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 49)
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
Former skating club Profsoyuz Leningrad
Retired 1992

Denis Alekseyevich Petrov (Russian: Денис Алексеевич Петров; born March 3, 1968) is a Russian former 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, the 1989 World bronze medalist, a two-time European silver medalist (1991–92), 1992 Soviet national champion.


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/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 / Vadim Naumov and Marina Eltsova / Andrei Bushkov (Bechke/Petrov's training partners and chief rivals, Natalia Mishkutenok / Artur Dmitriev, missed the Nationals but qualified for the Olympics as they were the reigning World Champions). Bechke/Petrov also won silver medals at the 1991 and 1992 European Championships, and the silver medal at the 1992 Winter Olympics behind Mishkutenok/Dmitriev.[2] Their choreographer was Alexander Matveev.[1] They retired from amateur competition after the 1992 Worlds.

After turning professional in 1992, the pair steadily improved as competitors and performers. 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. The pair 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.

Bechke/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. 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 2000–01 group number, "Tunnel Vision."

Petrov and his wife work at the World Ice Arena in Shenzhen, she as the manager and he as the head coach of the skating academy.[4][5]

Personal life[edit]

Denis Petrov was born on March 3, 1968 in Leningrad, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union. He began dating Elena Bechke in 1988 and the two married in 1990. They said that their friendship and skating improved after their divorce in 1995.

On July 8, 2005, Petrov married Chinese figure skater, Chen Lu, who he met on the 1998–99 Stars on Ice tour.[4] They lived in Hong Kong before moving to Shenzhen, China.[5] 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
  • Joue Jusqu’au Matin
    by Yoska Nemeth

  • Liebesträume
    by Franz Liszt


  • Kalinka
    performed by the Red Army Choir

  • Grand Pas de Deux
    (from The Nutcracker)
    by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

  • Wabash Blues
    by Isham Jones

  • Once Upon a Dream
    by Frank Wildhorn

  • I Masnadieri
    by Giuseppe Verdi
  • I Masnadieri
    by Giuseppe Verdi

  • 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 Pro. Champ. 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. Archived from the original on March 2, 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Vaytsekhovskaya, Elena (March 29, 2015). "Денис Петров: "В Китае работаю на свою жену"" [Denis Petrov: "In China I'm working for my wife"]. Sport Express (in Russian).