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Trenary Retiring From Amateur Figure Skating

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jill Trenary, one of the last figure skaters from an era when grace was as valued as athleticism, announced Friday that she is retiring from amateur competition.

Trenary, 23, won her third national title and the world championship in 1990, but has since suffered setbacks that made it improbable that she would earn a place on the U.S. Olympic team in February at Albertville, France. She was fourth in 1988 at Calgary.

“People close to me have been amazed that I’ve gone on despite all these little battles along the way,” Trenary said by telephone after a news conference at Colorado Springs. “But I know when it’s time to walk away, and I really feel it’s my time.”

Since winning the world championship less than two years ago, she has had three coaches and two ankle operations. But perhaps the most significant factor in her decision was the change in the sport’s rules this year that eliminated compulsory figures.

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Despite failing to finish first in either freestyle skating phase of the competition, she won the world championship in 1990 because of her edge in the figures. Since then, the sport has been dominated by jumpers such as Japan’s Midori Ito, Americans Kristi Yamaguchi and Tonya Harding, and France’s Surya Bonaly.

“It’s like my father told me, ‘You’re still the best in the sport that you trained for all those years,’ ” Trenary said. “It’s not the same sport I trained for all those years under the Fassis.”

Carlo and Christa Fassi coached Trenary for several years at Colorado Springs, but they moved to Italy after the 1990 World Championships. Trenary followed them, found it not to her liking and returned to Colorado Springs to train under Kathy Casey. After missing this year’s national and world championships because of an ankle injury, Trenary moved to Cleveland to train under Carol Heiss Jenkins.

But Trenary was never the same, failing to land one triple jump in two competitions this winter while continuing to be troubled by her ankle.

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“I’m really amazed by what all these girls are doing technically,” Trenary said. “It’s exciting but, at the same time, I hope we don’t lose the beautiful skating. I have faith the sport will end up being a combination of both.”

Trenary, who is from Minnetonka, Minn., said she hopes to compete professionally.


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