Albena Denkova

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Albena Denkova
Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski at the 2004 Worlds.
Personal information
Country representedBulgaria
Born (1974-12-03) 3 December 1974 (age 48)
Sofia, Bulgarian People's Republic
Height1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
PartnerMaxim Staviski
Former partnerHristo Nikolov
Former coachNatalia Linichuk, Gennadi Karponosov, Alexei Gorshkov
Former choreographerSergei Petukhov, Natalia Linichuk
Skating clubSC Ice Dance Denkova/Staviski
Began skating1982
ISU personal best scores
Combined total210.44
2003 Trophée Lalique
Comp. dance41.05
2004 Skate Canada
Original dance62.79
2005 Worlds
Free dance108.03
2003 Trophée Lalique
Medal record

Albena Petrova Denkova (Bulgarian: Албена Петрова Денкова, born 3 December 1974) is a Bulgarian ice dancer. With partner and fiance Maxim Staviski, she is a two-time (20062007) World champion, a two-time (20032004) European silver medalist, and the 2006 Grand Prix Final champion. Denkova and Staviski are the first Bulgarians to medal at the World Figure Skating Championships.


began her athletic career as a gymnast at the age of four, and switched to figure skating at about 8 or 9.[1][2] She took up ice dancing when she was 12.[1] Her first ice dance partner was Hristo Nikolov but they split up due to different ambitions.[1] In 1996,[3] Denkova had a successful tryout with Maxim Staviski in Moscow and he moved to Sofia to compete with her for Bulgaria.[1] They soon became a couple off-ice, as well. In September 2000, Denkova / Staviski began dividing their time between Sofia and Odintsovo, near Moscow, Russia where they worked with coach Alexei Gorshkov and choreographer Sergei Petukhov.[3][1][4]

Denkova / Staviski withdrew from the 2000 European Championships after Staviski fell ill with pneumonia.[1] During the last practice session before the free dance at the 2000 World Championships, Peter Tchernyshev's blade slashed Denkova's leg above her boot, severing two tendons and a muscle and leaving her unable to walk for three months.[3][1] She eventually returned to training but suffered swelling in her leg. After she asked the U.S. Figure Skating Association if Tchernyshev had insurance to help cover her medical expenses, the organizers withdrew Denkova / Staviski's invitation to 2000 Skate America.[1] Both Denkova and Staviski fell ill with the flu before the 2001 European Championships and she suffered more swelling but they competed at the event and finished 8th, their best result to that date.[1]

Denkova / Staviski took the silver medal at the 2003 European Championships, becoming the first skaters to medal for Bulgaria at an ISU Championships.[5] They then became the first Bulgarians to medal at Worlds, winning bronze at the 2003 World Championships.[6] The following season, they repeated as silver medalists at Europeans and went on to become World silver medalists.

In 2004–05, Denkova / Staviski withdrew from Europeans and finished 5th at Worlds. At the end of the season, they parted ways with Gorshkov and moved to Newark, Delaware, U.S., to train with Natalia Linichuk and Gennadi Karponosov.[7][8] They finished 5th at their third Olympics. At the 2006 World Championships, they became the first Bulgarians to win World gold in figure skating.

In October 2006, it was announced that Denkova had been elected President of the Bulgarian Skating Federation.[8][9]

In 2006–07, Denkova / Staviski won gold at the Grand Prix Final, bronze at Europeans, and gold once again at Worlds. On 10 April 2007, they were awarded the Stara Planina Order, Bulgaria's highest award.[10] On 19 April 2007, they received a star on Bulgaria's Walk of Fame.[11]

On 5 August 2007, Maxim Staviski caused a car accident while driving drunk in Bulgaria that left 24-year-old Petar Petrov dead and Petrov's fiancee, 18-year-old Manuela Gorsova, in a coma.[12] In October 2007, he announced his retirement from competitive skating and Denkova was thus forced to retire, as well.[13] They continued to skate in shows around the world and have also done choreography, working with Brian Joubert a few times.[9][14] Having said in 2004 that Bulgaria did not have many skating facilities and coaches,[4] Denkova opened a skating school with Staviski in Sofia called SC Ice Dance Denkova/Staviski.[15] They have also participated in the Russian television show Ice Age.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Denkova and Staviski are engaged to marry.[16] Their son Daniel was born on 30 January 2011.[17] Denkova has a younger half-sister, Ina Demireva, who also competed in ice dancing.[18] Her brother-in-law is solo skater Andrei Lutai.[19] Denkova holds a degree in economics from Sofia University.


