DANCING TO THEIR OLYMPIC DREAM: Warrenton ice dancers take on the best at US Figure Skating Championships | News

At the highest level, the best ice dance teams deliver sensational performances that are simply mesmerizing.

Ballroom dancing elements combine with music, choreography and technically superb skating to provide supreme entertainment.

Warrenton residents Molly Cesanek, 20, and Yehor Yehorov, 22, are living that life right now.

The pair finished 10th out of 15 teams in ice dancing at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships Jan. 7-8 in Nashville, scoring 172.11 points.

The pair looked mature, energetic and innovative as they continue to emerge at the highest level of the sport.

“We are really proud of our performance. These are the strongest we have made. We believe we have something special in our partnership that we bring to ice dancing and to Team USA,” said Cesanek, whose name is pronounced Ses-nick.

“We felt we were crisp, clean and felt like we were being executed. We know who we want to become. We want to be on the Olympic team and we know we will get there,” she said.

In their early twenties, the couple are still young to make it to the US Olympic team. The United States is sending three teams to the next Games in February in Beijing, China, led by superstar pairs Madison Chock and Evan Bates and Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue. Hubbell and Donohue are both 30 years old. Chock is 29 and Bates is 32.

Yehorov pointed out that last weekend’s meet was only their second performance in front of a huge crowd since making their senior-level debut at the Skate America meet in October 2020, which was held without fans. due to COVID.

“It was amazing to skate in front of a huge audience that was cheering and supporting you. You go out on the ice and you see people everywhere,” said Yehorov, whose name is pronounced Ya-Gor Ya-gor-ov.

If you watched them on TV in Nashville this past weekend, you would have seen Yehorov squirming on the ice doing “The Worm,” a hip-hop dance move he made part of his routine.

“The ice is so slippery without friction, but Yehor managed to do it on the ice. I think it’s so cool,” Cesanek said.

“I learned this move when I was 9 or 10 years old. My dad taught it to me in the living room in Ukraine. I used to do this move everywhere in school. I thought to myself: ‘I can do it,’” Yehorov said.

The couple dodged a bullet when Yehorov tested positive for COVID on December 12. He self-isolated at the Warrenton home where he lives with the Cesanek family and was cleared Dec. 22 in time for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.

Yehorov believes he could have contracted COVID during a December trip to Croatia, where they had skated for part of their whirlwind 2021 season.

The year started with a victory at the Chesapeake Open in Laurel, Maryland in August, where they presented their new program to the judges. They moved on to the Lake Placid Open in Norwood, Massachusetts, taking third place.

After their strong start, they were invited to a special “Champs Camp” for America’s top skaters, where they mingled with other Olympic hopefuls and were even outfitted in Olympic uniforms. “It was huge for us,” according to Cesanek.

Three more international competitions followed as they traveled to Bergamo, Italy in September and Sisnak, Croatia in December. They were one of three teams, along with Chock-Bates and Hubbell-Donohue, selected for the 2021 Skate America, a Grand Prix in October in Las Vegas.

At Skate America, they took ninth place in the elite 10-team field in their first encounter with a big crowd.

At the moment they are preparing for the 2022 season. They will start looking for ideas for a new program in the coming months, with competitions starting this summer.

Their typical day involves training and working at the Ion International Training Center in Leesburg, which has become their new home. They train most of the day and teach young skaters in the afternoons. “The owners take care of us there. They are like parents. It feels good,” Cesanek said.

Cesanek is still taking online classes at American University, but has slowed down her schedule to focus on her life as a skater. Yehorov works at the Ion rink to help pay for expenses.

Yehorov received his green card in July and is on the way to US citizenship. He can’t compete in the Olympics for the United States without citizenship, but his green card has relieved a lot of stress. “It allowed him to stay here. The clock was ticking,” Cesanek said.

Both men are humble and gracious about the publicity they are beginning to receive and feel they have a long way to go together.

“We think we are maturing in a beautiful way,” Yehorov says.

Says Cesanek, “Even my parents are in awe of how we feel about each other without talking. We’re like an old married couple,” Cesanek said.

“We know we have this unique and special chemistry.”

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