The World Figure Skating Hall of Fame announced its 2018 inductees on April 17: Olympic champions Shizuka Arakawa (Japan), Viktor Petrenko (Ukraine/Unified Team/Soviet Union), pairs team Elena Valova and Oleg Vasiliev (Soviet Union), and ice dancers Irina Moiseeva and Andrei Minenkov (Soviet Union) lead the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame Class of 2018. They are joined by coach Bin Yao (China) and choreographer Sandra Bezic (Canada).
“On behalf of the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame, we are astonished by the breadth of accomplishments by the Class of 2018, where all figure skating disciplines are represented,” nominating chair Lawrence Mondschein said. “This is also the largest class since the first year of elections to the World Hall of Fame in 1976.”
In 2006, Arakawa became the first Japanese figure skater to win an Olympic gold medal and was the only Japanese medalist in any sport at Games in Torino, Italy. Arakawa is the 2004 World champion and a two-time Grand Prix Final medalist (bronze in 2003 and silver in 2004).
Petrenko won the 1988 Olympic bronze medal competing for the Soviet Union and the 1992 Olympic title under the Unified Team flag. He was the first Ukrainian flag-bearer at an Olympic Games, earning the honor in 1992. Petrenko is a four-time World medalist and the 1992 World champion.
Valova and Vasiliev won the 1984 Olympic pairs title and four years later were the silver medalists at the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. The duo continued the Soviet Union (and later Russia’s) dominance in the pairs discipline which began in 1964. They are six-time World medalists, winning the title in 1983, 1985 and 1988.
Two-time World champions (1975 and 1977) Moiseeva and Minenkov claimed eight World medals during their csareer. They were the first ice dancers to develop arm and upper-body expression, influencing the discipline for decades to come. The Soviet team won two Olympic medals: silver in 1976 and bronze in 1980.
Olympian and coach, Yao was the driving force behind the Chinese pairs powerhouse program for more than 30 years. In the final decade of his career, he coached three teams — at the same time — to World and Olympic medals. His teams earned five Olympic medals (one gold), six World medals (four gold) and seven Grand Prix Final titles.
Bezic is best known as a competitive and show choreographer and television analyst. She choreographed competitive programs for Olympic champions Brian Boitano (1988), Kristi Yamaguchi (1992) and Tara Lipinski (1998 Olympic). Her choreography has earned three Gemini Awards (Canada), an Emmy Award (USA) and a Golden Rose Award (Switzerland).
The hall’s Legends Committee, which considers contributions from 1960 and prior, selected three-time World champion Emmerich Danzer of Austria (1966-1968) and the late Richard Porter of the U.S., the undisputed founder of synchronized skating, which in his era was known as Precision Skating.