Rafael Arutyunyan

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Rafael Arutyunyan
Rafael Arutunian Mao Asada and Tatiana Tarasova.jpg
Rafael Arutyunyan with Mao Asada and Tatiana Tarasova
Personal information
Full nameRafael Vladimirovich Arutyunyan
Alternative namesArutunian/Harutyunyan
Born (1957-07-05) July 5, 1957 (age 63)
Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, Soviet Union

Rafael Arutyunyan[1][2] (Armenian: Ռաֆայել Հարությունյան, Harutyunyan; Russian: Рафаэль Владимирович Арутюнян; born July 5, 1957)[3] is an Armenian-American[4] figure skating coach. He has coached in Armenia, Russia and the United States.

Personal life[edit]

Arutyunyan was born on July 5, 1957, in Tbilisi, Georgian SSR, and studied in Yerevan, Armenian SSR at the Armenian State Institute of Physical Culture.[3] He is married to a skating coach, Vera, and moved to the United States in 2000.[5][6] They have a son – a pianist born in the mid-1980s, and a daughter, who is an artist.[7] On July 23, 2019, Arutyunyan and his wife became U.S. citizens.[8][9][10]

Skating career[edit]

Arutyunyan's mother brought him to an ice rink after watching figure skating on television; he was skating regularly in Tbilisi by the age of seven.[11] He coached young skaters in Yerevan from 1976.[12] In the 1980–1981 season, one of his students, Saak Mkhitarian, became the Soviet junior champion and placed 6th at the World Junior Championships. Soviet officials then invited Arutyunyan to Moscow, where he worked on his teaching certification and became an assistant to Tatiana Tarasova.[11]

Around 2000 or 2001, Arutyunyan joined the Ice Castle International Training Center, in Lake Arrowhead, California.[11][2][4] In August 2013, he relocated to the East West Ice Palace in Artesia, California.[5][13] He collaborates with his wife, Vera Arutyunyan, and Nadezda Kanaeva.[5] He moved to Lakewood ICE in Lakewood, California on June 25, 2016.[14] His current students include:

His former students include:

As of January 2021, Rafael teaches many smaller children at Great Park Ice. He is the soul manager of Raf Team.


  1. ^ "Coaching Staff". Ice Castle International Training Center. Archived from the original on May 18, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ a b "2013 - 2014 Coach/Instructor Compliance" (PDF). U.S. Figure Skating. April 25, 2014. p. 9.
  3. ^ a b Арутюнян Рафаэл Владимирович [Rafael Vladimirovich Arutyunyan] (in Russian). solovieff.ru. Archived from the original on April 26, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b c Hersh, Philip (December 25, 2003). "New coach helps energize Kwan". Chicago Tribune.
  5. ^ a b c Rutherford, Lynn (March 17, 2015). "Arutunian making up for lost time with Wagner". IceNetwork.com.
  6. ^ a b "Sergei VORONOV: 2009/2010". International Skating Union. Archived from the original on November 2, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link) CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  7. ^ Brunn, Larry (4 September 2003). "Top Russian Figure Skating Coach at Ice Castle". Mountain News (Lake Arrowhead, California). Archived from the original on 19 December 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "World famous figure skating coach Rafael Arutyunyan to become U.S. citizen at L.A. Convention Center". ABC7.com. July 23, 2019. Retrieved January 25, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Nick McCarvel (August 5, 2019). "With Congrats from a Global Team of Skaters, Rafael Arutunian Becomes U.S. Citizen". USFigureSkatingFanZone.com. Retrieved January 25, 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services: Rafael Arutyunyan and his wife, Vera, had their own moment in the spotlight when they took the Oath of Allegiance in Los Angeles, California
  11. ^ a b c Pinchevsky, Tal (February 23, 2018). "A Soviet Figure Skating Coach and His Unlikely Path to U.S. Olympic Glory". ozy.com.
  12. ^ Mkrtchyan, Vadim (March 25, 2008). Армянский тренер готовит чемпионов мира [Armenian coach prepares World champions]. Golos Armenii (in Russian). Archived from the original on January 14, 2013. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "Staff Coaches". East West Ice Palace. Archived from the original on April 14, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Renowned Figure Skating Coach Rafael Arutyunyan to Make The Rinks – Lakewood Ice Main Training Facility Leading Into the 2018 Olympic Games". Anaheim Ducks / NHL. June 13, 2016. Archived from the original on June 14, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ a b The Skating Lesson [@SkatingLesson] (August 23, 2016). "Mariah Bell and Romain Ponsart have moved to Rafael" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  16. ^ Ilina, Alexandra (June 20, 2016). "Michal Brezina wechselt zu Rafael Arutyunyan". Long Program.
  17. ^ "Biography". www.isuresults.com. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  18. ^ "Rippon Announces Coaching Change". U.S. Figure Skating. September 11, 2012.
  19. ^ "Ashley Wagner Announces Coaching Team". U.S. Figure Skating. June 25, 2013.
  20. ^ Simonenko, Andrei; Vorobieva, Maria (January 5, 2014). "Rafael Arutyunyan: Gaishniku skazal: "Ya ne pil, ya yedu Mishel Kvan trenirovat"" Рафаэл Арутюнян: Гаишнику сказал: "Я не пил, я еду Мишель Кван тренировать" [Rafael Arutyunyan told traffic cop: "I didn't drink, I'm driving to train Michelle Kwan"]. rsport.ru (in Russian).
  21. ^ a b Gallagher, Jack (May 10, 2016). "Mao mystery finally solved eight years later". The Japan Times.
  22. ^ "Korpi to train with Arutunian in Lake Arrowhead". IceNetwork.com. August 23, 2013.
  23. ^ Solari, Chris (June 15, 2015). "Olympics on mind, ice skater Hannah Miller off to California". Lansing State Journal. Lansing State Journal.
  24. ^ Brannen, Sarah S. (August 3, 2016). "The Inside Edge: Aaron, Settlage announce split U.S. pair parts ways after seven years together; Hicks changes coaches". IceNetwork.com.