I wonder what happened to Kim/Minov. They've been quite solid competitors to date and here they made big mistakes in both programs.
And I agree with you Alex. I think that Lindholm/Kanervo's FD is really special. They capture the character of the music brilliantly with their movements and their basics have definitely improved since last season. I hope Margaglio doesn't 'defect' to the US after this season. He's done a great work developing the Finnish Ice Dance program.
They can do triples 'in theory'. Maisuradze was doing them when skating with Iliushetchkina and very rarely made a mistake on them. I saw some video of Antipova from about 2-3 years ago, when she was still a single skater and she was doing 3T-3T, so she must have had triples before. But from some reason, this last season they were doing side-by-side doubles. It may be that she grew and triples are not stable at this moment, so they decided to go for a clean program with doubles, or she is going through puberty...or one of them may be injured... We will see next season, maybe their triples will be back on. But as it was this season, doing doubles is just not good enough. After the last season (4th in senior nationals) I expected a bit better from them, and they finished again 'only' fourth. Don't get me wrong, fourth is not bad in a country with so much talent and competition as in Russia, but fourth will not earn them a spot at Europeans/Worlds.
Plutowska/Gerber's ascent this season confirms Shpilband's coaching genius. It's only their second season together and they've only competed in Juniors before, without any big or even moderate success. They've improved massively under his tutelage.
Yes. Igor has shown he can make a new, moderately talented team top 10 at Worlds (C&B), make C&L European champions, and get Plutowska&Gerber to Olympics. Clearly, he's good with all levels of dancers.
I understand they can feel frustrated but all things considered (them being a new team, Polish Fed having pretty much no 'political power'), I think they've been doing really well this season and are definitely on the right track. I hope they stick with it and challenge for a top 10 placement in 2018.
BTW, Cieplucha was also very unlucky, being first alternate. First Olympics with no Polish skaters in over 20 years.
Alex, so nice to hear your comments about Henna and Ossi! I like this Finnish team a lot, they are the most promising couple of the 3 teams we have. They have improved a great deal from last season and I hope they continue on the same track upwards! Thanks also for all the updates from Bavarian, really appreciate it!!! Maybe you should consider a career as sports commentator
About Henna & Ossi, yes I am so curious what they will have to offer next season! Sadly I will skip Stockholm, so I hope they come to one of the German events so I can see them live.
I hope to have my final "what happened" online later today, of course Henna & Ossi will play a huge role in there :D
Thanks for all the infos Hanca!They can do triples 'in theory'. Maisuradze was doing them when skating with Iliushetchkina and very rarely made a mistake on them. I saw some video of Antipova from about 2-3 years ago, when she was still a single skater and she was doing 3T-3T, so she must have had triples before. But from some reason, this last season they were doing side-by-side doubles. It may be that she grew and triples are not stable at this moment, so they decided to go for a clean program with doubles, or she is going through puberty...or one of them may be injured... We will see next season, maybe their triples will be back on. But as it was this season, doing doubles is just not good enough. After the last season (4th in senior nationals) I expected a bit better from them, and they finished again 'only' fourth. Don't get me wrong, fourth is not bad in a country with so much talent and competition as in Russia, but fourth will not earn them a spot at Europeans/Worlds.
Bavarian Open 2014
In the past five days I have seen about 439 skating performances here at Oberstdorf. Some stood in my head for one or another reason, while others did not. To see those performances I spend 72 hours at the Ice Rink, which makes an average of 60% or better said 14 hours and 45 minutes every day.
In those around 15 hours each day I saw two quads, 22 triple - triple, 239 lifts, 881 spins and 2109 jumps in total with the double Toe the most and the single Sal the least performed!
Besides that I spent three hours at Victory Ceremonies, four with collecting food and actual eating, five hours with filing my daily reports and about 25 with sleep. If you are still with me then you will realize that I had once again no time left for shopping, sightseeing, bear hunting or the search for snow.
However I absolutely enjoyed my time here at Oberstdorf and I am already looking forward to the next season where I can meet all those wonderful people, be it skaters or colleagues, coaches and of course the few fans in the crowd.
Two days with Jenni
One of the major highlights for me this year was the return of Jenni Saarinen. While some people might have never heard of the young Fin, for me she is a young lady that I watch closely since a few years.
Therefore I was very curious if she is still that young girl from a few years back or if she is already a little Diva, as fame got into her head - after all many see in her the new European medal contender for Finland.
Watching her on and off the ice I felt that this young lady is a very patient person and always has a smile for everyone, but at the same time has a wonderful skill level already, on the ice.
