View Full Version : Successful skating programs developed by Russian coaches in the US & elsewhere?

01-02-2012, 02:32 PM
In addition to Igor Shpilband, who has built his ice dance program from the ground up since he started coaching at the Detroit Skating Club about two decades ago, I wanted to spotlight some other Russian coaches who appear to have put in the time, energy, and effort to develop successful grassroots skating programs in the United States.

Here is a local Texas article that mentions that Olga Ganicheva and Aleksey Letov coach around 30 skaters in the Dallas area from the lower levels (for example, current Intermediate Ladies champion Ashley Shin) up through the senior international level (Zhaira Costiniano of the Philippines who will compete at 2012 Four Continents and Worlds): http://www.scntx.com/articles/2011/12/30/sports_update/7095.txt

“They get up at 4:30 every morning and are here by 6:00,” she said. “They also go to school full time then come back and skate in the afternoons.

“They do that six days a week. So skating is basically their life.”

“We came to America because we did shows for 10 years and eventually decided to settle down,” Ganicheva said. “Coaching other skaters was a passion for both of us.”

The duo from Moscow, Russia have transformed Stonebriar’s rink into one of the most successful facilities in the state.

“We’ve been building this for 10 years now,” Ganicheva said.

Ganicheva is quick to credit the skaters and their parents for the recent success of the Dallas Figure Skating Club though. She said without proper cooperation on all sides, success might not be possible.

“They listen to us because the parents support us,” she said. “If the parents didn’t support us, there’s nothing we can do.”

“They are like our soldiers,” Ganicheva said. “You don’t see so many kids like this in America anymore. They don’t watch TV and they don’t get to go play. They are always on the ice.”

Another good example would be the Wheaton (Maryland) Ice Skating Academy founded by Alexei Kiliakov and Elena Novak, plus Dmytri Ilin, who have been developing dance teams from the lowest levels to, currently, the junior international level (such as 2011 Novice champs Rachel Parsons/Michael Parsons who debuted on the JGP this fall and are going to the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria: http://www.wisa.us/

Are there other comparable examples in the U.S. or elsewhere around the world?

Debbie S
01-02-2012, 08:23 PM
They tend to be overshadowed by Igor/Marina and the Detroit SC coaches, but Yuri/Yasa in Ann Arbor, MI have built a strong dance program, too. I'm looking forward to seeing Lynn/Logan and Emily/Todd at Nats!