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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

FLASHBACK: SHISHKOVA & NAUMOV

As Russia's 2006 Olympic medalists prepare to turn pro (some, like Slutskaya and Plushenko with arguably more opportunities than Totmianina & Marinin or Navka & Kostamarov), FigureSkatingMystery.com takes a look back at the post-competitive career of another Russian pair circa 2001:

Russia's 1994 World Pair Champions Evgenia Shishkova and Vadim Naumov have embarked on a new life in the United States.

In December of 1999, the husband and wife skated their last exhibition performance. Now, they are full-time coaches (Naumov is the Director of Pair Skating, while Shishkova works with singles) at the International Skating Center of Connecticut.

One year after retirement, the couple expresses no regrets about their choice.

Shishkova explains, "There was no point to keep competing, especially since there was very little opportunity for us. We had no agent -- we were on our own. We got some offers here and there, but, it was very rare. I don't miss competing. I used to get so nervous when we performed. By the time we retired, I wasn't only worn out physically, but, emotionally, too. Vadim doesn't miss competing, either. Now, we both live through our students."

As proof of their commitment to making a life in Simsbury, Shishkova and Naumov bought their first house in July of 2000. Shishkova raves, "We love it here in Simsbury, it's very calm, very clean, very pretty."

And both she and her husband love being coaches. Shishkova explains, "We're going to try to remember everything we learned (in Russia), so can bring our knowledge to our American skaters."

Despite how well they've settled in, Shishkova does admit to feeling a bit strange to be coaching American, rather than Russian students. But, "unfortunately, there is no work for us in Russia. We couldn't live on the salary we were offered. Here, though, we are valued, and we can make a living. We're very grateful. That's why we're going to give our students everything we have; we're not going to hold anything back."

Ed. note: Vadim coached Americans Katie Orscher and Garrett Lucash to a 2005 U.S. Pair title. He and Evgenia are also now the parents of a son, Maxim (born August 1, 2001).
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