By Lynn Rutherford
When Avonley Nguyen and Vadym Kolesnik arrived in Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, for the 2020 World Junior Figure Skating Championships, their sights were set on one prize: a gold medal.
“To be honest, we will be disappointed if we don’t win World Juniors,” Kolesnik, 18, said after he and Nguyen captured the U.S. junior title in January.
The duo achieved their goal, but it wasn’t without a fight.
Superb teams from Georgia and Russia skated near-flawless rhythm dances in Tallinn, while Nguyen and Kolesnik’s minor twizzle error in their entertaining “Aladdin” program put them third, nearly two points off the lead.
“We are a little bit disappointed, because we left a few points on the table,” Nguyen, 17, said.
The free dance was a different story. Skating last in the final group, the couple’s luminous program to Rachmaninoff’s “Piano Concerto No. 2” was enthralling from start to finish, flowing seamlessly from an elegant opening spin to graceful step sequences and smoothly executed lifts. Neither put a foot wrong.
After absorbing applause from the crowd, the skaters and their coaches, Igor Shpilband and Pasquale Camerlengo, sat nervously in the kiss and cry. When their marks flashed across the board, the four leapt out of their seats for a group hug.
“I’ve dreamed about this moment for so long, and to know that our work finally paid off, it just feels great,” Nguyen said. “We’re so happy, we’re elated, we’re overjoyed.”
Editor’s note: To read the rest of this story, check out the April issue of SKATING magazine.