When Dr. Ana Margarita Duarte returned to work Monday at Miami Children’s Hospital, she did so as a world champion figure skater.
Duarte and Sergei Yury Pospelov, competing in the ice dancing bronze category, won first place for their free dance May 25-31 at the International Adult Figure Skating Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany.
“I was hoping we could take five,” said Duarte, a 52-year-old grandmother who took up skating just three years ago and has made phenomenal progress, teaming with the vastly more experienced Pospelov, 45.
“We would never be so arrogant to think we could win in our first time in this international competition.”
Duarte and Pospelov, ice dancing in the tango, bested 10 other pairs, including a Canadian duo that finished second and the Slovakians, who earned bronze.
There were about 650 competitors overall in Germany, representing 28 countries.
Duarte, a native of Venezuela, was raised in Miami and lives in Coral Gables. Pospelov, a native of Moscow, is a South Miami resident.
“Everyone in Germany was wearing their country jackets,” said Duarte, who is the director of dermatology at Miami Children’s Hospital. “Our names were in lights on the scoreboard.
“It was just a great vibe – as close to the feeling of being at an Olympics without actually being there.”
Pospelov and Duarte plan to take a week off from training before gearing up again.
Their goal is to move up to the silver category next year, when they hope to make the same journey – sectionals in March, nationals in April and the world championships in late May.
Duarte said that when she returned to work on Monday, her fellow hospital employees and her patients were “thrilled” with her victory.
“I got a lot of comments,” Duarte said. “Everyone said I was the only world champion they had ever met.”