Samuelson, Gilles announce end of partnership

Ann Arbor-based dance team calls it quits after one season

Dance team Emily Samuelson and Todd Gilles did not meet with the results they were looking for in their one season together.
Dance team Emily Samuelson and Todd Gilles did not meet with the results they were looking for in their one season together. (Tom Briglia)


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(06/26/2012) - Emily Samuelson took to Facebook on Monday to confirm what had long been rumored: that she and ice dancing partner Todd Gilles have dissolved their partnership after just one season together.

"Our decision to part was very much mutual. We had sat down to talk several times in the off-season, weighing how our own training was going compared to what is needed to be competitive at an international level," Samuelson wrote. "We both decided that the circumstances under which we were training was not what either of us wanted; that something had changed and we were no longer having fun and enjoying skating on a daily basis.

"I've always told myself that if I wasn't enjoying skating then I'd stop; it's not worth it to force yourself to do something you dislike. So after many meetings, we ultimately decided it would be best for us both to separate."

Pairing up late last summer, the team did not have a lot of time to prepare for the 2011-12 season. They made their competitive debut at the Cup of China, where they placed eighth. After winning the senior event at the 2012 Pacific Coast Sectional Championships, they finished eighth at the 2012 U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif.

Samuelson articulated a desire to continue competing and said she is in the process of looking for a new partner.

"I'd love to skate still -- I don't think I'll ever get enough of this sport -- I'm just not sure in which direction my skating career will go," Samuelson wrote.

She also expressed her gratitude to Gilles as well as their coaches, Yaroslava Nechaeva and Yuri Chesnichenko, who trained the duo in Ann Arbor, Mich.

"I couldn't have asked for a better person to come back with, and am saddened that we won't be seeing what our full potential could have been," Samuelson wrote.

She continued, "[Yuri and Yasa] are amazing, talented coaches and really transformed us from how we were when we arrived at the Ice Cube to how we looked at nationals."

With her previous partner, Evan Bates, Samuelson won two U.S. senior medals (silver in 2009, bronze in 2010) and the 2008 world junior title. They competed at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, placing 11th.

Gilles was a two-time U.S champion (novice in '03, junior in '05) with Trina Pratt and took the bronze medal at the 2008 Nebelhorn Trophy with Jane Summersett, with whom he partnered for three seasons.

Samuelson intimated that Gilles was retiring from competition, writing, "I wish him nothing but the best with everything in his future; I believe [Todd] will be coaching, so if you're looking for an amazing ice dance coach be sure to look him up!"