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Anissina announces intentions to compete again

French ice dancer last competed at 2002 Olympic Games

Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat perform in the compulsory dance at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City.
Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat perform in the compulsory dance at the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. (Getty Images)

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By icenetwork.com
(06/17/2013) - Marina Anissina, the Russian-born skater who won the 2002 Olympic ice dancing title for France, announced on the Russian TV show "Big Sport" that she's planning a competitive comeback.

Anissina, 37, said she will speak with her old partner, Gwendal Peizerat, about returning to competition, and that she intends to start a training regimen to improve her physical condition.

After winning the Olympic gold medal -- the first by a French ice dancing team -- Anissina and Peizerat retired from the sport and have appeared in a number of shows. Anissina went on to marry Russian actor Nikita Dzhigurda in 2008 and has since given birth to a son and a daughter. The family lives in Moscow, but Anissina has spent time in France working with ice dancing teams.

Anissina's announcement has been met with skepticism by several members of the skating community, including Russian coaches Alexander Zhulin and Nikoli Morozov, and Anissina's partner prior to Piezerat, Ilia Averbuch. Averbuch told the Russian news service R-Sport, "Any sane person would say that [this comeback] is simply impossible."

UPDATE (6/18) - Anissina gave an interview with R-Sport in which she elaborated on her proposed comeback attempt.

Anissina said she and Dzhigurda met with Didier Gailhaguet, the president of the French Ice Sports Federation, last winter to discuss the possibility of her and Peizerat once again competing. She said the team has an offer from the French federation and the French ministry of sports to participate in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

"Should the Olympics take place in any other place, I would dismiss it. Probably," Anissina told the news service. "But the situation is as it is, and we have the will and the means.

"We do lack time, though. I will fly to France next week and will settle the details. It will be clear then."

Anissina went on to state her personal goals for her return to competition: "It is very simple -- to participate at the Olympics. This is a challenge for me. I want to express myself and show something new."

When asked whether she and Peizerat would return to their old coach, Muriel Zazoui, in Lyon, France, Anissina replied, "I'll answer that a bit later."