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Putnam and Wirtz announce end of partnership

Elizabeth Putnam / Sean Wirtz(August 28, 2007 - Ottawa, ON) - Skate Canada announced today that two-time Canadian pair medallists Elizabeth Putnam and Sean Wirtz have ended their partnership.

Putnam, 22, of North Vancouver, and Wirtz, 27, of Marathon, Ont., burst onto the Canadian pair skating scene as a new team at the 2003 national championships, where they captured the bronze medal in the senior pair event. They also won bronze in 2004, and placed fourth in 2005, fifth in 2006 and sixth in 2007.

Internationally, Putnam and Wirtz have competed on the International Skating Union (ISU) Grand Prix circuit since 2003. Last season they had two fourth-place finishes on the circuit, one at the 2006 HomeSense Skate Canada International and the other at the 2006 Trophée Eric Bompard. Another career highlight was their bronze medal win at the 2006 ISU Four Continents Championships.

“Sean and I had some great performances and times we’ll always remember,” said Putnam. “Each and every time we went out and competed together, I absolutely loved competing with him. We were always on the same page and stuck together. That’s what I’m going to miss the most – he was always my rock and was so supportive.”

“It was a tough decision, but I had a feeling it was time for me to stop skating,” said Wirtz. “Liz and I had a great career. I wouldn’t have done it with anyone but Liz. We had our ups and downs, but it was all very special.”

Putnam will move back to her hometown of Vancouver and will skate singles this season. She last competed in singles in 2003, the same year she captured the bronze medal in the junior women’s event at the national championships. Her goal for this season is to compete in the senior women’s event at the 2008 BMO Canadian Figure Skating Championships, which take place Jan. 16 – 20 in Vancouver.

She also plans on going back to school.

Wirtz will coach full-time at the Ice House in Hackensack, N.J.

“I have a passion for coaching and I love it. It’s what I want to do,” said Wirtz. “Hackensack is a good place to start and a good place in which to learn. I still very much want to be involved with skating.”

Skate Canada, the national governing body responsible for the development and administration of figure skating in Canada, is the largest figure skating association in the world. With skating programs for athletes of all ages, offered at 1326 clubs across the country, Skate Canada is an association dedicated to providing every Canadian the opportunity to experience the passion, spirit and triumph of skating.