• Germany's news in English
 

Drama on ice as Germans fight for medal

Miriam Widman · 29 Mar 2012, 12:53

Published: 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.

Related links:

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
Palestinian TV teen given German residency
Photo: Norddeutsche Rundfunk/Screenshot

Palestinian TV teen given German residency

4 hours ago

A Palestinian teen threatened with deportation who burst into tears during a televised debate with German Chancellor Angela Merkel has got a residency permit for "humanitarian reasons," a statement said Friday.

The photojournalist making news intimate
World Press Photo winner Mads Nissen. Photo: DPA

The photojournalist making news intimate

23 hours ago

Photographer Mads Nissen’s World Press Photo of the Year is currently touring Germany and the world. It’s a provocative image of two Russian gay men and one that some say is changing the definition of photojournalism.

Six athletics world champs head to Berlin
ISTAF is held annually in Berlin. File Photo: DPA

Six athletics world champs head to Berlin

23 hours ago

six world champions, freshly crowned from Beijing, will be gracing Berlin's Olympic Stadium on Sunday in the annual ISTAF track-and-field meet.

A week after heatwave, snow falls in Bavaria
Zugspitze, Germany's highest mountain. File Photo: DPA

A week after heatwave, snow falls in Bavaria

1 day ago

From 30C to snow in under a week? It's possible in Germany where seven centimetres of the white stuff fell at the top of the Bavarian Alps on Friday.

Oktoberfest and the Refugee Crisis
Munich plans to keep revellers, refugees apart
Police and refugees at Munich Central Station. Photo: DPA

Munich plans to keep revellers, refugees apart

1 day ago

Police in Munich are preparing a significant operation to ensure that drunken revelers at Oktoberfest are kept away from refugees arriving at the city's central station from Budapest.

Criminal had time for pit stop in 20-cop-car chase
Photo: DPA

Criminal had time for pit stop in 20-cop-car chase

1 day ago

With 21 police cars and a helicopter hot on his heels, it seemed unlikely that police in Düsseldorf would fail to catch one rogue motorist. But after a two-hour pursuit, that's exactly what happened in the early hours of Friday.

What's keeping Germans awake at night in 2015?
The Greek debt crisis has been haunting German dreams. Source: Wikipedia

What's keeping Germans awake at night in 2015?

1 day ago

Having to cough up for the excesses of spendthrift southern Europeans is the fear most likely to haunt German nightmares in 2015. But getting caught up in a natural disaster isn't far behind, an annual survey shows.

This Week in History
The death of a great humanitarian
Schweitzer spent most of his later years at Lambaréné. Photo: DPA

The death of a great humanitarian

2 days ago

On September 4th 1965, the world lost one of its most dedicated and tireless humanitarians, as Albert Schweitzer died in the African hospital he had created and cherished for over 50 years. A hospital that continues to save lives today.

Refugee crisis
Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1
Die Ärzte singer and drummer Bela B. with a DVD titled "not interested in Nazis" in 2009. Photo: DPA

Pro-refugee group push punk classic to no. 1

1 day ago

Under the banner of "Arsehole Action", activists campaigning against xenophobia and hatred of refugees have pushed a 1993 hit by punk band Die Ärzte mocking the far right to the top of Germany's charts.

Refugee Crisis
Orban: Muslims threaten European identity
Viktor Orban, guardian of Europe? Photo: DPA

Orban: Muslims threaten European identity

1 day ago

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned Thursday that the wave of mostly Muslim refugees coming to Europe threatens to undermine the continent's Christian roots - an idea rejected by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

Features
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Features
How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
Sport
German named 'arse bombing' world champ
Travel
Retiree finds parked car after three-week search
National
Ten ways Germany puts Britain to shame
Business & Money
German gadget clamps down on Nutella thieves
Society
Is Germany now a nation of couch potatoes?
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
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

6,913
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd