Dmitry Zharkov and Olga Kulikova (RUS)
Dmitry and Olga started their career together 15 years ago, in 2003. They had their first ever IDSF (pre-WDSF) GrandSlam Standard competition that same year in Moscow, Russia, and they reached top 48. In 2010 Dmitry and Olga participated their first World Championship Standard in Wetzlar, Germany, making it through to the final and being ranked to the 6th place.
The first big title for the couple was 2011 World Cup in Vancouver, Canada, and they took it home by winning all five dances in the final. That title was the beginning of something great. Greater than anyone in WDSF Standard dancing has ever reached.
Since May 2013 Dmitry and Olga have been on podium, in top 3, in every single competition they have taken part in. By the IWGA World Games in July 2017 the couple had two World Championship titles, in 2015 and 2016 and two European Championship titles, in 2016 and 2017. In the World Games Dmitry and Olga were ranked second.
Since then the couple has won all their competitions.
Fast-forwarding to October 2018. WDSF GrandSlam Moscow. After three World Championship titles and three European Championship titles the couple is at their home ground at the last qualifying leg of the 2018 GrandSlam Series. It is also the last competition before the World Championship, which will be held in three weeks. It would be their big chance to win the fourth World Championship title, an achievement no one else has ever reached in Standard dancing.
During the last dance of the final, solo quickstep, Dmitry feels something on his foot. He bites his lip, ignores the pain and finishes the last dance and the competition successfully. They win again. The crowd is blown away of the couple’s performance, and the Dance of Honour, a beautiful waltz, ends in tears. Emotions are running high for these two, it has been magical.
After the competition he can’t walk. He doesn’t know how he finished the competition at all. There are big problems with his foot. They tell him that he should rest for minimum of two months, without any kind of sport, and not to put the leg on the floor. He is supposed to use crutches for three weeks.
But that would mean to lose his and her opportunity to be at the World Standard. An opportunity to make history.
Three weeks later. 2018 World Championship Standard in Vienna. Dmitry has found help and overcomes the pain. They seem strong and as the competition continues they are looking more confident than ever. They are sliding on the dance floor like feathers in the wind. They are smiling and seemingly enjoying it. All the difficulties are in the past and they are showing their best, their magic.
After the last dance of the final, solo Viennese Waltz, Dmitry and Olga receive a standing ovation. They stay on the dance floor, thanking the crowd longer than usual. Applause is continuing longer than ever. They know what has just happened. After the scores are shown it is true. Dmitry and Olga have secured their fourth World Championship title. Olga can’t hold the emotions, they have done it! They are looking proudly at each other. Dmitry takes Olga to his arms and carries her off the dance floor.
At the prize presentation ceremony while other couples are announced, Dmitry and Olga are holding hands, standing close and looking at each other, smiling and whispering. As the winners are announced and the evening is ending to an emotional Dance of Honour, many have tears in their eyes for what they have just been witnessing. A moment that will be remembered. A moment in history.
Because they have made history, together. They dance together.