Boston Herald, February 5, 2014 –

In an ivory Quonset hut on Soldiers Field Road, a Massachusetts pairs skating renaissance is taking shape.

Often considered the least successful of figure skating disciplines in the United States, pairs skating may be known to many through pop culture, but it’s rarely tried by any. An American pairs team has not won an Olympic medal since 1988, but thanks to the legacy of the discipline in Massachusetts, and the high-level of coaching it has bred, that fate may soon change.

Cranston, R.I.’s Marissa Castelli and Sudbury’s Simon Shnapir, 2014 U.S. Olympians and two-time national champions, lead a group of prominent pairs who train at that Quonset hut in Brighton, the home of the Skating Club of Boston. Their coach, Bobby Martin, has been coaching full-time only since 2000, but his developmental theory and focused training have caught the attention of skaters across the country.

“What Bobby has been able to do is outstanding,” said 2005 U.S. pairs champion and Attleboro native Garrett Lucash, who now coaches alongside Martin and his coaching partner, Carrie Wall, at the Skating Club of Boston. “Now there is a great platform. Simon and Marissa’s success will show young skaters that this training is available in Boston.”

“He’s a great coach,” said Sheryl Franks, who worked alongside Martin at the Colonial Figure Skating Club in Boxboro and previously coached Castelli and Shnapir. “He brings the other aspects of life into the teams who work with him. He is a great human being.”

Castelli and Shnapir are not the first pair from Massachusetts to find success, but they are one of the first that has reached a high level of success while training locally. One of the last U.S. teams to win an Olympic medal in pairs (a silver in 1984), Burlington’s Kitty and Peter Carruthers, relocated to Delaware for training. Franks, a 1980 Olympian, spent most of her career skating with Michael Botticelli in Lexington and Brighton. But when it came down to their Olympic season, they relocated to Lake Placid, N.Y.

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