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Thread: 2016 Bavarian Open Feb. 17-21

  1. #101
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    Thank you for all your reports, Alex.
    Next time you should ask a salary from organizers this competition, if they won't broadcasting again.

  2. #102
    Fangirl of men’s spirals and split jumps el henry's Avatar
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    Again, thank you, Alex, for all your reports! No worries about Romain's programs, I'm sure we'll find out

    If we can't have streaming, your detailed reports are the next best thing,

  3. #103
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    Thanks so much, Alex, for all your reports. I enjoy reading them.

  4. #104
    On the Ice Mia29's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex D View Post
    As for Romain Ponsart, he really did it again, a performance that just takes your breath away, I find that guy super awesome on blades, what he does, is really art - the way he glides over the ice, uses his arms and the knee work, expression - it just stands out. He doesn't do a lot of "noise" you know, he just skates with full heart and soul, a white - black outfit, nothing flashy or glitter, really cool package that guy! It´s amazing that he still manages to put in something like a quad toe or triple Axel - triple toe in these programs, it just looks so effortless what he does and yet, has such a high skill level.

    Oh and I am very sorry, that I was unable to talk to him about the recent changes, maybe some other time, sorry @ Henry.
    ]
    Thank you
    Do you know what was the music ? It was one of the announced change. His free skating at the beginning of the season was on Tchaikovski

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    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    His bio programs have not been updated

    Music Short Program / Short Dance as of season 2015/2016
    Je suis malade by Serge Lama
    Music Free Skating / Free Dance as of season 2015/2016
    Violin Concerto by Petr I. Tchaikovski



  6. #106
    Fangirl of men’s spirals and split jumps el henry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    His bio programs have not been updated
    Alex's description of Romain's FS costume matches the one he wore at Championnats de France with Tchaikovsky, but it can be easier to change a program than a costume

  7. #107
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mia29 View Post
    Thank you
    Do you know what was the music ? It was one of the announced change. His free skating at the beginning of the season was on Tchaikovski
    I have send him a message on FB and if he has time and replies, I will get back to you. We from the press, do not have any official information, other than what you find at the ISU profiles and while I know a lot about music, I can´t even confirm or deny, that he has new music in the Free. All I can say is, that it was very well crafted with a lot of heart.

    I actually just tried to find an old program by Romain, to compare it to my Bavarian memory, but I was out of luck - YT does not offer anything, or it´s blocked for Germany so that it doesn't show in search. Since I saw him the first time this season, I can´t make any analyses without footage and sadly the Bavarian Open are not recorded either, so this makes it a bit difficult as I saw so many skates throughout the 6 days.

    Maybe I know more in a few days

    Besides that, thanks to everyone for the nice words, I appreciate it!

  8. #108
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    Small update for my column. I have written a total of 20 pages by now, currently doing the men and ladies, so that I should be able to release it either tomorrow evening (CET) or the day after.

    So far, I wrote about team Finland, Ice Dance and also about German skaters and some funny stuff too, well if you want to laugh about me that is, because it was actually very embarrassing. Yuka ...

  9. #109
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    Post Bavarian Open 2016, column

    Table of Contents

    1.0 Introduction
    2.0 Welcome to my World
    • 2.1 Sofia Samodurova
    • 2.2 Varvara Diukar
    • 2.3 Alisa Lozko
    • 2.4 Evgenii Semenenko
    • 2.5 Tyler Pierce
    • 2.6 Renata Ogenasian & Mark Bardei
    • 2.7 Anastasia Mishina & Vladislav Mirzoev
    • 2.8 About ice Dance

    • 2.8.1 The smiles
    • 2.8.2 The love story
    • 2.8.3 The big picture
    • 2.8.4 Sofia Shevchenko & Igor Eremenko
    • 2.8.5 The little ones

    3.0 Germans got talent
    • 3.1 Let´s get to party
    • 3.2. The Mannheim connection
    • 3.3 Local heroes and more

    4.0 My Fins
    • 4.1 Alex got emotional
    • 4.2 The smile of a woman
    • 4.3 The mustage

    5.0 Seniors uncovered
    • 5.1 Yuka & Lutricia

    • 5.1.1 Yuka Nagai
    • 5.1.2 Lutricia Bock

    • 5.2 Once more with feeling
    • 5.3 Croatian pairs-skating meets Aljona and Bruno
    • 5.4 The beauty of Ice Dance

    6.0 Medals for all
    • 6.1 Best Dress
    • 6.2 Best Music
    • 6.3 My favorite performances
    • 6.4 Best Spin
    • 6.5 Best transition

    7.0 Most embarrassing moments
    8.0 Final Note


    1.0 Introduction

    In a time when our world is on fire, about 300 brave souls came together, to battle for medals at the Bavarian Open. Said event, does take place every year at Oberstdorf, a place where time tends to stand still.
    Little rivers, small wooden houses, snow on top of the mountains, a few cows here and there, but also wonderful people, make Oberstdorf to what it is, a beautiful place to witness figure skating. It is no surprise, that skaters talk about this place as one of the best experiences in their life and many, want to come again and even extend their stays like Kailani Crane at the Nebelhorn Trophy 2015.

    Said trophy, as far I can tell, will have once again, a huge line up with someone special from Canada, more about this, however, when time comes, as today I want to purely focus on the Bavarian Open, an event where a lot of good happened, but also some things didn't go as planned and we lost quite a few competitors to injuries or sickness like Erika Smith & Aj Reiss, Mari Vartmann & Ruben Blommaert or German Ice Dance champions, Kavita Lorenz & Joti Polizoakis, who were unable to get on the ice at all.

    Other skaters, got on the ice, but had to sadly pull out after the first event, like Aimee Buchanan who had a phenomenal first day or Emmi Peltonen, who just enchanted me with her huge performance, coming third after the short.

    Short, the Bavarian open are absolutely not, in average I spend 18 hours a day at the ice rink, with five hours and a few minutes in my bed, so you can guess how I looked and maybe smelled like after six days. Said look and smell, however, didn't bother people too much, when they came over to me, to say hello like the dad of Eliana Gropman, a very talented young lady from team USA, who came second with her partner Ian Somerville at the Junior Ice Dance competition, with a very present appearance on the ice.
    Said presence, I hardly have, as I am more a shy person, who prefers to just stand in the background and stuff, that said, I really appreciate everyone who is coming over, saying a few words – it´s so important to know, that there is something good actually in these reports and that I am not just annoying with what I have to say about this great sport, so please keep saying hello, I love it – even if I am always a bit scared as well.

    The sport itself, saw huge performances, like of Sofia Samodurova who won her first competition on German soil, after already convincing at the NRW Trophy with a silver medal or the Russian guy who dropped out of school to focus on his career, Evgenii Semenenko or Renata Oganesian and Mark Bardei with their race to pole position.

    More about those skaters, my most embarrassing moments at a victory ceremony and of course, this and that, like me losing my mind over something and being once again seduced by the Fins, in the following pages.

    2.0 Welcome to my World

    When I started writing about figure skating, I knew the big names, Witt, Kwan, Sluzkaja, Butyrskaja, Wötzl & Steuer, Jagudin, Cohan and many more. Skaters, that I saw in TV, or live at the ice stadium. At no time, however, I saw them grow up, because when they were on screen, they were at least 16 or older.

    Therefore, my first steps on the ice as a reporter, were at events where the seniors did compete. I didn´t even buy ticket´s for anything else, than the seniors, often came late to event´s, skipping advanced and juniors – as I felt, they are not so important, a mistake that many people make.
    This, however, has changed dramatically for me, so much, that I would even say that right now, my focus might be even more on juniors and advanced, than on seniors. I saw Gracie when she was little, saw Yulia, Adelina and because of that, I got attached to them, as I witnessed their legacy grow from young age on and today, all three are superstars, who get my full support at all times as you know.
    Because of that, I am very grateful that we do have events in Germany, where juniors and advanced are allowed to compete. Twice a year, I take that opportunity and go to Dortmund or now Oberstdorf. What I see there, is what I saw once, huge talent, young kids who are so incredible mature on ice, but still kids off ice.

    2.1 Sofia Samodurova

    One of these "kids", is Sofia, I already wrote a lot about her at my NRW report, but she did it again, that young girl is super handsome if you meet her and she actually understands my horrible Russian very well and is always ready if there is anything I want.
    What I want or expect from a figure skater, is much more than jumps, or pirouettes, no what I want to see, is a performance, a story and this young lady from St. Petersburg, has plenty of that to offer.
    Her acting is incredible, she grabs you with her presence on the ice, Dracula is coming alive, when she put´s her dress on and who wouldn't like to be bitten, by someone like her? You get immortality and a cute girlfriend, what else do you want?

    What she want´s is pretty clear, to perform for the crowd at a high technical level, stepping up from her triple toe – triple toe, to a triple Lutz – triple toe combination at the start, while putting the triple flip - double Axel further back in her free, right before her step sequence, which I so love.
    What a great attack there, she is so fast and this at the end of her program and I believe, she is actually singing the lyrics along like it was not already hard enough.
    Honestly, every part of her body is performing, the way her hands or shoulders work, pulling the skirt a tiny bit up, creating a few sexy and seductive expressions, the fierce look when Dracula kicks in, her hands how they perform in every landing, it is really special and I think, that she can only do it, because her technique, is so rock solid, that she doesn´t even has to think about landings, take offs or steps anymore.
    The variety in her programs is huge, was the short a very lady like program, the free became a horror trip, with a young lady who made it a pleasure, wrapping you around her fingers with ease, skating into all directions, being everywhere on the ice.

    2.2 Varvara Diukar

    Being everywhere on the ice, while showing good speed is also her thing, Varvara, the winner of the advanced girls I, who does just like Sofia practice at St. Petersburg, however, not with Tatiana Mishina but Oleg Tataurov. Said coach, can be very happy to have such a graceful appearance in his team. Diukar understands very well, that she is a lady on the ice and as such, her upper body, the ballet arms and straight fingers are always present and bring elegance and beauty together, so that she looks much more mature, than those thirteen years on paper.

    On paper, her technical skills are huge as well, however, she lost quite a few elements to sloppy mistakes, so that some more stability in her skating, like with the Flip that she already missed at Dortmund, is required. That being said, she has definitely improved on artistry level, by skating more for the crowd, by upping her presence on the ice and by increasing her awareness of the opportunity that she has with her body. With said body, she can create beautiful pictures, impressions that people will take home with them, like the gorgeous layback.

    While a completely different type of skater, more shy and definitely not as naughty as Sofia, she is not less interesting to watch and the beauty of figure skating, is always, that we see so many different types of skaters and every competition has a new star around the corner.

    2.3 Alisa Lozko

    Said star for me and all the other skaters, is Alisa Lozko. You should have seen it at the victory ceremony, everyone stood up for her, she was not only respected for what she did, no she was loved, for being such an incredible figure on the ice and the look in her face, almost embarrassed, for being so amazing.
    Those of you, that never saw me work at the ice rink, don´t know that I actually write key notes about every skater that steps on the ice. Some skaters get one or two lines, others with big performances maybe 5, but this one here, got a total of 12 lines!
    12 lines, in which I tried to summarize the characteristics in which this young lady is good at, or better put, is totally awesome in. Born in 2002, she does also practice at the same school like Sofia and she also has an incredible grace on the ice like Varvara, but her speed is superior and her movements are so quick, like of a cat. With 175.12, not even her best score yet (183.97 at St. Petersburg earlier this year), she left no doubt, at any time, that she was the queen of all junior ladies.

    Many of us, have grown up with the legacy of an Olympic champion, called Yulia Lipnitskaya. We love her spins, love her programs and at least for the most of us, supported her at Sochi and still do today. If we now take young Yulia, add some rockets to her skating boots, some more expression to her face, more height and power in her jumps and more maturity, then we still not even get close to what Alisa is.
    If you could have seen her spins like I did, they are phenomenal, you would need a new level for these spins, to reward them accordingly. She is not just flexible and super fast, no she actually performs with her hands during those spins and all of that, without losing any tempo or ever getting out of balance. 18 times, the judges gave her a 3 – the maximum achievable for a technical element. Each spin, was rewarded with a level four and her jumps, are of high quality, such as the triple Loop combination.

    Another important aspect, however, is her potential to just sell her programs. She does not have tons of make up, Russian girls usually skate with a very natural look anyways, which I really like by the way. No, she also doesn't seem to make a lot of noise, about herself. She is a very quiet person, who sat next to me at the VC and she is such a lovely figure, very calm and as I said, almost afraid to take the praise that she get´s. She must know, that she is good, but she doesn´t want to let it get to her, she stays natural and kind to those around, who admire her.

    Both programs, were different, the short to the OST by "Anna Pavlova", very calm – with her almost floating, a shy look on her face really thoughtful and the free to “cirque du soleil”, was power, but also quiet, like when the haunting vocals kicked in, goose-bumps everywhere - preparing for the final, with the drums, going all out and her just nailing those steps and turns with huge confidence and speed, it was absolutely sensational.

    Those Russians and their skaters, I love their style.

    I know, I get on peoples nerves already, but this is figure skating for me. Pick someone, who can perform until the last second, give her or him a natural appearance, but not of a person who fell into a make up box and then just let them skate beautiful lines and her lines are incredible, as she has a very good musical and rhythmic understanding, it is almost always on beat, really well crafted her programs and she has the ability to sell them.

