Yuko Kavaguti: Russian Olympic Pairs Skater

February 16, 2010

Meet Yuko Kavaguti, she is a Russian Olympic Pairs Skater. Even though the couple did not perform medal-winning performances, they did give it their best shot. Find out more details and see photos and a video here.

Yuko Kavaguti 1

Yuko Kavaguti and her partner, Aleksandr Smirnov, landed in fourth place following the the Olympic Pairs event.

As a biography, Yuko Kavaguti was born in Aichi, Japan on November 20, 1981 so her age is 28. She currently resides in St. Petersburg, Russia. Since 2003, Kavaguti has lived and trained in Russia and was awarded her Russian citizenship in 2009. Her Japanese name Kawaguchi translated to Kavaguti. She is 5’2″ and participates in Figure Skating’s Pairs event. Her skating partner is Aleksandr Smirnov, and together, they were bronze medalists in 2009 at the World Championships in Los Angeles. In January, the pair won the 2010 European Championships over two-time world champions Aliono Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, landing the highest score ever in free skate there.

Even though their performances were not strong enough to receive a medal, they were graceful and driven to give their performances their very best. In the short program on Sunday, they finished in third place, not too far off the Gold. However, come Monday, the couple started off the competition, skating first, not such an easy task by any pair. It appeared as if the couple were having trouble with landing their jumps. Yuko barely completed a triple salchow, which was supposed to be a throw quadruple salchow, while Smirnov stepped out of a double axel and Yuko fell on a throw triple loop. Very disappointing. It is said that their fourth place finish was the worst for a Russian pair since a performance in 1960, landing a sixth place finish.

Nonetheless, Yuko has gone above and beyond to fulfill that Olympic dream. After obtaining her citizenship in Russia, from Kawaguchi to Kavaguti, her and her partner were dubbed one of the top pairs to watch out for at this year’s Olympics in Vancouver. The Russian Olympic Pairs Skater says, “People who follow sports understand that I’m not a traitor. I still consider myself Japanese. I chose to compete for Russia because I didn’t have a [good] partner in Japan.” Kavaguti also shared that she has always wanted to compete in the Olympics and did what she needed to fulfill her childhood dream.

In the end, Chinese pair, Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo won China’s first Gold medal, Qing Pang and Jian Tong of China clenched the Silver, and the Bronze medal went to Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany.

Congratulations to all on their exceptional performances! Leave your thoughts about Russian Olympic Pairs Skater, Yuko Kavaguti, in the comment box. Also see pictures and a film of the pair below.

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(Click on the photo to enlarge)

Photo: David W. Carmichael/wikipedia.com

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