Saturday, December 14, 2013
Olympic hopefuls return to Oxford
Brother-sister duo praised for innovation and energy
by Loretta Winston
Todd and Robin Maxwell of Oxford announced today that their children, Cameron and Caitlin, will travel to Boston, Massachusetts, in January to participate in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Boston.
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The siblings have just returned from Colorado Springs, Colorado, where they were participating in an intensive training program for pairs and ice dancing. They plan to spend the holidays with family and friends before leaving for Boston.
Making their mark
Both Cameron and Caitlin Maxwell were born and raised in Oxford and attended Oxford public schools. They burst onto the international ice dancing scene five years ago when they won the South Atlantic United States Championship held in York, Pennsylvania. Judges for the competition interviewed afterwards described the Maxwell siblings as "the future of ice dancing" and "downright dazzling talents."
From that moment, the Maxwell siblings were quickly becoming world-famous for their innovative and energetic brand of ice-dancing, and their hopes for a spot on the 2014 World Team and 2014 Olympic Team looked bright going into the 2013 National Championships in Omaha, Nebraska, in January.
Dealing with disappointment
The duo's Sochi Olympic hopes took a big hit after a devastating 25th place finish in Omaha. The Maxwells' program began well, their intricate step sequences flawless and the artistry evident, but disaster was just around the corner.
As they swept into the preparation for their compulsory sit spins, the freak misfortune that haunts all figure skaters overtook Caitlin Maxwell. She lost her edge and crashed to the ice, sliding into Cameron and sending him sprawling.
While the pair made a valiant effort to recover and skate the remainder of their program, they were clearly shaken. Stumbling and at times off beat through the remainder of their program, they missed additional required elements, resulting in the disappointing finish.
The television coverage of the championships showed the Maxwells in great distress after the final scores were announced. Caitlin Maxwell, shaking and in tears, had to be helped off the ice. Cameron Maxwell could not do much more than shake his head in disbelief. The pair even made hints at the after-event press conference that they might retire and pursue college degrees instead of, in Cameron Maxwell's words, "putting everything we have into skating and getting nothing in return."
Todd and Robin Maxwell say, since that setback, their children have reviewed their options and priorities and reaffirmed their dedication to the sport. Todd Maxwell, a former champion himself, described their new philosophy as "an attitude of 'I can make this sport work for me, instead of feeling that I have to work for the sport,' which has made a remarkable difference in their outlook about ice skating and life in general."
Even with their new mindset, the pair have continued to struggle through the 2013 championship series to regain their position, but they go into Boston with high hopes of qualifying for the 2014 Sochi Games.
According to Robin Maxwell, "Cameron and Caitlin mean the world to Todd and me, and we're so proud of their success and the way they've persevered in the face of challenges over the last year."
"I know the sense of happiness and fulfillment that being one of the best in the world in figure skating can bring," said Todd Maxwell. "It's clear that Cameron and Caitlin have the drive and the ability to be the best, and Robin and I will do whatever it takes to make sure they reach that pinnacle."
The Maxwells home ice training facility is the skating club at the Ice Chalet in Memphis under the instruction of coaches Michael Morton and John Paul Kennedy and choreographers Robin Pullman and Allison Gallagher. Their father Todd, who won a gold medal at the 1990 National Championships, served as the duo's head coach until the 2006-2007 season.