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Quad throw Salchow from Castelli and Shnapir could end U.S. pairs drought

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Simon Shnapir will be serving as the unofficial Russian interpreter for the U.S. Figure Skating team once it arrives at the Sochi Olympics next month.

The Moscow-born Shnapir and his partner Marissa Castelli are searching for the United States’ first gold medal in the pairs event and first of any color since 1988. They won their second-straight U.S. Figure Skating Championships in their hometown of Boston Saturday, and Sunday were named to the Olympic team with silver medalists Felicia Zhang and Nathan Bartholomay.

“We’re so excited to go to Sochi,” Castelli said, brushing off security concerns. “We’ve been so focused on Nationals, even the thought of traveling to Sochi has been off our radars. We have full trust in the U.S. that they’ll take care of us.”

Castelli and Shnapir, ages 23 and 26 and both with Aug. 20 birthdays, are attempting to execute the first throw quad Salchow at an Olympics. It was first done in competition by Tiffany Vise and Derek Trent in 2007, and Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo attempted one at Salt Lake in 2002.

“We’re going to hit it, it’s going to be beautiful,” Shnapir said. “Marissa almost hit it here at the championships, but we’re going to get it in Sochi.”

This year, there is also the new team skating competition, of which Castelli and Shnapir are hoping to compete.

“To have the opportunity to skate four times in the Olympics, we’ll take it,” Shnapir said. “That would be an incredible experience. We did the team event in Japan last year, and our team took gold.”

Shnapir, who also takes marketing courses at Emerson College, has never been to Sochi, but he said he has family in Ukraine on the Black Sea where there is a similar climate. He moved to Boston when he was one and a half years old, and Castelli is originally from Cranston, R.I.

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