SHAKOPEE, Minn. — A pair of Minnesotans turned an international competition into a golden opportunity.
Anastasiia Smirnova and Danil Siianytsia, of Shakopee, captured the gold medal Saturday at the Golden Spin of Zagreb in Zagreb, Croatia. According to U.S. Figure Skating, it's the first senior international win for the pair, who were two of 14 Americans competing in the competition.
Smirnova and Siianytsia were both born in Dnipro, Ukraine, and later moved to Minnesota.
"I started when I was 3," Siianytsia said, talking about ice skating. "And I started when I was 6," Smirnova said.
The two have been skating together since 2018. Siianytsia made Minnesota home at the age of 15, moving to the state to train with Team USA Figure Skating coach Trudy Oltmanns.
Smirnova moved to Minnesota at the age of 14.
Both agree training helps take their minds off worries for their families in Ukraine.
"When you step out on the ice you don't really think about it," said Smirnova.
"We have neighborhood watches that, I'm pretty sure, both of our fathers are joined to protect the neighborhood at night and patrol surrounding areas," Siianytsia said, Smirnova nodded in agreement.
Oltmanns said she is proud of their success.
"They have one of the best triple twists in the world," Oltmanns said. "It's like having a business partner and being married and having to make all the decisions when you're a teenager."
The two are also taking classes at Normandale Community College.
The U.S. finished with seven medals at the Golden Spin of Zagreb, including gold in all four disciplines.
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