Canadian pair champion Dylan Moscovitch admits he was taken a bit by surprise when his partnership with Kirsten Moore-Towers dissolved last month, after the charismatic twosome finished fourth at the world championships, and third in the free skate.
“I guess we were wanting different things,” he said by phone this week. “I guess we are at different points in our lives and careers. And we decided to go our separate ways.”
Moscovitch had absolutely been committed to compete with Moore-Towers for another four years – but he did not want to still be competing when he was 37, the age he’d be if he went for an Olympics eight years from now.
Still, he’d like to continue for another four years and compete at the world level – if he finds the right partner. He has a couple of tryouts coming up, although at his age and level of achievement, it isn’t easy to find a new partner. “It all depends….” he said.
Moscovitch doesn’t really want to rebuild from scratch. He doesn’t really want to take on a really young female partner, although Hao Zhang did so a couple of years ago, after Dan Zhang retired: she had been his partner for the Olympic silver medal win in Turin in 2006. Zhang was pushing 30 (depending on what you believe his age really is) when he teamed up with 15-year-old Cheng Peng and they fumbled and bumbled to finish 11th at their first world championship in London, Ont. Last season, they improved immensely, and could be a force in future.
Their age discrepencies meant that Peng had to skip the valuable experience from Junior Grand Prix events; you could see the nerves kick in at her first world championship. And now, Zhang is at an age where he might want to move on: he just got married in China, after secretly dating a non-skater who was actually instrumental in helping Peng settle into the new skating partnership. Still, there is talk that Zhang wants to do a FIFTH Olympics. Working under 2010 Olympic champ Hongbo Zhao, Zhang has never looked so expressive. He’s on an upper trajectory with his new partner, if his body holds up to the punishment of pair skating. His new wife will support him, if he wishes to continue, it is said.
Moscovitch has already endured a similar May-December situation, when he skated with younger sister, Kyra, nine years his junior. For years, Kyra was too young to compete in senior events, Dylan too old to do junior. They missed out on a ton of international experiences. He’s been a guiding figure to all of his partners, the experienced, calm one who had the steady hand on the rudder. He’s already been there, done that.
Moore-Towers, partnered with Moscovitch, was quickly successful immediately after they paired up in the spring of 2009, when she was 17 and he was 25. The quick success stressed her out; she had skated for one year at the junior level. “When we started, Dylan took on the role of calming me down and making sure I was always comfortable in my surroundings,” she said. (Read my book “Skating to Sochi” which has all the details of pairs that competed at the 2014 Olympics. Available online at Lulu.com, also in ebook.) Moore-Towers was relatively new to pair skating when she hooked up with Moscovitch. So yes, Moscovitch has been there, done that.
Moscovitch says he feels very lucky to have done what he has done: winning an Olympic silver medal in the team event with a powerfully good skate on the biggest stage you could imagine. Winning the Olympics was a childhood dream. He’s not quite there yet. There’s still a bit of unfinished business.
In the meantime, even if he continues to skate for the next four years, Moscovitch will start to dabble in things that will give him his new future. He has some speaking engagements lined up in Israel, and within the Jewish community. He’d like to take an acting class because he’s always been interested in it. A side benefit: it will help his skating. He’d like to go back to school. He’ll look into a lot of different things, to see “what I like versus what I think I like,” he said.
Moscovitch can contribute much to a new partnership: the lifts he did with Moore-Towers were the most difficult and awe-inspiring in the world. Under pressure, Moscovitch was supreme.
But the end of a wonderful partnership is just that. “It is what it is,” he said. “We both have to do what’s best for ourselves.”