COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Nov. 8, 2007) - U.S. pairs skaters Julia
Vlassov and Drew Meekins today announced the end of their partnership.
Their career highlights include the 2006 World Junior title, three
medals at the State Farm U.S. Championships and a silver medal at the
2005 Junior Grand Prix (JGP) Final. Both skaters plan on looking for new
"I greatly regret that Julia and I will no longer be skating together,"
Meekins said in an e-mailed statement. "The six years we have been
together have been some of the happiest years of my life, and I am truly
heartbroken that we will not get to build upon the memories and
accomplishments that we have made."
Both skaters pointed to their size difference as the main reason they
are parting ways.
"In the new (judging) system, lifts and twists are worth a lot, more
than any other element," Vlassov said. "We're able to do them, but not
at the highest level."
The team paired up in 2002. Vlassov skated singles at the beginning of
their partnership, winning U.S. juvenile and intermediate titles in 2003
and 2004, respectively. They have been coached from the beginning by
Julia's father, Alexander, the European and World pairs silver medalist
with Irina Vorobieva in 1977, and Julia's mother, Laura Amelina.
Their first taste of success came at the 2004 U.S. Championships, where
they won novice gold. The next season they competed on the JGP Series
for the first time, finishing first and third at their two assignments
and qualifying for the JGP Final, where they took fourth. They concluded
that campaign by claiming the silver medal at the U.S. Championships as
juniors and recording a top-10 finish at the World Junior Championships.
Their best season came in 2005-06, when they medaled at every
competition they entered: silver and bronze at their two JGP
assignments, silver at the JGP Final, bronze at the U.S. Championships
in the junior division and gold at the World Junior Championships.
They started the 2006-07 season well, taking silver at the Nebelhorn
Trophy, but their transition to the senior level was a bit rocky. They
finished fifth at the Cup of China, sixth at the NHK Trophy and,
finally, seventh at the U.S. Championships.
Vlassov and Meekins were forced to withdraw from last week's Skate
Canada after Meekins dislocated his shoulder while the pair was trying
to execute a lift takeoff.
"I would like to thank my family, my friends and all of my fans for
their support throughout the years and at this time," Meekins said. "I
also would like to thank Julia, Laura and Alex, who have not only been a
great team to be a part of but have been like a second family to me, and
to whom I owe everything. I wish them all the best of luck."
- U.S. Figure Skating -
U.S. Figure Skating is the national governing body for the sport of
figure skating in the United States as recognized by the United States
Olympic Committee and the International Skating Union. U.S. Figure
Skating is comprised of more than 1,425 member clubs and Basic Skills
Programs representing approximately 184,000 members. U.S. Figure Skating
is charged with the development of the sport on all levels within the
United States, including athletes, officials, sanctioning of events and
exhibitions, and establishing the rules and guidelines by which the
sport is governed