Katie McBeath and Daniil Parkman riding new partnership to U.S. Nationals

By Scott Mammoser, Team FSO contributing writer
Photos courtesy of Katie McBeath

It didn’t take long for Katie McBeath and Daniil Parkman to embrace their new pairs partnership. The team officially matched in May and is one of the leading contenders going into January’s U.S. Championships.

“Everything worked on a mental level, right from the beginning,” Parkman said. “If we used to have troubles with elements, it went really well with how the whole process was going.”

Parkman, 24, previously represented the Republic of Georgia with Anastasia Metelkina, reaching the World Championships in 2021 and claiming the bronze medal at  Grand Prix Espoo in 2022. They ended their partnership a month later in December 2022. In the spring of 2023, the Russian-born skater traveled to Irvine, Calif., for a tryout with McBeath.

McBeath’s former partner, Nathan Bartholomay, retired in the spring of 2023. In their three seasons together, they placed sixth at Nationals in 2023 and fifth in 2022, with a Four Continents appearance in 2022.

McBeath and Parkman’s partnership was announced in July.

“It was super important to me, how we (Danill and I) meshed together and how we could work together, especially when you get into competing,” the 29-year-old McBeath added. “Stress comes into play and all of that extra jazz. I really got a feel for Daniil’s vibe. We both could agree that each other had a good vibe, and we were able to connect and communicate, and that was important.”

Adjusting with timings was an early hurdle in the partnership. Also, Bartholomay is a tad shorter than Parkman, while McBeath is shorter than Metelkina.

“One thing I noticed about Daniil from the very beginning is that he puts all of himself into his skating,” McBeath said. “That’s really cool. One thing that I really respect and appreciate is that with the daily work, there are going to be hard days, there are going to be great days, and there are going to be all of those days in between. We always find a way. Daniil’s really good at this – to find the positive and see the full picture. With my personality, that matches very well, and he’s able to help me see the bigger picture sometimes. That is something I really enjoy, and it makes us work well together. There is always a day that I am laughing.”

Training at Great Park Ice

Parkman noted the small-town feel of the figure skating community, with everyone knowing each other. He would routinely see McBeath’s coaches Jenni Meno and Todd Sand at competitions, and following Bartholomay’s retirement, they invited him to Great Park Ice for the tryout.  McBeath mentioned that Sand, who suffered a heart attack last year, is recovering and increasing his involvement with coaching.

“The exciting thing is that he has been able to come to the rink a little bit,” McBeath said. “It is a miracle that he is here, and one thing that is really awesome is that he’ll look at one of our elements, and give us a correction. I light up every time he comes to the rink.”

The team also works with Christine Binder and 2022 World pairs champion Brandon Frazier, who selected the short program music of “Requiem for a Dream” for the team. Korean Olympic ice dancer Yura Min choreographf the program, while Shae-Lynn Bourne orchestrated the foot work sequence.

“It was kind of a complicated situation for the short,” Parkman said. ““Requiem For A Dream” was not our first music pick.  We changed music right before our first competition. We had a lot of people help us.”

“Wicked Game” became the free skate music accidentally. McBeath and Parkman were just skating one day at practice, when the song popped on the loud speaker. It seemed like a program to hold on to. Min choreographed the free skate, while Frazier did some tweaking.

“We’re growing a lot,” McBeath added. “So it’s constantly changing. I love long programs, just in general. I settle in; I like having a lot of elements.”



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U.S. Pairs Final victory

The team’s first competition was the National Qualifying Series event, Glacier Falls Summer Classic in July.  They also competed in Middle Atlantics in September. This past November, the team won the U.S. Pairs Final in Tacoma, Wash. to qualify for the U.S. Championships. However, they can’t hide the fact there is still room for improvement.

“We didn’t reach all of our goals,” Parkman said. “Honestly, I think we can do much, much better.”

The U.S. Pairs Final was special as it was in Seattle where Parkman took his first steps on ice as a child.

Overall, I am happy we won the gold medal in the state where I used to do my first steps when I was a toddler,” he added. “We showed, for the first time this season, our combo. We just need to make corrections and make it better.”

Returning to Ohio for Nationals

The 2024 U.S. Championships will be homecoming for McBeath. The event is taking place from Jan. 22-28 in Columbus, Ohio, about a two-hour drive south of her hometown of Garfield Heights. McBeath still represents Winterhurst Figure Skating Club in suburban Cleveland.

“I am inviting my figure skating club, and the whole council of figure skating clubs,” McBeath announced. “So basically everyone I know! It’s been a while since I have skated back in Ohio. I am excited to feel that love and support.”

For the onslaught of visitors, McBeath also suggested a visit to Hocking Hills State Park, about an hour south of Nationwide Arena, the venue for the U.S. Championships. She said it will be beautiful, even though it will be winter. The Columbus Zoo is another must-see attraction, about 20 minutes north of the arena.

In addition, this will be Parkman’s first experience with the U.S. Championships. He said it will be an honor, especially because he loves the American audiences.

While the U.S. Championships will mark the end of their season, McBeath and Parkman are already looking ahead to next season.

“We have pretty lofty goals,” McBeath said. “We are looking forward to when we can compete internationally. That will be super exciting, next year. We want to get to the top of our potential. I wanted to pair up with someone with who I could really max my potential, and I believe Daniil is the perfect partner for that.”

Parkman added that he wanted to bring high quality for the audience and improve from each competition.