In less than six months on the international scene and a little over a year since the young indigenous man from Rooty Hill in Sydney and his now 17-year-old partner from Moscow teamed up – the pair has set the skating world alight after winning Australia’s first-ever Junior Grand Prix gold medal in Tallinn, Estonia last September and then placing fifth in the Junior Grand Prix Final in December.
They are tipped to be in medal contention (all going well) at their first Junior World Championship this week in Taipei and that’s exactly what this team wants as the laid-back Harley and the more impatient Katia meld their strengths and weaknesses to become Australia’s greatest pair team ever.
“In the short program we expect to be clean,” Harley said, winked and added, “and second place.”
“We wouldn’t want to be too ambitious,” he said laughing. “Actually, if we can do two clean programs and only come fifth – that’s still good.”
For Katia the differences between Australians and Russians are stark because this is a young woman with high expectations, who is after the best of herself and of her partner.
“Russians are very impatient,” she said, to which Harley chimed in with “extremely impatient.”
“Sometimes I don’t understand Australia because in Russia people are often angry but in Australia I see and hear people who are happy and more friendly,” she said.
The pair split their training between Sydney and Moscow with their Australian Russian coaches Andrei and Galina Pachin.
Whilst Windsor appreciates the training in Moscow, there’s no place like home.
“I don’t like it that much over there. There are apartment blocks everywhere but the training is really good. In fact, I have never understood why people want to go to somewhere like New York either.”
“Australians are slower and I like flora and fauna around me,” he said.
“Too slow sometimes,” piped in Katia.
However, the serious-minded 17-year-old has come a long way since first arriving in Sydney just over a year ago with little knowledge of Australia or English. All that has changed.
“The best thing about Australia is “my awesome partner – the weather, beaches and nature,” she said.
So, of all things that truly bind this unlikely pair team together – it is a love of the outdoors.
After the World Junior Championships this week in Taipei, the pair will return to Moscow for less than two weeks before heading to Helsinki, Finland to compete in the World Championships at the end of March for what promises to be an outstanding event with 29 pair teams entered.
The World Figure Skating Championships is also the first qualifying event for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, where 24 men and ladies places (by nation) will be decided along with 16 pairs and 19 dance spots.
The second round of qualifications for PyeongChang 2018 will occur in September at the Olympic Qualifying Competition.