Robert Paxton has achieved a notable first for an IW skater, being the first skater from the Island to compete in the European championships, along with partner Erica Risseeuw. Robert and Erica’s top-ten finishing position is a remarkable achievement for a couple skating together internationally for the first time.
Robert started skating at the age of nine years with his sister on the Isle of Wight and was coached by Katie Rothwell. In 1997 at the age of 14 years he won the British novice championship for men.
After several years of training on the Isle of Wight and Basingstoke, in 2000 Robert moved to Canada to train at the world famous Mariposa Skating Centre under Doug Leigh. He continued skating singles and in 2004 decided he wanted to change to pairs skating.
He has had three previous partners and competed in Canadian nationals at novice, junior and senior levels, winning medals at novice and junior level. However, it was always his desire to return to skate for Great Britain.
In April 2008 Robert tried out with Erica Risseeuw, a singles skater from Alberta, and two months later they teamed up. Both Erica and Robert had to complete exams so could not start skating together until July when Erica moved to Ontario. They knew they had a lot of work to do to get them to a good competive standard and did their first competition after five weeks. After 10 weeks together they came to Sheffield for the IJS event. They returned to Canada to continue training and prepared for the British Championships in Nottingham.
Robert and Erica were selected by NISA to take part in the European Championships in Helsinki as Great Britain’s second couple in the pairs competition. They were in 10th position after the short programme and after the free skate were delighted to be 7th overall.
Robert and Erica are coached by Lee Barkell, the coach of the current men’s world champion.
Update: Robert & Erica retired from the competitive circuit in 2010, and now skate professionally. They joined Royal Caribbean and skate onboard one of its cruise ships.
Paxton & Risseeuw, short programme 2010 Europeans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07Z9SpbZ1nU
Paxton & Risseeuw, long programme 2010 Europeans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEi3dBY7yos