Did you know anything about Sara Hurtado and Adrià Díaz before the 2010-11 season? I didn't, either - but they were hard to miss at the 2011 Europeans. Although they were nowhere near the top ten, let alone the podium, the first ice dancers to represent Spain gave a very entertaining performance in the FD.
Hurtado and Díaz had made the switch to ice dance just three years earlier, and at the time they were still training in Spain (they have since changed coaches and relocated to Montreal). What made their program especially noteworthy was the first lift: they are not the first ice dance team to do a reverse lift, but I can't think of any others who have done it as a scoring lift under the IJS. The judges were suitably impressed, and the duo earned a level 4 and positive GOEs.
I don't know how she was able to breath with that thing around her neck.
In an interview with Ice-Dance.com, Díaz said that their cool lift had been an accidental discovery, or, as Hurtado explained: "We were just playing. Suddenly I grab his legs, he goes, 'Sara, catch me!' I catch him and he goes, 'Wow, we could do that as a lift! What if you let go of your hands and we go in a straight line?' Our coach looked at it and said it would work. It took some time for Adri to get in the right place on my knees. He was scared to let himself go."
While not the best technicians (hardly a surprise, with their limited experience), Hurtado has star quality and Díaz is fun to watch, too. Their progress seems to have stalled the past couple of seasons, but they did manage a personal best at Worlds, so maybe they are getting back on track... I do hope that they can improve their skills and elements, and perhaps some day come close to the achievements of fellow Team Spain member Javier Fernandez.
The concept for the "that's entertainment" posts was explained in the first entry in the series. If you have ideas and further suggestions, please feel free to share them!