Denis Petrov

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Denis Petrov
Denis Petrov.JPG
Petrov at the Chen Lu International Skating Club
Personal information
Full name Denis Alekseyevich Petrov
Country represented Olympic flag.svg Unified Team
 Soviet Union
Born (1968-03-03) March 3, 1968 (age 47)
Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Height 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
Former partner Elena Bechke
Former coach Tamara Moskvina
Former choreographer Alexander Matveev
Valeri Pecherski
Skating club Profsoyuz Leningrad
Denis Petrov
Medal record
Competitor for the Unified Team
Figure skating
Silver 1992 Albertville Pairs

Denis Alekseyevich Petrov (Russian: Денис Алексеевич Петров; born March 3, 1968) is a Russian pair skater who competed for the Soviet Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States, and the Unified Team. With partner Elena Bechke, he is the 1992 Olympic silver medalist, 1992 Soviet National Champion, the 1989 World bronze medalist, and the 1991 & 1992 European silver medalist.


Petrov began skating with Elena Bechke, two years his senior, in 1987. They trained with Tamara Moskvina[1] at the Yubileyny Sports Palace in St. Petersburg. They won their first international title at the 1988 Grand Prix International de Paris, although they missed the 1988 Olympic team as they finished fourth at the Soviet Figure Skating Championships. Their first appearance at the Worlds was at the 1989 World Championships. Again, Bechke and Petrov had finished fourth and initially did not qualify for the Soviet Worlds team, but they won a skate-off to replace an injured team. They captured the bronze medal at their first Worlds showing, but they again placed fourth at the Soviet Nationals in 1990, missing the World Championships. In 1991, they placed third at the Nationals and fourth at the Worlds. In 1992, they won the Soviet Nationals over the teams of Evgenia Shishkova and Vadim Naumov and Marina Eltsova and Andrei Bushkov (Bechke and Petrov's training partners and chief rivals, Natalia Mishkutenok and Artur Dmitriev, missed the Nationals but qualified for the Olympics as they were the reigning World Champions). Bechke and Petrov also won silver medals at the 1991 and 1992 European Championships, and the silver medal at the 1992 Olympic Games behind Mishkutenok and Dmitriev.[2] Their choreographer was Alexander Matveev.[1] They retired from amateur competition after the 1992 Worlds.

Bechke and Petrov's moderate success as amateurs stemmed from Bechke's inconsistency in competition due to her nerves, as well as many uninspiring (and some downright questionable) competitive programs, such as the infamous "Dialogue of Cats," created by their coach that did little to showcase their talents. After turning professional in 1992, the pair steadily improved as competitors and performers, and were regarded by many as one of the best professional pairs teams of their time. They won every single competition they entered in 1996, including the World Professional Championships. They placed second at their last World Professional Championships, in 1999.

They toured with Stars on Ice for seven years (1994–2000).[3] They resided and trained as professionals in Lake Placid, New York, before relocating to Richmond, Virginia, in 1997 to train and coach there. Bechke retired from skating after the 1999–2000 season, while Petrov continued to skate with Stars on Ice for another two seasons.

As both amateurs and professionals, Bechke and Petrov were known for their great posture and lines, inventive moves (such as the "Impossible" death spiral), great unison and proximity on their jumps and side-by-side spins, as well as many difficult and intricate lift sequences. Petrov is widely regarded as one of the best male pairs skaters in the sport's history due to his consistency, strength and control, his exquisite lines and lift technique. Scott Hamilton once joked that Petrov is such a strong and consistent skater that he only falls once a year. Hamilton has also said that the Stars on Ice cast nicknamed him "Conan" for getting bigger after every tour, while Kristi Yamaguchi has said that he is also nicknamed "the human crane" because he has lifted just about everybody in the show, including performing a two-hand detroiter with Scott Hamilton in the 2000-2001 group number, "Tunnel Vision."

Personal life[edit]

Bechke and Petrov began dating in 1988, were married in 1990, but divorced in 1995. They remain best friends and both say that their skating and friendship improved, and they even continued to vacation together after their divorce.

On July 8, 2005, Petrov married Chinese figure skater, Chen Lu. They had met on the 1998/1999 Stars on Ice tour.[4] They live in Shenzhen, China, where Chen manages the World Ice Arena and Petrov is the head coach of its skating academy.[4] Their son, Nikita, was born on June 27, 2006,[4] and their daughter, Anastasia, on July 8, 2009, both in Shenzhen.


(with Bechke)

Season Short program Free skating Exhibition
1999–2000 Czardas
by Leahy

by Georgy Sviridov

1998-1999 Eva
by Andrei Petrov

by Franz Liszt

1997-1998 Joue Jusqu’au Matin
traditional; Yoska Nemeth

Whole Lotta Love
by Led Zeppelin
by Franz Liszt

1996-1997 Romance
by Anton Rubinstein

The Lady and the Hooligan
by Dmitri Shostakovich
On the Beautiful Blue Danube/Radetzky March
by Josef Strauss
Russian Dance

1995-1996 When You Tell Me That You Love Me
by Diana Ross

by Aram Khachaturian

1994-1995 Limelight
from the Charlie Chaplin movie

Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix from Samson and Delilah
by Camille Saint-Saëns
I Masnadieri
by Giuseppe Verdi
You Don’t Bring Me Flowers
by Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond
trad.; Red Army Choir

1993-1994 Morning Mood from Peer Gynt
by Edvard Grieg

Grand Pas de deux from The Nutcracker
by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Wabash Blues
by Isham Jones
Once Upon a Dream
from the Jekyll & Hyde musical
I Masnadieri
by Giuseppe Verdi

1992-1993 Grand Pas de deux from The Nutcracker
by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Wabash Blues
by Isham Jones
Yellow Submarine
by The Beatles (instrumental)
Once Upon a Dream
from the Jekyll & Hyde musical
I Masnadieri
by Giuseppe Verdi

1991-1992 Milord
by Edith Piaf (instrumental)
Grand Pas de deux from The Nutcracker
by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
I Masnadieri
by Giuseppe Verdi
1990–1991 Money, Money, Money
(ABBA) performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
1989-1990 The Dialogue of Cats
by Gioachino Rossini

by Nino Rota
by Nino Rota

Competitive highlights[edit]

(with Bechke)

Event 1987–88 1988–89 1989–90 1990–91 1991–92
Olympics 2nd
Worlds 3rd 4th 4th
Europeans 2nd 2nd
Goodwill Games 3rd
Int. de Paris 1st 1st 3rd
Moscow News 6th 2nd
Nations Cup 1st
NHK Trophy 2nd 1st 1st
St. Ivel 2nd
Soviet Champ. 4th 4th 4th 3rd 1st
USSR Cup 2nd 1st
Event 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
World Pros 2nd 2nd 2nd 2nd 1st 2nd
US Open Pro 2nd 1st 1st 1st
Challenge of Champions 4th 2nd 3rd 3rd 1st
ESPN Pro 1st
Jefferson Pilot Pro 2nd
Canadian Professional Championships 1st
Miko Masters 1st
Metropolitan Open 3rd
North American Open 3rd


  1. ^ a b Janofsky, Michael (February 12, 1992). "ALBERTVILLE; No Longer Soviet Skaters, But They Are Still the Best". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ "Denis Petrov". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  3. ^ "Elena Bechke / Denis Petrov". Pairs on Ice. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. 
  4. ^ a b c "Chen-Petrov Family to Expand". IFS Magazine. April 29, 2009. 

External links[edit]