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U.S. News Briefs: Inoue and Baldwin Assigned to France

Two-time U.S. pairs champions Rena Inoue and John Baldwin have been assigned to the first event of the 2009 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series, Trophée Eric Bompard, to take place Oct. 15-18, 2009 in Paris, France.

Inoue and Baldwin will make their third appearance at the event, where they garnered silver in 2006 and placed fourth in 2005. They will compete alongside 2009 U.S. junior and World Junior bronze medalists Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir. Also scheduled to compete at Trophée Bompard are reigning two-time World champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany.

The reigning U.S. bronze medalists, Inoue and Baldwin have also been assigned to the NHK Trophy, Nov. 5-8 in Nagano, Japan. They won the silver medal at that event last season.

The complete list of skater selections for the 2009 Grand Prix Series is available at www.isu.org.

Fund Established for Young Skaters

Longtime friend of U.S. Figure Skating Joyce Komperda has made a generous gift of $250,000 to establish the Joyce Komperda Athlete Support Fund, which will provide funds to intermediate, novice and junior athletes who demonstrate financial need.

Komperda, of Menomonee Falls, Wis., began figure skating as a young girl in Milwaukee, Wis., when, after being diagnosed with asthma, her family doctor recommended to her parents that they seek a dry or cool climate for their daughter.

“My mother signed me up for skating lessons assuming the climate of the ice rink would be good for me, and the rest is history,” Komperda said.

Komperda’s love of figure skating and its personal benefits to young skaters motivated her to create the fund. After a successful and rewarding career at one of Wisconsin’s most prestigious law firms, Komperda now spends her time judging U.S. Figure Skating competitions and resides between her two homes in Menomonee Falls, Wis., and Minocqua, Wis.

“Joyce has been a good friend of U.S. Figure Skating for many years,” said U.S. Figure Skating Executive Director David Raith. “Her decision to establish a fund to support our young skaters is just another example of the generosity and kindness that has marked her involvement with our sport.”

To determine eligibility for the Joyce Komperda Athlete Support Fund, athletes and their parents/guardians will be asked to complete a brief grant application. Those interested in learning more about the fund can contact Kevin Burns, senior director of development at U.S. Figure Skating, at 719.228.3479 or kburns@usfigureskating.org.

Synchro Assignments Are In

At least 12 U.S. synchronized skating teams will compete in five different international competitions this season. The 17-time U.S. champion and reigning U.S. silver medalist Haydenettes will journey to Germany for the Cup of Berlin in January, while reigning U.S. champion Miami University will compete at the Neuchatel Trophy in February.

Joining the Haydenettes in Germany will be Evolution, the fifth-place finishers at the 2009 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, as well as last season’s U.S. junior bronze medalists, the Lexettes. The following week, the reigning five-time U.S. bronze medalist Crystallettes (senior) and the Skyliners (junior) will take part in the Prague Cup in Czech Republic.

California Gold, the three-time reigning U.S. pewter medalists, and the Starlights are the senior teams representing the United States at the French Cup, Feb. 5-6 in Rouen, France. The U.S. junior entrant at that competition is Chicago Jazz, the 2009 U.S. junior silver medalist. Western Michigan (senior) and 2009 U.S. junior champion Team Braemar travel to Milan, Italy, Feb. 12-14 for the Spring Cup.

Miami University’s junior varsity team will accompany the senior RedHawks to Switzerland Feb. 19-20 for the Neuchatel Trophy.

Qualifying U.S. teams will make their way to Minneapolis, Minn., for the 2010 U.S. Synchronized Skating Championships, March 3-6. Two senior teams will be selected at this event to compete at the 2010 World Synchronized Skating Championships, April 9-10 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

In January, junior teams compete for the right to participate in the 2010 World Synchronized Skating Challenge Cup for Juniors in Gothenburg, Sweden, March 11-13. The selection event will be held Jan. 9-11 in Lowell, Mass., in conjunction with the 2010 Colonial Classic Synchronized Skating Competition.