For just the third time in figure skating history, an Australian pairs team medaled at a World Junior Championships.
Russian-born Anastasia Golubeva and Melbourne native Hektor Giotopoulos Moore, who captured the silver medal in their debut at the Championships in Tallinn, Estonia in mid-April, are the second Australian team to stand on a World Junior podium in five years.
In 2017, the late Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor made history when they captured the junior crown in Taipei, the first Championship title ever won by that nation.
Forty-six years earlier, Elizabeth Cain and Peter Cain became the first pairs team from Australia to land on a podium when they captured bronze in 1976 at the inaugural World Junior Championships in Megève, France.
To date, no skaters in any other discipline have achieved this success. For a country that has produced countless singles skaters in its more than 100-year history, it is certainly an anomaly that all the glory has rested with three pairs teams.
“It means a lot to us. It is a huge accomplishment and an amazing achievement,” said Giotopoulos Moore. “We are very humbled to be on that list.”
In their debut season as a team, Golubeva, 16, and Giotopoulos Moore, 19, finished fifth at both their Junior Grand Prix assignments and eighth at Nebelhorn Trophy in the fall of 2021. Following a 10th-place finish at Golden Spin of Zagreb in December, the duo won a small competition in Belarus in February 2022.
The duo was scheduled to compete at Four Continents but withdrew prior to the start of the competition due to a foot injury suffered by Golubeva.
“We were also scheduled to compete at senior Worlds, but Anastasia is a Russian citizen and it took a long time to process the visa for France. We did not get it in time, so unfortunately we were unable to go,” Giotopoulos Moore explained.
In the weeks leading up to the World Junior Championships, Golubeva and Giotopoulos Moore, who trained primarily in Russia with Galina Pachin and Andrei Pachin, began preparing in different locations including Estonia for the competition.
Both felt their success in Tallinn — where they earned their best scores of the season in the short program and combined total — was a big steppingstone in their budding career. “This is my first medal,” said Golubeva with a wide smile. “We had a few mistakes, but I am really happy.”
A week after their victory in Tallinn, the duo relocated to Australia where they plan to train during the offseason. It was a trip Golubeva was especially looking forward to. “It is a place I want to go. I see it is a very beautiful country,” she said.
When asked this pairing came about, Giotopoulos Moore said it was “an interesting story.”
“I had been training (in Sydney) with my Russian coaches for the past 10 or so years, and they would take me to Russia from time to time for camps. I had a Russian partner previously that I skated with in Moscow, so I have been back and forth for quite some time.
“Then I was back in Moscow but I did not have a partner. My coaches reached out to some of their friends and someone told them they had one girl who would like to try pairs. So we organized a try out and we have been skating together since then.”
Both are committed to the next four-year cycle and the wheels are beginning to turn for Golubeva to ultimately obtain Australian citizenship.
Golubeva and Giotopoulos Moore plan to compete at both the junior and senior levels next season.
2022-2023 COMPETITION CALENDAR