ELLENTON -- The Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex will be the home of Olympic pairs figure skaters for at least one more year.
Amanda Evora and Mark Ladwig announced Tuesday they will continue international competition during the 2011-12 season and train in Ellenton under longtime coach Jim Peterson.
“They are ‘staying in’ because of their love of the sport, a desire to better themselves as competitors and to ultimately reach their potential as athletes,” Peterson said in a statement e-mailed to Southwest Florida Figure Skating Club members. “Amanda and Mark are amazing ambassadors for our sport and a positive force within our club and skating school.”
After a long season that culminated in a disappointing 11th-place finish last month at the International Skating Union World Figure Skating Championships in Moscow, the 2010 Olympians took time off to reassess their future together.
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They met with Peterson earlier this week and decided to push on in the hopes of improving their world ranking, which stands at 11, and win a national title.
“I know after worlds this year, I had to consider a lot of people in this decision,” said Evora, who is engaged to former U.S. pairs skater Jeremy Barrett. “After getting their support and considering what I really wanted in my heart, I decided to continue to skate.”
The announcement comes amid an upheaval in U.S. pairs figure skating.
Also Tuesday, Evora and Ladwig’s former training partner, Caydee Denney, announced she is joining forces with John Coughlin, who split from Caitlin Yankowskas earlier this month after the pair won a national title and finished sixth at worlds.
Denney plans to move from Florida to Colorado Springs to train with Coughlin.
Denny’s former partner, Barrett, retired and started a coaching career.
Evora said she and Ladwig will begin training soon for their next competition, which will be a Grand Prix series event in October.
While it is likely Tuesday’s announcement means the skaters will try to qualify for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Evora said there are no definite plans beyond this season.
“Mark and I have always had commitments on a yearly basis,” she said.
Evora and Ladwig finished 10th at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. At the time, Denney and Barrett, who finished 13th at the Olympics, also trained at Ellenton, meaning all four pairs figure skaters who competed for the United States in the Olympics called Manatee County home.
Denney and Barrett later switched coaches and moved to Miami. They finished third, one spot behind Evora and Ladwig, at the nationals in January.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report