Denis Margalik, who was born in Argentina, now represents his country of birth.
“After waiting to be released by Skate Canada, I can now compete at international events and work towards my dream of becoming an Olympian,” said the Canadian junior champion, adding that he will still represent his skating club for invitational events.
“With a population of over 40 million, I can have a lot of support and try to become the Lionel Messi of figure skating,” he laughed.
Margalik’s parents are originally from Ukraine, but due to the poor economy, decided to relocate to Argentina so that they could raise a larger family.
“They brought my older brother with them,” said Margalik. “A few years later I was born.”
When Margalik was two, he was nearly kidnapped in a store in Buenos Aires. This event triggered his parents’ decision to move again.
“They loved Argentina, but started to worry about our safety,” said Margalik. “On Christmas day of 1999, we flew to New York where we stayed with friends for a while. Then we officially immigrated to Canada.”
“I’m now the middle child in the family and sometimes the referee between them,” said Margalik, who now has a younger brother. “What’s very unique about my brothers and I is that we were all born in different continents: my older brother was born in Ukraine (Europe), I was born in Argentina (South America), and my younger brother was born here in Canada (North America)!”
The teen, who originally lived in in Mississauga, now trains in Richmond Hill at the Richmond Training Centre. He currently resides with another family across the street from the rink as the trip from Mississauga is approximately 50km one way.
“They have children who also skate and are trained by the same coaches, so it makes it easier for everyone,” said Margalik.
Margalik, who is coached by Andrei Berezintsev and Inga Zusev, would like to compete at the Four Continents (as well as Junior and Senior Worlds) if he can meet the minimum required scores.
“I know that it will be a major step from Junior,” he acknowledged, noting the experience of his competitors. “I want to start skating more like a senior man than just a junior boy. I want to make myself look much taller and bigger when I take the ice so that it shows that I belong with my competitors.”
The 17-year-old is working to get a consistent triple Axel under his belt, and recently began working on rotating the quad toe.
“I have also planned all of my spins and step sequences to be level 4,” said Margalik. “I want to try to achieve all of my levels in both programs when I compete. I want to have multiple clean skates throughout the season.”
“Since last year, he has gotten more consistent on his triple jumps,” said Berezintsev. “The triple Axel is getting close. As most people know, the triple Axel can take two years to get strong enough for a program, but we are working on it.”
“We recently starting on the quad toe, but we are taking it very slowly,” he continued. “We use the harness and let him try it at least once during each practice so he can get familiar with the feel of the rotations.”
Margalik will be keeping last year’s long program to “Lee Loos” by Maksim Mrvica, which was choreographed by Berezintsev.
“I decided to keep it because I had a good season with it last year,” he explained. “We extended it for another 30 seconds so that it would meet the senior requirements”
Margalik’s new short program, choreographed by Lori Nichol, is to Shostakovich’s The Lady and the Hooligan.
“I am working with Lori Nichol for the first time and we decided that we should try something new with my skating personality,” he said. “I’ve only done classical pieces in the past, so she wants me to turn from a classic, elegant prince to a dirty ruthless hooligan, which I am quite enjoying!”
“His basic skating skills have always been pretty strong, and now Lori is challenging him even more in the footwork area with the new choreography,” said Berezintsev.
Margalik has already competed in three competitions this summer: Skate Milwaukee, Skate Detroit and Thornhill Summer Skate.
“I was the only competitor in Milwaukee, so I can say I won and I got a new personal best in the short (64.99),” he said with a grin, “but I didn’t have such a solid long program.”
Skate Detroit went pretty well for Margalik, who achieved level 4s in all of his spins and step sequences in the short program.
“I also landed my first clean triple flip-triple toe combination in competition,” he said. “My long was also much better than skate Milwaukee as I achieved another level 4 step sequence and skated much more smoother.”
Margalik placed fifth at Thornhill and was the only skater in the men’s division to earn a level 4 in footwork in the short program.
“My goal was to present my short program the way Lori taught me to present it,” he said. “I was so into my program that it most likely affected my triple-triple.”
The component scores for the skater’s long were improved since Skate Detroit, and the skater attempted his first triple Axel, although it was underrotated.
Margalik is currently training in Port Curling—Brian Orser’s camp in Thunder Bay, Ontario—and will compete next at the Junior Grand Prix event in Nagoya, Japan.