    Personally, I just hope for all these Russian talents, that they will not be "deleted" from our figure skating world, just because of puberty or internal demands, by the federation. They are so young still and I would love to still see them skate when they are 20 and more. Don´t pull the Makarova on them please, keep their skating hearts alive and let them entertain us many more years.

    2.4 Evgenii Semenenko

    Greatly entertained, was I by this young men here, also from St. Petersburg, coached by Oleg Tataurov. His short program, is to music by MJ and I absolutely loved the determination of him, he really wasn´t afraid of the elements and he did not telegraph them too much either. Born in 2003, he already has a triple Axel, that he also showed in the free, which should if I am correctly informed, be a first in history and he knows absolutely what he wants to do in his life, as he dropped out of school, to practice every day for full six hours, an hour at the ballet room and another with professionals to work on his expression and interpretation.

    I don´t know about you, but if I would have told my parents with 12 that I leave school to become a professional football player, they would have grounded me for a week and I would have dropped that desire quickly. That said, what really stopped me was an injury and I really hope that Evgenii will be able to fulfill his dream and not be stopped in his desire, to become a high class figure skater, because if it fails, then there will be some quite hard times coming up.

    Right now, however, he is in excellent shape, performing seven triples in the free to "Don Juan", showing great footwork, topping all levels in a very balanced program, with fast and slower parts, greatly interpreted by the young Russian.

    2.5 Tyler Pierce

    Interpretation skill she has loads and while at Oberstdorf, she was also holding the flag, for all those who didn´t want or couldn´t come over. As the only singles skater from the USA, Tyler did one thing and that was ATTACK!
    I have honestly, seen a lot of figure skating in my life, but what this young lady from Norco California did, was incredible and unique. While we do share the same eye color, she is so much more brave, than I ever was and of course much younger and much more prettier than me, while wearing those outfits, directly from the red carpet, which reminded me of Gracie but also Ashley Cain with her bling bling.

    Gold is a good jumper and honestly, my favorite skater next to Adelina – Tyler, however, could become a future hero, as she seems to not know any fear. Her jumps are huge, with great take offs and lots of attack, always remember, as harder you go into a jump, as harder it will be, if you don´t land it, as the force that you put into your jump, needs to be released and if you miss your landing, it´s going to hurt and a lot of ladies fear that moment and therefore do those mini hops as they get tight on the take off.

    Not tight at all, however, was Tyler and I once had a dog, he was a good jumper too, but he couldn't pull things off like a triple toe combination or double Axel – triple toe or as seen at US nationals, triple Lutz – triple Toe. That being said, he had quite a talent for peeing in my living room, so ya, I don´t have that dog anymore...

    What I have now, however, is that huge desire to know more about this young lady and again, as with so many skaters, the information are so spare. I do know, however, that she was once a gymnast and from a former girlfriend of mine, I do know, they have absolutely no fear at all, as you need to do some really crazy stuff there at uneven bars or the always hated balance beam.

    With Tyler, we do have a huge crowd-pleaser at hands, as it´s so enjoyable to see, how she sells the hell out of her programs, gaining a level four for her massive step sequence in the Free to "Danse Macabre", piercing like an arrow into peoples heart. Her ability to get really involved with her music is great, she feels what she is skating to and this always get´s my attention with skaters. You want someone on the ice, who really likes "the soundtrack to their movie", a movie which they have to show us, in the audience.
    Her elevation and expression is great, I love those last 60 seconds and she surely isn´t just a beauty by looks, but also by technique and strong will.

    2.6 Renata Ogenasian & Mark Bardei

    Strong will, huge technique and speed, had these two to offer. It is by miles, my absolute favorite short program in pairs in 2015 / 2016. I still have goose-bumps, thinking about it, what a huge race to pole position that was, so much dedication and speed in their routine, it was a constant flow of highlights!
    We had a triple Sal throw, a huge and I really mean it, a super strong triple twist and a double Axel, side by side. Both skaters from Dnepropetrovsk, absolutely nailed it and grabbed every person in the stands and I was shocked, shocked by this program that came out of nowhere for me.

    It was also fun to see, how both skaters had a little discussion at the kiss and cry, when I came over, to take a picture after their free. She wanted to make sure, she looks perfect and her blades are covered, while Mark just wanted to smile for the camera. It was super funny and we all had a great laugh about her reaction. In general, these two are super fun together and I love how they relate to each other on the ice, something that came even more on to the surface with their free skate to “interview with the vampire”.

    I just love the moment, when Renata jumps on his back, during a naughty phrase, warming up for the Drama towards the end. In general, the pair is super balanced and because of Marks flexibility, also able to score pretty high on levels, as seen at Oberstdorf, where their spins received fours and you absolutely have this super girl on the ice, great attitude, naughty and wild, but also cute and sexy, but with her, is a super strong skater, with great presence and strong attitude and this makes their programs so enjoyable, as a lot of pairs seem to struggle with the male part, as the girl is everywhere and the guy, is like the truck driver, but not with this pair here.
    Their movements are well aligned, the sense for rhythm is there and their motions go hand in hand, no lose connection, no fishing for the partner, they just connect, by fluent motions.

    Together with Anna & Martin and of course the Russian pairs, we have quite a lot of talent to discover in future and I am thrilled to follow their programs.

    2.7 Anastasia Mishina & Vladislav Mirzoev

    One of those Russian pairs, came all the way from St. Petersburg and they were able to climb up after the short, gaining a combined total of 175.84 points. A lot of things, that I said about the Ukrainian couple, also apply here. We do have a huge variety in their kit, the Bolero of the short, is modern, exciting and makes you move and I love how they time their steps and turns, to be right on beat in their no touch sequence, but also how the 14 years old transitions from the triple Sal throw, going on both blades parallel to each other, right after the landing, perfectly aligned to the phrasing of the music, she just looks absolutely gorgeous there.
    I totally love the progression of their short, while at first you have the typical Bolero theme, it then goes into a break down, with just a few kicks, building up to that grand finale, with the drum loops and snares, it´s beautifully done and both skaters are really into their music, wonderful interpretation skills by both.

    Their free to “attention mesdames et messieurs” is very party like, while La vie en rose is a love story and that combination from a time when women were still ladies and men still gentleman's, is presented with great personality and attitude, really getting that special theme on to the ice, a choreography by Natalia Pecherskaia.

    What I find fascinating about Anastasia is the way she is rotating, as she has her right hand on the back, as seen at the triple throws Sal and Loop. In general, she is really a little lady on the ice, I love her facial expression, that can even turn into a very shy smile and it´s actually quite fun to think about their starting position, where he is making a very serious face in the short and she just smiles at you.
    But don´t get me wrong, Vladislav is actually a very cool fellow and he has a constant smile on his face during their free, nicely presenting his lady.

    2.8 About ice Dance

    Before I start I have to admit that I could write about 10 or more of these amazing advanced & junior couples in ice dance. The quality was absolutely massive and every couple on the ice, brought something special to the table, telling us wonderful stories, on a high technical level and if you want to know more about the ice dance competition, please check out my detailed reports of these competitions, where I for instance talk about the Greens, Caleb Wein with the awesome hair cut, Polina Pankova´s naughty emotes in their funky dance and more. It really is impossible to mention everyone, the ice dance competition was just way too good, but so were the others.

    2.8.1 The smiles

    So, lets start with Lou Terreaux & Noe Perron who impressed me, when she smiled directly at me, as they had to perform the change of hold, blind in their pattern dance 2, a very difficult requirement and yet, her huge expression made it look like "no problem" and this is what you want to see by them, effortless skating, no fear or hesitation – it needs to be totally normal for them, to do all those difficult elements in their routine.

    Similar could be said about Katherine Grosul and Cameron Colucci from Philadelphia, smiles all the way, which is such a common attitude by the American skaters, they just always want to invite you to join them on the ice and I tell you, I was very close to hop over – of course, just literally speaking, as I would probably crash into everyone, if I ever, step on the ice with these skaters! If it was an invitation to join team USA celebrating when they were singing the national anthem below my window at midnight, I don´t know – but thanks for the wake up call on, Sunday night.

    2.8.2 The love story

    While I never need a wake up call at ice dance competitions, there was a final pair at the advanced novice, that absolutely destroyed it!
    They go by the names of Emily Rose Brown and James Hernandez with their love story to the OST by Ghost! Wonderful entry into their Twizzle sequence, perfectly aligned, super mature, skating in close hold at all times, interpreting that ghost theme, absolutely wonderful, the way she looks at him, fully in love, both are floating with the music, they were flying, absolutely effortless skating and now take this, they skate together since summer 2015, practice about 3-4 days a week (3 hours only)!

    Ice Dance, but also pairs is a lot about trust, blind understanding and pathing. You need to know what your partner will do every second, because if you don´t, it looks awkward and could lead to injuries.
    Honestly, I have absolutely no idea how they do it, but there wasn´t a single issue in that performance, it was like they were skating together since 10 years. Brilliant couple and her interest in Ballroom dancing, clearly shows and I am so glad, that his interest in cricket doesn't on the ice, that said, who did break the Umbrella, I thought I heard a British accent?
    For me personally, no matter how skilled the Russians and American were, the Brits just were my dream pair on the ice, across all brackets and credit to the coaching staff here, Phillip Paul I believe, is the mastermind behind all of this, respect!

    2.8.3 The big picture

    Respect, also has to go to our Russian winners at the advanced, Maria Marchenko and Egor Pozdniakov. The pictures those two create during their "in the hall of the mountain king" performance are lovely, especially because of her amazing flexibility as seen at the curve lift at the end, where she is hanging down on him, like a snake, pulling her blade, through his legs to her head and his fierce expression mimicking the trolls, makes it perfect. The pair from Moscow who is coached by Denis Samokhin, showed really nice speed, even becoming faster as the music demanded it at the final minute, always interacting with the crowd, by huge facial expression and great work with their hands.

    2.8.4 Sofia Shevchenko & Igor Eremenko

    Great hands or should I say, lovely pink finger nails, Sofia has and she is such a present personality on ice, I really have a thing for her attitude, great lady she is, with just 14 years of age and what a beast of a Twizzle sequence did they deliver, from a seating position in the first, perfectly aligned, with great speed – it just wowed me, every time I saw it and how she was actually able to give me that special, arrogant and cold look after the first Twizzle, priceless!

    Sofia, reminds me of one of the greatest Russian athletes ever who I had the pleasure of meeting, Alena Kabaeva, who could also just grab you whenever she wanted, with a huge presence and a similar presence, young Sofia has and also Igor, is very present and together they create very difficult entries, like at their rotational lift, over the back of his neck and great closing 10 seconds as well, it just always happens something on the ice, between these two, great couple, with huge personality if you ask me.

    2.8.5 The little ones

    Personality, oh yes, that so calls for our last couple here Eliana Gropman and Ian Somerville from the States. These kids, are so mature on the ice and how Ian is able to pull off all those difficult lifts, is just beyond me. Most of the male skaters are 17+ and Ian is just 15 and he is absolutely at the same level, doing the same difficult rotational or straight line lifts, granting them level four modification and I think, all of this is only possible because of dedication, hard work and of course their blind understanding of each other, after about seven years of skating together.

    What caught my eye as well, was their exit from the spin in their free program to ice queen, great transition into the drum pattern and that little choreographed dance before going into the circular step sequence, I really like what they do there!
    It is no secret that a lot of the people in the crowd, were very interested about this couple here, asking me all kind of questions and thankfully to the official website I could answer them and this is something that I would love to see by more skaters, a professional web presence and not only that Instagram or FB stuff, which at least for me, is so impersonal, I just like websites much more, or of course a quick chat at the ice rink.


    3.0 Germans got talent

    Already 13 pages in, I seriously need to find a way to write less, but what should I do, if the performances are so amazing? Amazing is also, what currently happens in my home country, Germany. We have a huge quality of skaters and no matter what some will say, for me that quality is there and yes, we do not win medals at Europeans or worlds, besides Aljona & Bruno, but medals you know, they are one thing, but to see skaters progress and get better, how they practice so hard for their programs, it is really something special and I won´t miss that. Therefore, I want to talk a little bit now, about our German skaters at the Bavarian open.

    3.1 Let´s get to party

    This young lady here, was already playing a big part at my NRW column, therefore just a small report about Paula Mikolajczyk at Oberstdorf. As always, she was starting a party whenever she got on to the ice and the fun she has, totally transfers to the people in the stands and there was a little girl who came to me and stood next to me, when Paula came on ice and then when Paula started to dance, that little kid, just joined her and was jumping and clapping all along.
    Personally, I am not sure if that was just a fan, her sister or I don´t know a random clap clap happening to make me nervous, but it was great to see, what an impact she has on people, including myself.

    So, if you ever feel down, watch the young lady, who as I mentioned could easily do a few commercials for toothpaste. I love her outgoing personality and her short program was rock solid, starting with a triple toe – double toe combination, and later double Axel and double Flip. Unfortunately and this is a real issue in Germany, unless you talk to the skaters or coaches directly, information are very spare and often outdated.
    This is one of the biggest issues I have right now, I see a skater and then I check the website of the skating club and there is nothing there. Maybe a small headline, but that´s it. No age, no biography, no program details – there is just nothing and therefore I can sadly, not give you any other information about her and many other skaters, who I will mention today. That being said, most people who write about our skaters, even in regional newspaper, do it for free, either because of passion or because they are the mom or dad of said skaters.

