Viktor Petrenko

Viktor Petrenko

Infobox Figure skater
title= Viktor Petrenko

caption= Petrenko skates in 2002.
country= URS, UKR
dateofbirth= birth date and age|1969|6|27
residence= New Jersey
formercoach= Galina Zmievskaya
skating club=
retired= 1994

Viktor Vasilovich Petrenko ( _uk. Віктор Васильович Петренко; born June 27, 1969) is a Ukrainian former competitive figure skater who represented the Soviet Union, the Unified Team, and Ukraine during his career. He is the 1992 Olympic Champion for the Unified Team. Petrenko currently lives in the United States and works as an ISU Technical Specialist, tours professionally, and coaches figure skating.


Early Years

Viktor was born in Odessa, Ukrainian SSR, the first of two sons born to engineers Tamara and Vassily Petrenko. [ [ Viktor Petrenko Biography] ] His younger brother Vladimir Petrenko was also a competitive skater and the 1986 World Junior Champion. [ [,11040,4844-188674-205896-133256-0-file,00.pdf ISU World Junior Figure Skating Champions] ] Like many families in Odessa, the Petrenkos spoke Russian at home, and Viktor attended a Russian-speaking school where he chose to study English as a foreign language instead of Ukrainian, so he never learned to speak the native language of his own country fluently. Viktor was often sick as a young child and doctors suggested to his parents that they put him in a sport in order to improve his strength and stamina, so when he was five years old, they took him to the local ice rink and started him in figure skating. [ [ Ukrainian Weekly, April 8, 2001: Viktor Petrenko: "You want to do something in your life to help other people"] ] At the age of ten, his talent was noticed by Ukrainian figure skating coach Galina Zmievskaya and she took him on as a pupil at Spartak in Odessa. [ [ Viktor Petrenko Chronology] ]

Competitive career

For the Soviet Union, Viktor was the 1984 World Junior Champion [ [,11040,4844-188674-205896-133256-0-file,00.pdf ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships Retrieved May 12, 2008] ] and won the bronze medal at the 1988 Olympic Games. [ [,11040,4844-130381-131689-25997-0-file,00.pdf ISU Olympic Winter Games Figure Skating Results Retrieved May 12, 2008] ] He then went on to win his first two European Championships in 1990 and 1991. [ [,11040,4844-147122-164338-54457-0-file,00.pdf ISU European Figure Skating Championships Retrieved May 12, 2008] ] After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in December 1991, [ [ BBC Homepage, "Reform, Coup and Collapse: The End of the Soviet State"] ] athletes from former Soviet states went to the Olympics together for the last time in 1992 on a Unified Team. [ [ New York Times, February 25, 1992: "Albertville: A United Feeling of Ambivalence"] ] Petrenko competed for this Unified Team and with a free skate that was ranked above American Paul Wylie's by seven of the nine judges, he won the gold medal, the first ever for a singles skater from the former Soviet Union. [ [ New York Times, February 16, 1992: Albertville; Petrenko Gets a Gold, Wylie a Silver Surprise] ] A month later he went to the 1992 World Figure Skating Championships and won the gold medal there, as well, earning two 6.0's for presentation in his free program and receiving first place ranking from all nine judges. [ [ New York Times, March 29, 1992: "Petrenko Captures More Gold and Feels on Top of the World"] ]

Petrenko turned professional following his Olympic win, moving to Las Vegas, Nevada, but when the International Skating Union ruled that professionals could return to competitive status in 1993, he moved back to Odessa, Ukraine and began training for another Olympics. [ [ New York Times, February 6, 1994: "Figures on Ice; To Petrenko, Olympics Worth More Than Gold"] ] He won his third European Championships in January 1994, competing for the first time for the independent nation of Ukraine, [ [ New York Times, January 21, 1994: "Figure Skating; Pair Dance a Rumba to Remember"] ] and went on to represent his homeland at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics, where it was widely expected that he, 1988 Olympic gold medalist Brian Boitano and World Champion Kurt Browning would be the main challengers for medals. After the short program, Petrenko was in ninth place after stepping out of his triple axel and incompleting the rotation on his triple lutz, and Boitano and Browning were in eighth and twelfth, respectively. Of the three, Petrenko went the farthest to redeem himself in the long program with a brilliant free skate that pulled him up to a fourth place finish. [ [ Looking Back at the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway Retrieved May 11, 2008] ]

