COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Soap operas have nothing on the U.S. pairs teams.
Two weeks after Caitlin Yankowskas and John Coughlin, who won this year's U.S. title and finished sixth at the world championships, announced their split, Coughlin said Tuesday he is now skating with Caydee Denney. Denney won the 2010 U.S. title with Jeremy Barrett, but that partnership ended in February.
"We're excited to start this new chapter in our careers. The partnership felt right from the start, and we were immediately comfortable on the ice together," Denney and Coughlin said in a statement from U.S. Figure Skating. "While we are grateful for the success we have enjoyed in the past, we look forward to the opportunity that lies ahead."
Denney has moved from Florida to Colorado Springs, where they will train with Dalilah Sappenfield, who coached Coughlin and Yankowskas. Yankowskas has said she plans to continue skating and is looking for a new partner. Barrett has retired.
While dropping old partners and finding new ones is nothing unusual in figure skating, U.S. pairs have been particularly fickle lately and that instability has contributed to the Americans' struggles internationally. Including Yankowskas and Coughlin, none of the teams that won the last four U.S. titles is still together. In the last seven years, only one pairs team, Keauna McLaughlin and Rockne Brubaker, who have since split, managed to defend its U.S. title.
Yankowskas and Coughlin's sixth-place finish at worlds was the best by a U.S. pair in a non-Olympic year since 1997. The only world medal by a U.S. team in the last 12 years was Kyoko Ina and John Zimmerman's bronze in 2002 -- against a watered-down, post-Olympic field.
No Americans have been on the Olympic podium since Jill Watson and Peter Oppegard won bronze in 1988.
"We realize we have a lot of work ahead of us, but we will lean on our experience as pairs skaters," Coughlin said. "We have high standards and will do whatever it takes to establish ourselves and set ourselves apart as a strong team."