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March 2008

Glastris takes ice for Greece


They've been recruiting her to compete for them ever since she was old enough to tie her own figure skates. Now Georgia Glastris is ready to represent the country where her ancestors have their roots.

Glastris, a 15-year-old from Winnetka and a sophomore at New Trier High School, will represent Greece Feb. 29 at the 2008 ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships set for Sofia, Bulgaria.

It will mark only the second international competition ever for Glastris and her first on behalf of the Hellenic Ice Sports Federation of Greece.

Glastris and coaches Maria Jezak-Athey, Sergui Telenkov and Trish Cazeau recently decided that the timing is right for her to take the next step in her career and travel overseas. She finished seventh at the United States Junior Intermediate Championships last year, but a trip to Switzerland in 2005 was her only prior international meet.

Ironically, that competition coincided with a family trip to Greece. Georgia still hasn't set foot in the country she'll compete for later this month, but it's not uncommon for American athletes -- particularly skaters and basketball players -- to take an international path like this.

"I'm 50 percent Greek and I still have cousins there," said Glastris, who does have a Greek passport. "And my Dad (William) is 100 percent Greek. I am planning to go there soon.

"This is such a great honor and it's so special for me. They've been contacting my Dad since I was about 6 years old and for the past three years I'd say they've seriously been after me.

"I've decided along with my coaches that it would be a good experience for me. I've gotten better and I'm working harder, and I think the timing is good for me as far as school. I'm really looking forward to this experience. It will be amazing to go there and compete against the best in the world."

Planned elements in Glastris' program include a triple toe-double toe combination, triple salchow-double toe combination, and double axel. Her short program music is "Call to All Nations" by Mickey Hart, and her long program is skated to "Sabre Dance" from Aram Khachaturian's ballet Gayane.

"The goal is ultimately to qualify for the Olympics, and there are two paths you can take as a skater," said William Glastris. "One is to compete on the Junior Grand Prix circuit in Europe and get enough points to qualify that way, but obviously that would require a lot of travel for Georgia since those events are in Europe.

"The other path is to compete in U.S. and international events, qualify for the World Championships and finish in the top 24 and get an automatic berth.”

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