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Ekaterina Gordeeva is a Russian figure skater who, with her late partner and husband Sergei Grinkov, was a two-time Olympian and four-time world champion.
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However, tragedy struck -- Grinkov's father died of a heart attack. A few months later, Grinkov suggested to Gordeeva that they turn professional. They did and by 1991 they had won their first of three World Professional Championships. However, winning skating competitions was not the only joy in their lives. The couple married on April 28, 1991.
After Grinkov's shoulder surgery, they returned to the skating tour and began their new life together on the road. However, that life was about to change. In January of 1992, Gordeeva discovered she was pregnant. The couple continued to skate for four months, then awaited the birth of their daughter. Five months later, on September 11, 1992, Daria was born.
Just 19 days after Daria's birth, Gordeeva was back on the ice. By October, after deciding to leave their daughter with Gordeeva's mother in Moscow, Gordeeva & Grinkov began rehearsals for the Stars on Ice skating tour in Lake Placid, New York. Two months later, Gordeeva & Grinkov successfully defended their World Professional Championship title, but they missed Daria's first Christmas.
Gordeeva & Grinkov returned home to Moscow in May 1993. After petitioning the International Skating Union to reinstate their amateur status, they began training for their second Olympics. With their new long program, Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, they won the Russian Nationals and the European championships. Gordeeva & Grinkov were ready for the 1994 Olympics. However, at the Olympics, they did not skate perfectly -- Grinkov executing a single instead of a double jump -- still they won their second gold medal. Yet even with their performance not being perfect, Gordeeva stated in My Sergei that she was happy because, "the first gold medal we had won for the Soviet Union. This one we won for each other."
After the Olympics, Gordeeva & Grinkov returned to the professional ice skating world and toured in the United States. However, this tour was different because they had finally found a home in Simsbury, Connecticut. In December of 1994, Gordeeva & Grinkov won their third and last World Professional Championship.
The couple took the spring off when Grinkov hurt his back. As they trained later that summer, Grinkov's back continued to hurt, yet Gordeeva & Grinkov completed a tour with Stars on Ice. They then returned to Lake Placid, New York, to practice a new program -- a program Gordeeva would never skate with Grinkov.
On November 20, 1995, Gordeeva & Grinkov began a run-through of their new program, but Grinkov had not put his arms around Gordeeva for their lift. In My Sergei, Gordeeva said she thought it was his back again, but Grinkov shook his head then "bent his knees and lay down on the ice very carefully."
At 28, Grinkov died of a heart attack. In My Sergei, a few days later at Grinkov's wake, Gordeeva remembered telling 1984 Olympic gold medallist Scott Hamilton, "It was too perfect, maybe. It's only fairytales that have happy endings.
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