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King and Kemp are Olympic partners for better or worse

December 11, 2013 15:46 pm

Since their engagement at the closing ceremony of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, British figure skating pair David King and Stacey Kemp have certainly been partners for better and for worse.

Last season they endured a catastrophic winter when Kemp tore her posterior cruciate ligament and King sustained an ankle injury.

The couple missed 17 weeks of action between them and became so busy as a result that they’ve yet to walk down the aisle.

The one thing they took away from all the mayhem was that they both still get a buzz from competing.

“At the British Championships last year we were a shell of a team and we were just happy to be on the ice for the European and World Championships,” said King, after the pair were among six British skaters named for Olympic selection today.

“This year we’ve got no real excuses, we worked really hard to get where we’re at right now and we had a great Olympic qualifier. We started early, we prepared early and we peaked at the right time for that.

“That’s the key as athletes. You can’t win every battle, but you’ve got to win the war.”

What’s it like not only competing together but sharing the same bed, bills and washing up?

Not easy, admits King, but he and Kemp must be doing something right as they are constantly in demand for tips on what makes a partnership click.

“We have a few paired teams that ask us for advice because it is very difficult skating and living together,” said the 29-year-old.

“Being a couple means there is a lot to juggle, but we try and separate our personal lives from business.”

Such a philosophy is also adopted by multiple British figure skating champion Jenna McCorkell, whose husband Kevin van der Perren has twice won European bronze as well as clinching the Belgian national title on seven occasions.

“We try not to talk too much about skating in the relationship, we try and have more of a division of that,” said McCorkell, after claiming her record 11th British title in Sheffield.

“But Kevin gives me a lot of advice (about figure skating), which is great.”

It is nearly 20 years since the world of figure skating was rocked by the infamous attack on American women’s champion Nancy Kerrigan, chillingly plotted by her compatriot and rival Tonya Harding.

But in today’s world of skating, King and Kemp are hoping to prove that it pays to be lovers, not fighters.

Kemp’s eyes begin to twinkle when she is asked to recall her first impressions of King, the pair having met as teenagers back in 2003.

“I was only fourteen at the time, so I was still very young and I was shy. I didn’t really know David but things just grew,” said the 25-year-old.

“At the start it was difficult being a couple and skating together but now I think it works to our advantage.

“Usually when we leave the rink, everything stays at the rink. We go home and that’s our own time.”

However, life is not all a bed of roses.

At the recent British Championships in Sheffield, Kemp fell on the ice as the pair unsuccessfully attempted to execute a complex routine and they finished second behind Amani Fancy and Christopher Boyadji.

It broke a run of eight consecutive British titles for King and Kemp but they remain undeterred and the same manoeuvres will be wheeled out at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where they hope to better their 16th place in Vancouver.

“We want to keep the difficulty of our routine but improve the quality of it,” said King.

“We could have done simpler elements and won the British title, but we were looking further ahead. So we had to try those harder elements out,” added Kemp.

With a clear affection for one another so plain to see, their unique understanding will stand them in good stead in Sochi.

“I love the camaraderie we’ve got in the rink and when you’re out on the ice all your worries just melt away,” said King.

“As long as we get our personal best we’ll be happy.”

Their telepathy could transport them to even bigger and better things.

© Sportsbeat 2013