Maya Usova and Evgeny Platov are figure skating's newest
dynamic duo. After years of skating with different partners, Usova and Platov
are combining their exquisite talents and passion for skating in their new
partnership to debut in the 1998/99 professional competitive season.
Maya Usova with her ex-husband and partner, Alexander Zhulin,
won six European medals, the 1993 World Championships, the 1992 Olympic bronze
and 1994 Olympic silver medals. Known for their sensual and romantic style,
Usova and Zhulin turned professional after the 1994 Olympics and triumphed
at numerous competitions including the World Professional and Legends
Championships. Usova and Zhulin paired up in 1980, were married in 1986,
and divorced in 1995, due to Zhulin's extra marital affairs. Maya's skating
career began at age eight when she stopped gymnastics and singing lessons
to skate on a frozen pond near her home.
Evgeny Platov with his previous partner, Pasha Grishuk,
won three European titles, four World Championships, the 1994 and 1998 Olympic
gold medals. They won twenty-two consecutive competitions leading up to the
1998 Olympic Games in Nagano, where they became the only ice dancers in history
to win two Olympic gold medals. Grishuk and Platov were known for their technical
excellence and excessive speed, bringing ice dancing to a new level. Grishuk
had aspirations of becoming a movie star, which, in turn, ended their
partnership. Evgeny began skating at age nine, winning his first competition
just a year later.
Both Maya and Evgeny found themselves in successful but
unhappy partnerships, which soon led them to each other. After being creatively
stifled by their previous partners, Usova and Platov united to explore new
opportunities in their skating. They were training at the American Hockey and Figure
Skating Center in Farmingdale, New Jersey, under the direction of legendary
coach, Tatiana Tarasova. Tarasova, who had been the force behind a combined
thirty-three gold medals in European, World, and Olympic competitions, made
history herself at the 1998 Olympic Games when she coached skaters in two
different disciplines (Grishuk & Platov in ice dancing and Ilia Kulik
in men's singles), to gold medal finishes.
Maya and Evgeny were both born in the former Soviet Union,
she in Gorky and he in the Ukraine. They met as young children in Moscow
when they skated in the Spartak Club with coach Natalia Dubova. They both
trianed under Dubova with different partners for over 10 years. Both Maya
and Evgeny are graduates of the Physical Institute of Culture in Russia where
they earned degrees in Physical Education and figure skating coaching. They
are both bilingual, Russian/English.
Birthdate: May 22, 1965 (Maya); August 7, 1967
Birthplace: Gorky, Russia (Maya); Odessa, Ukraine