    I so want this to change!

    3.2. The Mannheim connection

    Said changes, already happened at the MERC, who offers a few details at least, about their skaters. My favorite skater at Mannheim, is Kalina Lewicka, as she really has that glamour whenever she steps on the ice and I am very pleased that she has come back strong, after she injured herself at our youth nationals.

    The 15 years old, can be very proud of her development, she came clean on both days, securing her a 7th spot at a very tight field. Again, I loved her variety and it was good to see that she had much more stability in her programs, than back at Dortmund, where a lot went wrong. She attacked her gorgeous step sequence well and as mentioned, I would love to see that free skate next season again, with more punch and strength in those legs, a great fighter she already is.

    Dora Hus, is two years younger and one of the biggest talents we have in Germany at her age group. Big jumping potential, great technique and a very present attitude already and very friendly, if you meet her off ice.
    At the Bavarian Open, Dora started ok in the short, but was unable to compete at the free, where she had to withdrawn. The champion of the youth nationals 2016, however, could already smile a few hours later and it will be really interesting to see, how she will get through puberty and if a lot of adjustments need to be done, in the process. Keep in mind, she did a triple toe – double toe, attempted the triple Sal and had a clean double Axel, this is from an international level, really good and should be something that she can build on, as a just 13 years old young lady with a very passionate dad.

    Kristina Isaev, a very expressive skater and national Jr. Champion did not compete at Oberstdorf, while Nathalie Weinzierl did, but pulled out of the competition after a not so good short program, all of the above are coached by Peter Sczypa.

    3.3 Local heroes and more

    Of course there are many more very talented skaters and skating clubs in Germany, like the Berlin based, Minerva Fabienne Hase & Nolan Seegert, who once again showed an improved version of their short program, coming second in total, behind Aljona & Bruno. Sadly, I missed the free skate, so that I can not say much more right now, but a very talented pair these two are.

    Another big talent is the 12 years old, Nicole Calderari, who convinced with beautiful attitude and huge fun on the ice, doing all her jumps as doubles and even landed her Lutz in the free in combination with a loop, an element, that didn't work prior in the short and required that she rebuilds her program on the fly, going for a double Flip – double Toe in the short. A very bubbly skater, coached by Maylin & Daniel Wende, who also always had a very positive attitude on the ice and they seem to have a little jewel there at Oberstdorf where they work as a coaching team now.

    Many more German skaters caught my attention, but at this point I will just name them, so that you might be able to check them out yourself. Jocy Pelka from I believe the EC Regensburg, convinced with a good presence on the ice, Ann Christin Marold and Jana Schwegler with very naughty performances in the short, Jaquiline Rot did compete at pairs and Advanced Novice Girls I and always stayed positive and of course Alissa Scheidt, who finally kept her cool in the Free and skated really beautiful programs, coming third in total, at the Junior Ladies II. Her performances featured great arms and elegance in her movements, good comeback after popping the second Sal in the free too. She really reminds me of Nicole Schott, great presence, smooth skating, not a lot of noise, very easy for the eyes with good variety, connecting well to the crowd.

    As you can see, there are many skaters in Germany who are a joy to watch and there are many more to discover and last but not least, a big shoutout to Dave Kötting who was our only gold medalist at singles, as he won the junior men with five triples and levels up to three for spins and steps.

    Again, please check my daily reports, where I mentioned a few more skaters.

    4.0 My Fins

    Almost every daily report, had a small section about the Fins, but of course they will also find their place now in my column as they are so awesome!
    The senior ladies competition was awesome in the short, but also quite emotional for me, as I was so hoping for a Fin on the podium as our last, was Jenni Saarinen, about three years ago and still today, I remember this young lady with her great presence and the triple - triple, who just made my day and I thought, she would come more often after, but sadly, she never came back to Germany and me, never saw a Fin, win a competition again, on German Ice.

    4.1 Alex got emotional

    This, unfortunately should not change at the Bavarian Open 2016, even if I had high hopes on Liubov and Emmi, hopes, however, that were crushed on Saturday, when Emmi Peltonen pulled out after the short, being third with an ice cold performance, that gave me the creeps and Liubov Efimenko sadly, showed some nerves, when she singled Lutz, Toe and Sal, elements that she can usually do in her sleep. Maybe she read my praising of the Fins the day before and got a bit nervous, I don´t know – but my journey goes on, the journey to find a Fin who wins.

    Even without the victory or podiums position, I met amazing skaters from Finland, one of them was Olivia Tuuva, who is a wonderful person, running a very personal blog which I love reading. What I also loved, were her programs like the short, in which she made me cry as the way she skated and everything, reminded me about someone who I lost a while ago and when I read her blog and all those thoughts and doubts that she has, then I really hope that she can keep going, that she will never stop fighting for her dream, to be a figure skater.

    Olivia´s talent to grab people with her performances is huge and her being a bit sick after Christmas surely played it´s role here, but as she said herself, it´s a learning experience and as such she will hopefully look back to her days at Oberstdorf and come back, to Germany, not to shop but to skate.

    4.2 The smile of a woman

    That she likes shopping, is almost a given and Jade was a new face around the block, as I never saw her skate before, but when I realized she was coming with Tarja Sipilä, then I knew she would be be quite a character, as Tarja is a very good coach and I love watching her with the skaters like now with Jade Rautiainen.
    Jade, is a typical teenage girl, very friendly and always smiling while on the ice and I love her outfits, she definitely has a great look. At the same time, she is like most girls, very interested in styling, fashion and the like, as you can see on her Instagram account and there is one picture where she just styled up, like she wanted to go either on a date, or the Oscars. Besides that, she seems to have a thing for Grey´s Anatomy and of course, figure skating. What I found fascinating about her skating is that positive look in her face and how aware she is, what her appearance can do to people. Let´s face it, who doesn´t like to look at a young lady, who is having fun on the ice?

    Said fun, also doesn't go away if she runs into a few issues, like the triple Sal in the short that didn't want to work, however, worked fine twice in the Free. No she is positive, keeps her posture and skates her programs and this with a lot of feel, nice skating skills and I really enjoyed that step sequence of her in the Free, it was very playful and charming and also a very gorgeous layback, my favorite element in figure skating.

    Jade that is for sure, has a very charming way of interpreting the music, you just like watching what she does and I really hope, she will come back to an event in Germany, as I really love my Fins and she was together with Olivia one of my favorites at the Bavarian Open.

    4.3 The mustage

    Together with the girls and ladies, but of course also Valtter Virtanen who came 15th, a mustage joined the team from Finland. He goes by the name of Tomi Pulkkinen and he was such a fun character to watch. He had a real crowd-pleaser attitude, especially after the short, when he showed by how much he missed the triple Axel and in general, it was more a falling contest for him, than a skating performance, but he took it so easy and with a big smile, I loved that!

    Tomi who was originally born at Helsinki, but moved to Switzerland when he was 8 years old, has already won two senior competitions this season, Crystal Skate and Skate Helena and in the Free, he was able to land five triples, with an opening combination of triple Axel – Loop and triple Sal. His performance to Schindler's List, showed great ballet arms and feel for the music and a very personal site of the skater.

    As you can see, even without that medal, the Fins made my day once more and I am already looking forward to the next time, when people from that wonderful country cross my path.

    5.0 Seniors uncovered

    My path crossed, have also many more skaters, like those competing at the seniors. Before I start, however, I want to refer once again to my reports if you want to dig a bit deeper into the actual competitions of the seniors, as right now I only want to mention a few skaters, as most of them are in the media every now and then, so they shouldn't be to angry about not being mentioned, or maybe some are actually very happy about not having to go through my crazy mind.

    5.1 Yuka & Lutricia


    At the VC I was able to score a picture, with these two amazing skaters, who both wanted to take a picture with each other. Yuka Nagai, won the competition, with very emotional skating and Lutricia Bock, absolutely wowed me, with her amazing presence and how mature she has become since I last saw her about two years ago.

    5.1.1 Yuka Nagai

    The Japanese started her competition with Madam Butterfly and the sad story of Cio Cio San. Throughout the program, we met various parts of her life and it was portrait in all it´s extremes. I really enjoyed the structure and balance of her program, in which she nailed a triple Lutz - triple toe with ease, like it was nothing.
    Her facial expression, did always match the theme of her program and you saw a lot of pain and she bravely attacked her spins and turns, with all her heart, gaining a total of 65.32 points.

    As a 17 years old, she understood very well, how much of a tragic story she held in her hands and this should carry over in her free to August´s Rhapsody, about the sad story of a young lady and her child, of which she believed it was dead.
    Throughout both days, Yuka really made the term "effortless" skating justice, it looked like it was nothing for her, yet keeping a strong facial expression, an expression who should change into tears, after finishing her program in which she landed five triples including her Lutz – Toe combination and a very solid triple Lutz – double Toe – double Loop.
    What made me very happy was her choreography and how it was using the various musical phrases, like the drum pattern that kicked in during one of her spins, but also the strong interaction with the crowd, something that is not that usual for Japanese skaters.

    5.1.2 Lutricia Bock

    Not that usual for us in Germany it is, that our Ladies end up on the podiums. Lutricia, however did and she is a young lady that I wrote about last at the JGP season in 2014 and she was quite impressive, not just for me, but also you guys at the forum here and I remember how I was told, that at times, she might want to much to fast. If you followed her in the past years, then she had quite some downs, like once when she was leading at nationals and then couldn't back it up at the Free or just recently when she was unable to qualify for the final at Europeans.

    That being said, if you see her on the ice then what I see is a very present skater, with good jumps and a lot of fun. Usually, I am not too much into the funny / over acting programs, I kind of like the quiet stuff or the Drama, but with Lutricia and her "the artist", I don´t know – her working with Pasquale Camerlengo in summer at Detroit, seems to have worked out quite well, the program is well crafted and she as a skater, is able to really perform accordingly, without making it look too "staged", while keeping a very natural look.

    Her free featured six triples, of which she was able to land five clean, while showing excellent speed towards the end of her program. The young lady who does compete for the EC at Chemnitz, is a very friendly off ice appearance and definitely looks like a million dollars already and also showed a more quiet side of her, with her "Patch Adams" performance in the short. Personally, I wonder how she would skate to something like "hero" by Mariah Carey. Maybe it´s more for an exhibition, but I think she could pull this off, with her sympathetic appearance.

    5.2 Once more with feeling

    Competitions of the men, tend to be really difficult for me at times, as they go for quads a lot and if they can´t land them clean, their programs fall apart and not much artistry and story, seems to survive. Plushenko always got me, even as a guy who is not in the slightest interested in men, I was digging his programs at all times, as for me, they had power and charisma. His last big performance that I saw live, was the team event at Sochi and his short, which blew me out of the sky. Since then, I miss something, a guy like him and I am probably not alone there, as a lot of his fans, are very sad about his departure caused by injuries.
    While I did not find my new Plushenko, I still experienced a few really interesting skates this season and a few of those, actually happened last week at Oberstdorf.

    One of these skates came from Romain Ponsart, who was coached by Brian Joubert last year for about three months, but then decided to move to Colorado to practice at the 7K academy. In my opinion, both of his programs, but especially the short, while not perfectly executed, stood out. I saw a men with a heart and soul, he was willing to lay both for us on to the ice and it just grabbed you, the way he performed. For me, men can skate in two ways to grab me. Power like with a Daft Punk performance or emotional, like he did with his “la suis malade”. I saw grace in his movements, strong arms and lovely work in his knee´s – it was art and a very special performance that day.
    He was, however, not alone with showing his feelings, as also the winner of the competition Ivan Righini had a very emotional skate, while performing triple Axel, triple Flip and a triple Lutz – triple Toe in the short.

    A completely different approach had Franz Streubel, with his free to Django Unchained in which he has all those funny emotes, telling you the story of the movie, a movie that I honestly didn't watch yet, but even without watching the movie, I seem to have a pretty good understanding of what that movie will be about, thanks for Franz.

    The Berlin based skater, who is competing for the EC Oberstdorf and therefore also won the Bavarian senior men trophy, next to his silver medal behind Ivan, is going to present Germany at Boston and as he said a while ago, he needs to work hard to get ready for it, especially in the free, to not run out of steam there towards the end, like at the Europeans. Former national champion Peter Liebers is currently off ice and underwent surgery on his hip this Tuesday, therefore I want to wish him a speedy recovery.

    5.3 Croatian pairskating meets Aljona and Bruno

    While I sadly missed my favorite pair Hase & Seegert, I found a new really interesting pair at Oberstdorf and they do come from Croatia! Lana Petranovic and Michael Lueck, really made my day with their performances. They couldn't score high enough for a medal and some people out there, might even say that without a triple twist and and triple throws, you are not worth their time, but for me, these two were absolutely worth mine. I love how they relate to each other, she is a very tiny person and Michael is like a big teddy bear and it looks absolutely fantastic if they skate together.

    Both skaters relate to each other in a wonderful way, it really warmed my heart when I saw them on the ice and I really hope they will keep working and come again to one of the other competitions in Germany, I like these type of pairs so much and they did a wonderful double Lutz side by side and a huge Lasso lift that got a level three modification by the panel.

