• Germany edition
 
Drama on ice as Germans fight for medal
Savchenko and Szolkowy on Wednesday. Photo: DPA

Drama on ice as Germans fight for medal

Published: 29 Mar 2012 12:53 GMT+02:00
Updated: 29 Mar 2012 12:53 GMT+02:00

The Germans may have largely shed the traditional sequins from their outfits, but when they take to the ice in Nice, France on Friday, they will be hoping to sparkle enough to meet the skating expectations of the nation.

Savchenko and Szolkowy are the defending champions, but have been plagued by injury, and haunted by the most difficult jump ever performed in pairs ice skating - the triple axle.

The glory days of Katarina Witt seem an awfully long time ago – with the star herself now serving on the judging panel of Britain’s Dancing on Ice television show.

Although Savchenko and Szolkowy have a world class coach Ingo Steuer, who won the pairs competition in 1997, his involvement has brought with it a particularly German problem.

Because he was an informer for the infamous East German secret police, the Stasi, he cannot get financial help from the German skating union.

This means that to pay his fees, his skaters have to earn money in commercial ice shows, which disrupts their training schedule.

Click here for pictures of Savchenko and Szolkowy in action.

Elke Treitz, vice president of the German Skating Union told The Local, “He is one of the best pairs trainers in the world.” But she said a law prevented the union contributing any money because it is publicly funded and he has a Stasi past.

Merging the east and west teams to produce a united German approach was not simple, said Berlin-based figure skating trainer Viola Striegler.

She said the east German sports system scouted out potential champions when they were very young, took them out of school and sent them to special intensive training centres. “They had a very different way of training. It was extremely systematic,” she told The Local.

She also praised Steuer, who, despite his past as an informer, is treated normally by most involved in the sport, she said.

What counts more is the fact that he has brought Savchenko and Szolkowy to the brink of managing the triple-axle jump.

They nearly got it perfect on Wednesday in the short programme competition – Szolkowy successfully threw Savchenko spinning into the air and she managed the three-and-a-half revolutions before landing – but did so on both feet rather than one.

Until now only one team – two-time former US champions Rena Inoue and John Baldwin – has landed the jump in competition.

Yet the tricky move, while covering the pair in glory, failed to get them on the medals table – they made Olympic and international history when they landed it at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, but ended up in 7th place.

Savchenko and Szolkowy are hoping to revive the days of German figure skating glory on Friday – but will face tough competition in the form of China’s Olympic silver medallists Pang Qing and Tong Jian who were hot on their heels on Wednesday, and Japan’s Narumi Takahashi and Mervin Tran who came third.

Whether they give the triple axle another shot remains to be seen – and even if they manage to pull it off, the entire package will have to work.

Miriam Widman (mirwidman@gmail.com)

Your comments about this article

13:51 March 29, 2012 by heathen
narc rat fink
16:40 March 29, 2012 by derExDeutsche
This is not a sport in the same way that Professional Wrestling is not a sport. Money and politics determine the winner. the 2002 Olympics comes to mind.
Today's headlines
Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack
An investigator gives a sniffer dog the scent of an object found at the scene. Photo: DPA

Police suspect neo-Nazis of Reichstag attack

Investigators believe a Molotov cocktail thrown at the Reichstag building in Berlin early on Monday morning was the work of a far-right group, a police spokeswoman said on Tuesday. READ  

Unemployment rate stagnates in September
Photo: DPA

Unemployment rate stagnates in September

Unemployment in Germany stagnated in September, as clouds continue to build over Europe's biggest economy, official data showed on Tuesday. READ  

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission
A Bundeswehr Patriot missile in southern Turkey. Photo: DPA

Germany struggles with Turkey Nato mission

A shortage of trained troops caused more embarrassment for Germany's military on Tuesday when it emerged that more than one in four soldiers taking part in a Nato mission in Turkey are not getting their allotted time off between deployments. READ  

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin
Spielberg (l), Amy Ryan (c) and Tom Hanks (r). Photo: DPA

Spielberg to shoot spy thriller in Berlin

Director Steven Spielberg is to shoot his next film in Germany, the Berlin-Brandenburg Film Board announced on Monday. The Jurassic Park and Saving Private Ryan director is turning his attention to a Cold War spy thriller. READ  

Lufthansa pilots start Frankfurt strike
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots start Frankfurt strike

The fourth pilots’ strike in recent weeks hit Germany’s biggest airport on Tuesday morning, with long-haul Lufthansa flights grounded at Frankfurt. READ  

EU may drop Russian gas, Merkel warns
Chancellor Merkel with Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb in Berlin on Monday. Photo: DPA

EU may drop Russian gas, Merkel warns

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that Germany and Europe may have to review their energy cooperation with Russia in the long-term if the Ukraine standoff does not abate. READ  

3,000 refugees arrive at Munich station
Munich's Hauptbahnhof. Photo: DPA

3,000 refugees arrive at Munich station

More than 3,000 refugees, including hundreds of children, have arrived at Munich’s central train station over the past few weeks, according to police. READ  

Deutsche Bahn freezes most ticket prices
Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bahn freezes most ticket prices

Germany’s train operator Deutsche Bahn on Monday attempted to take the fight to cheap coach services, which have eaten into its market share, by freezing the price of second class tickets. READ  

Bavarian independence becomes reality online
Christian Söder at the Los Angeles headquarters of ICANN in April. Photo: DPA

Bavarian independence becomes reality online

Starting on Tuesday, people and businesses in Bavaria will be able to use web addresses with the domain .bayern, ending the Free State's online subjection to the Federal Republic of Germany. READ  

JobTalk Germany
Immigrant firms create 2.2 million German jobs
Photo: DPA

Immigrant firms create 2.2 million German jobs

A new study shows more and more immigrants are starting businesses in Germany, bringing some much-needed entrepreneurial spirit to the country. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
National
Revealed: Germany's military feet of clay
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Marks and Spencer: Win €300 toward your new autumn wardrobe
Photo: Shutterstock
Society
Quiz: How good is your German?
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Thousands take to Berlin's streets for marathon
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germans look to UK to liven up Parliament
Photo: DPA
Society
'Incest should be legal,' says ethics board
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten noises that sound very different in German
Photo: DPA
Society
QUIZ: Can you pass the German citizenship test?
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
How to become an au pair in Germany
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten German words you'll never want to hear again
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,149
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd