Nikolai Morozov and Alexei Gorshkov join training staff of Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin

Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin at the 2021 Grand Prix of Italy. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/International Skating Union via Getty Images)

Russian ice dancing coach Irina Zhuk informed TASS that her and Alexander Svinin’s students Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin have been working with famous coaches Nikolai Morozov and Alexei Gorshkov in preparation for the upcoming Russian Championships.

After culminating last season with a fifth place result at the 2021 World Championships, Stepanova and Bukin began the new season with two consecutive bronze medals at both of their International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix Series appearances – at the Grand Prix of Italy and at the Internationaux de France. Despite two podium finishes, the couple did not qualify for the ISU Grand Prix Final and are listed at first alternates.

Zhuk told the Russian news agency, “This season, we have tried to invite different specialists to our group, which allowed Sasha and Vanya to progress noticeably, and this is not only our opinion, I say that based on the opinions of specialists of various levels, from which we received feedback after the performances of our athletes at the Grand Prix stages. Last week we arrived to train in Novogorsk, where we began to work with Nikolai Morozov, as well as with Alexei Gorshkov, and we are sure that this will soon bring noticeable results. The more highly qualified specialists take part in our work, the better.”

In their first two competitions this season, Stepanova and Bukin received the lowest scores since late 2018 – when they earned a total competition score under two-hundred points at the 2018-2019 ISU Grand Prix Final. Since then, they have been securely over the two-hundred-point mark at every competition – including receiving their career-best score of 211.29 points in a bronze-medal-winning effort at the 2020 European Championships. At last season’s World Championships, the Russians earned a score of 208.77 points. This season, Stepanova and Bukin received a total competition score of 202.18 points in Italy and a score of 200.29 points in France.

Stepanova and Bukin won silver medals at the 2019 European Champions and claimed bronze medals on three other occasions. They have won two stages on the ISU Grand Prix circuit and won silver or bronze medals at nine other stages. Last season, the longtime duo won the Russian National Championships after being runner-ups for the previous four consecutive years. They were also the 2013 World Junior champions.

Nikolai Morozov more recently helped ice dancers Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov win bronze medals at the 2014 Winter Olympics, as well as gold medals in the Olympic’s team event. He also coached Elena Grushina and Ruslan Honcharov to bronze medals at the 2006 Winter Olympics. Even earlier, he was the coach of 2003 World champions Shae-Lynn Bourne and Victor Kraatz.

Alexei Gorshkov coached Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski when they won silver medals at the 2004 World Championships, and most famously trained Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin until they won the 2008 European Championships and decided to move to the United States.

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