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Grinkov, 28, Collapses and Dies : Figure skating: He’s stricken, apparently by a heart attack, while practicing with his wife, Gordeeva.

NEWSDAY

Sergei Grinkov, half of the legendary Russian ice-skating pair of Gordeeva and Grinkov, collapsed and died Monday, apparently from a heart attack, while practicing with his wife in Lake Placid, N.Y. He was 28.

According to a statement from International Management Group spokeswoman Linda Dozoretz, the pair were practicing at the Olympic Center Monday morning when Grinkov collapsed while lifting his wife, Ekaterina Gordeeva. His coach, Marina Zueva, was the first to reach the couple, and paramedics arrived within minutes.

Grinkov was immediately transported to Adirondack Medical Center, where the medical staff worked on him for about one hour. He was pronounced dead at 12:28 p.m. EST.

The statement lists the apparent cause of death as “unexpected sudden cardiac arrest,” and Dozoretz said a more specific diagnosis was not available as of Monday night.

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Gordeeva and Grinkov, known as G&G; in the skating world, dramatically changed the sport of pairs skating with their unmistakable blend of daring athleticism and artistic elegance. They won Olympic gold medals in 1988 and 1994 and were World Pair Champions from 1986-90.

As the most recognizable Russian skating pair, they were easy to spot because of their difference in height (Grinkov at 5-foot-11 was 10 inches taller than his wife), and their ability to look even more seamless and perfect as the years went by. Their signature move was a quadruple twist, but fans noted Gordeeva’s signature smile of affection every time she performed with her husband.

Gordeeva and Grinkov were rehearsing in Lake Placid for the Stars On Ice tour, which was to begin Dec. 27 in Oakland. The first preview was scheduled for Saturday in Lake Placid. This was their second year with the tour, which includes other world-class skaters such as Scott Hamilton, Kurt Browning and Rosylnn Sumners.

Grinkov was born Feb. 4, 1967, in Russia. He met Ekaterina (nicknamed Katia) at a Moscow skating club when she was 4 and he was 8. Their coaches paired them in 1982, when she was 11 and he was 15.

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They won their first world championship in 1986 and two years later won the gold at Calgary. After turning professional after the 1988 Games, they began dating in 1989 and were married April 21, 1991. Their only child, Daria, was born in September 1992.

When a change in the rules allowed professionals to return to the Olympics, Gordeeva and Grinkov won another gold medal at the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Both completed their studies at the Moscow Institute of Physical Culture and Sports, and were frequent headliners in competitions and exhibitions throughout the United States.

An autopsy is planned for this morning.


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