    The level three on their twist, is what they so want to get rid off, Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot.
    For us Germans and many fans around the world, the departure of Robin, one of the finest characters on ice, was quite a sad story, that being said, Szolkowy is now a dad, is giving pair skating lessons and works as a coach. Aljona wanted to keep going and looked for someone who suited her needs and she found that person in Bruno Massot. However, they were not allowed to skate and therefore couldn't make any money, so that Bruno was relying purely on Aljona and what she could bring to the kitchen table. Over 18 months, this went on until they were finally free and able to skate, after the German federation had to pay quite a lot of money to the French.

    Therefore, I was pretty curious where both skaters stand now, as I wasn't able to watch them at Europeans where they won silver, nor nationals where they won gold. For me, the short is very good already, Aljona skates as we know her, with huge presence, showing at every second how much it means for her, the transitions and entries are difficult and it looks like a decently balanced pair on ice. A tiny error on the side by side and not getting the level four for the twist, however, for the Death Spiral (up from three at Bratislava) seemed like minor problems and the victory of the short was never in any danger.

    At the free, however, a few double footed landings crawled in at the throws (Flip & Sal) and it is most likely the program that needs most work. The side by sides didn't work - nor the toe or Sal, while the lifts were very good, so were the spins and the Death Spiral. I read a lot about Bruno not being as artistic as needed, but realistically, Aljona is a damn fine pair skater, everyone will be in her shadow and it will hopefully get better over time, once they skated a few more competitions, but ya it is of course very hard to be the guy after Szolkowy.

    What´s hard for me, is to give a real judgment right now, also as I was quite distracted with the Ladies VC, but with Ingo and Aljona – I am sure they will find a way to gain the missing level on the twist, something they have been working on lately and I am pretty sure, that they might have a shot at worlds for a medal, not the victory, I don´t think that this is realistic, but a medal should be possible, if all goes well and they gain the levels and the consistency on throws and side by side elements.

    5.4 The beauty of Ice Dance

    Consistent you need to be at one of my favorite disciplines of figure skating, the Ice Dance. As a skater, you want to give your audience the feeling, that you only skate for them and that you don´t find that hard at all. We are talking of programs, that are presented with confidence, a strong story, that is not too complicated and a perfect union of man and woman. There are many ways, how you can skate, as seen with Cannuscio / McManus where she is the music and he is the maestro himself, but one rule is always present, stay in character.
    Very good to see is that with my favorite Ice Dance pair from Russia, Ekaterina Bobrova and Dimitri Soloviev, who never stop acting at their Anna Karenina. A similar, but funny approach had the Germans Katharina Müller and Tim Dieck in their short, to “Micmacs a tire – larigot”, in which already the preparation on ice, was in character. While they lost a few positions after the free, I really enjoy how these two skaters, are always so well aligned, their step sequences, while not that fast, look wonderful and in harmony with each other and they definitely deserve some credit for their variety too, as the free to “Ave Maria”, was a totally different program.

    Different and quite unique are, Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland, one of the finest ice dancers that we have. No matter which year, they always bring something for the crowds, it always makes click and it´s amazing how their free program felt like 30 seconds to me. Said free program to music by muse, was indeed like a hurricane and at one point during their rotational lift, I really thought that he would throw his Penny to me, as I always sit very close to the ice at Oberstdorf. It´s that type of interaction, the effortless skating and huge speed, but also the smiles and smooth transitions and perfect alignment which they constantly have, that make this British pair to such a crowd-pleaser.

    That you can also please said crowd, with Drama or Romance is not unusual and was often portrait by the returning Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Olympic Champions of Vancouver 2010. While they are still in preparation for next season, a few couples at Oberstdorf had very emotional skates to offer like the very romantic performance by Peroline Ojardias and Michael Bramante, who had a beautiful progression in their program, with a very fast and dramatic last minute, but also the Brits Carter Marie Jones and Richard Sharpe, with their story.

    Said story, was I think my favorite of the day, the way he treats her, as the one in the spotlight, as his precious, is really wonderful and he cares for her, he really want´s that she is doing ok and this makes him to a very graceful appearance on ice, a super balanced pair which not only won my heart, but also the bronze medal at Oberstdorf.
    Silver went to Tina Garabedian and Simon Proulx Senecal, who did absolutely skate for the big picture, great positioning by her in the lifts, a great balance on the ice, wonderful music choice with "winter chill" and "full of hearts" and lovely on beat with their arm movements as seen at the circular step sequence. Interesting about this pair here is, that they do not have any funding from their federation, so they pretty much rely on donations and helping hands, which shows once again, how hard figure skating can be, it´s so money dependent and without it, no matter how good you are, you can not succeed.

    It is astonishing if you look at their program under that aspect, as they offer nice synchronization and the straight line at start with change of position, so hard to do, but it looks absolutely effortless.
    I really want to point out strongly, that I could absolutely write about every couple here like Tatiana Kozmava and Aleksii Shumskyi, who had huge Drama in their music and it always reflected in their acting and the elements, like the amazing lifts or the gorgeous spin.
    This is what makes Ice Dance for me so entertaining but also the hardest discipline to take notes about, as I could just write forever about what these skaters do, but not everyone is so much into ice dance, so I will just keep it short and thank all skaters, for these beautiful performances at the Bavarian Open.

    6.0 Medals for all


    As always at this point, I want to try to mention a few more skaters, that for various reasons, just stood out and didn´t find a spot yet. Again, I still have so many more names on the list here, but I need to find an end somehow, so the daily reports are still there and now, the medals for all.

    6.1 Best Dress


    The dress of a skater, often sees a lot of love, after all it is a part of you and your performance. Of course, it can also serve you to squeeze out those few extra points, especially with our ladies, who can dress like for the red carpet, using all their god given abilities to make men go crazy. One of these outfits, came from Michaela Hanzlikova, as it was golden and maybe a tiny bit too short, but this didn't stop her from nailing a really strong program to “ice symphony”, consisting of huge speed, which was definitely a highlight on day one of the senior ladies.

    After a flawless free to Congo, she came 4th, not only because of her outfits, but the really strong will, to really go for her elements like her five triples, including the Sal – double toe combination, at the end of her program.
    But not only the Czech knew how to dress, we also had a German lady with a very in character performance, who goes by the name Jasmin Lugert.

    My absolute favorite, however, was a Russian lady who just got me with her variety and styling and she goes by the name of Arina Vakulenko and she did compete with Egor Tarasenko in the junior ice dance competition, where they came 5th. Her outfit from the short, was amazing, the way she had her hair, with the little diadem / crown in it, the silver / black color of her dress, so elegant and charming, she looked like a million dollars that day and I so love how present she is on the ice. A wonderful young lady, great positioning during the lifts and absolutely uncontested at the Bavarian Open.

    6.2 Best Music

    Uncontested, she was as well and since I make a living from my music, I always want to see skaters, who pick their music accordingly to their performances and personality. I still wait for a skater, who will skate to the old OST of Mad Max, a very dark themed soundtrack, but I honestly feel that we really had awesome music choices by our skaters and one young lady from France, was my absolute favorite with her picks.
    The young lady came 6th at the Junior Ladies I and goes by the name Alizée Crozet. The 15 years old, skated to "emanuelle" in the short and "the immortal instrument" in the free. Both were movie soundtracks and both required a skater, with huge presence on the ice and I tell you, she did absolutely amazing there. Her skates were passionate and powerful, with loud and quiet parts, perfectly interpreted by the skater and her choreography.

    She has the total package of a skater for me, expression, emotion, positive attitude, elegance, drama in her face if required and speed. You can watch her do stuff on the ice, all day – I had goosebumps with her skates. The short is very quiet and emotional with the piano sounds and strings, some guitar and then that big music in her free, the drums and layers, haunting voices and I loved how she was putting her elements on beat, like the double Axel in the free, towards the end of her program, with those amazing vocals in the background.

    What a great skater from France, a country that had so many talented girls on ice, like Pauline Wanner with her strong fighting spirit, who does not know fear or Julie Froetscher, who is always so positive on the ice.

    6.3 My favorite performances

    Usually at this point, I come up with something like best SP, best LP. Unfortunately, could I not decide what my favorite program in said categories was, therefore I will just give you a few more names, that impressed me.
    The first program that I want to mention came by Sofia Nesterova, from the Ukraine. Unfortunately, I have no further information about this skater, other than that she did win the free skate at the Advanced Girls I and came 3rd in total. Said free skate, was absolutely amazing and joyful, she did skate in hold, yes in hold, with her left hand at the hip, mimicking the traditional "Opera Ball" at Vienna.
    She had great body posture, expression and fire. She made that "old" music look brand new, with a very young and fresh attitude. Besides that, her technical elements were really huge, like the triple Loop – double Toe or triple Sal – double Toe and she even landed a triple Lutz very late in her program.

    Another Ukrainian girl that impressed me, was Anastasiia Arkhipova who did skate to an instrumental version of, “I will always love you”. What impressed me were her arms and hands, how smooth they supported her graceful movements that won her the silver medal, at the advanced Novice Girls I. It was a very charming performance, that I would really love to see once more.
    As the short programs go, I was really into Emmi Peltonens program, her cold expression was really scary, she was as cool as an iceberg, performing to “woman”. Another young girl was Katharina Kurz from Germany, who did compete at the advanced Girls II. What I liked about her, were the interpretation skills, she was really feeling her music and that is always a pleasure to see.
    Danielle Harrison, is another beautiful skater, who had a huge short to offer, she completely flashed everyone of us, as it was such a long day and she completely breathed life back into all of us.
    Last but not least, of course Olivia Tuuva, who really had an absolutely emotional skate for us, she and I already said this above, really has a thing for emotions and she is a very interesting fellow, with great thoughts.

    Of course, there were many more – please allow me to say, that I could never do these skaters justice, there are so many great performances, it´s impossible to write about them all.

    6.4 Best Spin

    There can only be one winner here, it is Aliza Lozko, she just looks amazing in her spins, but I also want to mention once again the beautiful Aimee Buchanan, who really nailed a superb short on the ice, with huge expression and lovely spins, but then unfortunately couldn't skate her free.

    6.5 Best transition


    This is a new category, that I invented for the sole purpose to show that connecting elements, is not that hard at first sight, but it is really difficult to master. As a skater, you don´t want any dead moments in your programs, you don´t want to give your audience the feel that they can take their eyes from you, for a single second. Make them realize, that if they look over to their girlfriend, to their I-phone, or just to their hidden love, that they will miss out, miss out on your performance!
    Lola Esbrat and Andrei Novoselov did exactly this, they transitioned in their short program from a DS directly into their pair spin, it looked super hot and shows, what there is possible in that regard.

    7.0 Most embarrassing moments

    Possible is a lot for me as well, possible in that way how I can make a fool out of myself. I do have quite some talent for this, a talent I would rather give away.
    So ya, what has happened you may wonder?

    The first incident, was at the VC of the ladies. You know, that competition which Yuka Nagai, won so amazingly well? Our Victory Ceremony, is always held at the ballet room, so I went there and she entered the room, looked into my direction, smiles, made a bow and waved. Now, you would think at least I did, she was actually recognizing me, as I always give skaters a few claps, nods or smiles while they are on the ice and ya, I really thought she was waving and smiling to me...

    But, I think she didn't, as there were three Japanese behind me, what a moment of embarrassment, as I smiled back and bowed making a fool out of myself.

    The second embarrassment is actually one I found out about, just recently when I was browsing a skaters Instagram. Said skater, does have a picture there, where she smiles and stands in all her beauty. But, there is another person on that picture and its me! That is so OMG, I hate pictures with me in, I always look horrible and now my face will always be in that picture. My only hope is, that her beauty, will blind people, so that they do not see me also in that picture.

    Needles to say, that I had a few battles to fight with skating moms at VC´s, as we all wanted to take pictures of their daughters and sons, so some elbows go out which lead to the situation, that I was almost falling into a bunch of skaters, luckily I could hold onto my balance, but I assure, skating moms are just so evil! (kidding).

    8.0 Final Note

    No kidding do I, when I tell you, that I had great fun at Oberstdorf and I so wish, that I had more time, to give you even more information about what has happened at the Bavarian Open 2016. While not everything went as planned, the event itself and the performances by the skaters, were high class.
    We saw very young talents, who very well could headline the Olympics 2022, but also skaters who have a shot at future world titles and it shows, how important it is, to be with skaters right from the beginning. While it costs a lot of money and of course a lot of time, it is something that I do not want to miss, no matter how big the obstacles might become over the years.
    Writing about figure skating, is so different to what I usually do, as lets face it, if I DJ then I see what my music does to people, but with these blogs, I can only guess if it´s a nice read for people or even skaters.

    That´s why I am so grateful for every comment, or chat at the ice rink and for skaters it is very similar I think, as they have to skate in front of empty rows quite a lot, except of course at the very big events, so once again, I ask everyone to write something about their skaters, use the forum here, many of them are reading along, tell them, how you think about their performances, it is so crucial to them.
    This also means, that I still have to update a few threads of my kids, like Tanja Odermatt, who did so wonderful and once again made me a proud “daddy” and she is an absolute darling and I am very happy that we have a platform with Goldenskate, to write about those who we love.

    As always, I want to thank the skaters, coaches and officials for their cooperation and I do hope that my critics might be considered in the future, to make figure skating an even more pleasant journey, for spectators, journalists and of course our skaters.

