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Italians Berton, Hotarek end pairs partnership

He is said to be entertaining possibility of teaming with Valentina Marchei
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Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek's outgoing personalities made them crowd favorites in their five years together. -Getty Images

Italians Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek, the first pairs team from their country to win a medal at an ISU championship, have decided to end their five-year partnership, the newspaper La Gazzette dello Sport reported Wednesday.

The paper also reported that Hotarek and Italian skater Valentina Marchei are considering forming a new partnership, an idea that came about while the two were at a training camp in Andalo, Trentino. Whether Marchei would still continue to compete in singles is up in the air.

Berton and Hotarek are coming off a season in which they won their first gold medal in the Grand Prix Series, at 2013 Skate Canada, and their fourth consecutive national title. Their campaign also included a fourth-place finish at the European championships and a career-best ninth-place showing at the world championships. They skated both the short program and free skate for Italy in the team event at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games, helping their country place fourth overall.

Partners since 2009, Berton and Hotarek won the bronze at the 2013 European Championships, the first medal won by an Italian pair at an ISU championship. For the coming season, they had been assigned to Skate America and the Rostelecom Cup.

Berton is engaged to former U.S. pairs skater Rockne Brubaker.

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