Full name: Hannah Zahavi
Division: ladies, professional
Coach: Malcolm Redgrave
Choreographer: Malcolm Redgrave, herself
Best skating element: Hannah is strongest in footwork, as well as backflips, which she is capable of landing on one foot. She always hated the rules and requirements of eligible programs, and prefers skating to hard-rock music.
Hometown: Tel Aviv, Israel
Birthdate: February 29, 1973
Height: 5' 7"
Hair color: black
Eye color: hazel
Physical description: Hannah is lean, tall, and very muscular. She has thick, glossy black hair, which she usually wears long, even while skating.
Family: Mother, Chaele (a secretary at a small law firm).
Personality: Hannah is very much a tomboy, always determined to be tough. She detests "girly" things, even preferring leotards over dresses for skating. She can appear to be arrogant, but is actually full of self-doubt. She keeps people at arm's length, copping a fiery, short-tempered attitude, to hide the fact that she is vulnerable. Her trust is very difficult to win, but those who do will find in her a fiercely loyal friend. She needs a shoulder to cry on sometimes, but it is difficult convincing her to accept it.
Hobbies/interests: marksmanship (as a former soldier and in tribute to her father); horses and riding; hiking and outdoor activities. As a result of her IDF training, Hannah is also good at working on cars and other machines, but this is more of a useful skill than a hobby.
Personal history: Hannah's father David, a police officer and marksman, was a member of the Israeli Olympic team killed by terrorists in September of 1972. Hannah was born over five months later, and although she never knew her father, he was always the center of her life. From her earliest memory, her goal in life was to honor him by competing in the Olympics herself. She began training in gymnastics at the age of five, a pursuit that taught her the skills for backflips and other acrobatics, but she switched to figure skating after watching the 1980 Olympics. Since Israel was not yet a member of the ISU, it was arranged for her to compete for the Soviet Union (later Russia). It was a necessity she resented; she wanted to compete in the name of her own country.
She suffered another setback at age 15, when she was, in effect, forced to skate pairs with a Russian skater named Maxim Reznikov. With her independent nature, she did not at all like having to rely on a man, and their relationship was explosive--especially after they had a brief affair which destroyed their partnership completely.
Finally, after more than a year, Hannah was able to return to singles skating. She continued to develop her skills, and was just on the verge of becoming a genuinely fine skater when, starting in 1991 at age 18, she was required to serve for nearly two years in the Israeli Defense Forces. By the time she was able to return to skating, she had to do a lot of catching up. Triple axels for women had been causing a stir in her absence, and never one to back down from a challenge, she worked to develop a consistent one--until it caused her a muscle injury that sidelined her for a year and a half, and cost her any chance she may have had of reaching the 1994 Olympics.
When Israel finally joined the ISU, Hannah gladly switched federations and continued her struggle to become a true elite skater. She had great talent, but a lot of temperament and consistency problems; she went through a dozen coaching changes, including going back to previous coaches three times. She did manage to medal at a handful of international events, and even won the Israeli Nationals in 1997 and 2000. She tried her hardest throughout her life--but over the years, she found that even that was not enough. She failed to qualify for the 1998 Olympics, and as her 29th birthday neared, she fell short of the 2002 Olympic team as well.
Hannah felt that she had let down her father's memory, and that he would never have been proud of her. Disillusioned, blaming herself, her coach, ISU politics and anything else she could think of, she retired from eligible competition. She turned her focus to looking after her mother, a spirited woman who had made incredible sacrifices all her life to support her skating. She didn't believe skating fans would care about her, but with the hope of at least joining a minor show that would pay the bills, she took her mother and moved to America in spring of 2002.
Kenji Tokuda took an interest in Hannah's case, admired her skating, and practically insisted that she join Champion Blades. It was more than Hannah had hoped for; the exposure she would get from the tour promised her new popularity, and perhaps even success in a pro competitive career. In addition, Kenji recommended her to Olympic coach Malcolm Redgrave, who liked her spiritedness and took her under his wing.
While she isn't vocal about it unless prodded, Hannah is passionately patriotic about her homeland. She's a crack shot, a better fighter than most men twice her size, and has no compunctions about taking on any brawl that might come her way. In short... she's trouble.
Skating-wise, Hannah is very athletic and still a powerful jumper, even though her pro career is less demanding. Her artistry has always been more of a problem, perhaps in part because of her rugged personality. She isn't all that good at some of the more traditionally "feminine" skating skills, such as layback spins and spirals, and her reluctance to open up emotionally doesn't help either. This is one of the reasons Malcolm Redgrave is interested in her; he considers himself to have been much the same way as a skater, powerful but lacking in style.
Hannah's respect and fondness for her protector/mentor, Malcolm Redgrave, has secretly become a sort of schoolgirl crush.