Firebird flew off to Detroit
2008 World bronze medalist and 2009 European champion in ice dancing Yana Khokhlova could soon change partners. The muscovite flew to Detroit to try out skating with Fedor Andreev, the son of the famous coach Marina Zueva.
Perhaps it’s time for figure skating to be like soccer and hockey and introduce a transfer window and a limit on legionnaires. No sooner has the Olympic cycle ended that the athletes started switching coaches and pair skaters and ice skaters started forming new partnerships. Following the retirement of Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin, the ice dancing team of Yana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski would automatically become the first team of Russia in its discipline.
The students of Irina Zhuk and Alexander Svinin have burst into the world elite becoming 2008 world bronze medalists and 2009 European champions in the absence of Domnina and Shabalin. Following the comeback of the leaders, the achievements of the second Russian team have declined.
Athletes constantly complained of low marks after good skates.
At the European championships in Tallinn, where they debuted their new free dance “Firebird”, the Moscow skaters managed to win bronze, but only came ninth at the Olympics, coming behind several lower-ranked teams. At the World championships in Turin, the skaters withdrew after the free dance (being in sixth place after the first two segments) due to Sergei’s injury.
Coming back to Moscow, Novitski occupied himself with his health, whereas Khokhlova… flew to Detroit. As “Gazeta.Ru” correspondent has found out, she’s to the “bride-show” at the group of Marina Zueva and Igor Shpilband. This duo have ended the Olympic season quite triumphantly. Those American coaches with Russian roots have trained the teams that occupied both top steps of the Vancouver and Turin podiums – Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Americans Meryl Davis and Charlie White. In all, about 10 to 12 teams usually train in this international group on the shores of Lake Michigan.
Khokhlova is trying out with Zueva’s son Fedor Andreev.
He’s long been considered a promising single skater and represented Canada. In 2002/2003, Andreev even became the national bronze medalist and represented the country of the maple leaf at the Four Continents championships. He came 9th, ahead of Evan Lysacek who was 10th and Daisuke Takahashi who came 13th. However, as opposed to the future victor of the 2010 Olympics and the future 2010 World champion, Andreev’s achievements didn’t go up.
In the 2008/2009 season he was only ninth at the Canadian championships, and to continue his international career he tried to become… and Azerbaijani! A few times, Andreev was announced as an Azerbaijani skater for the Europeans and even the pre-Olympic championships in Oberstdorf. However, ISU hasn’t provided the Azerbaijani delegation with new paperwork for the Canadian skater. Now, Andreev wants to try himself in ice dancing, supposedly representing Russia.
Many specialists see promise in such an idea.
Lithuanian skaters, who haven’t had much success at Europeans and Worlds, are looking much better paired with American ladies. Here we have a potentially brilliant union – one of the best, if not the best coaching duo in the world, a charming and ambitious lady, a man with great skating technique and superb looks, plus all the might of the Russian figure skating federation (RFSF).
However, it’s too early to talk of the Khokhlova/ Andreev team. According to Alexander Svinin, neither Yana nor Sergei have announced the break-up of their partnership or their desire to break up. Likewise, Ekaterina Rubleva and Ivan Shefer are continuing to train despite all re rumors of their impending retirement.
Overall, decisions about partnerships and coach changes won’t be finalized until June 4th – that’s when the new conference of RFSF. For now, Sergei Voronov has decided to come back to Moscow to leave Alexei Urmanov for Nikolai Morozov, and Oleg Vasiliev is looking for a partner for Maria Mukhortova with candidates including only one Russian and two foreign skaters.
So, there won’t be anything extraordinary if representing Russia in the next Olympic cycle will be a Japanese lady, a Ukrainian lady, a Frenchman, a Canadian, and Evgeny Plushenko.