Carolane Soucisse (28) and Shane Firus (29) will carve out their names in the history of Irish figure skating as they will become the first ice dance team to represent Ireland at the ISU European Figure Skating Championships which this year are being held in Kaunas, Lithuania (10-14 January).
Soucisse and Firus became Irish national champions in June 2023 and made their international debut for Ireland at the Bosphorus Cup in Istanbul, Turkey last month. They train in Toronto, Canada with their coaches Carol Lane, Jon Lane, Juris Rasgulajevs and Marc-Andre Servant.
Soucisse and Firus will initially perform at Europeans in the rhythm dance which begins at 10:00 (Irish time) on Friday, 12 January. Thirty-three teams from 21 nations will battle it out for the 20 spots available in the free dance on Saturday, 13 January. The competition will be keenly followed particularly in the Model County as Firus’s maternal grandmother hails from Gorey, County Wexford.
“We can’t wait to perform in such a big event,” Soucisse said. “Even though we’ve never done a European Championships, it really feels like home. We are super excited to see the crowd and meet new fans.”
“We are beyond excited to represent Ireland for the first time at such a prestigious event,” Firus said. “We are really looking forward to experiencing everything Europeans has to offer, as everyone we talked to before has said it was their favourite event of the season.”
Europeans are the oldest ISU championship event having first been contested in 1891. Ireland made its debut at the championships in 2009 when Clara Peters skated in the women’s event. Peters also participated in the 2010, 2011 and 2012 editions. In 2018, Conor Stakelum became the first Irish male figure skater to perform at the championships and he subsequently made appearances in 2019, 2020 and 2022. Sam McAllister represented Ireland at last year’s Europeans in Espoo, Finland.
In order to earn entry to the championships, eligible skaters must attain a minimum technical element score in both of their programmes during the current or preceding season. The championships are held annually and this is the first time they take place in Lithuania.
The ISU European Figure Skating Championships will be broadcast on the Skating ISU YouTube channel. Geographical restrictions may apply. The results of the championships can be followed on the event results page and on social media via the #EuroFigure and #FigureSkating hashtags.