ICE dancers Danika Bourne
and Alexandre Pavlov have overcome the barriers of language and
distance to form one of the best figure skating combinations in
She grew up in sunny Queensland, he
in the snowfields of central Russia - until fate brought them
together in Perth in April last year.
And now the pair are aiming for the
opportunity to represent Australia at the world championships
in Dortmund, Germany, next year after Pavlov becomes a permanent
Six months after their first training
session together, they won silver at the Australian championships.
If they win a gold medal at next week's
nationals in Brisbane, they will compete in the Four Continents
tournament in Hamilton, Canada, in January and the world championships.
Pavlov, 25, had an established international
career as a member of the Russian team, dancing with his twin
sister Elena before she turned professional.
Bourne, 22, was a single figure skater
but had competed in two world championships in synchronised skating.
Her dream was to compete in ice dance
and she approached former Russian coaches Andrei and Maria Filippov
in Perth to help her find a partner.
The Filippovs migrated to Perth in
1998 after coaching Olympic and world championship skaters in
Russia. "They had a great reputation and results to match,"
Bourne said. "They've created a dance environment at the
Cockburn Ice Arena which is the envy of other centres around the
Bourne was confident they could find
her a suitable partner once they accepted her into their program.
Pavlov said he searched Russia and
the world but found countries such as the United States and Canada
impossible to consider because of visa difficulties. When the
opportunity arose to dance with Bourne he had no idea what to
expect - he could not speak English and knew nothing about Australia.
"The first time we stepped on
to the ice it felt as if we had danced together for years,"