Season Original dance Free dance Exhibition
  • Afrah Baladi
    by Mostafa Sax
  • Speak up Mambo
  • Soledad
  • Give it up
  • Xotica – Journey to the Heart
    (from Cirque du Soleil)
  • El Choclo
    by Angel Villoldo

Competitive highlights[edit]

Denkova / Staviski at the 2004 Worlds medal ceremony in Dortmund.
Denkova / Staviski at the 2007 European Championships in Warsaw.

With Staviski[edit]

Event 1996–97 1997–98 1998–99 1999–00 2000–01 2001–02 2002–03 2003–04 2004–05 2005–06 2006–07
Olympics 18th 7th 5th
Worlds 19th 17th 11th WD 10th 5th 3rd 2nd 5th 1st 1st
Europeans 17th 16th 9th WD 8th 6th 2nd 2nd WD 3rd
Grand Prix Final 3rd 2nd 3rd 1st
GP Cup of Russia 5th 3rd
GP Lalique/Bompard 4th 1st 2nd 1st
GP NHK Trophy 6th 3rd 1st 1st 2nd
GP Skate America 1st
GP Skate Canada 5th 4th 2nd 1st
GP Spark./Bofrost 6th 3rd 1st
Bofrost 1st
Finlandia Trophy 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
Golden Spin 2nd
Karl Schäfer 1st
Nebelhorn Trophy 3rd
Skate Israel 2nd
Polish FSA Trophy 3rd
Bulgarian Champ. 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st 1st
GP = Grand Prix; WD = Withdrew

With Nikolov[edit]

Event 1991–92 1992–93 1993–94 1994–95
Worlds 21st 26th 27th 24th
Europeans 18th 22nd 25th 22nd
Bulgarian Champ. 1st 1st


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Mittan, Barry (3 December 2001). "Bulgarian Dancers Triumph Over Injuries to Reach Top Ten". Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  2. ^ Oreiller, Céline; Zibung, Jacqueline (2005). "Interview with Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski: Part I". Absolute Skating. "Interview with Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski: Part II".
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Albena DENKOVA / Maxim STAVIYSKI: 2000/2001". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 19 April 2001.
  4. ^ a b Slater, Paula (18 March 2004). "Interview: Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski". Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  5. ^ a b c "Albena DENKOVA / Maxim STAVIYSKI: 2002/2003". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 3 August 2003.
  6. ^ a b c "Albena DENKOVA / Maxim STAVISKI: 2003/2004". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 19 April 2004.
  7. ^ a b c "Albena DENKOVA / Maxim STAVISKI: 2005/2006". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 25 April 2006.
  8. ^ a b Motchane, Asli (2006). "Albena Denkova: "Now we enjoy every single practice!"". Absolute Skating. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
  9. ^ a b Gazave, Romain (2009). "Albena Denkova & Maxim Staviski: Behind the Boards". Absolute Skating. Retrieved 22 December 2010.
  10. ^ "Purvanov: Bulgaria's Denkova and Staviski have the potential to get Olympic gold". The Sofia Echo. 10 April 2007. Archived from the original on 22 November 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  11. ^ "Albena and Maxim Star Shining on Bulgaria's Walk of Fame". Novinite. 19 April 2007. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011.
  12. ^ "World skating champion from Bulgaria involved in car accident near Ropotamo River". The Sofia Echo. 6 August 2007. Archived from the original on 22 November 2012. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  13. ^ "Bulgaria's Maxim Staviiski ends his career". The Sofia Echo. 18 October 2007. Archived from the original on 25 March 2010.
  14. ^ a b Korsakova, Emilie (4 March 2014). "Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski: "We devoted everything to figure skating"". Absolute Skating.
  15. ^ a b c "Albena DENKOVA / Maxim STAVISKI: 2006/2007". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 6 August 2007.
  16. ^ "World Skating Champions to Finally Tie the Knot". Novinite. 23 March 2007. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011.
  17. ^ Petrova, Ruslana (30 January 2011). "Даниел изплака за Албена и Максим" [Daniel born to Albena and Maxim] (in Bulgarian). Standart News. Archived from the original on 22 November 2012. Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  18. ^ Ina Demireva at the International Skating Union
  19. ^ "Сборная тропа хоро на сватба в София". Standart News (in Bulgarian). 18 April 2010. Archived from the original on 22 November 2012. Retrieved 15 June 2011.
  20. ^ a b "Albena DENKOVA / Maxim STAVISKI: 2004/2005". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 5 April 2005.
  21. ^ a b "Albena DENKOVA / Maxim STAVIYSKI: 2001/2002". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on 2 June 2002.

External links[edit]