Germany’s Annette Dytrt has a unique distinction in the international figure skating world. She has won the national senior ladies championship in three countries: the Czech Republic (1999), France (2003), and Germany (2003 and 2004). Although Dytrt was a resident of the respective countries when she won in the Czech Republic and Germany, she had been invited to France to compete in their senior ladies event at French Nationals. She was only 15 when she won in the Czech Republic, besting her 18-year-old sister, Veronika.
Dytrt began skating when she was four, following Veronika into the sport. “My mother took me to the rink when she took my older sister,” Dytrt said. “I watched her and wanted to go out on the ice. I went often to the public session before I started group lessons. I learned a double Axel when I was nine and a triple salchow when I was ten or eleven. But jumps are not the main thing. I like just skating on the ice and spinning. I like the feeling of skating for the audience and knowing that they are with you.”
But Dytrt didn’t have an easy path to the top after those idyllic early years. Although she started skating in Germany, she moved to the Czech Republic with her sister in 2001 because she thought there were better opportunities for making the international team. But she became homesick after a year and a half and returned to Germany, while her sister stayed in Prague. “She was just on a zero level,” said her coach, Alexander Vedenin. “She was destroyed technically and mentally. Even steps were very hard for her. She had a bad fall on a double Axel in the Czech Republic and had no double Axel when she returned to Germany. She would not even try it. Annette couldn’t skate for Germany and had to train with little kids since she was not approved to skate with the top skaters. But she wanted to fight. She saw what Janett and I are were doing as trainers and she asked us to take her. Janett Folle is my co-coach and we have been working together as a coaches team for the last 14 years.”
“I saw she had potential,” he continued, “so we began working with her in July 2001. There was no interest from the German Federation, so we sponsored her and did not take any money for her training. We began redoing all her basics and started her Axel as if it was a new jump just like for kids. Four months later she did her first double Axel. We let her do only one or two in one practice, then later one or two with music. By January 2002, she was able to place fourth in Germany, with a double Axel. Then the real work began.”
“In April 2002, Annette won the German National Cup to make the international team,” he continued. “But at her first Grand Prix at the Bofrost Cup, she was shocked. She couldn’t jump. It was like going to the moon from underground. Due to all those changes and problems with training, she had before Bofrost just two competitions within three years. Then she couldn’t do any other international events because there was no money. She won the German Nationals in January 2003, but her jumps were not consistent. The federation finally allowed her to go to Europeans but it was a disaster. She was shocked again and couldn’t go to Worlds because her performance was too bad. Worlds is a different world even from Europeans and she was still in the village mentality.”
“In 2003, she learned to practice differently,” Vedenin added. “She went to Tarasova’s camp for two weeks. The main idea of this camp was that Annette came to train in Tarasova’s group together with Janett. And Janett, who undertook this trip on her own money, together with Tarasova made it possible for Annette to open her eyes and to discover what is going on in this world of top skating. Everything that we told or explained her before, she could realize now through her own experience. She saw the other world and how to work in it. Sasha Cohen helped her a lot. Annette understood that she wanted to be there and live that life. Now she’s a completely different skater. The difficulties we had at home made us even closer together. When she won the German championship, she had no real competition and she should have been seventh or eighth at Europeans instead of 11th. But going to her first Worlds at home was too much pressure. She had too little experience to do as well as she could.”
Dytrt finished 21st at Dortmund in 2004. “I was very nervous in the qualifying round because I wanted to do everything right,” she said. “The short and free were much easier. But I watched all the competitions and I learned a lot about how to practice.” But she was not too concerned about her placement in her first Worlds, even though her teammates were surprise bronze medallists in both dance and men’s. “My main goal is to qualify for the 2006 Olympics,” she stated. “To satisfy the German federation and the Olympic Committee, I have to be in the top eight at Europeans. After 2006, my goal is to compete for medals at Europeans and Worlds.” This season, Dytrt is currently slated to compete in two Grand Prix events (France and Russia).
The pretty blonde trains with Vedenin and Janett Folle in Munich. She works for four hours on ice six days a week plus another 30 minutes beforehand and 30 minutes to an hour afterwards in off ice work. This includes speed, strength, and flexibility training. In the summer, she also takes ballet plus running and cycling outdoors. She also went with her coaches to train with Tarasova for the summer.
Tatiana Tarasova and Folle did the choreography for Dytrt’s 2003-2004 programs. Both of her programs were new last season: Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens for the short and a selection of music by Michel including Amelie for the long. Tarasova suggested the music for the long program, but Folle found the short. “Amelie was from a French film,” Dytrt said. “I like to skate to something nice with piano music, something which gives me a deep feeling.” Jennifer Weiss found the music and choreographed Dytrt’s exhibition program. For the 2004-05 season, she plans to keep the short program. For the long program, Dytrt will be using Spartacus by Aram Khachaturian and for her exhibition program, I Am Beautiful. Off ice, she listens to all kinds of music but prefers jive and hip-hop.
To relax, Dytrt likes to go out with non-skating friends for coffee, shopping or disco dancing. She likes comedy movies and counts Jim Carrey, Julia Roberts, and Jennifer Anniston among her favorite performers. Dytrt also likes to read. “I have lots of skating books, like the Gordeeva and Grinkov books. My coach just bought me Bells of Notre Dame. She likes all kinds of sports and swims, plays tennis, and goes horseback riding, but likes skating best. Dytrt used to collect phone cards, but now wants to collect gold medals. She lives with her parents and her brother and stated, “I want my own room to display all my toys and medals.” They have two dogs and a cat, of which her favorite is a schnauzer.
Visiting Paris was her favorite trip. “I went to the museums and looked at all the buildings,” she said. “I want to go to Moscow and Barcelona, but I like going to the beach for holidays. Last year, I spent 14 days in Portugal at training camp. That was nice.” Vededin and Folle, together with off ice coach Carlos Avile de Borba, organized the off ice training camp in Portugal in May 2003 and 2004. “Annette was there not just to enjoy the beach,” Vedenin said. “She was training very hard, using the beach in order to run and to jump in the sand.”
The lovely 21-year old has finished high school, where she enjoyed learning languages but hated mathematics. She may go to the university later, but wants to be a skating coach. “I plan to stay in skating in any position, but hopefully as a coach or choreographer,” she said. “I also hope to do some shows after I finish competing.”