Hulick coached the pair for the last time at the prestigious NHK championships 16 days prior to his death, in Kobi, Japan, where they finished fourth. Complaining of fatigue, Hulick checked into the hospital upon his return.
"It always seemed like he blocked out his sickness for us," Galindo said from his home in San Jose soon after. "It was like he was living through us. I really do have admiration for him, to put all the medical things aside to do something for us.
"I'll never forget him standing there just before we would go out onto the ice and saying, 'Just go out there and have fun.' "
Hulick, a West Covina High graduate, teamed with Cynthia Van Valkenburg in winning the national junior pairs championship in 1971 and began coaching four years later. Operating in the last years from a rink in Dublin, Calif., he had about 30 students before learning in August, 1988, that he had colon cancer.
Although frequent trips to Southern California for treatment prevented him from maintaining a full schedule, he remained with Galindo and Yamaguchi.
In 1987, Hulick coached Galindo to the world junior championship. The next year, Galindo and Yamaguchi won the world junior pairs championship.
But the highlight of Hulick's coaching career occurred on February 11, 1989, at the Baltimore Arena, where Yamaguchi, 17, and Galindo, 19, skated a near-perfect long program to win the national senior pairs championship.
Icebreaker: The Autobiography of Rudy Galindo by Rudy Galindo
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Pocket Books (June 1, 1998)
Amazon: Icebreaker: The Autobiography of Rudy Galindo
This candid autobiography reveals the incredible inner strength that brought "Rudy Galindo" through his worst hours -- despair over the deaths of loved ones and his painful struggle with drugs and alcohol. Unwilling to hide his roots, his mistakes, or his sexual orientation, "Rudy Galindo" brings readers a lesson in humanity, proving that anything is possible, if you never quit.
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