Golden Skate

Liebers Continues Family Tradition

For Germany’s Martin Liebers, figure skating is a family affair.

For Germany’s Martin Liebers, figure skating is a family affair. His father, Mario, competed internationally at Europeans and Worlds for East Germany after finishing second several times in the Nationals to former world champion Jan Hoffmann. He was also the first German to complete a triple Axel in practice. His mother was also a sportswoman, competing in the middle distances in track and field. And his younger brother, Peter, now 14, is also a competitive figure skater at the junior level, which creates additional incentive. “He’s very good,” Liebers said. “He does a triple/triple combination. I’m always thinking I must be better than him.”

The 17-year-old was the German novice champion in 1997 and the junior champion in 2000. This season, he finished fourth in seniors and 11th at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships. He also finished eighth at the Junior Grand Prix in Courchevel and 12th in Montreal, while his brother finished 12th in Bratislava and 14th in Milan. “My goal is to make it to the Olympic Games in 2006 or 2010,” he said. “I also want to have a good placement at Europeans and Worlds.”

Liebers began skating when he was seven after his father took him to the rink. He landed his first triple, a salchow, when he was eleven, then landed a clean triple toe loop a short while later. The toe loop is his favorite jump. He is using a triple loop/ triple loop in the short and adds a triple lutz/double toe in the long. Liebers has tried a quadruple salchow and toe loop. “I’ve landed on both feet and not completely rotated,” he said. “I like jumping,” he said. “More than the presentation.”

He trains in Berlin with coach Angelika Heisse, his original coach. He works for two hours a day on ice, six days a week, plus another hour of off ice training. Diana Goolsbey choreographs his programs, although he said, “I have some ideas for the choreography, but Diana does the most.” His programs this year included Abba’s “Intermezzo Number 1” for the short and “The Way to Eldorado” for the long. “I chose my short program music,” he said. “I loved the music and I like to skate to modern dance music. The long was my father’s choice.” Off ice, he enjoys all kinds of music, including classical and pop rock, but his favorite is trance.

Liebers has three more years of study in secondary school before he graduates, after which he plans to attend the university to study business. His favorite subjects are geography and history, especially the history of politics. “I like old things very much,” he said. “I’m very interested in German history. I’ve gone to the Jewish museum in Berlin and other museums in Berlin and Dresden. I like to see historical things. I collect old coins of Germany and old stamps. I’m trying to collect all the Euros coins.” He used to collect toy trains and has all his stuffed animals in a special place in his room.

To relax, he likes to spend time with his girlfriend and go on family holidays with his brother. He enjoys the northeast section of Germany, near the Baltic Sea, and enjoys going to the sea in the summer. But he most enjoys big cities, especially Vienna and Berlin. Three places to which he would like to travel are New York City, Sydney in Australia, and Johannesburg in South Africa.

Liebers speaks German and English. He is a good writer and has written several skating stories for the German figure skating magazine, Pirouette.