Sunday, May 30, 2010

Samuelson, Bates split from longtime coaches

Ice dancers Emily Samuelson and Evan Bates, the 2008 World Junior champions and 2010 U.S. bronze medalists, announced today they have ended their 10-year professional relationship with coaches Yuri Chesnichenko and Yaroslava Nechaeva at the Ann Arbor Ice Cube in Ann Arbor, Mich., and will train with Igor Shpilband and Marina Zoueva at the Arctic Edge in Canton, Mich.

Shpilband and Zoueva also coach 2010 Olympic ice dancing champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada and 2010 Olympic ice dancing silver medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White. They previously mentored 2006 Olympic silver medalists Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto.

"We have spent a lot of time thinking about our skating and the direction we want to take our careers," Samuelson said. "With this coaching change, we're hoping to give our skating a new look and a fresh perspective."

In their two ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series assignments last fall, Samuelson and Bates finished fourth at Trophée Eric Bompard and fifth at Skate Canada. They captured the bronze medal at the 2010 AT&T U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane, Wash., and were subsequently chosen to represent the United States at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, where they finished 11th. The team finished the season with a ninth-place finish at the 2010 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Torino, Italy.

Under Chesnichenko and Nechaeva's tutelage, Samuelson and Bates also captured U.S. titles at the novice (2005) and junior (2007) levels, the bronze at the 2009 ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championships and a pair of silvers at the ISU Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final.

"Yasa and Yuri have taught us everything we know in ice dancing, from technique to presentation," Bates said. "We want to thank them for all the work they've put into us for the past 10 years -- we would not be where we are today without them. We wish nothing but the best for Yasa and Yuri and all their couples in the future."

"We'd also like to thank the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club and Diane Wilson [general manager of the Ann Arbor Ice Cube] for all the support they've given us this past decade," Samuelson added.

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