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Sibling Pair Ends Skating Career

March 7, 2002

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) _ Danielle and Steve Hartsell, the 1999 U.S. pairs champions, ended their competitive figure skating career together on Wednesday.

The brother-sister duo has been plagued by injuries the last three seasons.

``Over the past year we thought about retiring, but decided to stay in and compete for a spot on the Olympic team,″ Steve Hartsell said. ``When we didn’t make it, we thought about another year, but then decided that this is the best decision for both of us.″

The Hartsells also won the 1997 world junior title, two years after taking the U.S. junior crown. Their best finish at the senior world championships was 10th in ’99.

Steve, 24, is looking for a new partner and plans to continue his competitive career over the next four years. Danielle, 21, hopes to teach skating and will explore educational opportunities.

``We are most proud of overcoming the many obstacles that we faced throughout our career,″ Steve said. ``Danielle and I are best friends on and off the ice, and it was that special friendship that helped us be successful and get through the tough times.″

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