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Meet Team USA: Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett

Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett  are the 2010 U.S. Champions in pair skating. At the January event in Spokane, Wash., the couple handed in such an impressive performance, they scored more than 26-points higher than the silver medalists, and defeated three couples that had won national titles. Here is what you need to know about Denney and Barrett heading into the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada:

Names Caydee Denney and Jeremy Barrett

Ages 16 and 25

Birthdays June 22, 1993 and April 10, 1984

Birthplaces Ocala, Fla. and Sarasota, Fla.

Hometowns West Chapel, Fla. and Venice, Fla.

Training Town Ellenton, Fla.

Coaches Jim Peterson, Alison Smith and Lyndon Johnston

Choreographers Jim Peterson

Getting their start Denney took the ice on a whim after years as a competitive roller skater, during which she won the juvenile girls singles national title, the elementary pairs division national championship and placed 3rd in the juvenile Solo Dance division. Barrett followed his sister into skating when he was 8 years old.

Coming together Denney and Barrett were first paired together in summer 2006. After Denney skipped town to focus on her singles career in Colorado Springs, Colo., he was left without a partner, and seriously considered retiring from the sport. But his phone rang in 2008. On the other end was Denney’s mom Caydee asking Barrett if he wanted to try the partnership again. Denney’s family had moved back to Florida.

International personal bests Their highest overall score is 161.69 points, earned at the 2009 Four Continents Championship held at the Olympic facility in Vancouver. They scored 55.46 in the short program at 2009 Canada and 108.09 in the free skate at 2009 Four Continents.

Key results 2010 U.S. Championships, 1st; 2009 Skate Canada, 5th; 2009 NHK Trophy, 4th;  2009 World Championships, 9th; 2009 Four Continents Championships, 6th; and 2009 U.S. Championships,  2nd

Go to moves Fans of “Jersey Shore” will enjoy a good Denney and Barrett performance because it always ends with a few fist pumps, which is becoming a signature move since they often skate well. They perform some of the hardest jumps, including the side-by-side triple toes and side-by-side double Axel-double Axel sequence, and two of the hardest throws, the throw triple Lutz and the throw triple loop.

Love is in the air Barrett lives with his longtime girlfriend Amanda Evora, who is also competing in pair skating at the Olympics with her partner Mark Ladwig. As luck would have it, the short program is on Feb. 14. “Yes, it’s really romantic that I’m trying to beat my girlfriend on Valentine’s Day — but this will make for a pretty good story when we’re older,” Barrett said.

Driving toward the Olympics At age 16, Denney does not yet have her driver’s license because her focus has been on Vancouver. But Barrett has given her some driving lessons. “She’s doing pretty good,” he said. Once she gets back from the Olympics and the World Championships, which are in March, she plans on getting the license and a brand new car, which her parents promised her for making the 2009 World team.

Odd jobs To finance his career, Barrett took up every job that the Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex would give him. He did everything from making nachos to driving the Zamboni. He did coaching and personal training. Now, Barrett receives enough funding through U.S. Figure Skating to just focus on his career. He also still does some coaching.

Just like Lipinski Denney was 4 years old when Tara Lipinski, another former roller skater, won gold at the Nagano Olympics. Denney would stand on the couch and beg her parents to hang a medal around her neck. “She’d say, ‘Mommy, mommy, put the medal on me.’ She’d act like she was Tara,” DeeDee Denney said.

A lasting impression Barrett said that if he ever got a tattoo, it would be of the Olympic rings. “Now I can get one,” he said.

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