Turkey to compete in couples’ figure skating for first time at Sochi Olympics
Hüseyin Burak Demirer ANKARA / Anadolu Agency
Alisa Agafonova and Alper Uçar, who won the bronze medal for Turkey at the 2011 Erzurum Winter Universiade, will represent Turkey at Sochi Games. AA PhotoDancing their way to a first, Alisa Agafonova and Alper Uçar will become the first competitors to don the crescent and star in the pair’s figure skating category when the Winter Olympics kicks off today in Sochi.
The pair won the bronze medal for Turkey at the 2011 Erzurum Universiade Winter games with their performance but will be Turkey’s first representatives in the pair’s category, which was first included at the Olympics in 1976.
Tuğba Karademir was the first Turkish figure skater in history to compete in the Olympic Winter Games in 2006, finishing 21st with 123.64 points. Her 10th-place finish at the 2007 European Championships was the best placing for a Turkish figure skater in an ISU Championship so far. She also represented Turkey at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Agafonova and Uçar will be the second and third figure skaters to compete in the Olympics for Turkey. The two came fifth with 127.53 points at the 45th Nebelhorn Trophy on Sept. 27-29, 2013, in Obertdorf, Germany.
Agafonova and Uçar came 17th with 127.96 points at the 2014 European Figure Skating Championship while they finished 13th last year in Europe and 28th in the world championship.
Uçar said it was meaningful for them to represent Turkey in the couples for the first time.
“Unfortunately, Turkey has focused its sports policies on results. The process is being avoided,” said Uçar.
Agafonova, a Ukrainian national, said she was taking a risk by competing for a country which does not have any history in the Olympic Games in the category but added that she trusted her partner’s passion about it.
“The audience and jury will watch a Turkish couple for the first time. This proves how hard it is to be able to participate in the Olympics,” said Agafonova, adding that she was excited to be able to experience the Olympics for the first time.
Uçar said they had been working in Moscow since the beginning of 2013 with the guidance of their coach, Alexander Zhulin.
“We were able to compete in the Olympics by getting good results in Europe and the world by working over less than a year. We work in harmony. We are very glad that our coach has given us many opportunities,” said Uçar.
He also said they would compete with the song “Stepping out with My Baby” from Frank Devol and his orchestra in the short program and would use James Brown’s well-known song “I Feel Good” and “Black&Blue” from Dave Brubeck in the longer program.