For over a decade Victor Kraatz brought innovation and excitement to ice dancing. The pair of Kraatz and Shae-Lynn Bourne dominated the sport in Canada, winning ten national titles in their thirteen–year skating partnership. They culminated a successful international career by winning the 2003 world championship.
Kraatz was born in West Germany and lived in Switzerland before his family moved to Vancouver Island. He began skating at the age of ten. Kraatz had trouble finding a regular skating partner and considered giving the sport up until he was teamed with Shae-Lynn. In less than two years the pair captured the 1993 Canadian championship.
Bourne and Kraatz quickly developed a reputation as rebels, as many of their routines went against the grain of traditional ice dancing. Their highly acclaimed ‘Riverdance’ free dance had a lasting impact with the audience, as did many of their innovative dance routines. The Canadian champions won one silver and three bronze medals at the world championship level.
Kraatz and Bourne represented Canada at three Olympic Games, their best results being two fourth-place finishes at the Nagano and Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 1998 and 2002 respectively. In 2003, they finally won the gold medal at the world championships in Washington and subsequently retired from competition. Kraatz and his ice dancing partner will long be remembered as the Canadian innovators in ice dance competition.