Sunday, May 30, 2010

Castile, Okolski retire from competitive skating

Brooke Castile and Ben Okolski, who won the 2007 U.S. pairs championship, announced today their retirement from competitive skating.

Both athletes plan to stay involved in figure skating and pursue careers in coaching.

"Although we are retiring from competitive skating, I don't intend to leave the sport," Castile said. "I feel like this is a transition rather than a retirement."

Castile and Okolski paired up in 2002. In addition to their U.S. title, their career highlights include earning bronze medals at the 2008 U.S. Figure Skating Championships and the 2008 Four Continents Figure Skating Championships, capturing the U.S. junior silver medal in 2004 and making two appearances at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships (2007, '08).

In addition to coaching, Castile hopes to add the title of "choreographer" to her resume.

"I have always known this is what I would do when I finished competing," Castile said. "I love the choreography and the art of expression through skating. Hopefully, this way I can still share my talents in the sport."

Okolski will attend Washtenaw Community College and is considering a major in accounting.

"I'm looking forward to going back to school as well as continuing coaching," Okolski said. "I hope to pass on what we've learned throughout our competitive career."

Castile and Okolski trained at the Arctic Figure Skating Club in Canton, Mich., with coach Johnny Johns since the 2006-07 season.

"We would like to thank our coach Johnny Johns, who has been an essential part of our success," Castile and Okolski said. "Most important, we would like to thank our families for their unconditional love and support throughout our careers."

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