After an Olympic season it is not unusual to see changes come about and this post-season is no exception. Rumors began during the World Championships and speculations circulated, but now that the season is officially over many pairs and ice dancing teams have called it quits.
Some of these splits come as a surprise as it seemed like the teams got along well and were actually successful this past season, while other teams have chosen to end their partnership for more obvious reasons.
For many skaters the end of any Olympic season marks a fork in the road as many consider if their partner is really headed the same direction they are going and want to make sure to align themselves with the right coaches and partners so that they are prepared for the 2018 Olympic Games. Some teams parted ways on mutual terms while others seemed to carry a lot of unspoken drama.
Canadian teams reshuffle
Many were surprised to find out that Canadians, Kirsten Moore-Towers and Dylan Moscovitch, were parting ways. Moore-Towers and Moscovitch came in fourth at the world championships this year and fifth at the Olympic Games. They were a promising team and many are surprised and disappointed about their split.
“I’m so proud of what Dylan and I achieved in our five years together, and I do want to thank him for everything we accomplished. We are just at different points in our lives right now,” said Kirsten Moore-Towers in a recent statement. “I feel that there is an opportunity for me to keep skating for at least one, maybe two, more Olympic cycles, so I want to pursue those options. My plan is to look for the partner who will share in that dream.”
Skating together for the past five years, Moore-Towers is just 21 though Moscovitch is 29 and may not have another Olympic run in him. Nevertheless, both skaters will continue competing, though it has not been released who their new partners will be.
Another Canadian pair that recently parted ways is Margaret Purdy and Michael Marinaro, which may be due to Purdy's height. Now there is speculation that Moore-Towers and Marinaro may partner up together. Paige Lawrence and Rudi Swiegers have also dissolved their partnership along with Natasha Purich and Mervin Tran leading the Canadians to do a complete reshuffling of their pair teams.
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir end partnership, but not their careers
Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir have announced the end of their partnership. They are the reigning two-time U.S. National Champions and came in ninth at the Olympic Games and helped Team USA capture the bronze medal in the team event.
"I am so honored and proud to have shared the ice with Simon for the last eight years," Castelli said in a statement. "It has been an amazing journey, and I wouldn't change it for the world."
They had revealed a few months ago that their partnership had seen some turbulent times, but expressed gratefulness that they had stayed together. Now that the Olympic season has come and gone it gives them the freedom to consider other options that might be more fitting for their personalities. Castelli and Shnapir are looking to continue competing and will be on the hunt for new partners.
Despite success, Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov dissolve partnership
Rumors began during the World Championships that Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov might split after having an incredible season capturing the bronze medal at the Olympic Games. This Russian team was one of the most promising up and coming teams and everyone was shocked to even hear rumors about a possible split. Soon after the World Championships it was made official.
The Bleach Report states that it was Katsalapov who initiated the split and now Elena is skating with former world junior champion, Ruslan Zhiganshin while unconfirmed rumors suggest that Nikita will pair up with Viktoria Sinitsina who was Zhiganshin’s previous partner. Photos of Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin have recently been released.
Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy relinquish partnership
The split between Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy does not seem like it has been a smooth one. After winning the world championships, Robin officially retired and Aliona announced her new partnership with Bruno Massot.
Aliona opting to continue her competitive career effectively keeps Robin from appearing in some very lucrative skating shows. Savchenko and Szolkowy were originally scheduled to skate in the “All That Skate” show headlined by Yuna Kim, May 3-6, but after the demise of their partnership, the organizers asked if Savchenko and Massot would skate together instead.
Though this new team has not decided which country they will be skating for (as Savchenko is from Germany and Massot from France), they made their debut as a pair team and revealed that they very well could be a promising partnership for the near future.
WATCH: Savchenko and Massot's debut
Russian team regroups
After coming in sixth place at the Olympic Games and seventh at the World Championships, Russian team Vera Bazarova and Yuri Larionov have also decided to part ways stating that their partnership had become stale.
Vera Bazarova is now paired up with Andrei Deputa, while Yuri Larionov is beginning a new partnership with Natalija Zabijako. Zabijako has previously skated for Estonia and will be forced to sit out all competitions for an 18-month period if she decides to skate for Russia and with Larionov.
In light of the success of Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, this team was overshadowed and a new partnership might bring about the freshness that they need to take their skating to another level.
Finally a pair not parting ways
Longevity in partnerships is difficult to find as a relationship between a team can be very complicated. Most of the time teams form some type of a friendship as they spend a lot of time together, they are also business partners as they make career choices together and they have to constantly work together to be successful. Sometimes the challenges that they encounter are too much for them to overcome, while for others it brings them closer together and that is the case with U.S. pair team Alexa Scimeca and Chris Knierim.
After only beginning their partnership in 2012, this team quickly connected on and off the ice. They came in fourth place at the U.S. Nationals this past year and they are an incredibly promising team. Only a few weeks ago, it was announced that they are officially engaged. This is not only good news for them personally, but it's also great news to all of their fans as it keeps the hope alive that the U.S. has a stable team that is on the rise.