Monday, October 13, 2008

Champion Roller Skaters Switch to the Ice

After winning their fourth world championships in pairs roller skating and finishing second twice, Italy's Marika Zanforlin, 25, and Federico Degli Esposti, 28, decided to switch from roller skating to figure skating. "We like the idea of trying a new sport," Degli Esposti said. "We like challenges. Also it's great to be part of the national team in two different sports. It's some kind of a small record in skating."

"Winning the first world title in roller skating was incredible, but of course the other three world titles were great parts of our career as well," Zanforlin noted. "We didn't have any goals left in roller skating, so we wanted to try something new."

"We gave figure skating a try once in 2005 but then for different reasons, including the fact we wanted to win another world title in roller skating, we didn't continue," Degli Esposti stated. "We tried it again, determined to go for it, in June 2007. We wanted to give it a try to qualify for the Olympic games, since we didn't have this chance in roller skating as it's not an Olympic sport."

Except for getting the feel of the blades, the skaters took to the ice with little difficulty. "They had warned us it was going to be the most difficult thing to adjust to," Degli Esposti stated. "I think the elements are easier to execute on the ice. We just lack the confidence with the blades."

The couple finished second in senior pairs at Italian Nationals, then placed tenth at the 2008 European Championships in Zagreb, Croatia in their first international competition. They landed a throw triple loop in the short and long and a throw triple salchow in the long. They also completed a side-by-side double flip in the short as well as side-by-side double toe loops and double flip-double toe loop combinations in the long

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