Posted on May 29, 2014
Latin giants Sergey Surkov and Melia (pictured left, at the Night of 100 Stars) danced their last rumba on Blackpool’s famous floor last night after announcing their decision to retire from competition.
The pair are reigning Russian Professional Latin champions, and are currently ranked third in the world. They have been finalists in every major world competition, including the British Open, the World Championships, the International Championships and the UK Open.
Sergey and Melia said, in a retirement statement read out by Marcus Hilton: “Gabriel García Márquez wrote, ‘What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it.’ We leave this magical floor with no regrets; we remember all those memories created here and for this we are very, very grateful. Thank you.”
DSI TV commentator Martin Cutler called the couple “the best performers ever not to win here at Blackpool”.
Last night saw the record-breaking seventh consecutive win of the Professional Latin by Michael Malitowski and Joanna Leunis, who dance for England, though it was a close fight between them and Riccardo Cocchi and Yulia Zagoruychenko, dancing for the US, who won the samba and the jive. Sergey and Melia came third, with Maurizio Vescovo and Andra Vaidilaite, from Canada, in fourth place, Andrej Skufca and Melinda, from Slovenia, fifth, and Stefano Di Filippo and Dasha, dancing for the US, sixth. The placings were the same as last year.
“You could feel, of course, the fact that Sergey and Melia were retiring… from the beginning you already felt something special was happening,” Joanna Leunis told DSI TV’s Martin Cutler in a post-competition interview.
“They are my dearest friends,” said Michael Malitowski, who, like Melia, comes from the west of Poland (the pair are pictured above in 2012). “We were starting together and today they were finishing, so we gave them a little card and a little teddy bear for luck. We really felt for them. It was really electric. I’m so proud I could be on the same floor as them for so many nights.”
And is the seventh win as good as the first? “As good,” Joanna told Martin, “definitely equally as good, yes.”
Earlier in the evening, England’s Neil and Katya Jones withdrew from the Professional Latin owing to injury. We wish Neil a very speedy recovery in time for their performance in Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals on Saturday.
Photographs: Ron Self