Brian Boitano competed in the first three Festivals in 1978, '79 and '81, finishing sixth, ninth and second before winning in 1982 at Indianapolis.
"It's really difficult skating in the summertime," he said. "There are people in the audience fanning themselves, and there are always puddles of water on the ice because the cooling systems are not strong enough. That can be intimidating.
"But skating in the Festival is good because it keeps you in shape during the summer, and it gives you an idea of what you need to improve on when the season comes around. If you can pull something off in the summertime, when you're not really in shape, that gives you a lot of confidence for the winter.
"Winning in Indianapolis really gave me a taste of what it felt like to have the focus on me. For the first time, I did press conferences and had reporters following me around asking questions. It taught me, 'I've got to get used to this.' I really felt like that was the start of big-time skating for me. I felt like I was somebody."