- © AFP 2014/ PATRICK HERTZOG
© AFP 2014/ PATRICK HERTZOG
MOSCOW, June 17 (R-Sport) - Former Olympic ice dance champions Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat are to reunite for a surprise comeback with the aim of qualifying for next year’s Olympics in Sochi, Anissina has told R-Sport.
The pair won gold in 2002 for France and retired immediately afterwards in favor of dancing at exhibition shows.
With Peizerat aged 41 and Anissina 37 they would be by far the oldest pair in elite ice dance. By comparison, the Canadian pair of Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were both 21 when they won gold at the last Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.
“We got an offer from the French figure skating federation and the French sports ministry about taking part in the Olympic Games in Sochi,” the Moscow-born dancer said, adding that her Russian origins played a decisive role in her decision to accept.
“In my view, it’s very interesting and tempting. If the Olympics weren’t taking place in Russia, I’d have let this news pass me by, probably. But it’s like this - we have the desire and the strength.”
Since the pair retired in 2002, figure skating authorities have brought in a new scoring system, which aims to eliminate the allegations of corrupt judging that caused a scandal in the 2002 Olympic pairs skating competition.
Anissina was scornful of suggestions the new system might require her to change.
“With this judging system you could even teach a bear to skate,” she said.
Modern figure skating lacks fresh ideas, paving the way for Anissina and Peizerat to succeed, she added.
“No one wants to do anything new, unusual or creative,” she said. “I’ve understood, in the end, that you can think something up, like we always thought something up.”
In order for Anissina and Peizerat to compete for France at next year’s Olympics in Sochi, Russia, she will need to take one of the country’s two qualifying slots.
Double European champions Nathalie Pechalat and Fabien Bourzat are hot favorites to take the first of those French entries, meaning Anissina and Peizzerat would need to edge out Pernelle Carron and Lloyd Jones, who took 12th place at the world championships in March.
Anissina said she would soon head to France to iron out the details of her and Peizerat’s revived partnership. Since retirement, the two have regularly performed in shows, but Anissina conceded they had not done competition-standard training “for years.”