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Skate Today

Canada’s Purdy Gives Up Hockey to Skate Pairs

Margaret Purdy and Michael Marinaro

Margaret Purdy, a perky 14-year-old who was born in London, Ontario, started on the ice at age four as a hockey player, a sport she continued for four more years, usually playing forward. She followed her father and older brother into the sport.

But after Alison Purkiss, who was teaching power skating, asked her to try figure skating, she decided to give it a try and switched when she was seven. “I decided to go into figure skating because I liked jumping,” she noted. Just a few years later, she is representing Canada internationally with Michael Marinaro in pairs, a discipline she started when she was 12.

Purdy is also competing in singles, placing 13th in pre-novice at Divisionals in 2009. She landed her first triple toe loop at 13 and now does both the triple toe and the triple Salchow. She will be using a Bollywood short program and “My Fair Lady” for her long, both new this season.

Michael Marinaro, 17, who hails from Sarnia, was on the ice by the time he was two. “My dad played hockey and my mom was a figure skater,” he said. “They put me in Learn to Skate. My two brothers play hockey, but I never did.”

He landed his first triple Salchow at 14 and currently has three triples in his singles programs — toe loop, Salchow and flip. Marinaro finished seventh in junior men at Canadians last year and is still competing in freestyle. He will be competing with two new programs this season, using selections from “Cirque du Soleil” for his short program and a tango for his free skate.

Marinaro previously competed in pairs with Lindsi Desper, winning the national silver medal in juvenile pairs in 2005.

“We were close friends and did it just for fun,” Marinaro said. “Then I moved to Strathroy because I wanted to work with a male coach for freestyle and she stayed in Port Edward.”

Purdy and Marinaro started skating together almost three years ago. They won the silver medal in pre-novice pairs in 2008 and the bronze medal in novice pairs last season at Canadian Nationals.

This season, they finished seventh at the ISU Junior Grand Prix in Torun, Poland, their first international competition and tenth at the ISU JGP in Dresden, Germany two weeks later.

“We learned what to expect and what international competitions would be like,” Marinaro said. “We’ll probably continue to compete on the JGP circuit,” Purdy said. “We have a few years of eligibility left.”

“Our goal for this year is to medal at Nationals in juniors and make the junior international team,” Marinaro noted. “The 2014 Olympics is a long term goal. We hope to continue at least until then.”

Alison Purkiss and Scott Rachuk coach the couple, who train in Strathroy, Ontario. They train for two hours a day five days a week as a pair and another two hours as singles skaters.

Purdy has worked with Rachuk for six years, while Marinaro is in his fourth year with Rachuk and Purkiss.

Purkiss choreographs the pair’s 2009-10 programs, both of which are new. For their short program, they are using “Santa Maria” by Gotan Project for their short program and “Here, There and Everywhere” and “Something” by The Beatles for their long program.

Off ice, Marinaro listens to country music, while Purdy likes anything but rap.

The duo include a throw triple Salchow and side-by-side double Axels in their short program. In the long, they add in a throw triple loop and side-by-side double flip-double toe loop combination.

“We’re working on side-by-side triple toe loops and a double Axel-double Axel combination,” Marinaro stated, “but no new throws. We were working on new lifts and a back outside death spiral last summer.”

Marinaro is in his last year of high school, while Purdy is in her first. Both plan to attend university. Purdy has no idea of a future career, while Marinaro wants to do something in the sciences.

Off ice, Purdy like to hang out with friends and dance. “I started dancing when I was three,” she said. “I did ballet, jazz, ballroom, modern, all kinds of dance. I still do an hour of dance every day.”

Marinaro likes to play pickup sports.

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Skate Today was created in November 2004 to showcase the people of the skating world, skaters and coaches and others, who make figure skating and ice dancing a pleasure to watch for fans from around the world. The goal was to create a site that would give viewers an insight into the personalities of the people involved in this sport and to give you a more personal connection when watching them live at an event or on the television. Our staff knows how much time and dedication is put into this sport and that's why Skate Today was created.

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