Carreira & Ponomarenko mirror on their journey to date

By Matteo Morelli | Photographs by Robin Ritoss

Staff USA’s Christina Carreira & Anthony Ponomarenko loved a implausible junior profession and are on a promising journey as senior ice dancers, with a bronze at 2022 4 Continents and a latest first place on the Golden Spin Challenger Occasion in Zagreb, the place they reached new season bests. We met with them after Grand Prix of Espoo in Finland, and talked about how they discovered one another, their profession as junior and senior rivals, and their latest change of coaches and workforce.

How do you are feeling after finishing your two Grand Prix (Skate America and Grand Prix of Espoo) of this season?
Christina Carreira (CC): I feel we skated rather well right here. We put out two nice performances, they have been each fairly sturdy. We left just a few factors on the desk within the free, however general it was a greater efficiency than Sheffield, and we wish to enhance once more sooner or later. 

Anthony Ponomarenko (AP): We had a really distinctive low season, I had my surgical procedure and we needed to begin late within the season so we needed to indicate stable performances in each Grand Prix occasions and I feel we now have executed that, with a season greatest once more. I feel we experience on that momentum till the subsequent competitions and nationals, easy down all the pieces and hold that onwards optimistic route.

Anthony, you touched in your surgical procedure after 4 Continents. How did it have an effect on your coaching as a workforce and the way did you recuperate from it? 
AP: I had a fairly large surgical procedure in February, it was a singular low season for us. It was troublesome for us to cease immediately. I labored quite a bit on the psychological aspect of issues, with a psychologist and a efficiency specialist. I got here again very slowly, improved the muscle tissues and labored on what I wanted to work on. They are saying that when one companion has a surgical procedure, the workforce is recovering. I’m actually proud to have Christina as a companion, she labored very onerous once I was gone and drove all the best way to London, Ontario, day by day to place the work in.

You could have been skating collectively for nearly a decade, since 2014. Anthony, I perceive it was your mom that thought that you simply and Christina can be a great match. Looks like she was proper!
AP: Christina was skating together with her outdated companion, we competed towards one another at a Lake Placid Ice Dance Championship manner again within the day. From then on, my mother saved saying how good Christina was!

CC: My mum was doing the identical with me, speaking about all of the competitions he was doing! We cut up with our earlier companions across the identical time. Our coach Igor Shpilband had us making an attempt out for a month. I had a few different trials, however I already made up my thoughts and knew that I needed to skate with him! 

Your junior profession began with you reaching numerous successes, together with a silver and bronze medal at Junior Worlds, two Junior Grand Prix golds and a Junior Grand Prix Remaining silver medal. What are your reflections on these years, and the way did they form you because the skaters you are actually?
CC: Our junior years taught us the way to compete, it is extremely totally different than senior. In a manner, it appears like junior is a passion and senior is a full time job. We have been fortunate to compete with nice individuals, and they’re nonetheless our buddies to this present day. It was a very enjoyable time. 

AP: It was good to develop up with skaters and to have them to nonetheless be at competitions with us. It’s nice to see that and searching again at junior it was enjoyable. We carried out effectively, it was nice to have these outcomes, and have the momentum carrying us within the senior, however it additionally taught us self-discipline and the way to act as an ice dance workforce. I’m pleased that we had these years in junior. We miss these days, however I agree when Christina stated that junior is a passion and senior is a job.

In your fifth 12 months into your senior profession, you’ve gotten already collected a Grand Prix bronze medal, and a bronze on the 4 Continents occasion. The onerous work you’re placing in is there and is paying again.
CC: It takes time to construct maturity and all we require. The competitors within the U.S. is likely one of the strongest on the planet, so we now have to be good to compete for that nation. We’re nonetheless working.

In January 2021, you introduced your departing out of your long-time coach Igor Shpilband to hitch the Ice Academy of Montreal (I.AM) in London, Ontario. What led to that call? What did you are taking away with you from these years spent with him?

CC: There have been many the explanation why we left, however we are going to all the time be pleased about what he taught us. We wouldn’t be the skaters we’re at present if not for what he taught us. We’re very grateful to him, but in addition pleased with our new workforce of coaches at IAM and the place we are actually. 

What’s your relationship along with your new coaches (Scott Moir, Madison Hubbell and Adrián Díaz) and teammates at I.AM?
CC: We have now a very nice relationship with our coaches. We have now a lot respect for them and we belief their imaginative and prescient, so it is extremely simple to work with them. We even have a very good relationship with the opposite skaters at IAM. They’re all tremendous good and enjoyable to journey and prepare with. We’re actually fortunate to have such a optimistic and motivating coaching atmosphere.

AP: I really like the workforce we now have round us. Scott, Madison, and Adrián are implausible to work with and each brings a distinct vitality to the workforce. Being part of IAM provides us the chance to coach with a number of the greatest and it’s an honour to look at them work! 

With the primary half of this aggressive season already accomplished, what are your goals in your subsequent competitions?
AP: We goal to make the world workforce this 12 months. The ice dance area within the U.S. is powerful so we glance to be ready and at our greatest for the nationwide championships.