Sunday, May 30, 2010

Germans are ready for another four years

Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy entered the Olympic season as two-time and reigning World Pairs Champions and were considered top contenders for the Olympic Gold. In the end, the season didn't go as well as the Germans had hoped, but they medaled in each event they competed in. At the World Championships, the creative team announced that they plan on competing until 2014 to realize their dream of an Olympic gold medal in Sotchi.

"This season we went up and down, from zero to 100 and from 100 to zero," Savchenko summed up. "The body doesn't know that there are Olympic Games. [This time] it gave a signal that it wasn't meant to be. It was too much. [When] the body says "stop", there is nothing you can do about it," she analyzed, referring to illnesses that hit her several times in the past months.

It was a hard season for the German pair, and only in the very beginning was everything business as usual.

"The year started as it always does, with new programs, with the Nebelhorn Trophy... it was a usual summer and we had no injuries," recalled Szolkowy.

But then bad luck struck. Savchenko fell sick after the Nebelhorn Trophy, but resumed training in time for their first Grand Prix in Paris. Or so they thought. After a good short program, the Germans completely fell apart in the free skate and made error after error. They barely hung on to the bronze medal.

"I couldn't believe it," said Savchenko, shaking her head months after the event from last October. "There is no explanation. It was like a black out. It just happened and we couldn't find ourselves. It was a nightmare. Everything went wrong that could go wrong."

After this shocking experience, coach Ingo Steuer and the team decided to switch to a new free program - something they had not yet done. The new program to Out of Africa went over very well with the judges and the audience at Skate Canada. Savchenko and Szolkowy performed brilliantly. However, at the Grand Prix Final, they didn't skate their best. Savchenko apparently was already affected by a bad flu that hit her even harder right after the Final. For more than a week, she was confined to bed, and the team missed Nationals.

The team was not able to get back in to top form before the European Championships, and were beaten by Russia's Yuko Kavaguti and Alexander Smirnov in a somewhat controversial decision. Then, at the Olympic Games, two errors in the free skate prevented the Germans from finishing higher than third. They were disappointed, but they were relieved at the same time to have earned a medal.

full article.

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