To say that Robin Szolkowy was surprised to be offered a position working with the coach of the team who he had battled with on the ice over the course of the four seasons leading up to the Sochi Olympics would be an understatement.
“Actually I was more than surprised because my wife and I were on vacation. We wanted to go far away just to free our minds and set up our new life,” Szolkowy recalled at a joint press conference with Nina Mozer in Oberstdorf, Germany. “Then I got the message ‘Dear Robin, This is Nina. What do you think? Let’s work together!’ I thought it was spam mail!”
The sudden break-up of Szolkowy’s partnership with Aliona Savchenko was what prompted Mozer to get in touch.
“When I found Robin and Aliona wouldn’t skate together any more, I thought ‘I want to have him in our group.’ People like Robin should not get lost from figure skating.”
The mutual appreciation and respect that Szolkowy and Mozer have for each other was much in evidence throughout the briefing.
“I am very proud to now be part of the Team Nina Mozer,” Szolkowy stated. “To put two people together like she did for Tanya and Maxim, to take them to first place at the Olympics shows that she understands her work and how to teach a pair to become a good team and make them strong and successful. For me, it’s a perfect chance to learn from the best and I hope that I can support and work together.”
The German has been assigned two teams to work with in the Russian coach’s pairs stable.
“There are so many couples, but I don’t want to scare Robin with the number of teams that we have,” Mozer joked. “So for now for this season definitely he will work with two young and promising teams – Vassilisa Davankova and Alexander Enbert and Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov. Obviously if Robin wants to work with someone else I won’t stand in his way.”
Szolkowy has been contracted to work with Mozer’s group for three months with the option to renew if the arrangement suits both parties.
“The contract is very specific. Until Russian Nationals in December all plans are set out and then we’ll see how it’s working out for Robin timewise and take it from there. It hasn’t been entirely decided what is going to happen after that. For the athletes after Russian Nationals it will be more clear which plans these teams will have.”
For Szolkowy, the unexpected approach by Mozer has given him a new sense of purpose and an opportunity to give back to skating.
“Everything that’s in my head I want to give the young teams and make them as strong and successful as I was.”