tutelage of Ede Kiraly. As an eighteen year old, this petite, small town girl turned down contract offers from Ice Capades and Holiday on Ice to sign instead with Shipstads & Johnson Ice Follies in California, the pioneers of professional ice skating shows.

For five years (1959-1964) Diane performed across Canada and the United States in every major stadium including Maple Leaf Gardens, the Montreal Forum and Madison Square Gardens, averaging 22 cities a year often staging three shows daily. Don Jackson performed with the troupe during this time. In addition to the intense training and gruelling travel, Diane was also required to take part in the pre-show publicity tours. She was the champion in the Shipstads & Johnson Bowling League, no surprise considering she is a member of Peterborough’s Yeotes/Zakos family.

Diane retired from professional figure skating when she got married and moved to New York. She is one of only a few local skaters to have had a professional skating career.

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