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Viktoria Shklover/Valdis Mintals -
"She is a strong little cookie!" said by British Eurosport commentators at Europeans 2000

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All screenstills from 2000 European Championships long program. Thanks Ritti for saving these for me

More photos of Vika and Valdis


BIRTHDATE: Viktoria 18th of January 1984
Valdis 11th of December 1979
COACH: Irina Kononova from summer 2000. Get a helping hand from L. Velikova (RUS). Former coach (1999/2000) Anna Levandi (formerly Kondrashova. However, I have yet to see Kononova actually coaching this pair. You may say they're pretty much training on their own. They get a teeny bit of help from Liudmilla Velikova

I feel sorry for Vika and Valdis. They have been without a real coach from the spring and it shows (both from their skating and results). Too bad for them because they really looked like they had future together. Viktoria has learned bad technique on jumps and most of the time Anna Levandi was coaching them, she made her relearn her jumps. The results started to show last year when Vika landed her first triples cleanly and landed their throw triples. End of last season they started working on the throw 2 Axel. However, due to some intrigues and money problems Anna Levandi stopped coaching them. The reason was that the sports school stopped paying her for coaching the pair. Why did the school stop - that is a big mystery but with some irony you might say they thought Levandi was doing too well and a lot of jealousy rose from other coaches and skaters. Obviously Vika and Valdis aren't wealthy enough to pay for the coaching on their own (I am not sure if they're even allowed by the school to do so). They have no sponsors either since skating is one of the least appreciated sports in Estonia. The school assigned Irina Kononova to be their coach but Kononova has no idea how to coach a pair and I haven't her talking to that pair during practices. In all due respect, Kononova is quite a good coach for singles skaters though - 2 of her girls are doing quite well in Novice cirquit. The hopeful news is that the sports school will exist no longer from the summer 2001. Hopefully Vika and Valdis will be able to continue to train with Anna Levandi then since she really took time for them and all that hard work and their talent should not go waste.
Valdis has kind of grown out his hair a little bit, so it looks all in one lenght. I personally think he looked better the old way, but it's his hair!

Vika and Valdis finished 3rd in their first assignment in 2000/2001 - JGP in St.Gervais, France. Not too good taking into account they lost to US Novice champions. Unfortunately there is no review available, so I cannot tell you what exactly went wrong.

Viktoria and Valdis gave a good performance at Worlds 2000 but I assume their youth and the amount of competitions they had in the previous month and a half (3) did not let them really shine through.

Viktoria and Valdis got 9th place at the 2000 World Junior Championships. This will again allow Estonia to send 2 junior teams to Junior Worlds next year but we don't have any other pairs teams. However, I think Vika and Valdis are capable of much more but they are just tired. They had European Championships from 7-13th of February, then Tallinn Cup the next weekend and Junior Worlds in 2 weeks after that. And we are going to have senior Worlds in 2 weeks time too! I seriously doubt they will be able to have enough rest and place anywhere high at senior Worlds. And it's not their fault at all. ESU should learn from this experience and give them more time to prepare the next season. 10 competitions a season is a bit too much in my opinion (at least for a developing junior team).

Viktoria and Valdis finished 10th at their first senior European Championships, allowing Estonia to send 2 pairs to Eurpeans next year. I wonder how long it will take till we import a pair or part of one. They skated a magnificent long program with some mistakes but the crowd loved it so much that they booed at the judges low rankings!!! This placement is a good motivation for the future.

Viktoria and Valdis started skating together only in fall/autumn 1998. In the spring Viktoria was still skating with a partner from Ukraine and they were competing for Ukraine. Valdis was then skating for Estonia with Ekaterina Nekrassova. They even competed against each other in spring 1998 in Tallinn where Viktoria and her old partner won and Valdis and Ekaterina had to withdraw because of a nasty fall in the short program. During summer Valdis and Viktoria started to skate together for Estonia and they did very well on the Junior World Championships! This pair looks very sweet because Valdis is very gentle towards his tiny partner. He calls her "my little Vika". Still, the height difference does not make this pair look weird.
I can honestly say this is my favourite pair! They have wonderful pairs elements. They, however, still need to work on step sequence unision, throw jumps and solo jumps. The solo jump in their short program 1999/2000 is a triple toe.
Victoria lived in Valdis' apartement while he was in the army. She must have felt a bit lonely there, though, since she was only 16 years old and had to be away from home for such long periods. At times her Mother comes to visit her. She does not go to school right now but instead studies at home and will take examinations in the spring in her school. Kind of distance-learning I would say.

Viktoria Shklover and Valdis Mintals have taken part and placed the following in these international competitions:

Valdis Mintals has placed the following on international competitions with his previous partner Ekaterina Nekrassova:

Their programs:

Season Short program Long program Exhibition program
2000/2001 Fiddler on the Roof - black and white costumes The "Grease" soundtrack - she a simple yellow dress he in black
1999/2000 from movie "Gremlins" The "Grease" soundtrack Rock Around the Clock - him wearing baby blue outfit with a blue wig and her all in pink with a huge bow in her hair!
Links to articles about Viktoria and Valdis: Links to places where Viktoria and Valdis are mentioned:

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