During the competition Jenni performed her new triple - triple Toe absolutely clean in the SP, but funnily enough struggled with the more / less easier elements like the Rittberger. Besides that she gave us the famous combination of 2A - triple Toe, triple Sal - double Toe - double Toe and many wonderful spins, three of them even received a level 4.
As with many skaters from Finland, she has those wonderful skating skills and gives you a very warm feeling if you see her skate. The expression that she has during her skates is great and so was the little smile she dropped after her SP was finished with the not so expected fall on the Loop.
Those are things that count a lot in my opinion. She isn't angry about mistakes, maybe she is but she doesn't show it and that makes her a very sympathetic person.
Is there something she has to improve?
Well yes, maybe its consistency and a tiny bit on her steps - which I think were great to look at, but the technical panel felt that those were "too easy", same with the Layback spin - as both only got a level two.
However, with every athlete from Finland we have to hope and pray, that injuries which so many Fin´s suffer from, will stay away from Jenni. We lost many great skaters from Finland already due that circumstance of too much and too hard training in Finland and it would be an absolute shame if Jenni would have to face the same problems like for instance Kiira and Laura have.
The girl in pants
Did you know that we actually had a medalist from the youth Europeans of Brasov here? And you know what? This young girl who will go to Sofia next for the junior worlds, has actually scored more points than Jenni too! Her Name? Oh right, I forgot... Her name is Maria, Maria Katharina Herceg, she is 15 years old and does skate for the EV Regensburg in Germany.
Pants! Yes, she does actually skate in pants in her LP, something you see so seldom these days. I remember Irina Movchan skating in those for a long time, but also Slutskaya´s Cutton Eye Joe was in pants - most skaters however, either wear a dress or "nothing" - I mean, not nothing, but something that can most likely be classified as underwear?
However, Maria performed three triple jumps, the Toe, Sal and Rittberger, either in combination with a double or solo and does really lovely spins, a weakness she still had 2 years ago and if you ask me, that's not a weakness anymore!
What really got me however, was her performance for the crowd which was honored in two level three stepsequences and 4 scores above 6 at Interpretation.
The way she looks at people and performs for them, is awesome! It reminded me a tiny bit about the other Katharina, my first "love" in figure skating so to speak.
She also always went for the crowd, tried to give them something for their money and this is unfortunately something, some skaters forget. Maria didn't and I can highly recommend her videos on YT, I am sure there are many of the JGP series and if you are close by to Sofia, go watch her, its really worth it.
Henna & Ossi
Writing about Henna & Ossi is always a challenge for me. A challenge, because just thinking about their FD, makes me want to cry. To me, they bring everything to Ice Dance that I admire. Emotions, Skating Skills, Passion, wonderful characters and a story, that's just so beautiful that you sit there at the ice rink, stunned - unable to do or say anything.
To just think about their final straight line lift with Henna waving her arms - I have no words to describe how beautiful and touching that is. Whenever I see them, this is the moment when the tears roll down my chin.
Their FD is the perfect ambassador for Ice Dance in my opinion. If someone doesn't know what Ice Dance is, if someone doesn't know what a skating boot is or that there are boy & girl on the ice and not two blokes with hockey sticks, then show them Ossi & Henna. If that person has a heart then she will not only love Ice Dance from now on, no she will fall in love with those two wonderful Ice Dancers.
Henna & Ossi who came third behind Justyna & Peter (great program) and the Germans Koch / Nüchtern, were skating to Cinema Paradiso with a not only very touching performance, but also with a very high level of technical skill.
Their acting, the clothes, the choreo and the executed elements made this their best FD this season and I am damn proud to have been a part of it!
The twizzles, their lift´s, the spins - were all rewarded with a level 4 and many 2´s and 1´s in GOE´s and believe me when I say, that this still was underscored based on the fact that they don't skate for Russia, Canada or the US and half the judges didn't give what was deserved.
Marina Zueva and Maurizio Margaglio both highly rewarded skaters / choreographers made a tremendous job this season and I believe I speak for many when I say, that they can achieve something really big in the next years if they keep working together.
Henna & Ossi are the perfect skating couple and the coaches are the perfect addition to them, I for sure know that the next season Henna & Ossi will again make me cry and guess what, I am already looking forward to it and I think its a real shame that they have not qualified for Sochi - they would deserve it so much!
This is very "schwer"...
