Tuesday, January 08, 2002
Local skater bides his time
By Gary Estwick
The Cincinnati Enquirer


Cincinnati native Robert Shmalo is looking forward to making the U.S. Olympic figure skating team, just not this year.

Don't get Shmalo wrong. If he and partner Kimberly Navarro finish in the top two in the dance competition starting Wednesday at the 2002 nationals in Los Angeles, they'll be eager and ready to compete in the Olympics next month in Salt Lake City. Shmalo and his partner finished sixth in the nationals last year. So Shmalo expects this competition to be more about preparing for the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy.

So there's not much pressure on either skater.

“We're going out there to put on a good show for the fans,” Shmalo said. “And we hope the judges enjoy our routine as much as we do.”

Shmalo, who now lives in New York but still performs under his Cincinnati club's name (Queen City Figure Skating Club), hopes their performance this week will help judges remember them in future competitions.

“Having a good show is important because so much of what judges look at is subjective,” he said. “So every time you're in front of them, you want to have a good performance and put that bug in their ear.”

 

 


Shmalo, 24, said he and Navarro, 20, finished 13th last year in the Golden Spin of Zagreb. They had to cancel a trip to compete in the Karl Schafer Memorial in Vienna because of safety concerns following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

They are still getting accustomed to competing in major competitions.

“It's just good when your hard work pays off,” Shmalo said. “And you get to a level that you can compete for a spot in the Olympics.”

Jordan Brauninger, who skates for the Northern Kentucky Skating Club, is competing in the junior men's division. Brauninger participated in the Junior Men short program late Monday evening and will compete in the junior men's free skating final today.

sAlso, Cole Davis (Queen City) and Samantha Skavdahl (Northern Kentucky) skated to sixth place in the novice pairs Monday night.

 

 

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