Ice dancers Faiella, Scali announce retirement
Six-time Italian national champions hang up their skates
|Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali have decided to retire from competitive figure skating. (Getty Images)|
"It was an extraordinary journey, made of passion, sacrifices, good and bad moments, tears, smiles and lots of emotions," Scali wrote in a statement posted on the English version of the team's official website.
"It was a journey we faced first of all as persons, and only secondarily as athletes, a travel that changed us, made us stronger and allowed us to cross our path with those of some extraordinary people that suffered and rejoiced for us and with us."
Since teaming during the 2001-2002 season, the six-time Italian champions won European silver medals in 2009 and 2010 as well as many Grand Prix medals. Their highest finish in three Olympic Games was fifth in Vancouver last year.
The popular Italians had hoped to cap their long career with a European title, but it was not to be. Faiella suffered a back injury that forced them to withdraw from their second Grand Prix event, Cup of Russia, and also prevented them from competing at their national championships.
At the 2011 European Figure Skating Championships in Bern in January, they placed a shocking ninth in the short dance after a mistake on their synchronized twizzles. They pulled up to fifth overall after placing fifth in the free dance. Speaking to reporters in Bern, Scali admitted that many people suggested they retire after the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships in Turin, Italy.
"We had a great season winning the bronze medal at worlds...We planned to keep going one more season. It was really hard as my partner's health wasn't the best. The good thing is that we never stopped believing and fighting."
On the team's website, Scali acknowledged their disappointment at Europeans and thanked their families, the Italian Skating Federation, judges and fans for their support over the years.
"I really wanted to tell you that after the short dance at the last Europeans it was really, really difficult for us to go on. It was maybe the first time in all our career that we felt we did not have any more energy to finish the competition, and not even the famous phrase 'skate for yourselves' could work anymore; well, it's exactly in that moment that you all were our real strength."
Scali will work with coach and choreographer Pasquale Camerlengo's team at the Detroit Skating Club. The team also has several performances planned for next month, including two at the Ice Works in Aston, Pa., where they spent the final years of competitive career training under Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov.