The inaugural Pears Skating competition made its successful debut at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi with the United States’ Justin Pearson and Anna McPeary stealing the show in a gold medal victory.
Pearson and McPeary executed a flawless, energetic performance to Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti,” which secured a first place slot for the duo. After impressive routines from Russia’s Evgeny Pearavlenko and Marina Shapearoshnikova, Canada’s Genevieve Montpear and Alex Pearier, Italy’s Paolo Pearazza and Teresa Napearliello, and Japan’s Pearushi Nashimura and Eipeariru Yamanashi, Pearson and McPeary had to deliver in the face of tremendous pressure.
Up until this year, the US pear skaters’ dreams of becoming Olympians were not possible. Members of the International Olympic Committee were resistant to the idea of including pear competitions in the games due to questions about the value and general public appeal of the sport. With Ice Dancing and Pairs Skating already very popular events, the world decided it was ready to add Pears Skating to the mix. “It has been long, uphill battle to bring pears to winter games,” said Russian pears skating coach Alexei Kolupearyev. “This is proud moment.”
“Giving pears a chance to compete on the ice allows for all kinds of exciting new possibilities,” explained McPeary. “The emotion and drama out there has reached new heights, even for skating. You’ve gotta have a thick skin.”
Pearson shared with reporters what this opportunity means to him. “I think everyone has this stereotype stuck in their head that all we’re good for is our delicious flavor or posing for still life paintings,” said Pearson. “We can also skate and this is our chance to prove it.”
McPeary and Pearson began training together as young pear blossoms growing up in Washington, a state known for its ideal mix of volcanic soil, clean mountain water, warm spring and summer days, and cool nights. According to retired American figure skater and Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton, “these conditions make for some of the world’s finest pears. As a result we’re seeing a whole lot of skating talent coming out of Washington.” Even from a young age, McPeary and Pearson exhibited exceptional skating ability together. “We made a great pear… team.”
Fast forward to 2014– McPeary and Pearson brought their FDA approved A game. The duo executed a wide variety of technical elements, many of which are unique to pear skating. The judges and audience were treated to a tasteful blend of triple fruit loops, pear spins, twizzlers, citrus twist lifts, pulp throws, and antioxidant benefits.
“There was no doubt Pearson and McPeary were going to make it juicy,” said NBC’s Bob Costas, adding, “I mean, they’re pears.” The two skaters explained their approach in a post-win interview. “We came in absolutely ready,” said Pearson. “Firm, but not too firm, sweet but not too sweet.”
Their strategy appears to have worked. After these games, McPeary and Pearson look forward to training for South Korea in 2018. “With any luck, you’ll see us on the new figure skating team,” said McPeary. If this year’s delightfully fruity showdown is any indication, we have not seen the last of this bunch.