After three seasons together, which included three top-seven finishes at the U.S. National Championships, two Grand Prix events, a trip to Four Continents and a bronze medal at Nebelhorn Trophy, U.S. ice dancers Jane Summersett & Todd Gilles have decided to part ways.
Both are planning the next move in their post-competitive-skating careers. While Summersett will return to the upper peninsula of Michigan, Gilles will be heading to Colorado.
“I will be going to be starting school on May 10th,” Summersett said. “As of right now, I’m looking at finishing my undergrad with a degree in biomedical engineering. From there it is hard to say what direction I would like to take it, but I am certain more schooling will be involved.”
“As of right now, I’m planning to move back to Colorado on May 17th,” Gilles said. “In addition to going back to school, I’ll be exploring my other passions, such as music, the mountains (I hope to backpack this summer a lot) and other adventures. I’ll also be producing more of my video-of-the-day blog. I got over 34,000 views of the videos on my blog which is pretty awesome! I even won a Loopaxel award for the best figure skating blog this year!”
Editor’s note: If you’re a fan of “Blips of Todd” video blog and have noticed that updates ceased after March 17th, the blog is on a temporary hiatus until his camera issues are resolved. Stay tuned!
Both plan to stay involved in the sport — from the other side of the boards.
“I will definitely be teaching some while going to school up north, but will also find other ways to stay involved because I love the sport,” Summersett said. “Ice dancing has definitely made my life interesting so far, and it is interesting to say that I am retiring at the age of 22!”
“I will be coaching in Colorado,” Gilles said. “If anyone is in the Colorado Springs area and wants a lesson, I’m your man!”
Though they made their decision a few weeks ago, it has taken time to tie up loose ends and fulfill their commitments. The team performed last month at a show in Alaska and their final days will be spent filming a tutorial for the new short dance for the ISU. Last summer, Summersett & Gilles were part of a selected group of ice dancers who presented sample combination dances in Italy for the ISU, which is planning to reduce the number of competition phases from three to two for the 2010/2011 season. Their dance was selected as a model for the videos.
Though Summersett is hanging up her competitive skates for good, Gilles is keeping an open mind.
“I have considered finding a new partner, and if the right one comes along I may reconsider, but at this time I have to decided to hang up my competitive skating boots,” Gilles said. “I just feel that it is time for my creative juices to be spent elsewhere.”
For their final words, each had messages for those who have followed them.
“I loved skating with Todd,” Summersett said. “I loved the places and people we trained with. I loved the places we travelled to and the people we met on the way, and I hope that anyone in the sport or entering will appreciate it as much as I have. Thank you to everyone!”
“I have loved competing and representing the U.S. internationally and I will be forever grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been given,” Gilles said. “I want to thank everyone out there — my family, old coaches, choreographers, and friends — who have supported my career over the years and the fans who have loved to watch me skate and watch my videos!
“I have loved working with the coaches out here in Detroit; Natalia, Liz, Angelika, and Pasquale will be truly missed. The rink also did everything it could to make us feel comfortable during our move and that was amazing!
“I will definitely remain involved in the sport and this will not be the last you hear of Todd Gilles! Thanks and farewell!”