Evora, Barrett announce engagement

Barrett proposed to Evora on Christmas Eve

Amanda Evora smiles for the camera as she shows off her engagement ring.
Amanda Evora smiles for the camera as she shows off her engagement ring. (courtesy Amanda Evora)


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By Sarah S. Brannen, special to
(12/28/2010) - Amanda Evora and Jeremy Barrett gave each other the best gift of all this Christmas: the promise to spend their lives together.

Barrett proposed to Evora on Christmas Eve, and she delighted him by saying "Yes."

"I was in Coral Springs, where I train, on Friday," Barrett said by telephone. "We had a half day, and I drove home, which takes about three hours. I had this great plan of what I was going to do. Since our apartment is on the water I thought we'd have lunch and then we'd go for a walk by the water and I'd do it there."

Unfortunately, Florida has had some chilly weather lately and although Evora and Barrett had lunch by the water as planned, it was too cold for a walk.

"We ate lunch and then went inside," Barrett went on. "I was pretty nervous; I had all these amazing things I was going to say and then I forgot all of them. But she got the gist of it and she said yes!"

"And he did say some amazing things, I have to admit," added Evora.

Barrett presented his fiancée with a diamond ring he picked out online.

"There's a diamond in the middle and five diamonds on either side of the band," said Evora. "It's the perfect ring."

Evora and Barrett met in 1999 when Evora moved to Florida to train. They have been a couple for over five years.

"The first time I ever met him he was actually doing an ice show with his partner at the time, Shantal Jordan," Evora said. "We've training side-by-side since then. We dated on and off for a while but we became official on May 1 five years ago."

Although they are a couple off the ice, Evora and Barrett have competed against each other on the ice for years, including at the 2010 Olympic Games, when the national media made much of the sweethearts competing on Valentine's Day. Barrett and partner Caydee Denney are the 2010 U.S. champions, and Evora and partner Mark Ladwig are the reigning silver medalists. Until last August, both teams trained with coach Jim Peterson in Ellenton, Fla., but after Denney and Barrett started training with Silvia Fontana and John Zimmerman, Evora and Barrett had to adjust to spending most of their time apart.

"Spending so much time away from each other this year, I could tell she missed me desperately," joked Barrett. "Monday through Friday we're apart. I try to get home on the weekends but during the Grand Prix season it was hard. The last couple of weeks we've been able to see each other on the weekends."

"A friend told me, 'The time away from each other will either make you or break you,'" went on Evora, "And it definitely made us stronger."

Evora and Barrett haven't picked out a wedding date yet, but they have an important date on the ice at the 2011 U.S. championships, when they will compete against one another yet again.

"We're well-trained in that area, since we've competed against each other the whole time we were boyfriend and girlfriend. It's pretty normal to us," Evora said.