With these words Jenni Parker responded to winning the "Bayrische Meisterschaft" at the Senior Ladies with 129.16 before Jenny Urban who came second. Her comment however, was more related to the actual trophy that the top three on the podium received. It was a quite heavy blue crystal which obviously has got some weight, especially in the hands of an 18 years old young lady.
Jenni who is originally from Canada struggled a bit with her jump elements of which she does three as triples - Toe, Sal and Rittberger. The real highlights however are always the spins which are something for the picture book of the ISU - if something like that would actually exist.
Five of her spins were rewarded with a level four and especially her Layback is absolutely perfect and even got a few three´s in GOE. To me this young lady is someone you need to keep an eye on, at least if you skate in the German nationals, as she has a lot of talent and if she puts it on the ice one day, then who knows what happens.
Another of those "huge talents" from Oberstdorf are Amany FANCY / Christopher BOYADJI who came fourth in the Senior Pairs competition after skating together for just one year! Chris actually had to stop his single skating career, due an injury on his feet that disallowed him to do lots of jumps in competition so he was forced to start with pairs and when he was looking for a new partner he remembered that there was this young girl from GB that he always liked so he texted her on FB and after only 5 days of practice, they decided to give it a try.
They say about themselves that their twist looks awful, but that Amani wants to do already quad jumps and if she would land those, then she would want even more so Chris said. On the question if there is anything that Amany is scared of she responded with "Death spiral! It's the death of pair skating! That’s why it is called death spiral, really! It is so hard."
But not only their impressive progress in one year is notable, its also their wonderful attitude and expression on the ice. They really have a lot of fun on and off the ice and you notice that very well. During the VC Chris was making lots of jokes and funny emotes, it was hard to not laugh during the Russian Anthem. Besides that, they already do a triple Sal throw jump, wonderful spins and lifts and with Amany pushing Chris, who knows what we will see next of those two lovely people!
Hidden heroes of Oberstdorf
First of all, every skater is a hero him / herself and I have a total respect for everyone who does continuously stand up after a fall, day after day and that's not even the whole story - as the Off Ice training is also very hard and requires a lot from a skater.
However, at every event you have skaters who might not win, but still leave a huge mark on the ice. The following skaters were for me very special and get the virtual "I like you reward"
This young girl from the "TUS Stuttgart" had an absolutely breath taking FS. She did skate to Titanic and was a much better captain than the old grey beard was in 1912. She dodged every ice berg with her triple Sal & triple Toe, those wonderful spins and that expression which melts every ice on the way. The way the step sequence kicked in was spot on with the music and very emotional as it reflected the collision with the ice berg, brilliantly. Hugely talented skater that you should keep an eye on - she skated the 5th FS in the Juniors!
What I liked about this one is her face expression while being on the Ice and on the VC. It has a bit of arrogance, but not the type of arrogance you actually dislike, because she also smiles if she wants to.
However, lets talk a bit about her skating as this is probably what you want to hear now. Well, she can do quite some difficult elements, as example the triple Toe - double Toe - double Loop, the Triple Sal - double Toe and triple Rittberger and I believe she also has in store the double Axel - triple Toe element.
During my reviews I said it already, for me skaters from Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia have something I really like a lot. Its some type of coolness, but still with huge smiles and a wonderful open minded personality and this applies here too. You just enjoy watching them and she doesn't only have nice jumps, also her steps are great and entertaining and of course the spins which received level three and fours here at Oberstdorf. Angelina came second in the Juniors II with a combined total of 131.61 and she didn't even skate clean!
In a more / less mediocre Seniors competition (no crowd, many disappointed girls) she was one of those who let the sun shine during her performance. While Joshi won and I absolutely love Joshi, I want to focus on Anna here because she had something that was important that day when she came second. We saw 4 groups with almost only sad faces and then Anna came and just did her thing and brought the smile back to my face as well.
Anna who is originally from Russia and now skates for the Swiss Federation, skated a very difficult program with a perfect expression in her face.
This young lady nailed a Triple Lutz - double Toe, Triple Rittberger - double Toe, Triple Sal & Triple Flip (slightly underrotated) on the ice. Besides that she had wonderful step sequences, a lovely way of gliding over the ice and adding little elements to interpret the music, plus wonderful spins - its been a great pleasure to see her skate and many that I spoke to asked me, where she has been in the past few years?
The truth is, she was skating for Russia and came 5th in the junior worlds in 2010 and then had a foot injury so she missed a whole season and then sadly the Russian Fed already had new stars in their own rows and Anna decided to compete for Switzerland and I think it was a wise decision, as such huge talent shouldn't be wasted. On and Off Ice, a lovely person who always smiles at you, well worth keeping an eye on.
