Ekaterina Alexandrovna Gordeeva (Екатерина Александровна Гордеева) (born May 28, 1971) is a Russian (former Soviet) pair skater. Together with her late partner and husband Sergei Grinkov, she was the 1988 and 1994 Olympic Champion.
They won the 1985 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The following year they won the first of their four World Figure Skating Championships. They successfully defended their World title in 1987 and then won gold at the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
In November 1987, Grinkov caught a blade on the ice during a practice session and dropped Gordeeva on her forehead. She was hospitalized for a time.
After a fall in their long program, they took silver at the World Championships in 1988, but reclaimed the title in 1989 and 1990. They turned professional in the fall 1990, winning their first World Professional Championship in 1991. They also won that title in 1992 and 1994.
Gordeeva and Grinkov won almost every competition they entered. In the 31 competitions at the senior and professional levels, they finished first 24 times, and never lower than second. They are one of the few pair teams in history to successfully complete a quadruple twist lift in international competition. They landed the difficult element with ease at the 1987 World Championships. They also completed the element at the 1987 European Championships, but due to a problem with Grinkov's boot strap and a misunderstanding about the rules, they were disqualified from that event. They stopped performing the quad twist because it was not significantly improving their marks, making the added physical stress unnecessary.
By 1989, the skating partnership had blossomed into romance. They shared their first kiss on New Years Eve 1988. They were married in April 1991. Their state wedding was on April 20, and the church wedding was on April 28. From November 1991 through April 1992, they toured with Stars on Ice for the first time. On September 11, 1992, their daughter, Daria Sergeyevna Grinkova, was born in Morristown, New Jersey. Shortly after Daria's birth, Gordeeva recommenced training for the new season of Stars on Ice, which premiered in November 1992 and continued through the following April.
When a new ISU rule allowed professional skaters to regain their amateur eligibility, the pair decided to return to eligible competition for the 1993-94 season and skate in the Olympics. In 1994, the couple won their second Olympic gold medal in Lillehammer, Oppland, Norway. Arguably the most influential, celebrated, and highly decorated pair team in the history of the sport, many consider them to be the greatest pair team ever to take the ice. They are often referred to simply as "G&G".
After the Olympics, the pair returned to professional skating and moved to Simsbury, Connecticut. During the 1994-95 season, they toured with Stars on Ice, this time as headliners. That year, Gordeeva was named one of the "50 Most Beautiful People" by People Magazine. That summer, Gordeeva and Grinkov were chosen for induction into the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame and the pair planned to return to Stars on Ice for their fourth season with the tour.
On November 20, 1995, Grinkov collapsed and died at age 28 from a massive heart attack. The pair were on the ice in Lake Placid, New York rehearsing for opening night of the upcoming tour. Doctors later discovered that Grinkov had a congenital heart condition which caused his death.
In February 1996, Gordeeva returned to the ice, this time as a solo performer. Her first solo performance was a tribute to her late husband, skated to the 'Adagietto' section of Gustav Mahler's 'Symphony No. 5'. The number was publicly performed only twice, first at a preview performance at the Minto Skating Club in Ontario, Canada, and then on February 27, 1996, in a televised tribute to Grinkov, called "Celebration of a Life," in which numerous skating luminaries took part. Gordeeva has said that she felt as if she skated with Sergei that night, that she was "double strong" because she felt him with her. The same year, with the aid of author E. M. Swift, she told her story in a book titled My Sergei : A Love Story. In February 1998, CBS aired an eponymous docudrama based on the book. She published a second book in April, 1998, titled A Letter for Daria.
In 1998, she told an interviewer that "My life of great skating, and skating with him, is over, ... I don't try to go now for Olympics. I take skating for a job."
Gordeeva returned to Stars on Ice in 1996 and toured with the show every year until 2000, when she took time off to have a baby. She has returned to the tour as a guest star many times, but has never returned to full-time touring. In addition to tours and shows, Gordeeva competed successfully as a professional solo skater, finishing as high as second place at the World Professional Championships (in 1998). While she stopped competing in 2000, she continued to skate in professional skating tours, shows and competitions. While she has never returned to pair skating as a full-time endeavor, she has performed pair elements in many shows through the years with partners including Artur Dmitriev, Anton Sikharulidze, David Pelletier, and John Zimmerman. For the 1998-1999 season of Stars on Ice, she and fellow Russians Ilia Kulik, Elena Bechke, and Denis Petrov performed a quartet which showcased her pair skills, and in 1999-2000, she performed a pair duet with Kulik.
Gordeeva has signed several endorsement contracts, the most notable of which was with Target and led to two perfumes ("Katia" and "Katia Sport") which were sold through Target stores. Gordeeva and her daughter, Daria, appeared in the 1997 holiday movie "Snowden on Ice" and Gordeeva appeared in the 1998 sequel, "Snowden's Raggedy Ann and Andy Holiday Show". She has represented Rolex and also appeared with Daria in a "Got Milk?" ad. In 2001, she was the subject of a Lenox figurine called "Katia's Celebration of Life", which depicts her performing a layback spin in the tribute she skated for Grinkov. In 2003, she appeared on the ice for the first time with Daria. The pair performed a duet during a Mother's Day show and have taken the ice together several times since then, including two different versions of Amy Grant's 'Children of the World' at Kristi Yamaguchi's Family & Friends shows in the fall of 2005 and 2006. During that show in 2007, the mother-daughter duo became a trio when they were joined by Gordeeva's younger daughter, Liza, and all three skated together to 'Homesick' performed live by the Cheetah Girls. Katia continues to honor her pairs skating roots. During the Fall of 2007, she skated in "Skate for the Heart" a show designed to raise awareness of heart disease. She skated in honor of Sergei. During the Fall of 2008, Gordeeva is scheduled to again be the headliner for the second year of that show. She is also participating in a Russian reality television show called Ice Age 2, which pairs her with Russian actor Egor Beroev as a skating pair. Her show is not unlike the American show "Skating with Celebrities" or "Dancing with the Stars" (but on ice skates).
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