    Thank you very much, until next time!


    P.S. I apologize for any spelling errors in names & Co. If you find any, don´t hesitate to let me know.
    P.P.S. I hope it´s easy to read from a format & font point of view. I tried to make it better to read, by using a few format options and making the font a bit bigger, but ya everyone has different sight, so if it´s horrible, I am sure it can be fixed.

    Last edited by Alex D; 02-25-2016 at 04:28 PM.

  10. #110
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Great article! It sounds like a great competition!

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    It sounds like a great competition!
    and no video... just a grief
    Last edited by Roman09; 02-26-2016 at 03:21 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dorispulaski View Post
    Great article! It sounds like a great competition!
    Thank you!

    It was indeed wonderful and we also had quite a crowd this time, compared to two years ago, where hardly anyone found the ice rink.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roman09 View Post
    and no video... just a grief
    Yes, it´s one of the things that I would love to see change in future.

  13. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alex D View Post
    I have send him a message on FB and if he has time and replies, I will get back to you. We from the press, do not have any official information, other than what you find at the ISU profiles and while I know a lot about music, I can´t even confirm or deny, that he has new music in the Free. All I can say is, that it was very well crafted with a lot of heart.

    I actually just tried to find an old program by Romain, to compare it to my Bavarian memory, but I was out of luck - YT does not offer anything, or it´s blocked for Germany so that it doesn't show in search. Since I saw him the first time this season, I can´t make any analyses without footage and sadly the Bavarian Open are not recorded either, so this makes it a bit difficult as I saw so many skates throughout the 6 days.

    Maybe I know more in a few days

    Besides that, thanks to everyone for the nice words, I appreciate it!
    Small update here,

    I was sadly unable to obtain any further information about his programs. He is probably very busy, making his programs even more awesome , so my apologies for the lack of news.

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    Wow

    Hi, I am Olivia Tuuva.

    Wow Alex. And thank you so much for your beautiful words. This really touch my heart, so much... I have always had really bad self-confidence and those words just melt my heart. I just love to read those beautiful words you write about me. I am so gtareful...

    Now, my career is taking a break because I have been so overexsertion... And of course I have been so sad and dissappointed about all my illnes and everything... And now me and my body are so tired and exhausted. And I couldn't be more sad about this situation. Also, I don't have money to continue my career. I would love to talk to you more if you want to. I just found this and this really did this day the best. Thank you so much. I have been so sad and dissapointed and everything so these words just... I don't know. Thank you!!!

    My new blog: www.lily.fi/belivia and you can find my athlete facebook paige by name Olivia Tuuva. And my personal too.

    <3: Olivia Tuuva

    Quote Originally Posted by Alex D View Post
    Table of Contents

    1.0 Introduction
    2.0 Welcome to my World
    • 2.1 Sofia Samodurova
    • 2.2 Varvara Diukar
    • 2.3 Alisa Lozko
    • 2.4 Evgenii Semenenko
    • 2.5 Tyler Pierce
    • 2.6 Renata Ogenasian & Mark Bardei
    • 2.7 Anastasia Mishina & Vladislav Mirzoev
    • 2.8 About ice Dance

    • 2.8.1 The smiles
    • 2.8.2 The love story
    • 2.8.3 The big picture
    • 2.8.4 Sofia Shevchenko & Igor Eremenko
    • 2.8.5 The little ones

    3.0 Germans got talent
    • 3.1 Let´s get to party
    • 3.2. The Mannheim connection
    • 3.3 Local heroes and more

    4.0 My Fins
    • 4.1 Alex got emotional
    • 4.2 The smile of a woman
    • 4.3 The mustage

    5.0 Seniors uncovered
    • 5.1 Yuka & Lutricia

    • 5.1.1 Yuka Nagai
    • 5.1.2 Lutricia Bock

    • 5.2 Once more with feeling
    • 5.3 Croatian pairs-skating meets Aljona and Bruno
    • 5.4 The beauty of Ice Dance

    6.0 Medals for all
    • 6.1 Best Dress
    • 6.2 Best Music
    • 6.3 My favorite performances
    • 6.4 Best Spin
    • 6.5 Best transition

    7.0 Most embarrassing moments
    8.0 Final Note


    1.0 Introduction

    In a time when our world is on fire, about 300 brave souls came together, to battle for medals at the Bavarian Open. Said event, does take place every year at Oberstdorf, a place where time tends to stand still.
    Little rivers, small wooden houses, snow on top of the mountains, a few cows here and there, but also wonderful people, make Oberstdorf to what it is, a beautiful place to witness figure skating. It is no surprise, that skaters talk about this place as one of the best experiences in their life and many, want to come again and even extend their stays like Kailani Crane at the Nebelhorn Trophy 2015.

    Said trophy, as far I can tell, will have once again, a huge line up with someone special from Canada, more about this, however, when time comes, as today I want to purely focus on the Bavarian Open, an event where a lot of good happened, but also some things didn't go as planned and we lost quite a few competitors to injuries or sickness like Erika Smith & Aj Reiss, Mari Vartmann & Ruben Blommaert or German Ice Dance champions, Kavita Lorenz & Joti Polizoakis, who were unable to get on the ice at all.

    Other skaters, got on the ice, but had to sadly pull out after the first event, like Aimee Buchanan who had a phenomenal first day or Emmi Peltonen, who just enchanted me with her huge performance, coming third after the short.

    Short, the Bavarian open are absolutely not, in average I spend 18 hours a day at the ice rink, with five hours and a few minutes in my bed, so you can guess how I looked and maybe smelled like after six days. Said look and smell, however, didn't bother people too much, when they came over to me, to say hello like the dad of Eliana Gropman, a very talented young lady from team USA, who came second with her partner Ian Somerville at the Junior Ice Dance competition, with a very present appearance on the ice.
    Said presence, I hardly have, as I am more a shy person, who prefers to just stand in the background and stuff, that said, I really appreciate everyone who is coming over, saying a few words – it´s so important to know, that there is something good actually in these reports and that I am not just annoying with what I have to say about this great sport, so please keep saying hello, I love it – even if I am always a bit scared as well.

    The sport itself, saw huge performances, like of Sofia Samodurova who won her first competition on German soil, after already convincing at the NRW Trophy with a silver medal or the Russian guy who dropped out of school to focus on his career, Evgenii Semenenko or Renata Oganesian and Mark Bardei with their race to pole position.

    More about those skaters, my most embarrassing moments at a victory ceremony and of course, this and that, like me losing my mind over something and being once again seduced by the Fins, in the following pages.

    2.0 Welcome to my World

    When I started writing about figure skating, I knew the big names, Witt, Kwan, Sluzkaja, Butyrskaja, Wötzl & Steuer, Jagudin, Cohan and many more. Skaters, that I saw in TV, or live at the ice stadium. At no time, however, I saw them grow up, because when they were on screen, they were at least 16 or older.

    Therefore, my first steps on the ice as a reporter, were at events where the seniors did compete. I didn´t even buy ticket´s for anything else, than the seniors, often came late to event´s, skipping advanced and juniors – as I felt, they are not so important, a mistake that many people make.
    This, however, has changed dramatically for me, so much, that I would even say that right now, my focus might be even more on juniors and advanced, than on seniors. I saw Gracie when she was little, saw Yulia, Adelina and because of that, I got attached to them, as I witnessed their legacy grow from young age on and today, all three are superstars, who get my full support at all times as you know.
    Because of that, I am very grateful that we do have events in Germany, where juniors and advanced are allowed to compete. Twice a year, I take that opportunity and go to Dortmund or now Oberstdorf. What I see there, is what I saw once, huge talent, young kids who are so incredible mature on ice, but still kids off ice.

    2.1 Sofia Samodurova

    One of these "kids", is Sofia, I already wrote a lot about her at my NRW report, but she did it again, that young girl is super handsome if you meet her and she actually understands my horrible Russian very well and is always ready if there is anything I want.
    What I want or expect from a figure skater, is much more than jumps, or pirouettes, no what I want to see, is a performance, a story and this young lady from St. Petersburg, has plenty of that to offer.
    Her acting is incredible, she grabs you with her presence on the ice, Dracula is coming alive, when she put´s her dress on and who wouldn't like to be bitten, by someone like her? You get immortality and a cute girlfriend, what else do you want?

    What she want´s is pretty clear, to perform for the crowd at a high technical level, stepping up from her triple toe – triple toe, to a triple Lutz – triple toe combination at the start, while putting the triple flip - double Axel further back in her free, right before her step sequence, which I so love.
    What a great attack there, she is so fast and this at the end of her program and I believe, she is actually singing the lyrics along like it was not already hard enough.
    Honestly, every part of her body is performing, the way her hands or shoulders work, pulling the skirt a tiny bit up, creating a few sexy and seductive expressions, the fierce look when Dracula kicks in, her hands how they perform in every landing, it is really special and I think, that she can only do it, because her technique, is so rock solid, that she doesn´t even has to think about landings, take offs or steps anymore.
    The variety in her programs is huge, was the short a very lady like program, the free became a horror trip, with a young lady who made it a pleasure, wrapping you around her fingers with ease, skating into all directions, being everywhere on the ice.

    2.2 Varvara Diukar

    Being everywhere on the ice, while showing good speed is also her thing, Varvara, the winner of the advanced girls I, who does just like Sofia practice at St. Petersburg, however, not with Tatiana Mishina but Oleg Tataurov. Said coach, can be very happy to have such a graceful appearance in his team. Diukar understands very well, that she is a lady on the ice and as such, her upper body, the ballet arms and straight fingers are always present and bring elegance and beauty together, so that she looks much more mature, than those thirteen years on paper.

    On paper, her technical skills are huge as well, however, she lost quite a few elements to sloppy mistakes, so that some more stability in her skating, like with the Flip that she already missed at Dortmund, is required. That being said, she has definitely improved on artistry level, by skating more for the crowd, by upping her presence on the ice and by increasing her awareness of the opportunity that she has with her body. With said body, she can create beautiful pictures, impressions that people will take home with them, like the gorgeous layback.

    While a completely different type of skater, more shy and definitely not as naughty as Sofia, she is not less interesting to watch and the beauty of figure skating, is always, that we see so many different types of skaters and every competition has a new star around the corner.

    2.3 Alisa Lozko

    Said star for me and all the other skaters, is Alisa Lozko. You should have seen it at the victory ceremony, everyone stood up for her, she was not only respected for what she did, no she was loved, for being such an incredible figure on the ice and the look in her face, almost embarrassed, for being so amazing.
    Those of you, that never saw me work at the ice rink, don´t know that I actually write key notes about every skater that steps on the ice. Some skaters get one or two lines, others with big performances maybe 5, but this one here, got a total of 12 lines!
    12 lines, in which I tried to summarize the characteristics in which this young lady is good at, or better put, is totally awesome in. Born in 2002, she does also practice at the same school like Sofia and she also has an incredible grace on the ice like Varvara, but her speed is superior and her movements are so quick, like of a cat. With 175.12, not even her best score yet (183.97 at St. Petersburg earlier this year), she left no doubt, at any time, that she was the queen of all junior ladies.

    Many of us, have grown up with the legacy of an Olympic champion, called Yulia Lipnitskaya. We love her spins, love her programs and at least for the most of us, supported her at Sochi and still do today. If we now take young Yulia, add some rockets to her skating boots, some more expression to her face, more height and power in her jumps and more maturity, then we still not even get close to what Alisa is.
    If you could have seen her spins like I did, they are phenomenal, you would need a new level for these spins, to reward them accordingly. She is not just flexible and super fast, no she actually performs with her hands during those spins and all of that, without losing any tempo or ever getting out of balance. 18 times, the judges gave her a 3 – the maximum achievable for a technical element. Each spin, was rewarded with a level four and her jumps, are of high quality, such as the triple Loop combination.

    Another important aspect, however, is her potential to just sell her programs. She does not have tons of make up, Russian girls usually skate with a very natural look anyways, which I really like by the way. No, she also doesn't seem to make a lot of noise, about herself. She is a very quiet person, who sat next to me at the VC and she is such a lovely figure, very calm and as I said, almost afraid to take the praise that she get´s. She must know, that she is good, but she doesn´t want to let it get to her, she stays natural and kind to those around, who admire her.

    Both programs, were different, the short to the OST by "Anna Pavlova", very calm – with her almost floating, a shy look on her face really thoughtful and the free to “cirque du soleil”, was power, but also quiet, like when the haunting vocals kicked in, goose-bumps everywhere - preparing for the final, with the drums, going all out and her just nailing those steps and turns with huge confidence and speed, it was absolutely sensational.

    Those Russians and their skaters, I love their style.

    I know, I get on peoples nerves already, but this is figure skating for me. Pick someone, who can perform until the last second, give her or him a natural appearance, but not of a person who fell into a make up box and then just let them skate beautiful lines and her lines are incredible, as she has a very good musical and rhythmic understanding, it is almost always on beat, really well crafted her programs and she has the ability to sell them.

    Personally, I just hope for all these Russian talents, that they will not be "deleted" from our figure skating world, just because of puberty or internal demands, by the federation. They are so young still and I would love to still see them skate when they are 20 and more. Don´t pull the Makarova on them please, keep their skating hearts alive and let them entertain us many more years.