While she won her advanced girls competition by 20 points with a combined total of 106.58 I still put her under the hidden hero´s tag, as I believe most people never heard of her or actually would care if I write her name down somewhere else. Therefore I want to start with telling you that this young lady managed to land a triple Lutz with only 10 years of age.
Now that she is 11, she has four triple jumps in her programs and most likely is able to do a lot more than she currently shows. Salchow, Lutz, Toe Loop and Loop - all triple. Besides that a triple Toe - double Toe, Triple Sal - double Toe and a very solid double Axel. But not only this sounds impressive, because we had such girls before you will probably say now. No! Its her skating that actually makes me so "wow". Its not an 11 years old there, no! She is skating like an adult already, but with a youth touch that is similar to Julia´s current. Ekaterina however, manages to change her face expression and actual "show" so to speak, based on the music and the elements she does.
Its not one expression for 3 minutes, its an always changing performance and this makes this young lady so interesting actually. We all know 11 is a critical age, but so is 14 and 15. Nobody knows where this young lady here will be in a few years, but right now I would say she is on her way to a medal at least on European level.
Elena & Nikita watch out!
I know, this is a very harsh header for the next paragraph. However, its not meant that bad as it seems, because I am a fan of Elena & Nikita, just not of their past two years.
However, if we look down and I mean really down then we will see tiny figures in the names of Eva ZOPORIZHSKAYA / Alexander BALYKOV & Maria MARCHNKO / Egor POZDNIAKOV. You might have guessed it already, yes! Those 4 are Ice Dance advanced kids, pairs to be correct. These tiny boys and especially girls, are what shocked me honestly here at Oberstdorf. Especially the expression in the face of Eva & Maria during their two SD programs was frightening like from a horror movie! I tell you, I never want to meet those two in the dark when they are putting that expression on their faces!
That said, those two couples had a very close fight here with Eva and Alexander winning due an invalid element by Maria & Egor (curve lift timing I suppose) and oh god could Eva smile during the VC! WOW! Like a totally different girl, I was so blown away of that! I tell ya, if Elena & Nikita really split or not find their lovely performance again, then don't worry, there are kids coming soon!
But also the German Ice Dance is in good hands with Anne-Marie WOLF and Kieren WAGNER who have a totally different approach than the Russians (not so scary). They have a wonderful harmony on the ice and just look so cute together! In general, I was positively surprised by the Ice Dance Advanced and while I was almost the only person at the ice rink on both days - its really worth checking also those competitions, Ladies & Gentleman!
The state of FS in Germany
We in Germany have huge issues if it comes to Figure Skating in the Media. Whenever I go to a newspaper, website or TV station - offering my service I am told "no thank you, but would you like to write about rowing or soccer etc".
While I also do women's soccer and tennis, FS is huge for me. Therefore it always saddens me when TV stations have rights and block them, so that we in Germany can't watch international FS channels like the Ice Network or others. If you however think that those with TV rights actually show FS, then think again. You might get a group, maybe not even this and just a replay of Aljona and Robin. Aljona & Robin by the way, can cross the street and nobody would take notice of that.
So "big" yes, so "amazingly huge" is our FS in Germany!
So huge that we never know if the event we just had, is the last event - due financial issues and also those in Organization, as we depend on many voluntary working people and those that do work voluntary have a job outside too, so they need to take their holiday days to support FS, yes this is sadly how it is and its the same for me.
I spend 3 thousand Euro this season, all my holiday days and I don't regret it one bit. The question however is, how long can we keep doing this?
Therefore I thank every skater who has a smile for us, because this is what motivates us every day, every hour and every second when we sit there at the Ice Rink.
So little time, so much to say
I could write so much more about the Bavarian, there have been many more amazing performances like of Matyas BELOHRADSKY who won the advanced boys and even made our judges smile and laugh when he performed his moves or Marina ELIAS / Denis KORELINE who are a wonderful Estonian Ice Dance Junior pair for the eye and heart or Xeniya KOROBKOVA who actually also competed in Ice Dance, but nobody knows with whom, as she is so beautiful that all eyes were on her!
There are many more wonderful performances that I didn't mention today, for those interested check the detailed reviews that I wrote earlier during competition days, there are many great skaters to discover and maybe the one or the other might find the time to visit us here at Oberstdorf or Dortmund ( if it happens) - its worth it. We might not have a Yuna Kim each year, but there is talent where an Ice Rink is so I hope you enjoyed the past week with my reports and that I could be of assistance to some of you!