British pairs skaters Stacey Kemp, 17, and David King, 21, are stuck on the same numbers: first in Great Britain and 11th everywhere else. In the last three British Championships, they have won the gold in novice pairs in 2003-04, junior pairs in 2004-05, and senior pairs in 2005-06. Last season, they were 11th in their only appearance at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Canada and this season, they were 11th at the European Championships in France.
“Our immediate goal is to get into the top ten,” King said. “It was a great thing this year to just come out and compete against all the top teams. Next year, we hope to come back strong and make a good impression. We plan to skate for a long time and hopefully we’ll get to the Olympics in 2010 or later. That’s our ultimate goal.”
Kemp began skating when she was six. “I saw Oksana Baiul on television and wanted to skate,” she recalled. “When I was nine I competed at the club level in pairs with my brother, Ian, for a year but then he gave up and I went back to solo. I really enjoyed skating pairs with my brother because I like the lifts and throws.”
King started skating when he was ten. “I was a skier originally,” he said. “I competed in slalom in school competitions from when I was seven until about 14. I first went skating at a friend’s birthday party. I told my Mum I liked it and she told me I could go for lessons. I came second at the Scottish championships as a novice but I wasn’t really good in singles. I didn’t learn a triple until I was 19. The triples weren’t coming so I thought I’d try pairs to build up my strength. The lifts and throws looked exciting. I though the lifts would be too hard or I would have switched earlier.”
The skaters joined forces three years ago. “NSSA scheduled a partner tryout and we both signed up,” King said. “We were both training at the same rink but we hadn’t realized that we both wanted to do pairs. So we had a tryout before the tryout and decided to skate together. NISA was pretty upset because they had about 15 girls signed up for tryouts but no other boys.” It turned out to be a good match, the skaters noted. “Stacey’s a bit of a daredevil,” King said. “She’s very daring and not afraid of new things. ” “David looks after me,” Kemp said. “I trust him.”
The couple trains with Dawn Spendlove and Steven Pickervance in Blackburn, working for four hours a day, six days a week on ice. They do another hour and a half per day of off ice training, including ballet, drama, and ballroom classes and work in the gym. “We also do a lot of running,” King said. “We live in a really pretty part of the country in the Lake District so we run outside a lot.” Kemp also did gymnastics for three years to help with her skating.
During the summers, the skaters try to attend training camps in other countries. In 2004, they worked with Lee Barkell and Jacinthe Lariviere in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Last season, they attended a seminar with Richard Gauthier, Dorota Zagorska and Mariusz Siudek in Poland and a three-week training camp in Florida with Kerry Leitch.
The couple used side-by-side double flip/double toe loop and triple toe loop in their programs for the 2005-06 season. “The double axel is our favorite jump and Stacey’s getting close to hers,” King noted. Their program also included a throw triple toe and triple loop. “They’ve been landing the throw triple lutz since last summer,” Spendlove said. “They’re landing the throw triple loop and triple toe, but Stacey’s over rotating the triple toe so much that we’re going to start working on a quad triple toe.”
Karen Barber choreographed the couple’s short program, while Spendlove did their long. For the 2005-06 season, they used “Kill Bill” for the short and “Art on Ice” by Edvin Marton for the long. “We watched the film Kill Bill and knew it was powerful music,” King stated. ” So we did an exhibition program using it. Stacey loved it so we decided to use it for the short this year. The Ice Angels gave us the music for the free program. During the summer, we’re going to do a gala program to Spiderman. Some action movie soundtracks are so powerful that you want to skate to them.”
Off ice, Kemp likes to listen to KT Tunstall and Robbie Williams while King likes indie music like Oasis. She likes to shop, go to the movies, play video games and collect pins, while he watches soccer games and reads a lot.
Both skaters have graduated from high school. “We’d love to tour and do shows later,” Kemp said, “then I’d like to go into coaching.” “My Dad’s a jeweler so I’ll probably go into the shop and make jewelry when I’m done,” King said.