• 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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Man shot in tax office dispute
DPA

Man shot in tax office dispute

A tax office worker in the Schleswig-Holstein town of Rendsburg died in hospital after being shot on Monday morning. READ  

Merkel details Iraq arms shipment to MPs
Angela Merkel addressing the Bundestag on Monday as her ministers look on. Photo: DPA

Merkel details Iraq arms shipment to MPs

UPDATE: Chancellor Angela Merkel addressed the Bundestag on Monday to explain her government's decision to send weapons to Iraqi Kurds fighting terrorist group Isis. READ  

Olympic visions compete in Berlin and Hamburg
Berlin and Hamburg mayors Klaus Wowereit and Olaf Scholz on Monday. Photos: DPA

Olympic visions compete in Berlin and Hamburg

Germany's capital and its gateway to the North Sea each released details of their Olympic bids on Monday as the race for the 2024 or 2028 summer games nominations picks up momentum. READ  

Vacationer killed by Baltic Sea bacteria
Photo: DPA

Vacationer killed by Baltic Sea bacteria

Six people were infected with a bacteria from the Caribbean which has made itself at home in the popular German vacation destination. One of them is now in a coma. READ  

UN applauds Germany's help to refugees
DPA

UN applauds Germany's help to refugees

UNHCR Commissioner Antonio Guterres is lauding Germany's role in accommodating the influx of refugees in Europe, while pointing at the imbalance of effort within the EU. The federal government has pledged to do more. READ  

Energy-sucking vacuums no longer welcome
Photo: DPA

Energy-sucking vacuums no longer welcome

Starting on Monday, vacuum cleaners drawing more than 1600 watts can no longer be brought into Germany. The ban is part of a an EU-wide environmental protection measure. READ  

Coalition horsetrading starts after Saxony vote
CDU leader Stanislav Tillich with SPD Martig Dulig. Photo: DPA

Coalition horsetrading starts after Saxony vote

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic (CDU) party is in search of a new partner after the expulsion of its former allies the Free Democrats (FDP) from the Saxon state parliament. READ  

Presented by Phorms Education
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation
Photo: Phorms Education

Bilingual education from nursery to graduation

A network of German based schools is changing how students learn languages by introducing English and Deutsch from day one, with the method yielding impressive academic results. The Local finds out more about Phorms Education. READ  

JobTalk Germany
'German bosses need to praise more'
More of this? Photo: Shutterstock

'German bosses need to praise more'

What do German bosses need to do to get more out of their staff? Frankfurt-based business consultant Justin Bariso has this advice. READ  

Train drivers take their turn to strike
A banner announcing a previous rail strike in June is displayed in a station. Photo: DPA

Train drivers take their turn to strike

A train drivers' union has warned of a nationwide strike to take place on Monday evening as it seeks leverage in negotiations with Deutsche Bahn. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: Shutterstock
Gallery
Ten of the oddest things found by German border control
Photo: Gerkan, Marg and Partners/Tegel Projekt GmbH/J. Mayer
Berlin
How will Berlin look in five years' time?
Photo: DPA
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The best of Berlin's mayor Klaus Wowereit in 14 pictures
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany sends burgers and sausages to Kurds
Photo: Matthias Kock
National
Tribes, ties and a movie: A German's Afghan life
Photo: DPA
Gallery
10 things to do before summer in Germany is really over
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
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

3,418
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd