Ice Network

Arakawa headlines World Hall of Fame class

2006 Olympic champion joined by three-time Olympian Viktor Petrenko
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With her gold medal-winning performance at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games, Shizuka Arakawa became the first figure skater from Japan to win an Olympic title. -Getty Images

Olympic champions Shizuka Arakawa (Japan) and Viktor Petrenko (Ukraine, Unified Team, Soviet Union), along with the pairs team of Elena Valova and Oleg Vasiliev (Soviet Union), and the two-time world champion ice dance team of Irina Moiseeva and Andrei Minenkov (Soviet Union) headline the World Figure Skating Hall of Fame Class of 2018. Coach Bin Yao of China and choreographer Sandra Bezic of Canada have also earned enshrinement.

"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 those Games in Turin, Italy. Arakawa is also the 2004 world champion and a two-time Grand Prix Final medalist, earning bronze in 2003 and silver in 2004.

Petrenko competed for Ukraine, the Soviet Union and the Unified Team, earning the 1992 Olympic title for the Unified Team and the 1988 Olympic bronze medal for the Soviet Union. He was the first Ukrainian flag-bearer at an Olympic Games, earning the honor in 1992. Petrenko is also the holder of four world medals, including the gold he won at the 1992 World Championships.

Valova and Vasiliev are the 1984 Olympic champions and 1988 Olympic silver medalists, who continued the Soviet Union -- and later Russia's -- dominance in the pairs discipline dating back to 1964. They are six-time world medalists, winning the gold in 1983, '85 and '88.

Two-time world champions Moiseeva and Minenkov (1975, '77) earned eight world medals during their stellar career. They were the first ice dancers to develop arm and upper-body expression, an element that influenced the discipline for decades to come. The Soviet team earned two Olympic medals, silver in 1976 and the bronze medal in 1980.

An Olympian and coach during his day, Yao was the driving force behind the powerhouse Chinese pairs program for more than 30 years. In the final decade of his career, he coached three teams -- at the same time, nonetheless -- to world and Olympic medals. His teams earned five Olympic medals (one gold), six world medals (four titles) and seven Grand Prix Final gold medals.

Bezic is best known as both a competitive and show choreographer, as well as a television analyst. She choreographed competitive programs for Olympic champions Brian Boitano (1988), Kristi Yamaguchi (1992) and Tara Lipinski's Olympic-winning performance in 1998. 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 in 1960 and prior, also selected three-time world champion Emmerich Danzer (1966-68) of Austria and the late American Richard Porter, the undisputed founder of synchronized skating, which was then known as Precision Skating.