    2.4 Evgenii Semenenko

    Greatly entertained, was I by this young men here, also from St. Petersburg, coached by Oleg Tataurov. His short program, is to music by MJ and I absolutely loved the determination of him, he really wasn´t afraid of the elements and he did not telegraph them too much either. Born in 2003, he already has a triple Axel, that he also showed in the free, which should if I am correctly informed, be a first in history and he knows absolutely what he wants to do in his life, as he dropped out of school, to practice every day for full six hours, an hour at the ballet room and another with professionals to work on his expression and interpretation.

    I don´t know about you, but if I would have told my parents with 12 that I leave school to become a professional football player, they would have grounded me for a week and I would have dropped that desire quickly. That said, what really stopped me was an injury and I really hope that Evgenii will be able to fulfill his dream and not be stopped in his desire, to become a high class figure skater, because if it fails, then there will be some quite hard times coming up.

    Right now, however, he is in excellent shape, performing seven triples in the free to "Don Juan", showing great footwork, topping all levels in a very balanced program, with fast and slower parts, greatly interpreted by the young Russian.

    2.5 Tyler Pierce

    Interpretation skill she has loads and while at Oberstdorf, she was also holding the flag, for all those who didn´t want or couldn´t come over. As the only singles skater from the USA, Tyler did one thing and that was ATTACK!
    I have honestly, seen a lot of figure skating in my life, but what this young lady from Norco California did, was incredible and unique. While we do share the same eye color, she is so much more brave, than I ever was and of course much younger and much more prettier than me, while wearing those outfits, directly from the red carpet, which reminded me of Gracie but also Ashley Cain with her bling bling.

    Gold is a good jumper and honestly, my favorite skater next to Adelina – Tyler, however, could become a future hero, as she seems to not know any fear. Her jumps are huge, with great take offs and lots of attack, always remember, as harder you go into a jump, as harder it will be, if you don´t land it, as the force that you put into your jump, needs to be released and if you miss your landing, it´s going to hurt and a lot of ladies fear that moment and therefore do those mini hops as they get tight on the take off.

    Not tight at all, however, was Tyler and I once had a dog, he was a good jumper too, but he couldn't pull things off like a triple toe combination or double Axel – triple toe or as seen at US nationals, triple Lutz – triple Toe. That being said, he had quite a talent for peeing in my living room, so ya, I don´t have that dog anymore...

    What I have now, however, is that huge desire to know more about this young lady and again, as with so many skaters, the information are so spare. I do know, however, that she was once a gymnast and from a former girlfriend of mine, I do know, they have absolutely no fear at all, as you need to do some really crazy stuff there at uneven bars or the always hated balance beam.

    With Tyler, we do have a huge crowd-pleaser at hands, as it´s so enjoyable to see, how she sells the hell out of her programs, gaining a level four for her massive step sequence in the Free to "Danse Macabre", piercing like an arrow into peoples heart. Her ability to get really involved with her music is great, she feels what she is skating to and this always get´s my attention with skaters. You want someone on the ice, who really likes "the soundtrack to their movie", a movie which they have to show us, in the audience.
    Her elevation and expression is great, I love those last 60 seconds and she surely isn´t just a beauty by looks, but also by technique and strong will.

    2.6 Renata Ogenasian & Mark Bardei

    Strong will, huge technique and speed, had these two to offer. It is by miles, my absolute favorite short program in pairs in 2015 / 2016. I still have goose-bumps, thinking about it, what a huge race to pole position that was, so much dedication and speed in their routine, it was a constant flow of highlights!
    We had a triple Sal throw, a huge and I really mean it, a super strong triple twist and a double Axel, side by side. Both skaters from Dnepropetrovsk, absolutely nailed it and grabbed every person in the stands and I was shocked, shocked by this program that came out of nowhere for me.

    It was also fun to see, how both skaters had a little discussion at the kiss and cry, when I came over, to take a picture after their free. She wanted to make sure, she looks perfect and her blades are covered, while Mark just wanted to smile for the camera. It was super funny and we all had a great laugh about her reaction. In general, these two are super fun together and I love how they relate to each other on the ice, something that came even more on to the surface with their free skate to “interview with the vampire”.

    I just love the moment, when Renata jumps on his back, during a naughty phrase, warming up for the Drama towards the end. In general, the pair is super balanced and because of Marks flexibility, also able to score pretty high on levels, as seen at Oberstdorf, where their spins received fours and you absolutely have this super girl on the ice, great attitude, naughty and wild, but also cute and sexy, but with her, is a super strong skater, with great presence and strong attitude and this makes their programs so enjoyable, as a lot of pairs seem to struggle with the male part, as the girl is everywhere and the guy, is like the truck driver, but not with this pair here.
    Their movements are well aligned, the sense for rhythm is there and their motions go hand in hand, no lose connection, no fishing for the partner, they just connect, by fluent motions.

    Together with Anna & Martin and of course the Russian pairs, we have quite a lot of talent to discover in future and I am thrilled to follow their programs.

    2.7 Anastasia Mishina & Vladislav Mirzoev

    One of those Russian pairs, came all the way from St. Petersburg and they were able to climb up after the short, gaining a combined total of 175.84 points. A lot of things, that I said about the Ukrainian couple, also apply here. We do have a huge variety in their kit, the Bolero of the short, is modern, exciting and makes you move and I love how they time their steps and turns, to be right on beat in their no touch sequence, but also how the 14 years old transitions from the triple Sal throw, going on both blades parallel to each other, right after the landing, perfectly aligned to the phrasing of the music, she just looks absolutely gorgeous there.
    I totally love the progression of their short, while at first you have the typical Bolero theme, it then goes into a break down, with just a few kicks, building up to that grand finale, with the drum loops and snares, it´s beautifully done and both skaters are really into their music, wonderful interpretation skills by both.

    Their free to “attention mesdames et messieurs” is very party like, while La vie en rose is a love story and that combination from a time when women were still ladies and men still gentleman's, is presented with great personality and attitude, really getting that special theme on to the ice, a choreography by Natalia Pecherskaia.

    What I find fascinating about Anastasia is the way she is rotating, as she has her right hand on the back, as seen at the triple throws Sal and Loop. In general, she is really a little lady on the ice, I love her facial expression, that can even turn into a very shy smile and it´s actually quite fun to think about their starting position, where he is making a very serious face in the short and she just smiles at you.
    But don´t get me wrong, Vladislav is actually a very cool fellow and he has a constant smile on his face during their free, nicely presenting his lady.

    2.8 About ice Dance

    Before I start I have to admit that I could write about 10 or more of these amazing advanced & junior couples in ice dance. The quality was absolutely massive and every couple on the ice, brought something special to the table, telling us wonderful stories, on a high technical level and if you want to know more about the ice dance competition, please check out my detailed reports of these competitions, where I for instance talk about the Greens, Caleb Wein with the awesome hair cut, Polina Pankova´s naughty emotes in their funky dance and more. It really is impossible to mention everyone, the ice dance competition was just way too good, but so were the others.

    2.8.1 The smiles

    So, lets start with Lou Terreaux & Noe Perron who impressed me, when she smiled directly at me, as they had to perform the change of hold, blind in their pattern dance 2, a very difficult requirement and yet, her huge expression made it look like "no problem" and this is what you want to see by them, effortless skating, no fear or hesitation – it needs to be totally normal for them, to do all those difficult elements in their routine.

    Similar could be said about Katherine Grosul and Cameron Colucci from Philadelphia, smiles all the way, which is such a common attitude by the American skaters, they just always want to invite you to join them on the ice and I tell you, I was very close to hop over – of course, just literally speaking, as I would probably crash into everyone, if I ever, step on the ice with these skaters! If it was an invitation to join team USA celebrating when they were singing the national anthem below my window at midnight, I don´t know – but thanks for the wake up call on, Sunday night.

    2.8.2 The love story

    While I never need a wake up call at ice dance competitions, there was a final pair at the advanced novice, that absolutely destroyed it!
    They go by the names of Emily Rose Brown and James Hernandez with their love story to the OST by Ghost! Wonderful entry into their Twizzle sequence, perfectly aligned, super mature, skating in close hold at all times, interpreting that ghost theme, absolutely wonderful, the way she looks at him, fully in love, both are floating with the music, they were flying, absolutely effortless skating and now take this, they skate together since summer 2015, practice about 3-4 days a week (3 hours only)!

    Ice Dance, but also pairs is a lot about trust, blind understanding and pathing. You need to know what your partner will do every second, because if you don´t, it looks awkward and could lead to injuries.
    Honestly, I have absolutely no idea how they do it, but there wasn´t a single issue in that performance, it was like they were skating together since 10 years. Brilliant couple and her interest in Ballroom dancing, clearly shows and I am so glad, that his interest in cricket doesn't on the ice, that said, who did break the Umbrella, I thought I heard a British accent?
    For me personally, no matter how skilled the Russians and American were, the Brits just were my dream pair on the ice, across all brackets and credit to the coaching staff here, Phillip Paul I believe, is the mastermind behind all of this, respect!

    2.8.3 The big picture

    Respect, also has to go to our Russian winners at the advanced, Maria Marchenko and Egor Pozdniakov. The pictures those two create during their "in the hall of the mountain king" performance are lovely, especially because of her amazing flexibility as seen at the curve lift at the end, where she is hanging down on him, like a snake, pulling her blade, through his legs to her head and his fierce expression mimicking the trolls, makes it perfect. The pair from Moscow who is coached by Denis Samokhin, showed really nice speed, even becoming faster as the music demanded it at the final minute, always interacting with the crowd, by huge facial expression and great work with their hands.

    2.8.4 Sofia Shevchenko & Igor Eremenko

    Great hands or should I say, lovely pink finger nails, Sofia has and she is such a present personality on ice, I really have a thing for her attitude, great lady she is, with just 14 years of age and what a beast of a Twizzle sequence did they deliver, from a seating position in the first, perfectly aligned, with great speed – it just wowed me, every time I saw it and how she was actually able to give me that special, arrogant and cold look after the first Twizzle, priceless!

    Sofia, reminds me of one of the greatest Russian athletes ever who I had the pleasure of meeting, Alena Kabaeva, who could also just grab you whenever she wanted, with a huge presence and a similar presence, young Sofia has and also Igor, is very present and together they create very difficult entries, like at their rotational lift, over the back of his neck and great closing 10 seconds as well, it just always happens something on the ice, between these two, great couple, with huge personality if you ask me.

    2.8.5 The little ones

    Personality, oh yes, that so calls for our last couple here Eliana Gropman and Ian Somerville from the States. These kids, are so mature on the ice and how Ian is able to pull off all those difficult lifts, is just beyond me. Most of the male skaters are 17+ and Ian is just 15 and he is absolutely at the same level, doing the same difficult rotational or straight line lifts, granting them level four modification and I think, all of this is only possible because of dedication, hard work and of course their blind understanding of each other, after about seven years of skating together.

    What caught my eye as well, was their exit from the spin in their free program to ice queen, great transition into the drum pattern and that little choreographed dance before going into the circular step sequence, I really like what they do there!
    It is no secret that a lot of the people in the crowd, were very interested about this couple here, asking me all kind of questions and thankfully to the official website I could answer them and this is something that I would love to see by more skaters, a professional web presence and not only that Instagram or FB stuff, which at least for me, is so impersonal, I just like websites much more, or of course a quick chat at the ice rink.


    3.0 Germans got talent

    Already 13 pages in, I seriously need to find a way to write less, but what should I do, if the performances are so amazing? Amazing is also, what currently happens in my home country, Germany. We have a huge quality of skaters and no matter what some will say, for me that quality is there and yes, we do not win medals at Europeans or worlds, besides Aljona & Bruno, but medals you know, they are one thing, but to see skaters progress and get better, how they practice so hard for their programs, it is really something special and I won´t miss that. Therefore, I want to talk a little bit now, about our German skaters at the Bavarian open.

    3.1 Let´s get to party

    This young lady here, was already playing a big part at my NRW column, therefore just a small report about Paula Mikolajczyk at Oberstdorf. As always, she was starting a party whenever she got on to the ice and the fun she has, totally transfers to the people in the stands and there was a little girl who came to me and stood next to me, when Paula came on ice and then when Paula started to dance, that little kid, just joined her and was jumping and clapping all along.
    Personally, I am not sure if that was just a fan, her sister or I don´t know a random clap clap happening to make me nervous, but it was great to see, what an impact she has on people, including myself.

    So, if you ever feel down, watch the young lady, who as I mentioned could easily do a few commercials for toothpaste. I love her outgoing personality and her short program was rock solid, starting with a triple toe – double toe combination, and later double Axel and double Flip. Unfortunately and this is a real issue in Germany, unless you talk to the skaters or coaches directly, information are very spare and often outdated.
    This is one of the biggest issues I have right now, I see a skater and then I check the website of the skating club and there is nothing there. Maybe a small headline, but that´s it. No age, no biography, no program details – there is just nothing and therefore I can sadly, not give you any other information about her and many other skaters, who I will mention today. That being said, most people who write about our skaters, even in regional newspaper, do it for free, either because of passion or because they are the mom or dad of said skaters.

    I so want this to change!

    3.2. The Mannheim connection

    Said changes, already happened at the MERC, who offers a few details at least, about their skaters. My favorite skater at Mannheim, is Kalina Lewicka, as she really has that glamour whenever she steps on the ice and I am very pleased that she has come back strong, after she injured herself at our youth nationals.

