New spotlight figure-skating couple; Miki Ando and Toronto resident Javier Fernandez

Eh Game
Ando, nearly 27, isn't ready to wear a legit version of this bridal gown she modeled two years ago in Tokyo. But she and fellow skater Javier Fernandez, 23, are head over heels. (Photos: TASS, ChinaFotoPress)
Ando, nearly 27, isn't ready to wear a legit version of this bridal gown she modeled two years ago in Tokyo. But she and fellow skater Javier Fernandez, 23, are head over heels. (Photos: TASS, ChinaFotoPress)

It used to be you made an announcement when you got married, or divorced, or had a baby, or graduated from university, or celebrated an anniversary.

But with Instagram, you tell the world when you've just started dating somebody.

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There are surprisingly few high-profile crossover figure-skating couples around, among the couples that don't skate together in pairs or ice dance, that is. But here's the latest: Javier Fernandez of Spain and two-time world champion Miki Ando of Japan.

style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;">Today is an special day for us, because we want to share our feelings with everyone. The main points of this relationship is, love and build a happy family. We just had started so we hope to have warm support from everybody. With love, Javi and Miki.🌻 Hoy es un día especial para nosotros, queremos compartir nuestros sentimientos con todos. Los puntos principales de esta relación se basan en el amor y el construir una familia feliz. Esto acaba de empezar y solo esperamos tener un cálido apoyo de todo el mundo. Con cariño, Javi y Miki🌻

A photo posted by Javier Fernandez (@javiersk8r) on Nov 11, 2014 at 10:40am PST

Fernandez, 23, is a Spaniard whose previously promising but mid-level career exploded when he moved to Toronto in 2011 to work with Canadian skating legend Brian Orser. World bronze medalist the last two years, Fernandez finished second at Skate Canada last month and won another Grand Prix event in Russia last week.

Ando, who turns 27 next month, won the world championships in 2007 and 2011. She's also that rarest of things – a Japanese figure-skating rebel.

There are few organizations around more rigid than the Japanese skating federation, and few – even by figure-skating standards – that have a stricter idea of what their ideal female figure skater should look like, how she should act, how she should BE. Ando, clearly, didn't much care about that. And she was talented enough to get away with it – even good enough to move away from Japan, which she did in 2005 to train with noted American coach Carol Heiss Jenkins.

A year later, she moved again, to Hackensack, N.J. to train with Nikolai Morozov. That's where this skating soap opera all gets rather "all in the family", with a couple of Canadian twists.

The Belarussian Morozov had three failed marriages – to figure skaters – by the time he was 33 years old. The third one was to Canadian ice-dance star Shae-Lynn Bourne, two years after Morozov coached her and partner Victor Kraatz to a World Championships title in 2003. It lasted less than two years between 2005 and 2007.

He started coaching Ando when she was just 17. A few years in, their personal relationship was revealed.

Morozov also, as it happens, was coaching Fernandez, nearly four years younger, at the same arena.

By 2010, Ando had relocated again, to Latvia.

A year later, Fernandez left Morozov, feeling he wasn't getting enough individual attention, and relocated to Toronto to train with Orser.

Fast forward two years. Ando had a baby girl in April, 2013 – out of wedlock! The Japanese suits were appalled! After being out of competition for two years, she returned to competition to try to make the Sochi Olympics. She didn't make it, and retired at the end of 2013.

Now, she intends to be a coach. And after all these years, she and Fernandez, now grown up, have found each other again.

Clearly, his on-ice fashion sense had a lot to do with it.

Despite the fact that Fernandez wore this in front of millions of people, Ando was still willing to give him a chance. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Despite the fact that Fernandez wore this in front of millions of people, Ando was still willing to give him a chance. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

Miki and Javi. All together now: Awwwwwwww.

Someone should choreograph it into a skating routine. And they could skate it.

One thing they have in common that no other male-female figure-skating couple has? Both can land a quad. Ando's came when she was just 15, at the junior Grand Prix final in 2002. She remains the only female figure skater to have done it.

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