Abby the pre-Olympic home for Russian figure skaters

Representing the most successful figure skating team in the history of the Olympics, Sergey Kononykhin visited Abbotsford last week, casting a critical eye on the facilities where the Russian team will live and train in the weeks leading up to the 2010 Games.

Kononykhin, vice-president of the Russian Figure Skating Federation, said he wants a relaxed atmosphere surrounding the athletes as they enter this final stage of the competitive cycle, and found the Ramada Plaza and Conference Centre suitably “cozy and comfortable.” He was also happy with the ARC Arena, where the team will train.

“It’s a very nice facility, and there’s an important thing – the ice size,” he said.

ARC is one of only three rinks in the Lower Mainland that is Olympic-sized, and it was critical to the Russian team that they be able to train on the same size ice surface as they will compete on. Most rinks in B.C. are smaller, built for hockey.

Kononykhin has an athlete’s perspective on such matters, with a history in skating dating back to his days as a national-level competitor and medallist in the 1950s. He later earned master of sport credentials, and has been a judge at two Olympics – Lake Placid in 1980 and Calgary in 1988.

Figure skating is a popular event during the Olympics, and the Russians are the rock stars of the sport. Fans and media will be eager to meet them, or even watch them from ice level as they train at the local rink. But Kononykhin says the public should not be surprised if they find the athletes shy away from the attention.

Coaches and figures skaters prefer to train in relative secrecy. They need to protect the “wow” factor of their routines.

“It’s difficult to find a new element,” he explains. “Every skater has secrets. We’re thinking about (being) amazing during the competition.”

Kononykhin has been to Canada several times. Do Russians typically enjoy Canada, and does he expects they will have a good experience here? He answered with a grin: “The results will define the feeling.”

Just Posted

Young black bear killed downtown Chilliwack

Video shows bear running down residential street moments earlier

Madeleine Sauvé announced as NDP candidate for Abbotsford riding

Clearbrook resident aims to build on achievements of past local candidates

Chilliwack man who allegedly fled scene of accident charged with impaired driving

Ryan Michael Gillanders has a history of criminal convictions for bad driving, robbery, theft

Fraser Valley Cardinals riding four-game win streak

Senior baseball team’s pitching and defence leading to victories

Chilliwack man faces Motor Vehicle Act charge for crash that killed pregnant woman

Frank Tessman charged for 2018 Highway 1 accident where Kelowna elementary school teacher died

VIDEO: Driver doing laps in busy Vancouver intersections nets charges

Toyota Camry spotted doing laps in intersection, driving towards pedestrians

Former Vernon Judo coach pleads guilty to child pornography charges

Bryan Jeffrey McLachlan is set to return to court Sept. 4 for sentencing

B.C. Olympic skier sues Alpine Canada after coach’s sex offences

Bertrand Charest was convicted in 2017 on 37 charges

Former Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo to retire

‘Bobby Lou’ calls it a career after 19 NHL seasons

Province unveils 10-year plan to boost mental health, addiction recovery services

The plan, called A Pathway to Hope, focuses on early-intervention services that are seeing high demand

Man arrested for alleged indecent act after ‘predatory’ SkyTrain incident

A woman had reported the man had exposed himself while on the train on April 29

Two helicopters reportedly seized by RCMP near U.S. border south of Cultus Lake

Federal Mounties mum on raid two weeks after dramatic raid reported by Columbia Valley residents

Man shot dead in Vancouver’s fifth homicide of 2019

Body was found in an apartment near Main Street and East 35 Avenue

Most Read