    The 15 years old, can be very proud of her development, she came clean on both days, securing her a 7th spot at a very tight field. Again, I loved her variety and it was good to see that she had much more stability in her programs, than back at Dortmund, where a lot went wrong. She attacked her gorgeous step sequence well and as mentioned, I would love to see that free skate next season again, with more punch and strength in those legs, a great fighter she already is.

    Dora Hus, is two years younger and one of the biggest talents we have in Germany at her age group. Big jumping potential, great technique and a very present attitude already and very friendly, if you meet her off ice.
    At the Bavarian Open, Dora started ok in the short, but was unable to compete at the free, where she had to withdrawn. The champion of the youth nationals 2016, however, could already smile a few hours later and it will be really interesting to see, how she will get through puberty and if a lot of adjustments need to be done, in the process. Keep in mind, she did a triple toe – double toe, attempted the triple Sal and had a clean double Axel, this is from an international level, really good and should be something that she can build on, as a just 13 years old young lady with a very passionate dad.

    Kristina Isaev, a very expressive skater and national Jr. Champion did not compete at Oberstdorf, while Nathalie Weinzierl did, but pulled out of the competition after a not so good short program, all of the above are coached by Peter Sczypa.

    3.3 Local heroes and more

    Of course there are many more very talented skaters and skating clubs in Germany, like the Berlin based, Minerva Fabienne Hase & Nolan Seegert, who once again showed an improved version of their short program, coming second in total, behind Aljona & Bruno. Sadly, I missed the free skate, so that I can not say much more right now, but a very talented pair these two are.

    Another big talent is the 12 years old, Nicole Calderari, who convinced with beautiful attitude and huge fun on the ice, doing all her jumps as doubles and even landed her Lutz in the free in combination with a loop, an element, that didn't work prior in the short and required that she rebuilds her program on the fly, going for a double Flip – double Toe in the short. A very bubbly skater, coached by Maylin & Daniel Wende, who also always had a very positive attitude on the ice and they seem to have a little jewel there at Oberstdorf where they work as a coaching team now.

    Many more German skaters caught my attention, but at this point I will just name them, so that you might be able to check them out yourself. Jocy Pelka from I believe the EC Regensburg, convinced with a good presence on the ice, Ann Christin Marold and Jana Schwegler with very naughty performances in the short, Jaquiline Rot did compete at pairs and Advanced Novice Girls I and always stayed positive and of course Alissa Scheidt, who finally kept her cool in the Free and skated really beautiful programs, coming third in total, at the Junior Ladies II. Her performances featured great arms and elegance in her movements, good comeback after popping the second Sal in the free too. She really reminds me of Nicole Schott, great presence, smooth skating, not a lot of noise, very easy for the eyes with good variety, connecting well to the crowd.

    As you can see, there are many skaters in Germany who are a joy to watch and there are many more to discover and last but not least, a big shoutout to Dave Kötting who was our only gold medalist at singles, as he won the junior men with five triples and levels up to three for spins and steps.

    Again, please check my daily reports, where I mentioned a few more skaters.

    4.0 My Fins

    Almost every daily report, had a small section about the Fins, but of course they will also find their place now in my column as they are so awesome!
    The senior ladies competition was awesome in the short, but also quite emotional for me, as I was so hoping for a Fin on the podium as our last, was Jenni Saarinen, about three years ago and still today, I remember this young lady with her great presence and the triple - triple, who just made my day and I thought, she would come more often after, but sadly, she never came back to Germany and me, never saw a Fin, win a competition again, on German Ice.

    4.1 Alex got emotional

    This, unfortunately should not change at the Bavarian Open 2016, even if I had high hopes on Liubov and Emmi, hopes, however, that were crushed on Saturday, when Emmi Peltonen pulled out after the short, being third with an ice cold performance, that gave me the creeps and Liubov Efimenko sadly, showed some nerves, when she singled Lutz, Toe and Sal, elements that she can usually do in her sleep. Maybe she read my praising of the Fins the day before and got a bit nervous, I don´t know – but my journey goes on, the journey to find a Fin who wins.

    Even without the victory or podiums position, I met amazing skaters from Finland, one of them was Olivia Tuuva, who is a wonderful person, running a very personal blog which I love reading. What I also loved, were her programs like the short, in which she made me cry as the way she skated and everything, reminded me about someone who I lost a while ago and when I read her blog and all those thoughts and doubts that she has, then I really hope that she can keep going, that she will never stop fighting for her dream, to be a figure skater.

    Olivia´s talent to grab people with her performances is huge and her being a bit sick after Christmas surely played it´s role here, but as she said herself, it´s a learning experience and as such she will hopefully look back to her days at Oberstdorf and come back, to Germany, not to shop but to skate.

    4.2 The smile of a woman

    That she likes shopping, is almost a given and Jade was a new face around the block, as I never saw her skate before, but when I realized she was coming with Tarja Sipilä, then I knew she would be be quite a character, as Tarja is a very good coach and I love watching her with the skaters like now with Jade Rautiainen.
    Jade, is a typical teenage girl, very friendly and always smiling while on the ice and I love her outfits, she definitely has a great look. At the same time, she is like most girls, very interested in styling, fashion and the like, as you can see on her Instagram account and there is one picture where she just styled up, like she wanted to go either on a date, or the Oscars. Besides that, she seems to have a thing for Grey´s Anatomy and of course, figure skating. What I found fascinating about her skating is that positive look in her face and how aware she is, what her appearance can do to people. Let´s face it, who doesn´t like to look at a young lady, who is having fun on the ice?

    Said fun, also doesn't go away if she runs into a few issues, like the triple Sal in the short that didn't want to work, however, worked fine twice in the Free. No she is positive, keeps her posture and skates her programs and this with a lot of feel, nice skating skills and I really enjoyed that step sequence of her in the Free, it was very playful and charming and also a very gorgeous layback, my favorite element in figure skating.

    Jade that is for sure, has a very charming way of interpreting the music, you just like watching what she does and I really hope, she will come back to an event in Germany, as I really love my Fins and she was together with Olivia one of my favorites at the Bavarian Open.

    4.3 The mustage

    Together with the girls and ladies, but of course also Valtter Virtanen who came 15th, a mustage joined the team from Finland. He goes by the name of Tomi Pulkkinen and he was such a fun character to watch. He had a real crowd-pleaser attitude, especially after the short, when he showed by how much he missed the triple Axel and in general, it was more a falling contest for him, than a skating performance, but he took it so easy and with a big smile, I loved that!

    Tomi who was originally born at Helsinki, but moved to Switzerland when he was 8 years old, has already won two senior competitions this season, Crystal Skate and Skate Helena and in the Free, he was able to land five triples, with an opening combination of triple Axel – Loop and triple Sal. His performance to Schindler's List, showed great ballet arms and feel for the music and a very personal site of the skater.

    As you can see, even without that medal, the Fins made my day once more and I am already looking forward to the next time, when people from that wonderful country cross my path.

    5.0 Seniors uncovered

    My path crossed, have also many more skaters, like those competing at the seniors. Before I start, however, I want to refer once again to my reports if you want to dig a bit deeper into the actual competitions of the seniors, as right now I only want to mention a few skaters, as most of them are in the media every now and then, so they shouldn't be to angry about not being mentioned, or maybe some are actually very happy about not having to go through my crazy mind.

    5.1 Yuka & Lutricia


    At the VC I was able to score a picture, with these two amazing skaters, who both wanted to take a picture with each other. Yuka Nagai, won the competition, with very emotional skating and Lutricia Bock, absolutely wowed me, with her amazing presence and how mature she has become since I last saw her about two years ago.

    5.1.1 Yuka Nagai

    The Japanese started her competition with Madam Butterfly and the sad story of Cio Cio San. Throughout the program, we met various parts of her life and it was portrait in all it´s extremes. I really enjoyed the structure and balance of her program, in which she nailed a triple Lutz - triple toe with ease, like it was nothing.
    Her facial expression, did always match the theme of her program and you saw a lot of pain and she bravely attacked her spins and turns, with all her heart, gaining a total of 65.32 points.

    As a 17 years old, she understood very well, how much of a tragic story she held in her hands and this should carry over in her free to August´s Rhapsody, about the sad story of a young lady and her child, of which she believed it was dead.
    Throughout both days, Yuka really made the term "effortless" skating justice, it looked like it was nothing for her, yet keeping a strong facial expression, an expression who should change into tears, after finishing her program in which she landed five triples including her Lutz – Toe combination and a very solid triple Lutz – double Toe – double Loop.
    What made me very happy was her choreography and how it was using the various musical phrases, like the drum pattern that kicked in during one of her spins, but also the strong interaction with the crowd, something that is not that usual for Japanese skaters.

    5.1.2 Lutricia Bock

    Not that usual for us in Germany it is, that our Ladies end up on the podiums. Lutricia, however did and she is a young lady that I wrote about last at the JGP season in 2014 and she was quite impressive, not just for me, but also you guys at the forum here and I remember how I was told, that at times, she might want to much to fast. If you followed her in the past years, then she had quite some downs, like once when she was leading at nationals and then couldn't back it up at the Free or just recently when she was unable to qualify for the final at Europeans.

    That being said, if you see her on the ice then what I see is a very present skater, with good jumps and a lot of fun. Usually, I am not too much into the funny / over acting programs, I kind of like the quiet stuff or the Drama, but with Lutricia and her "the artist", I don´t know – her working with Pasquale Camerlengo in summer at Detroit, seems to have worked out quite well, the program is well crafted and she as a skater, is able to really perform accordingly, without making it look too "staged", while keeping a very natural look.

    Her free featured six triples, of which she was able to land five clean, while showing excellent speed towards the end of her program. The young lady who does compete for the EC at Chemnitz, is a very friendly off ice appearance and definitely looks like a million dollars already and also showed a more quiet side of her, with her "Patch Adams" performance in the short. Personally, I wonder how she would skate to something like "hero" by Mariah Carey. Maybe it´s more for an exhibition, but I think she could pull this off, with her sympathetic appearance.

    5.2 Once more with feeling

    Competitions of the men, tend to be really difficult for me at times, as they go for quads a lot and if they can´t land them clean, their programs fall apart and not much artistry and story, seems to survive. Plushenko always got me, even as a guy who is not in the slightest interested in men, I was digging his programs at all times, as for me, they had power and charisma. His last big performance that I saw live, was the team event at Sochi and his short, which blew me out of the sky. Since then, I miss something, a guy like him and I am probably not alone there, as a lot of his fans, are very sad about his departure caused by injuries.
    While I did not find my new Plushenko, I still experienced a few really interesting skates this season and a few of those, actually happened last week at Oberstdorf.

    One of these skates came from Romain Ponsart, who was coached by Brian Joubert last year for about three months, but then decided to move to Colorado to practice at the 7K academy. In my opinion, both of his programs, but especially the short, while not perfectly executed, stood out. I saw a men with a heart and soul, he was willing to lay both for us on to the ice and it just grabbed you, the way he performed. For me, men can skate in two ways to grab me. Power like with a Daft Punk performance or emotional, like he did with his “la suis malade”. I saw grace in his movements, strong arms and lovely work in his knee´s – it was art and a very special performance that day.
    He was, however, not alone with showing his feelings, as also the winner of the competition Ivan Righini had a very emotional skate, while performing triple Axel, triple Flip and a triple Lutz – triple Toe in the short.

    A completely different approach had Franz Streubel, with his free to Django Unchained in which he has all those funny emotes, telling you the story of the movie, a movie that I honestly didn't watch yet, but even without watching the movie, I seem to have a pretty good understanding of what that movie will be about, thanks for Franz.

    The Berlin based skater, who is competing for the EC Oberstdorf and therefore also won the Bavarian senior men trophy, next to his silver medal behind Ivan, is going to present Germany at Boston and as he said a while ago, he needs to work hard to get ready for it, especially in the free, to not run out of steam there towards the end, like at the Europeans. Former national champion Peter Liebers is currently off ice and underwent surgery on his hip this Tuesday, therefore I want to wish him a speedy recovery.

    5.3 Croatian pairskating meets Aljona and Bruno

    While I sadly missed my favorite pair Hase & Seegert, I found a new really interesting pair at Oberstdorf and they do come from Croatia! Lana Petranovic and Michael Lueck, really made my day with their performances. They couldn't score high enough for a medal and some people out there, might even say that without a triple twist and and triple throws, you are not worth their time, but for me, these two were absolutely worth mine. I love how they relate to each other, she is a very tiny person and Michael is like a big teddy bear and it looks absolutely fantastic if they skate together.

    Both skaters relate to each other in a wonderful way, it really warmed my heart when I saw them on the ice and I really hope they will keep working and come again to one of the other competitions in Germany, I like these type of pairs so much and they did a wonderful double Lutz side by side and a huge Lasso lift that got a level three modification by the panel.

    The level three on their twist, is what they so want to get rid off, Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot.
    For us Germans and many fans around the world, the departure of Robin, one of the finest characters on ice, was quite a sad story, that being said, Szolkowy is now a dad, is giving pair skating lessons and works as a coach. Aljona wanted to keep going and looked for someone who suited her needs and she found that person in Bruno Massot. However, they were not allowed to skate and therefore couldn't make any money, so that Bruno was relying purely on Aljona and what she could bring to the kitchen table. Over 18 months, this went on until they were finally free and able to skate, after the German federation had to pay quite a lot of money to the French.

