An Evening with Champions (EWC) is an annual benefit figure skating show organized by students of Harvard University. The event is a two-day skating show generally in October, which regularly attracts world-class skaters, thousands of spectators, hundreds of Harvard students, special guests, and donors. The show is entirely student-run and is managed completely by volunteer work. All profits go to the Jimmy Fund, one of New England's most cherished charities, and EWC is one of the oldest continually-running fundraising events for the charity. The Jimmy Fund supports pediatric and adult cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. After the 45th show in 2015, An Evening with Champions has donated over $2.9 million for the Jimmy Fund.
The show was originally conceived in 1970 by John Misha Petkevich, the two-time Olympic competitor who was at that time a junior at Harvard living in Eliot House, which became (and has remained) the official host of the show. The show has been continually produced every fall since 1970, with the exception of a special spring show in April 2010, commemorating the 40th anniversary of EWC.
Many current and former U.S. and international champions and Olympic competitors have appeared in the show over the years. The show usually features a mix of up-and-coming elite competitors and established champions. Past shows' skaters have included Michelle Kwan, Brian Boitano, Kim Yuna, Scott Hamilton, Kristi Yamaguchi, Ekaterina Gordeeva, and the Haydenettes synchronized skating team who have made EWC their opening appearance for many years. Paul Wylie, himself a former resident of Eliot House, has generally hosted the show since 1998. Beginning in 2011, Wylie has been joined by Emily Hughes as Co-Host. Ludmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov, two-time Olympic Champions, have also had a particularly long association with the show and continue to make annual appearances.
The show was formerly televised each year on PBS, but the broadcast ended in 2001. More recently, it had been televised on the Comcast Network cable channel CN8.
Beginning in 2012, EWC launched "Skating with Champions," a fundraising initiative in which fans can fundraise solo or in a team to win an invitation to perform in the show alongside the main cast.
The 2010 show of An Evening with Champions celebrated the 40th anniversary of the charity with a special spring show taking place on April 16 and 17, 2010, as opposed to a show in the fall. The main cast included Olympians Mark Ladwig and Amanda Evora, two-time Olympic champions Ludmila Belousova and Oleg Protopopov, and Olympian (and Harvard student) Emily Hughes. Many former Olympians and national champions joined the main cast to celebrate the anniversary, including Sarah Hughes, Paul Wylie, and Dorothy Hamill. The show was co-hosted by Peggy Fleming and Dick Button, who temporarily replaced Wylie.
Chas Lee pleaded guilty to charges of embezzling over $100,000 from the show in 1991 and 1992, when he was co-chair of the event as an Eliot House undergraduate. David Sword, another Harvard undergraduate who was the event's treasurer during that time, was also convicted of embezzling a lesser amount. The scandal received considerable press coverage when the theft was uncovered in 1994.