Skating to Worlds
Two Shakopee skaters will soon be skating on figure skating's biggest stage while representing the United States at the world championships.
In only their first year of competition together, Danil Siianytsia and Anastasiia Smirnova found themselves on the national medal stand, taking second place at the 2020 US Figure Skating Championships in January.
“I was so excited,” Smirnova said. “I felt very comfortable out on the ice this year.”
Siianytsia and Smirnova, who are from Ukraine but train at the Shakopee Ice Arena with Skating Coordinator Trudy Oltmanns, will now be taking their skating to the next level. The pair was selected as one of three pairs teams to represent the United States at the Junior World Championships in Estonia this month.
Skating at such an elite level requires commitment and an excellent coach. The pair began skating together in 2018, and their training with Oltmanns has been rigorous. “I’m on the ice six days a week,” Siianytsia said. “I’m out here to get better everyday and learn how to be better.”
Siianytsia, who is in his third year training in Shakopee, said since working with Oltmanns, he’s become a more proficient skater and performer. “I remember coming here as a juvenile who weighed 90 pounds and was not able to do anything,” the 19-year-old recalled. “From that point up to now, I feel like a different skater and a different person.”
Smirnova, 15, feels the same. “Trudy is tough. But she’s also caring.”
Smirnova, who has been skating since she was 5, recognizes how much she’s grown under Oltmanns' mentorship. “I was so excited we took second,” Smirnova said. “But there’s more we can do to improve.”
When not preparing to compete on one of the biggest stages of their young lives, Siianytsia and Smirnova teach Learn to Skate classes at the Shakopee Ice Arena. “It’s pretty fun. You see these little, tiny kids like when I started out. You help them to walk, stand on ice and find their balance," Siianytsia said.
The pair will travel with Team USA to Estonia as one of the top 16 teams in the world. After falling just short of the gold medal at nationals, the team expects to finish the year strong.
“We’re excited for Estonia, and we’re doing everything we can to get ready,” Siianytsia said.
UPDATE: Siianytsia and Smirnova took 10th place at World Junior Championship.