They may not have won any Olympic medals, but Italian figure skating pair Valentina Marchei and Ondrej Hotarek have won a lot of hearts around the world.
After their short skate in the pairs competition, Hotarek went in to high five Marchei, but Marchei didn’t even notice and instead shook hands with their coach. They say some fun and wacky things in interview. And recently, the pair skated to “Barbie Girl” by the Danish group Aqua during the exhibition gala, which is held at every Olympics after figure skating competitions end.
Dressed in very Barbie-esque outfits, Marchei and Hotarek had the crowd cheering. The gala is a time for skaters to perform without the pressure of an Olympic medal on the line. Medal winners and top contenders showcased more fun or unique programs that might never be done in competition. Many big figure skaters have special skates ready for exhibitions like this.
The two aren’t the only ones to choose interesting music at PyeongChang. French skater Mae Berenice Meite skated to Beyonce in the team event, Germany’s Paul Fentz jammed to Game of Thrones and not one but two Olympic programs were set to Star Wars music. The final program of the gala was set to “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman, and every gala skater performed.
Marchei and Hotarek competed for Italy in the team event and finished fourth. In the pairs event, they finished sixth. They both made their Olympic debuts at the 2014 Sochi Games, but Hotarek was skating with a different partner, and Marchei was on the tail end of her singles skating career. Off the ice, Hotarek is surrounded by figure skaters: he’s married to ice dancer Anna Cappellini, who also competes for Italy, and his father was a competitive figure skater.
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