POSTCARDS FROM OBERSTDORF
Alexandra “Sandra” Stevenson Checks in from Around the Skating World
Sept 26: Arrived later
than planned due to Lufthansa’s cancelled New York to Munich flight.
The weather is not as nice as last year, with some sun but mostly
cloudy and rain-y. Unlike last year, the skaters competing in the 44th
(September 27-29) will not get to see the annual parade of cows.
Some city folk have never actually seen live cattle up close before.
They are big. They are slow moving. They know they have right of way
and will stare you down while chomping. It’s a picturesque but
smelly encounter and they soil the ground leaving much behind them.
They walk from their summer pastures up on the sides of the hills
down to their smaller protected winter lower abode on the other side
of town. To get past them, skaters had to retreat to the winding
side roads and figure out an alternate way up to the rink.
Top of conversation
amongst North Americans – jetlag.
Caroline Zhang says she’s
really affected by it and copes by going down to the lobby in the
middle of the night and going on the computer.
Sept 27: The American team stays at the Mohren Hotel which has beautiful
balconied rooms in the center of town across the road from the
church. That timeless setting has witnessed many words of annoyance
as family members, who are often not that experienced in the
delights of jet lag, are woken by the early morning bells summoning
the faithful to early morning prayer services!
There is no
transportation to the rink. It’s a pretty, but uphill walk in the
morning to the three-rink complex which is on the upper outskirts of
town, across a river, surrounded by green fields and mountains. It
is conveniently close to the three-station famed cable car, but the
weather doesn’t seem conducive to encourage the skaters to go on the
Sept 28: The US champions, Caydee Denney & John Coughlin,
are delighted with their silver behind the twice world runners-up,
Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim
Trankov. Their coach,
Dalilah Sappenfield revealed that the judges at the Champs Camp
felt their original routine to
Sing, Sing, Sing was OK but they wanted them to show more
“So we changed to
Concierto de Aranjuez,”
Dalilah explained. “Pasquale
Camerlengo worked very hard on the original routine and it
was very good. But the judges were right. This routine does give
them a more grown-up appearance. It was a big rush to get it done in
time, but it was worth it.”
who was born in Canada, was brought up in the US but because her
father held a Bermuda passport, she subsequently went to Britain and
won the UK singles title. Then she had another change of country and
started pair skating in France. She
certainly is a determined young lady.
She won bronze with
her new partner, Morgan
Cipres, and was over the moon. “It’s our first international
medal and we couldn’t be happier.” She turned 25 on the day of the
Short. “I couldn’t have had a better birthday present,” she said.
They were beaten in
the Free by Gretchen Donlan &
Andrew Speroff, who, because of breakups of others, are the
second ranked pair in the US. But Gretchen and Andrew had a very
bumpy ride in the initial round and could only pull up from sixth to
The US Men had quite
a battle. Alaskan Keegan
Messing gained the bronze (behind
Nobunari Oda, Japan, and
Konstantin Menshov of
Russia, but was beaten in the Free by his teammate,
Stephen Carriere who climbed up from eighth after the Short to
finish fourth just 1.67 points behind Keegan. Keegan had a different view of his fall than
did the “callers”. He declared, “I fell into a push up position. My
butt did not touch the ice so it wasn’t a fall and I shouldn’t have lost that
point (which would not have changed the placings).”
I thought the
official explanation was that it was a fall if the core weight was
being supported on the ice by more than two appendages!
Two weeks ago in the new international in Salt Lake,
Madison Chock &
Evan Bates were disappointed when they dropped out of the lead
and finished up fourth overall, because, as Evan explained, “I was
ill for six days before and just didn’t have the strength. It’s good
to have this win (in Oberstdorf when they overtook the German early
leaders with a wonderful Free set to
Dr. Zhivago), so we can
put Salt Lake behind us so
Interesting omission in the Exhibition Gala last night (Saturday).
The pairs winners, twice runner-up for the world title, from Russia, did not perform. Instead,
Nobunari Oda, who won coming back from injury by over 20 points
ahead of the Russian 29-year-old Menshov, was given the “star” slot.
Have not yet got an
explanation! Maxim has been getting a lot of gaff over his hair.
It’s long enough to form a fringe on top but the bottom half of his
skull looks as if it was shaved and is just beginning to grow back.
The North Americans taking the “caller” exam have all passed and
decided to celebrate in Munich, which goes crazy
at this time of year when they hold their October Fest. Missing from
that party was the busiest coach,
Igor Shpilband who
arrived in Oberstdorf from attending a Junior Grand Prix. He then
went back to the US
as soon as the dance here in Oberstdorf was over, but was planning
to travel back to Europe later this week to be at the
Finlandia Trophy. I’m off to Finland, too, but no way could I
handle all that jetlag!! I’m just hanging around over here.