|Alternative names||Georgi Sur|
|Country represented||United States|
|Former country(ies) represented||Soviet Union|
January 1, 1967 |
Moscow, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
|Former partner||Renée Roca
|Former coach||Sandy Hess|
Georgi "Gorsha" Sur (born January 1, 1967) is a former ice dancer who represented the United States and the Soviet Union. With Svetlana Liapina for the Soviet Union, he is a two-time World Junior medalist. With Renée Roca for the U.S., he is a two-time U.S. national champion (1993, 1995).
Georgi "Gorsha" Sur won two medals at the World Junior Championships with Svetlana Liapina but the depth of the Soviet competitive ice dancing field led them to turn to professional skating. In January 1990, Sur was taking part in a month-long Russian All-Stars skating tour in the U.S., headlined by Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean, when he defected to the U.S. on January 24, 1990. He was joined by Elena Krikanova, Igor Shpilband, Veronica Pershina and a tour official. The group moved in with Russian immigrants in Brooklyn and eventually pooled their money to rent a one-bedroom apartment.
With Sur's funds running out, American friends put him in touch with the Detroit Skating Club where he was offered a coaching job. For a partner, he was advised to contact Renée Roca by Belgian skater, Jirina Ribbens. Ribbens noted, "Of all the U.S. ice dancers, Renee's style is the most European. She has a classically elegant and dramatic flair, more like a ballerina than a ballroom dancer."
Roca and Sur worked together in Detroit for two weeks and were soon invited to audition for tour organizers and to compete at professional competitions. A year later, the International Skating Union changed its eligibility rules, allowing professional skaters to reinstate as amateurs to compete at the World Championships and Olympics; Sur convinced Roca to return to eligible competition.
Roca and Sur began competing in the 1992–93 season. They were coached by Sandy Hess in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Roca and Sur won the 1993 U.S. national title. Roca and Sur hoped to win the United States' single berth to the ice dancing event at the 1994 Winter Olympics. To do so, the couple had to not only win the 1994 U.S. national title but also receive accelerated citizenship for Sur due to the Olympics' citizenship requirements.
A Republican Representative and Democrat Senator, both from Colorado, lent their support to speed up Sur's naturalization in Congress. It was argued that his case differed from other athletes because not speeding up the process would hurt an American citizen, Renee Roca. However, their efforts were stymied in late December 1993 when the United States Olympic Committee denied a request for a waiver to the requirement that athletes be citizens by the national championships. In addition, their main rivals for the Olympic spot, Punsalan and Swallow, were involved in a letter-writing campaign to Congress to attempt to prevent Sur from receiving expedited citizenship.
Two hours later, she returned from the hospital with her arm in a cast and decided to try to compete. They placed second to Punsalan and Swallow in the rhumba, however, Roca was unable to secure a firm grip with her left hand. The couple was ultimately forced to withdraw from the rest of the competition. Roca and Sur returned to competition the following season and defeated Punsalan and Swallow at the 1995 U.S. Championships to reclaim their national crown.
At the 1996 U.S. Championships, their fortunes reversed again and Roca and Sur placed second to Punsalan and Swallow. Roca and Sur retired from eligible competition at the end of the season and toured with Stars on Ice.
Although Sur has been credited as being the indirect cause of the Rent-A-Russian phenomenon in American skating, he moved to the United States and settled there legitimately, with no intention of ever competing again.
Sur worked as a coach and choreographer and was based out of Oakland Ice Center.
Sur entered UC Hastings College of Law in 2003, graduating in 2006. 
Currently Georgy Sur heads Sports Law Practice at Russian leading law firm Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners. He advises and represents national and multinational entities in international arbitration, litigation, and mediation.
|Skate Canada International||3rd|
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