Life Beyond Competition

In 1992, Petrenko convinced his coach Galina Zmievskaya to take in a 14-year-old Ukrainian orphan named Oksana Baiul and become both her guardian and coach, with Petrenko covering Baiul's expenses. With their guidance, Baiul went on to win the 1993 World Figure Skating Championship and the gold medal at the 1994 Olympic Games. [ [ 2007 Profile of Viktor Petrenko] ] [ [ New York Times, April 7, 1994: "On the Ice with Oksana Baiul; A Skater's Credo: Only Angels Can Fly"] ]

Petrenko married Zmievskaya's oldest daughter, Nina Milken, on June 19, 1992 and their daughter Viktoria was born on July 21, 1997. [ [ Viktor Petrenko Chronology] ] After the 1994 Winter Olympics, Viktor, Nina, Zmievskaya, Baiul and Viktor's brother Vladimir all left Ukraine and moved to Simsbury, Connecticut, where Petrenko and Baiul were invited to train and Zmievskaya and Vladimir Petrenko joined the coaching staff at the new International Skating Center of Connecticut. [ [ New York Times, February 2, 1997: "When Olympic Champions Moved In, They Put Simsbury on the World Map"] ]

In March 2001, Petrenko organized the "Viktory for Kids" ice show in Simsbury, Connecticut and invited his celebrity friends from the international figure skating community to perform in order to raise public awareness and funds for the thousands of children still being affected by elevated radiation levels from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster that had occurred in his homeland of Ukrainian SSR fifteen years earlier. Over $100,000 was raised, and later that year was used to open the "The Viktor Petrenko Neonatal Intensive Care Unit" in Odessa, Ukraine with state-of-the-art medical technology. [ [ "Petrenko Skates in Viktory for Kids"] ]

In January 2004, Petrenko was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after crashing his car into a utility pole in Connecticut and refusing to take a breathalyzer test. [ [ CBC Sports, January 29, 2004: "Viktor Petrenko Charged with DUI"] ] His record was cleared after he completed an adult alcohol education program. [ [ ESPN Olympic Sports, March 15, 2004 "DUI Charge Cleared if he Completes Program"] ]

Petrenko, wife Nina and mother-in-law Zmievskaya left the International Skating Center of Connecticut in 2005 and moved to New Jersey, where they all began coaching together at the Ice Vault Arena in Wayne, New Jersey. [ [ Petrenko Brings Added Prestige to Ice Vault] ] They have coached American men's figure skater Johnny Weir since the start of the 2007/2008 season [ [ Weir Last US Medal Hope] ] and in June 2008 Swiss skater Stephane Lambiel became their pupil, as well. [ [, June 6, 2008: Patinage artistique: Lambiel change de coach] ]

Petrenko toured as a performing skater with the US company of Champions on Ice for a record twenty seasons, until COI went out of business after the 2007 season. [ [ Skate Today, May 8, 2007: "Champions on Ice Entering Stage of Transition"] ] [ [ International Figure Skating, December 13, 2007: "Champions on Ice Reportedly Closes Up Shop"] ] He is an ISU Technical Specialist for Ukraine [PDFlink|1= [ ISU Communication No. 1467] ] and was the Assistant Technical Specialist for the men's event at the 2006 Winter Olympics. [cite web |url= |title=XX Olympic Winter Games 2006 - Men's Short Program: Panel of Judges |accessdate=2007-06-12 |format= |work= ] [cite web |url= |title=XX Olympic Winter Games 2006 - Men's Free Skating: Panel of Judges|accessdate=2007-06-12 |format= |work= ] In June 2008, he was elected to the Presidium of the Ukrainian Figure Skating Federation. [ [ Ukrainian Figure Skating Federation Official Site Retrieved August 31, 2008] ]

Competitive highlights


External links

* [] Athlete Profile - Petrenko
* [ Champions on Ice]


NAME=Petrenko, Viktor
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Ukrainian figure skater
DATE OF BIRTH=June 17, 1969
PLACE OF BIRTH=Odessa, Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic

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