    Therefore, I was pretty curious where both skaters stand now, as I wasn't able to watch them at Europeans where they won silver, nor nationals where they won gold. For me, the short is very good already, Aljona skates as we know her, with huge presence, showing at every second how much it means for her, the transitions and entries are difficult and it looks like a decently balanced pair on ice. A tiny error on the side by side and not getting the level four for the twist, however, for the Death Spiral (up from three at Bratislava) seemed like minor problems and the victory of the short was never in any danger.

    At the free, however, a few double footed landings crawled in at the throws (Flip & Sal) and it is most likely the program that needs most work. The side by sides didn't work - nor the toe or Sal, while the lifts were very good, so were the spins and the Death Spiral. I read a lot about Bruno not being as artistic as needed, but realistically, Aljona is a damn fine pair skater, everyone will be in her shadow and it will hopefully get better over time, once they skated a few more competitions, but ya it is of course very hard to be the guy after Szolkowy.

    What´s hard for me, is to give a real judgment right now, also as I was quite distracted with the Ladies VC, but with Ingo and Aljona – I am sure they will find a way to gain the missing level on the twist, something they have been working on lately and I am pretty sure, that they might have a shot at worlds for a medal, not the victory, I don´t think that this is realistic, but a medal should be possible, if all goes well and they gain the levels and the consistency on throws and side by side elements.

    5.4 The beauty of Ice Dance

    Consistent you need to be at one of my favorite disciplines of figure skating, the Ice Dance. As a skater, you want to give your audience the feeling, that you only skate for them and that you don´t find that hard at all. We are talking of programs, that are presented with confidence, a strong story, that is not too complicated and a perfect union of man and woman. There are many ways, how you can skate, as seen with Cannuscio / McManus where she is the music and he is the maestro himself, but one rule is always present, stay in character.
    Very good to see is that with my favorite Ice Dance pair from Russia, Ekaterina Bobrova and Dimitri Soloviev, who never stop acting at their Anna Karenina. A similar, but funny approach had the Germans Katharina Müller and Tim Dieck in their short, to “Micmacs a tire – larigot”, in which already the preparation on ice, was in character. While they lost a few positions after the free, I really enjoy how these two skaters, are always so well aligned, their step sequences, while not that fast, look wonderful and in harmony with each other and they definitely deserve some credit for their variety too, as the free to “Ave Maria”, was a totally different program.

    Different and quite unique are, Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland, one of the finest ice dancers that we have. No matter which year, they always bring something for the crowds, it always makes click and it´s amazing how their free program felt like 30 seconds to me. Said free program to music by muse, was indeed like a hurricane and at one point during their rotational lift, I really thought that he would throw his Penny to me, as I always sit very close to the ice at Oberstdorf. It´s that type of interaction, the effortless skating and huge speed, but also the smiles and smooth transitions and perfect alignment which they constantly have, that make this British pair to such a crowd-pleaser.

    That you can also please said crowd, with Drama or Romance is not unusual and was often portrait by the returning Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Olympic Champions of Vancouver 2010. While they are still in preparation for next season, a few couples at Oberstdorf had very emotional skates to offer like the very romantic performance by Peroline Ojardias and Michael Bramante, who had a beautiful progression in their program, with a very fast and dramatic last minute, but also the Brits Carter Marie Jones and Richard Sharpe, with their story.

    Said story, was I think my favorite of the day, the way he treats her, as the one in the spotlight, as his precious, is really wonderful and he cares for her, he really want´s that she is doing ok and this makes him to a very graceful appearance on ice, a super balanced pair which not only won my heart, but also the bronze medal at Oberstdorf.
    Silver went to Tina Garabedian and Simon Proulx Senecal, who did absolutely skate for the big picture, great positioning by her in the lifts, a great balance on the ice, wonderful music choice with "winter chill" and "full of hearts" and lovely on beat with their arm movements as seen at the circular step sequence. Interesting about this pair here is, that they do not have any funding from their federation, so they pretty much rely on donations and helping hands, which shows once again, how hard figure skating can be, it´s so money dependent and without it, no matter how good you are, you can not succeed.

    It is astonishing if you look at their program under that aspect, as they offer nice synchronization and the straight line at start with change of position, so hard to do, but it looks absolutely effortless.
    I really want to point out strongly, that I could absolutely write about every couple here like Tatiana Kozmava and Aleksii Shumskyi, who had huge Drama in their music and it always reflected in their acting and the elements, like the amazing lifts or the gorgeous spin.
    This is what makes Ice Dance for me so entertaining but also the hardest discipline to take notes about, as I could just write forever about what these skaters do, but not everyone is so much into ice dance, so I will just keep it short and thank all skaters, for these beautiful performances at the Bavarian Open.

    6.0 Medals for all


    As always at this point, I want to try to mention a few more skaters, that for various reasons, just stood out and didn´t find a spot yet. Again, I still have so many more names on the list here, but I need to find an end somehow, so the daily reports are still there and now, the medals for all.

    6.1 Best Dress


    The dress of a skater, often sees a lot of love, after all it is a part of you and your performance. Of course, it can also serve you to squeeze out those few extra points, especially with our ladies, who can dress like for the red carpet, using all their god given abilities to make men go crazy. One of these outfits, came from Michaela Hanzlikova, as it was golden and maybe a tiny bit too short, but this didn't stop her from nailing a really strong program to “ice symphony”, consisting of huge speed, which was definitely a highlight on day one of the senior ladies.

    After a flawless free to Congo, she came 4th, not only because of her outfits, but the really strong will, to really go for her elements like her five triples, including the Sal – double toe combination, at the end of her program.
    But not only the Czech knew how to dress, we also had a German lady with a very in character performance, who goes by the name Jasmin Lugert.

    My absolute favorite, however, was a Russian lady who just got me with her variety and styling and she goes by the name of Arina Vakulenko and she did compete with Egor Tarasenko in the junior ice dance competition, where they came 5th. Her outfit from the short, was amazing, the way she had her hair, with the little diadem / crown in it, the silver / black color of her dress, so elegant and charming, she looked like a million dollars that day and I so love how present she is on the ice. A wonderful young lady, great positioning during the lifts and absolutely uncontested at the Bavarian Open.

    6.2 Best Music

    Uncontested, she was as well and since I make a living from my music, I always want to see skaters, who pick their music accordingly to their performances and personality. I still wait for a skater, who will skate to the old OST of Mad Max, a very dark themed soundtrack, but I honestly feel that we really had awesome music choices by our skaters and one young lady from France, was my absolute favorite with her picks.
    The young lady came 6th at the Junior Ladies I and goes by the name Alizée Crozet. The 15 years old, skated to "emanuelle" in the short and "the immortal instrument" in the free. Both were movie soundtracks and both required a skater, with huge presence on the ice and I tell you, she did absolutely amazing there. Her skates were passionate and powerful, with loud and quiet parts, perfectly interpreted by the skater and her choreography.

    She has the total package of a skater for me, expression, emotion, positive attitude, elegance, drama in her face if required and speed. You can watch her do stuff on the ice, all day – I had goosebumps with her skates. The short is very quiet and emotional with the piano sounds and strings, some guitar and then that big music in her free, the drums and layers, haunting voices and I loved how she was putting her elements on beat, like the double Axel in the free, towards the end of her program, with those amazing vocals in the background.

    What a great skater from France, a country that had so many talented girls on ice, like Pauline Wanner with her strong fighting spirit, who does not know fear or Julie Froetscher, who is always so positive on the ice.

    6.3 My favorite performances

    Usually at this point, I come up with something like best SP, best LP. Unfortunately, could I not decide what my favorite program in said categories was, therefore I will just give you a few more names, that impressed me.
    The first program that I want to mention came by Sofia Nesterova, from the Ukraine. Unfortunately, I have no further information about this skater, other than that she did win the free skate at the Advanced Girls I and came 3rd in total. Said free skate, was absolutely amazing and joyful, she did skate in hold, yes in hold, with her left hand at the hip, mimicking the traditional "Opera Ball" at Vienna.
    She had great body posture, expression and fire. She made that "old" music look brand new, with a very young and fresh attitude. Besides that, her technical elements were really huge, like the triple Loop – double Toe or triple Sal – double Toe and she even landed a triple Lutz very late in her program.

    Another Ukrainian girl that impressed me, was Anastasiia Arkhipova who did skate to an instrumental version of, “I will always love you”. What impressed me were her arms and hands, how smooth they supported her graceful movements that won her the silver medal, at the advanced Novice Girls I. It was a very charming performance, that I would really love to see once more.
    As the short programs go, I was really into Emmi Peltonens program, her cold expression was really scary, she was as cool as an iceberg, performing to “woman”. Another young girl was Katharina Kurz from Germany, who did compete at the advanced Girls II. What I liked about her, were the interpretation skills, she was really feeling her music and that is always a pleasure to see.
    Danielle Harrison, is another beautiful skater, who had a huge short to offer, she completely flashed everyone of us, as it was such a long day and she completely breathed life back into all of us.
    Last but not least, of course Olivia Tuuva, who really had an absolutely emotional skate for us, she and I already said this above, really has a thing for emotions and she is a very interesting fellow, with great thoughts.

    Of course, there were many more – please allow me to say, that I could never do these skaters justice, there are so many great performances, it´s impossible to write about them all.

    6.4 Best Spin

    There can only be one winner here, it is Aliza Lozko, she just looks amazing in her spins, but I also want to mention once again the beautiful Aimee Buchanan, who really nailed a superb short on the ice, with huge expression and lovely spins, but then unfortunately couldn't skate her free.

    6.5 Best transition


    This is a new category, that I invented for the sole purpose to show that connecting elements, is not that hard at first sight, but it is really difficult to master. As a skater, you don´t want any dead moments in your programs, you don´t want to give your audience the feel that they can take their eyes from you, for a single second. Make them realize, that if they look over to their girlfriend, to their I-phone, or just to their hidden love, that they will miss out, miss out on your performance!
    Lola Esbrat and Andrei Novoselov did exactly this, they transitioned in their short program from a DS directly into their pair spin, it looked super hot and shows, what there is possible in that regard.

    7.0 Most embarrassing moments

    Possible is a lot for me as well, possible in that way how I can make a fool out of myself. I do have quite some talent for this, a talent I would rather give away.
    So ya, what has happened you may wonder?

    The first incident, was at the VC of the ladies. You know, that competition which Yuka Nagai, won so amazingly well? Our Victory Ceremony, is always held at the ballet room, so I went there and she entered the room, looked into my direction, smiles, made a bow and waved. Now, you would think at least I did, she was actually recognizing me, as I always give skaters a few claps, nods or smiles while they are on the ice and ya, I really thought she was waving and smiling to me...

    But, I think she didn't, as there were three Japanese behind me, what a moment of embarrassment, as I smiled back and bowed making a fool out of myself.

    The second embarrassment is actually one I found out about, just recently when I was browsing a skaters Instagram. Said skater, does have a picture there, where she smiles and stands in all her beauty. But, there is another person on that picture and its me! That is so OMG, I hate pictures with me in, I always look horrible and now my face will always be in that picture. My only hope is, that her beauty, will blind people, so that they do not see me also in that picture.

    Needles to say, that I had a few battles to fight with skating moms at VC´s, as we all wanted to take pictures of their daughters and sons, so some elbows go out which lead to the situation, that I was almost falling into a bunch of skaters, luckily I could hold onto my balance, but I assure, skating moms are just so evil! (kidding).

    8.0 Final Note

    No kidding do I, when I tell you, that I had great fun at Oberstdorf and I so wish, that I had more time, to give you even more information about what has happened at the Bavarian Open 2016. While not everything went as planned, the event itself and the performances by the skaters, were high class.
    We saw very young talents, who very well could headline the Olympics 2022, but also skaters who have a shot at future world titles and it shows, how important it is, to be with skaters right from the beginning. While it costs a lot of money and of course a lot of time, it is something that I do not want to miss, no matter how big the obstacles might become over the years.
    Writing about figure skating, is so different to what I usually do, as lets face it, if I DJ then I see what my music does to people, but with these blogs, I can only guess if it´s a nice read for people or even skaters.

    That´s why I am so grateful for every comment, or chat at the ice rink and for skaters it is very similar I think, as they have to skate in front of empty rows quite a lot, except of course at the very big events, so once again, I ask everyone to write something about their skaters, use the forum here, many of them are reading along, tell them, how you think about their performances, it is so crucial to them.
    This also means, that I still have to update a few threads of my kids, like Tanja Odermatt, who did so wonderful and once again made me a proud “daddy” and she is an absolute darling and I am very happy that we have a platform with Goldenskate, to write about those who we love.

    As always, I want to thank the skaters, coaches and officials for their cooperation and I do hope that my critics might be considered in the future, to make figure skating an even more pleasant journey, for spectators, journalists and of course our skaters.

    Thank you very much, until next time!


    P.S. I apologize for any spelling errors in names & Co. If you find any, don´t hesitate to let me know.
    P.P.S. I hope it´s easy to read from a format & font point of view. I tried to make it better to read, by using a few format options and making the font a bit bigger, but ya everyone has different sight, so if it´s horrible, I am sure it can be fixed.


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