Carreira & Ponomarenko mirror on their journey to date

By Matteo Morelli | Photographs by Robin Ritoss

Group 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 opponents, and their latest change of coaches and group.

How do you’re feeling after finishing your two Grand Prix (Skate America and Grand Prix of Espoo) of this season?
Christina Carreira (CC): I feel we skated very well right here. We put out two nice performances, they have been each fairly sturdy. We left a couple of factors on the desk within the free, however total 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 point out strong performances in each Grand Prix occasions and I feel now we have performed that, with a season finest once more. I feel we journey on that momentum till the following competitions and nationals, easy down every thing and hold that onwards optimistic course.

Anthony, you touched in your surgical procedure after 4 Continents. How did it have an effect on your coaching as a group and the way did you get well from it? 
AP: I had a reasonably large surgical procedure in February, it was a novel low season for us. It was troublesome for us to cease immediately. I labored loads 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 group is recovering. I’m actually proud to have Christina as a companion, she labored very arduous after I was gone and drove all the best way to London, Ontario, on daily basis to place the work in.

You might have been skating collectively for nearly a decade, since 2014. Anthony, I perceive it was your mom that thought that you just and Christina could be a superb match. Looks as if she was proper!
AP: Christina was skating together with her outdated companion, we competed in opposition to one another at a Lake Placid Ice Dance Championship method again within the day. From then on, my mother stored 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 similar 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 a whole lot of successes, together with a silver and bronze medal at Junior Worlds, two Junior Grand Prix golds and a Junior Grand Prix Closing 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 how you can compete, it is extremely completely different than senior. In a method, it seems 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 pals to at the present time. 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 properly, it was nice to have these outcomes, and have the momentum carrying us within the senior, however it additionally taught us self-discipline and how you can act as an ice dance group. I’m completely happy 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 arduous work you might be 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 without doubt one of the strongest on this planet, so now we 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’re 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 the moment if not for what he taught us. We’re very grateful to him, but additionally pleased with our new group 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 surroundings.

AP: I like the group now we have round us. Scott, Madison, and Adrián are implausible to work with and every one brings a distinct vitality to the group. Being part of IAM provides us the chance to coach with a few of the finest and it’s an honour to observe them work! 

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