Produced on June 27, 1969, in Odessa, Ukrainian SSR, Viktor Petrenko started serious figure skating training at age 10. Named 1984 World Junior champion, he went to earn a gold medal in the 1992 Winter Olympics and win three European Championships. Petrenko nurtured the career of fellow Ukranian skating champion Oksana Baiul, as well as in modern times has trained such talents as American Johnny Weir. A sickly child, he unwillingly participated in the skating lessons organized by his parents, Tamara and Vassily, although the exercise helped enhance his stamina.
Petrenko’s interest in skating took a turn when he began training with trainer Galina Zmievskaya at age 10. The leap to the senior amount slowed his rise to the top rankings of the sport, however he made an international splash by claiming the bronze medal in the 1988 Winter Olympics in Alberta, Canada, as well as finished third at that year’s European and World Figure Skating Championships.
At his peak, Petrenko shown a breathtaking mix of sophistication and athleticism, and thrilled crowds with his hilarious routines. He won back to back gold medals in the European Championships in 1990 and ’91, subsequently realized his vision by earning a gold medal in the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France. That success was somewhat competent, as critics maintained that American Paul Wylie had produced the first-class functionality, but Petrenko demonstrated he was the cream of the class with a different gold medal-winning effort in the World Championships a month after.
Although he turned professional after that season, Petrenko took advantage of a rule change that enabled professionals to go back to amateur contest. Petrenko wed Zmievskaya’s oldest daughter, Nina Melnik, in June 1992. She had their daughter, Victoria, in July 1997.
Petrenko magnificently nurtured the career of fellow Ukranian Oksana Baiul, supplying cash for gear while getting Zmievskaya to coach and place the orphaned skater. Baiul went to win the gold medal in the 1993 World Championships as well as the 1994 Winter Olympics. Following the ending of this year’s Games, Petrenko moved along with his lovely wife and mother in law to Simsbury, Connecticut, to train and coach in the International Skating Center of Connecticut.
In 2001, Petrenko formed the “Viktory for Kids” advantage to offer support for victims still affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. The show raised over $100,000, and Petrenko formed an encore performance in 2003. Recently, he’s served as an International Skating Union (ISU) specialized specialist. He’s also joined with Zmievskaya to train elite-level skating ability, including three-time U.S. champ Johnny Weir, three-time Ukrainian winner Natalia Popova and 2010 Czech winner Michal Brezina.