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Mari Vartmann & Ruben Blommaert – “We are always having fun”

By Hiro Yoshida

While the fortunes of German pairs skating have risen and fallen constantly over the past few decades, it looks like things are on the upswing again with Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot taking bronze at the 2016 World Championships after a long and hard fought battle to be granted permission to skate internationally. While Savchenko and Massot made the headlines, another new German pair quietly made a promising international debut last season.

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Jorik Hendrickx – “It always feels to me like I am trying to catch up”

By Hiro Yoshida

After knee injury and a subsequent surgery curtailed his 2014/2015 season and forced him out of both European and World Championships, Belgium’s Jorik Hendrickx has had an entirely more fulfilling 2015/2016 so far. It has been a record breaking and successful few months for the Belgian.

Hendrickx made his competitive return to the ice at the Nebelhorn Trophy at the end of September 2015 where he finished eighth. When he suffered the injury back in November 2014, he never imagined that it would take him so long to recover. (more…)

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Michal Brezina – “I need to find a way to make the people that I skate for proud again”

By Hiro Yoshida

It’s the morning after the night before in Bratislava, Slovakia at the European Championships and Michal Brezina is coming to terms with having had one of the worst skates of his career the day before. From being 3rd after the short programme, he plummeted down the rankings when not a single jump in his free skating routine went according to plan. He ended up in 10th place overall.

“I feel a lot better. I needed some time to be alone and really think about what happened,” Brezina said. “I had a drink with my coach and my dad. That helped me sleep a little bit, but not for too long.”
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2016 Europeans Review Part 1 (Men)

A cold snap with freezing fog enveloped Bratislava as everyone arrived for the European Championships, but as the week wore on temperatures gradually rose. It was no different inside the Ondrej Nepela Arena where the battle to be crowned European champion in all four categories was hotly contested.

2016 Europeans Men Medallists (more…)

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Daniel Samohin: “It’s Easier To Do Quads Than Triples”

By Hiro Yoshida

Daniel Samohin announced himself to the skating world when he cracked the top ten at his first European Championships in Stockholm, Sweden last year. He followed that up with a very impressive 8th place at the World Junior Championships in Tallinn, Estonia in March 2015 marking him out as the real deal. When I spoke to him at the Junior Grand Prix Final in Barcelona, Spain last month, the whole surreal nature of being an object of attention all of a sudden was still fresh in the mind of the 17 year old.

“Europeans was an amazing experience. It was crazy because I didn’t expect the placement or my skate to be that good. Not because I didn’t believe in myself, but because I was still on and off on my quad and my Axel was actually not very consistent. I got to the competition and for that week it was really consistent. Before that, all those months I was practicing I could not do Axel. I was stepping out or falling and every time I did it in the program it wasn’t consistent. So when I did the Axel in Europeans last year I got really excited and that’s why I stepped out of the Lutz! It was really great for me and really opened up a lot of doors mentally because I was able to push myself more. It motivated me to work even harder than I had been.”
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