Winter Olympics | Figure skating

Russian figure skating pairs win gold and silver

 
 
Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay of the United States compete in the pairs free skate figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay of the United States compete in the pairs free skate figure skating competition at the Iceberg Skating Palace during the 2014 Winter Olympics, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, in Sochi, Russia.
Darron Cummings / AP

mkaufman@MiamiHerald.com

Russian figure skaters will take home the Olympic pairs gold and silver medals after elegant, balletic programs that delighted the hometown crowd.

Americans Nathan Bartholomay and Felicia Zhang, a waiter and college student/store clerk who train outside of Bradenton, Fla., will take home a lifetime of memories — from rubbing elbows with famous athletes at the Opening Ceremonies to receiving a warm reception from fans at the Iceberg Skating Palace during their 12th-place performance Wednesday night.

“I got to meet [snowboarder] Shaun White in the [Opening Ceremonies], he’s always been a huge idol of mine,” said Bartholomay, 24, a native of Newtown, Pa., who moved to Bradenton to train at the Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club with coach Jim Peterson.

Zhang, a University of South Florida student, and Bartholomay were the only pair in the Olympic final that had never competed in a world championship, so the fact that they were on the same ice as gold medalists Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov was reason enough to feel proud. The American pair received 167.21 points for their routine to the music of Les Miserables.

“We weren’t too worried about the placement coming in here because we’re a fairly new team,” Zhang said. “We just competed in our first Olympic Games and we handled the pressure really well.”

Added Bartholomay: “I think we’re the only team in the team final that had not been in a world championship. In pairs you have to use that as a steppingstone. We look forward to being frontrunners for the world championships [for the United States] next year.”

Volosozhar and Trankov won the gold medal with a score of 236.86, and Russia’s Ksenia Stolbova and Fedor Klimov took the silver with a score of 218.68. The bronze medal went to Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolokowy (215.78).

“It was our obligation to bring gold back to Russia,” Trankov said. “The whole country expected that. We’re proud to bring back the tradition. It was absolutely great.”

The other U.S. pair, Marissa Castelli (Cranston, R.I.) and Simon Shnapir (Sudbury, Mass.) placed ninth with a score of 187.82.

Bartholomay said they were not nervous when the big moment arrived Wednesday night.

“When [the music] started, we buckled down and looked into each other’s eyes and went for it,” he said.

The pair had finished 14th in the short program Tuesday night, so they moved up two spots. Zhang and Bartholomay met while training with other partners at a Delaware rink. After the 2011 national championships, they separated from their partners and decided to team up. They wound up finishing third at the 2013 U.S. nationals, and second at the 2014 nationals.

They plan to stay in Sochi until Sunday and then head back to Florida. And, like many top athletes after a big event, what do they plan to do? Visit Disney World.

Read more Olympics stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
In this photo taken Thursday Aug. 14, 2014, performers tied to wires to rehearse for the opening ceremony of the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games which opens Aug 16, 2014 in Nanjing in east China's Jiangsu province. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

    Youth Olympics open in China amid Ebola worries

    Fears of the Ebola virus cast a cloud over Saturday's opening of the second Youth Olympics in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing, after three athletes were barred from competition because of the risk of infection.

  •  
A Liberian woman holds up a pamphlet with guidance on how to prevent the Ebola virus from spreading, in the city of Monrovia, Liberia, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. Liberian officials faced a difficult choice Thursday: deciding which handful of Ebola patients will receive an experimental drug that could prove life-saving, ineffective or even harmful.

    Ebola: 3 athletes can't compete at Youth Olympics

    Three teenage athletes from the Ebola-affected region of Africa will not be allowed to compete at the Youth Olympics in China because of the risk of possible infection, the IOC and local organizers said Friday.

  • Ebola forces Sierra Leone to skip Youth Olympics

    Sierra Leone's National Olympic Committee says its delegation for the upcoming youth games was asked not to travel to China because of an outbreak of Ebola.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category