There were smiles all around the arena in Greensboro, North Carolina, this week as several skaters from the Wheaton Ice Skating Academy received medals in ice dancing at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Rockville’s Caroline and Gordon Green, 11 and 13, swept the field of 12 pairs in the novice category, finishing first in all three of their dances. The siblings are now three-time national champions.
Elizabeth Tkachenko, 8, and Alexei Kiliakov Jr., 9, claimed their gold medals with a similar clean sweep. Elizabeth, from Rockville, and Alexei, from Gaithersburg, topped the field of 13 pairs in the juvenile category.
The skaters were profiled in Sunday’s KidsPost. (To read that story, go to wapo.st/1AYSVBF.) They were joined on the winners’ podium by other Wheaton academy skaters:
Rockville’s Emma Gunter, 12, and Caleb Wein, 13, finished third at the novice skills level. And Jordan Lin, 10, of Gaithersburg, and Morgan Sletten, 9, of Takoma Park, finished fourth at the juvenile level.
Wheaton coach Alexei Kiliakov said he wasn’t surprised by the results. “The kids work very hard,” he said. Caleb and Emma’s bronze medal was special, though: “They had the best skate of their season,” he said, “and it paid off.”
What’s it like to stand atop the medal platform? “It’s an indescribable experience to feel the audience’s love and pride for what you have achieved — not just as a skater, but as a person,” the coach said.