Dani and Greg hang up the skates11 April 2014
FIGURE SKATING: Australian Ice Dancing pair Danielle O'Brien and Greg Merriman finally reached the Olympic stage at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.
They had missed their shot at qualifying for the Vancouver 2010 Games when Merriman was hospitalised with Pericarditis - inflammation of the sac around the heart- and they had to skip the qualifying tournament.
Four years on Sochi was all that they had hoped for- and more.
After successfully achieving their goal of qualifying for the final (with a season's best short program score), they gave a strong and entertaining free program, dancing a circus-inspired routine full of playfulness and enthusiasm.
Their combined score of 128.53 placed the pair 20th in what would be their one and only Olympic campaign.
Having skated together since 1998, O'Brien celebrated her 24th birthday the day the Sochi Games opened. Two months later they announced their retirement from competitive skating.
Here is their statement as posted on Facebook today:
Like they say, all good things come to an end and as the 2013/14 season draws to a close so too does our 12 year competitive career for Australia.
This year we earned the honour of becoming Australian Olympians and having received so much support from around the world we would like to say a big THANK YOU for your words of encouragement and best wishes!
None of this could have been achieved without the support of our coaching team over the years! To our first coach Monica MacDonald, thank you for your inspiration, for teaching us to dream big and for your ongoing support over the past 16 years. To the late Andrei Filippov, our encyclopaedia of figure skating, you challenged us to aim higher and we skate for your memory every day. To John Marsden, thanks for kicking our butts into shape off the ice. And Victor Kraatz, thank you for sharing your love of skating and giving us the courage to take the leap to pursue our dreams in Detroit.