Bofrost Cup On Ice 2003

Part 1

Text by Joy and Mireille Geurts
Photos © Joy

In November 2003 there was Bofrost Cup on Ice, but not the Bofrost Cup like we've known thus far. It was quite different. Why was that?Because since this year Bofrost Cup on Ice is no longer part of the Grand Prix Series, but an independent competition, all on its own.
After the ISU relocated the Grand Prix event to Bejing, people from the Sportparadies in
Gelsenkirchen as well as the German Skating Union weren't happy about it and they decided to still have a contest, but then a combination of a jump event and the free program of the 'normal' competitions:

DEU President Reinhard Mirmseker: "With the combination of a jump event and free skating we will present a world première at the 'Bofrost Cup on Ice' in Gelsenkirchen, We are grateful that title sponsors 'Bofrost' have agreed straight away to further support us, even without having the Grand Prix status for this event. The Grand Prix was allocated to China this year. However, the good field of entries is proof that this new kind of event is a success with the athletes. The question whether this event will be staged again in Gelsenkirchen next year depends on the success -ultimately it's a decision of athletes, coaches, spectators and the media."

According to Competition Director Ingrid-Charlotte Wolter, the idea for this new competition was born during a simple conversation. With this combination of a jump competition and free skating we merge the athletic and artistic aspects of figure skating.

Like R. Mirmseker already stated, the organising committee was satisfied with the entries:

"We are very happy that Winkler/Lohse are competing here in Gelsenkirchen. Despite some withdrawals at short notice, skaters from the international Top 20, respectively the European Top 10, will compete here in Gelsenkirchen. Among them skaters with a possibly great future such as Italy's Carolina Kostner, Russia's Alexei Vasilevskiy and Jeffrey Buttle from Canada." (Wolter)

The decision about still having a Bofrost Cup on Ice, in this entirely new format, was made quite late. However, ticket sales were satisfactory:

Reiner Nerowski, Manager of Sportparadies Gelsenkirchen: "Due to the rather late decision to organise the 'Bofrost Cup on Ice' even without the status of an ISU Grand Prix event, the advance ticket sale was more or less slow in the beginning. But in the last few days we gold a great number of tickets so that we expect to have a sell-out crowd."

Now you may think: "A jump competition, what's in that? Just some skaters doing a jump and that's it? Must I like that??"

I guess lots of people thought so, but you had to be there to notice the real fun of this part of the Bofrost Cup on Ice. It was fun, informal and everybody; skater and audience, just had a great night that Friday. The general party feeling of the jump event was definitely for a large deal caused by the way it was set up and presented.

Of course there were some rules and the organizing committee explained them as follows:

"There will be a warm-up of ten minutes.
Each competitor has two tries.
After the first try the skater then goes to centre ice to watch the replay of the jump on the big screen at the end of the rink. The marks will be shown."
Each juror gives marks from 0-5: 0 meaning the element didn't succeed and 5 is the perfect score.
"After this he/she/they signalise(s) whether the second chance is used. Only the better of the two tries will be counted for the result.
If yes, follow the same procedure, if no, just leave the ice. There will be an immediate announcement, whether you have reached the next level. To reach the next level you need a minimum of 10 points. The highest and the lowest mark of the seven judges are struck out. The marks of the five remaining judges are added, so 25 is the perfect score.
After each level the competitors remaining in the competition will be announced and may skate a round to have a quick warm-up.
The order of skating in the next level will be in reverse order of the result of the previous (just completed) level.
Then the same procedure is followed as above.

At the end of the competition the result will be shown on the score­board and there will be an immediate "Small Victory Ceremony". The best-placed three will be called to the Referee for a presentation of flowers and diploma."


Judges ON the ice behind Eva Maria Fitze & Rico Rex (GER)

Furthermore the set-up was a bit different from normal contests:
"Innovation during the jump events at the competition venue of in Gelsenkirchen: the judges will not sit on a podium along the ice rink but will "sit at tables directly on the ice in front of the judges seats", explained Reinhard Mirmseker, President of the German Figure Skating Federation, during the opening press conference at the Hotel Maritim in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday. "Furthermore the spectators will be included in the event - they can mark the respective points for each performance in the programme. And when they hand in those sheets at a special counter at Sportparadies they can win free tickets for the 2004 World Championships in Dortmund."

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"Of course there are always spectators who are annoyed that they have missed one or two elements during an interesting performance! These times are over. During the jump events super slow motions of all jumps and elements will be projected on a video screen with the help of a beamer."

And also:

"The announcer will be on the ice on skates. Music will be played during the performance."

Now this must lead to some expectations and so it all started on Friday night.

The ladies were first to start their jumping competition, which started with a triple toeloop or salchow. German Denise Zimmermann was last to try and she failed both attempts, which led to a loud exclamation by the announcer (Deniiiiiiise....) who than took her by the hand to say goodbye to the audience. The rest of the ladies went on to the second level. This level consisted of a triple salchow or toeloop in combination with a double toe. The first jump had to be different than the one completed at level one. All remaining skaters got over the minimum for this level. Joannie Rochette (CAN) got 22 points for her first attempt. Everyone thought that was very good so nobody asked if she wanted to retry it. But she did want to! And after doing it we all knew why. Now she got 25, perfect score. WOW!

Level three, triple lutz. Alas Julia Sebestyen (HUN) didn't make this level. The first attempt was only a hop on the ice and by the second she fell. So she got no more than 2 points. Goodbye to Julia and on to the next level.

For this level a triple lutz or flip was needed. Alas the before so perfectly jumping Joannie fell at first attempt and at her second attempt she flutzed with hands down. Worth 9 points so not enough. Level 5 was a triple lutz or flip combination with a double toe. Carolina Kostner (ITA) and Elina Kettunen (FIN) needed both attempts and barely made it. But they did and all got through to level six; combination of 2 triples. Neither Elina nor Susanna Pöykiö (FIN)  succeeded and only Carolina reached the next level. Level seven was a combination of triple-triple-double.  Her first attempt at it was very troublesome but like the MC said at least she is able to create something out of a messy situation. On her second attempt she got 11 points. So the eventual winner was Caro!

It all went very fast, accompanied by loud pop music (2 Unlimited, Safri Duo and alike) and in between the elements the presenter educated us about the origin of several jumps and obviously entertained us by joking and fooling around. The skaters also took part in the latter, knowingly or unknowingly.

Immediately after the ladies jumping competition, there was a small victory ceremony and Carolina, Susanna and Elina were honoured with bouquets of flowers and a diploma for respectively being first, second and third.

 

A press conference was held, in which the ladies could speak their minds about this part of the contest:

*** QUOTES*** Ladies Jump Competition

Carolina Kostner (ITA), 1st:"This competition is simply cool, it's an enrichment. Every skater has a second chance. And this is a first in figure skating. This year I'll be trying to show good performances again, like I did with a fourth place at the European Championships."

Susanna Pökyiö (FIN), 2nd:"Such a jump competition is something totally different. We can be really relaxed going into the event because we're able to focus longer on a single jump than in a short program."

Elina Kettunen (FIN), 3rd:"I've been nervous during the whole day but I'm quite pleased with the third place. This competition is really good, it's exciting and thrilling. I like the combination of a jump competition and a free program on the second day."

Denise Zimmermann (GER), 6th:"I'm still young and this is my first big competition. The other skaters are more experienced and I've been so nervous the whole day. It's totally new for me."

Go to Part 2

*** Previously published by Europe on Ice






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