September 2009

The time in Vancouver went by way too fast. A few weekends and you're almost back in Germany again. If Vancouver weren't 12 flight hours and 9 times zones away (apart from the financial aspect), we would certainly want to stop by every now and then. Saying goodbye to our friends and host families there was just as difficult as last year. However, the chances that we'll be allowed to return to the city at the Pacific coast in approximately 5 months are a little bit better now than they were a year ago. This ticket is still very far away, though, and there are many stumbling blocks in the way that could cause us to trip.

The return flight was extremely long since we had a stopover in Calgary and the plane was full to the limit. Of course we were grappling with our excess baggage as well. 23 kg per person can be extremely little, especially if each of you has 2 pairs of skates, costumes and college books with you. We've already had problems with that on the outbound flight from Germany, and since the lady at the counter had given us the advice of declaring one suitcase as sports baggage beforehand, we were hoping that we wouldn't have to wear 5 jackets and carry several small pieces of carry-on baggage on the return flight. In Vancouver, we tried in the most various ways to convince the employees of the airline that there is no reason to distinguish golf, skiing or angling equipment from figure skating boots. Unfortunately without success. So we would have had to pay $15 per kilogram, or we wouldn't have been able to go shopping, or we would have had to put on as many clothes as possible on the day of the departure. Eventually we made it onto the plane with these and other small tricks and without excess baggage.

We arrived late in Dortmund on Sunday night, and since we wanted to distract ourselves from the jetlag on Monday, and since we didn't want to lose another day of training, either, we went onto the ice straight away in the morning. We also wanted to make good use of the ice on Tuesday because we would depart from Dortmund to the Czech Republic early on the following morning in order to get to our costume seamstress there. It's always necessary to have several fittings to make sure that everything fits with every outfit, and above all to check that nothing is in the way or gets out of place during the various movements and lifts. The seamstress hadn't accepted any appointments after ours for very good reasons, and so we spent more than 5 hours with fitting, testing, cutting, and primarily with discussing. Only towards 6 p.m. were we able to set out for our way back to Germany. However, we didn't head for Dortmund, but for the small, Bavarian, well-known town of Oberstdorf. Towards 12:30 a.m., we could finally end our 1,300 km trip and collapse into bed exhaustedly. The German Skating Union held a seminar in Oberstdorf that week, and a few officials, judges and specialists wanted to take a look at the programs of the senior teams and point out potential level deviations. The official regularities of the ISU change a bit every year, and in addition there are a few things which aren't 100% specified and which are certainly up to interpretation. Therefore it's very important for all the teams to have the elements reviewed in advance in order to not give away points unnecessarily in the competition.

The next day started in the morning with the early training at 9 a.m. and ended in the late afternoon. The following days were very intense, particularly since a small screening was added. We were glad, though, that we had found into a rhythm again and that we were adjusting to the time difference. On Sunday morning, we set out for Dortmund bright and early, so that we would avoid the holiday traffic and have Monday completely off for resting and for unpacking our suitcases.

The following week, our national coach Martin Skotnicky came to Dortmund to primarily work on the Tango Romantica and the Golden Waltz again in a little more peace and quiet. These two compulsory dances are considered the most difficult dances overall, and they are considerably more demanding than, for instance, the Paso Doble or the Viennese Waltz from last year. The Golden Waltz was the last compulsory dance which we couldn't do yet and which we had never skated before; we already needed the Tango Romantica a year ago for passing the "Dance Class 1" test. At the end of this season, we'll have skated all compulsory dances (with the exception of the Ravensburger Waltz) at least once in competition, too. In case the compulsory dances are abolished for the next season, we will be one of the last generations that has skated senior compulsory dances. Regrettably.....

Since our coach Vitali was at the Junior Grand Prix in Budapest in the last week of August, we had some time to work on the arm movements in our Free Dance with our ballet coach. This year we decided on a Queen medley as our FD music, and we'll skate to Bavarian folk music in the OD. The OD is very funny and we're trying to tease ourselves with fooling each other. As the first competition of this season, just like in the last few years, we chose the Nebelhorn Trophy. In the last two years, it was good for us to always start the competitive season early in order to receive feedback for the remaining season. Furthermore, we'll definitely compete at the Senior Grand Prix in Moscow, and we'll also be at the NRW Trophy. The schedule for the rest of the season is still open and depends on our showing at the Nebelhorn Trophy. The competition in Oberstdorf is filled with top teams this year, and it will be interesting to see who places where. In addition, there will be a close fight for the 5 remaining Olympic tickets in ice dancing.

We're happy to be back in Germany and we're looking forward to the start of the season....

Carolina and Daniel




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