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Living on the edge

Christopher Bowman had been in a downward spiral since his best days as a figure skater, and his death at 40 was not unexpected

January 12, 2008|Helene Elliott and Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writers

The beauty of those pictures contrasted with the ugliness of his drug addiction.

Joyce Bowman had tried to help him. Sometimes he wouldn't listen. Other times, his addictions to cocaine and other drugs were too powerful.

"He'd never hurt anybody, but he hurt himself," Joyce Bowman said. "He could not handle the success, the party world. It was too much temptation and he was too happy-go-lucky to say no.

"We wanted him to be well, not to go down a road he would destroy himself."

He was trying to throw himself back into his sport. Dawn Eyerly, vice president of the L.A. Figure Skating Club, said Bowman had asked to help evaluate the club's adult competitors. She sent him an e-mail early Thursday accepting his offer.

"It was sad watching him go through a very tough time after his competitive career," she said. "This news is heartbreaking, and the sadness and sense of loss will be felt throughout the entire skating community."

Those who knew him said they knew it was a matter of when, not if, they would hear what they heard Thursday.

Doug Williams, a skating judge and official, said he last saw Bowman three months ago. "It seemed like he was trying to get his life together, but he was truly depressed about his divorce with Annette," Williams said.

"He was trying to get a book written to expel some of his demons, and he had ideas for movies and stories. He was a great storyteller. That's part of the problem -- you never knew if he was telling the truth or not."

Baldwin said Bowman had read him some excerpts from a rough draft of the book. Like Bowman, the writing was engrossing.

"He loves to tell stories of his glory days and is a great storyteller," Baldwin said. "I don't know if it was going to be a fictional tale, but I know it would be entertaining."

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helene.elliott@latimes.com

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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