Taking our place on the stage: Danielle O'Brien's Blog

17 May 2013

BLOG: Danielle O'Brien is a six-time National Ice Dance Champion alongside her partner Greg Merriman. The duo are in a tough battle to qualify for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games. Follow their journey here...

February 7th 2014: There is no better way to imagine my 24th birthday than marching under the Australian flag in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony!

With 266 days to go and a mere 131 days until the Olympic Qualification Event for Figure Skating, the countdown is well and truly underway and we are ready to take our place on the Olympic stage.

I say ‘we’ as I am one half of Australia’s most successful ice dance team with Greg Merriman. We are 6 time Australian Ice Dance Champions, 5 time World Championship representatives and the only Australian ice dance team to qualify for the final and place top 20 at a World Championship event.

At 23 (Danielle) and 24 (Greg), we have been skating together since 1998... 15 years! Having competed internationally since 2002, the Olympics became a reality for us in 2008 when we moved to the senior ranks in an attempt to qualify for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. That dream was very close to reality in 2009 at the Olympic Qualification competition until the day before the event when Greg was hospitalised in Oberstdorf, Germany with Pericarditis- an infection in the sac surrounding the heart. Heartbreakingly, we were forced to withdraw from the event and without hesitation we set our sights beyond Vancouver and onto Sochi. 

In 2011 we made the permanent move from our hometown of Sydney to train at Detroit Skating Club (Detroit, Michigan) under 5 of the world’s best coaches; Pasquale Camerlengo, Angelika Krylova, Massimo Scali, Natalia Deller & Elizabeth Swallow. At Detroit Skating Club we are surrounded by some of the best figure skaters in the world and the opportunity to share the ice with 12 elite ice dance teams day in day out inspires and motivates us to be the strongest team we possibly can.

As June approaches, we are currently in our off season which involves developing 2 new programs which we will perform in competition when the season begins in August 2013.

We were very excited to receive the news this week that Australia will host an Ice Skating Union (ISU) International Competition to be held August 20-22 giving us the opportunity to compete at home before contending for our Olympic spot at the 2013 Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany (September 26-28). 

We will keep you updated on our new programs in our next post.

In the mean time follow us on Twitter @OBrienMerriman

D & G