They have been a dominant force on the international stage the last few years, but for Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy the road to the top was not always paved with gold.
The high-flying pair, known for their avant-garde costumes and fascinating choreography, have worked hard to earn the respect of the global skating fraternity.
Savchenko, who was born in Kiev, Ukraine, had a desire to skate from an early age. She likely inherited her love of sport from her father, a former weightlifter for the Soviet Union.
“I want skates for my birthday,” she recalled telling her father at around age 3. Her desire was to skate on a frozen pond located near her home.
Robin Szolkowy was born in East Germany to a German mother, a nurse, and a Tanzanian father, who at the time was an exchange student studying medicine. His father returned to East Africa before Szolkowy was born and became a doctor.
Originally published in April 2012