Masha says Hi in San Francisco
Interviews with Masha

I am 11 years old and think that skating is great.
I skate at the juvenile level and got into the finals at the South Atlantic Regional Championships. I'll move up to intermediate next year.

I am originally from Moscow, Russia. My parents and sister were born there. My sister and I go skating before school, and then after school we go skating again.

I want to be a U.S. champion and then maybe I can get to the Olympics and be at least in the first five spots. That would really be the event of my life. Read more >>>



Recent Stories

Developmental Internationals Provide Opportunity for First Team USA Experience

The Skate Canada Provincial Championships – large nonqualifying competitions in Canada similar to the events in the U.S. such as the Liberty Summer Competition and Skate Detroit – were used as the platforms for this program.

Three U.S. teams were sent in total. Masha Leonov (junior ladies), Marissa Castelli & Simon Shnapir (novice pairs), Una Donegan & Andrew Korda (novice dance) and Kate McDermott & Colin McManus (novice dance) represented the U.S. at the Quebec Summer Championships in Boucherville, Quebec. Read full article >>>

Other action includes novice and junior ladies and junior pairs

Masha Leonov (Tampa Bay SC) came in third with her athletic and artistic take on "The Feeling Begins," for which she earned 39.54 points. She hit a triple Salchow-double toe, but faltered a bit on the landings of her triple loop and double Axel.

"I was pretty proud of how I did, because I was in the hospital yesterday with a bad stomach virus. There were IV's in me and everything, so it was kind of scary," said Leonov, who will also be celebrating her 15th birthday this coming Saturday.

Close finish in junior ladies competition

Masha Leonov claimed the bronze with her high-energy program to "The Dark Angel," and received a final point tally of 103.96. She wore a turquoise dress and was poised and solid. She commenced her program with double three turns inito a triple flip, and then fired out a triple toe, triple Salchow-double toe- and triple toe. She did single a planned double Axel and triple loop. She also did some high-energy spins and flew around the ice with fantastic power.

"I was confident when I went out there and now, I am so excited about going to Nationals. This has been a great competition because I've made a lot of friends that I was able to see here," Leonov said.

Leonov was also excited with the fact that things turned out well due to the fact that today was her 15th birthday. At the event's conclusion, she and her mom headed home to celebrate this occasion with the rest of her family.

"'I can't wait to get home and see them," said Leonov, who is one of four children. She has an older sister and two younger brothers.

"My youngest brother who is four said he would score a goal for me today at his game," she added.

Florida Skaters Heat Up the Ice
After taking second overall in Eastern Juvenile Girls last season, Tampa Bay Skating Club member Masha Leonov challenged herself by competing at the Intermediate Ladies level. While her double axel wasn't always consistent, it was improved over last year.

Strong choreography by her coach, Andrei, who teaches at the Ice Factory in Kissimmee, coupled with Masha's remarkable talent in the presentation aspect of her programs, was what set her apart from her fellow competitors, resulting in a second place overall finish in Eastern Intermediate Ladies in the series. Read more >>>

Articles About Masha

Video by St. Petersburg Times

St. Pete Times is the second largest daily newspaper in Florida. In January 2007 they made a video clip about Masha Leonov.

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Two sisters' rink dreams

They shared the same vision of world competition, but while an injury has sidelined one, the Berkeley Prep duo are still side by side on the ice.

Not even the sun was awake early Tuesday morning when the Leonov sisters twirled across the rink. Masha landed a triple toe loop. It wasn't perfect, so the 13-year-old from Berkeley Preparatory School tried again. And again.

Her Achilles tendon throbbed with pain, but her ache for world recognition as a figure skater burned stronger. Masha won first place in her division at one of the nation's most rigorous tournaments this summer - the Liberty Summer Competition in Philadelphia - and will compete in the South Atlantic Regional Championships next month.

Rank high and her chances of going to the 2010 Olympics go up. Rank low and her chances dwindle. But she's still got time, and a lot can happen.

Read full article >>>


Almost perfect

On Sunday, Masha Leonov's dream of skating in the national championships will take shape in Spokane, Wash.

Every spin has to be perfect. Every jump just right. Every landing graceful and smooth. If not, 14-year-old Masha Leonov won't rest. She won't smile.

... She took a deep breath and started back onto the ice. No rest until perfection. "She will calm down after a good landing," her coach said.

... She shared her excitement about seeing her friends, other competitors she knows from skating camps and tournaments. She can't believe she's staying at the same hotel as the nation's best senior skaters. She quoted the competition's brochure, saying it's the largest sporting event ever to visit Spokane, and she mentioned tickets had been sold out for months. But she said she wasn't nervous. "If I have nerves, I just breathe them out," she said. It's a family thing.

Excellence doesn't stop on the ice for the teenager who was born just after her family moved to Tampa from Russia. In school, she belongs to five clubs and juggles math, science and Latin competitions with homework and hours of skating practice per day. Most figure skaters at her level are homeschooled, but Masha refuses to leave Berkeley Preparatory School. She wants to be a scientist when she grows up.

Read full article >>>       Another version >>>   Printed Version:    Page 1 (with Kurt Browning's autograph)     Page 2      Page 3


Disappointing performance strengthens girl's resolve

As her dream chance at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships drew closer, Masha Leonov practiced with fervor. The 14-year-old novice skater wouldn't rest until every move reached perfect.

But last week, at her final practice before the big event, trouble struck. While practicing in the Spokane, Wash., championship rink, she smashed into the boards hard, hurting her leg.

Read full article >>>


Double Axel
(My hardest jump)


It has been the most difficult jump for me to learn.


The Axel is a figure skating jump with a forward take-off. It is named after the Norwegian skater Axel Paulsen, who first performed the jump in 1882.

An Axel jump has an extra ½ rotation in the air due to its forward take-off. I jump counterclockwise and takeoff from the left forward outside edge and land on the right back outside edge. I have to make 2½ rotations to complete the Double Axel.

To perform the Axel, I skate on my right back outside edge in a strongly held check position, then step onto my left forward outside edge, crouch, vault over the toe pick and pounce up with my right leg up. Then I bring the left leg through to cross in front of the right in a back spin position, to bring the center of rotation around the right side of the body, make 2½ rotations in the air, uncross the legs, land on the right back outside edge and flow out of the jump. "Flow" is the key word. That's not what I do every time but I'm trying.

Some skaters do a skid. They slightly skid the forward takeoff edge, especially on double and triple Axels, rather than vaulting directly off a clean edge. The skid helps the blade grip the ice on the takeoff.

I could never do it naturally and all attempts to learn have not worked for me. I have to start working on the triple Axel in 2008 and "learn the natural skid".


Other Axels



Delayed Axel is similar to a regular Axel, but I take a very open body position on the ascent of the jump before pulling in to complete the rotation before landing.

In an Open Axel, I have to maintain an open body position throughout the jump without delaying the rotation.

A Tuck Axel has the same take-off and landing as a regular Axel, but I simply pull my legs up into a tuck or sit spin position in the air.

A Half Axel is a jump with a regular Axel take-off but with only one rotation. This jump is sometimes called a bell jump or a once around.

A One-foot Axel is a 1½ rotation jump with a regular Axel take-off that lands on the back inside edge of the takeoff foot - my left foot. This jump is sometimes called a Colledge, after 1937 World Champion Cecilia Colledge.

An Inside Axel is a 1½ rotation jump that takes off from a forward inside edge and lands on the back outside edge of the same foot – my right foot. This jump is sometimes known as a Böckl, after its inventor Willy Böckl. Thank you Willy! I like this jump and use it all the time.

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