Going For Gold: Figure Skating Pairs Champions Ready To Make Boston Fans Proud
BOSTON (CBS) — Figure Skating is a Winter Olympic event that always draws enthusiastic crowds and Marissa Castelli of Cranston, Rhode Island and Simon Shnapir of Sudbury are looking forward to their moment in the spotlight in Sochi.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Mary Blake reports
The duo won the U.S. Pairs Figure Skating Championships held at the TD Garden in Boston last month, which punched their ticket to the Sochi Games. Shnapir says they really felt the energy from the hometown crowd.
“It’s kind of like home field advantage or home ice advantage. I think in this situation it really made a big difference. Usually we’re so focused on what we have to do, our job, and getting our programs and the elements and the performance, but having the crowd on our side, that was another factor that we haven’t really experienced before, but it was a really positive experience and it was very helpful in getting us through,” he says.
Castelli and Shnapir have been skating together for eight years, but really ramped up their training three years ago. Shnapir says they both knew communication had to improve.
“For us, it was more about our commitment to working better together and to communicating better together and practicing better and approaching our partnership as a team and making it a team effort and doing everything to benefit the team,” Shnapir explains.
Castelli and Shnapir train daily at the Skating Club of Boston. They are usually on the ice for 16 hours a week and off-ice training takes up another 15 hours. Then there is physical therapy and other training regimens. Castelli says trust is a key element in U.S. Pairs Figure Skating.
“Skating is very difficult to explain, in general, because you watch someone and you’re like, ‘Oh, they should have landed that, Oh, that wasn’t that good,’ but then you go try it and say how did this person ever pull that off? So, it’s very difficult to watch and understand how much trust and effort and every little move, how much it takes out of a person without actually doing it, but you have to have trust,” Castelli says. She adds, “Trust is the main component in skating and I think we do a really good job of it, and in general, we always put it together. Some days are better than others. Some days you don’t believe in yourself. Some days you don’t believe in your partner. Some days you just don’t believe in the team, and so you have to work past that to get to that trust that you have when you’re out there.”
Former Olympian and long-time TV commentator on figure skating, Dick Button, who was in Boston for the Skating Championships, sees figure skating as a combination of athleticism and dramatic talent. He says a story is being told from the moment a skater gets on the ice.
“The unexpected and the unusual and the reaction to the pressure of the moment will tell you a whole story about that particular skater,” says Button. ” It’s just fascinating. It’s a personality show from start to finish.”
Castelli and Shnapir are hoping to win the personality element, along with landing the first quadruple throw Salchow in competition.