Biography Melissa GregoryMelissa Gregory, raised in Northfield, Il. began skating at the age of eight. She pursued singles skating in the early going, but began ice dancing at 10 years old. Gregory partnered with James Shuford, and the pair found early success, winning the junior title at the 1998 U.S. Championships. Despite the partnerships’ achievements, Shuford decided to go back to school which left her to find her own way. She found her next partner, Russian Denis Petukhov, as fate intervened via the World Wide Web.