Catching up with Greg Zuerlein┬á
One of the unexpected guests at the Nebelhorn Trophy was Greg Zuerlein, the 2009 World Junior ice dancing champion from the US. In June he announced the end of his five-year partnership with Madison Chock and retired from competition. I used this opportunity to catch up with Greg about what he's been up to recently and learn more about his "life after skating".
Greg, surprised to see you, what brought you to the Nebelhorn Trophy and to Europe in general?
I've been in Europe for about two months, just travelling around, visiting friends. I've been in France mostly, nothing related to skating. This is the first skating-related event since I've been out of the US. And on Monday I'm going back.
What's next once you're back there?
What will I be doing? I'll be coaching. I was coaching skating before I left [on this trip]. And I'm back in school, studying business. I started at the university back in 2006 when I finished high school, but then took some time off. I just recently started taking classes again, from the end of August. I'm doing it online, that's why I am able to stay in Europe. So when I go back I'll be teaching and finishing school.
Where will you coach?
There are a few ice rinks. I'll be in "Compuware", it's in the area near Canton, Michigan, in Plymouth. And then there is another arena, "Nova", also near Canton (in Novi, MI). And also at "Arctic" where I used to skate. So I'll be around at a few different rinks in the area.
What do you think about the newly created pair Chock/Bates?
Oh, I think it's great! I'm happy for both of them actually, especially for Madi. I decided to retire and I'm happy she found someone so quickly, being at the same rink helps too. I think they'll be great together.
Have you seen them skating?
Not really, I wasn't at the rink much, and like I said I've been gone for two months. I saw them maybe for ten minutes one day, they looked good already. I'm sure they've improved a lot!
What do you think about the short dance for this season?
It's Latin and rumba, it's obviously different, plus there is a circular line side-by-side instead of a middle line side-by-side. From what I've seen here the teams are able to put it together. I actually enjoyed the short dance from quite a few teams. And I'm sure there will be many more to enjoy this season, seen at the top in the world, especially from the Canton teams - Tessa and Scott, Meryl and Charlie... I haven't seen them yet but it'll be exciting to watch.
And also the rumba, it is good being able to do it not back to back; you can do one pattern, then some steps in between and then do the other pattern. So it's a little different and I actually think it's more interesting.
What do you think about the idea of the short dance in general?
I really think it was a good idea to get rid of the compulsory segment. Having three segments to ice dance, extending it say to Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and now it's only two days; it's easier on the competitors. I guess you can view a compulsory dance as a good way to determine people's basic skating skills, but you still have parts of that in the short dance, you still show a portion of it, so they still kept it around.
Will we see you around? Will you follow competitions, and skating news?
I'll follow to a certain extent. I still know some competitors who are skating. I'll be at Bompard and at Skate Canada. So I'm gonna watch a few events!
Thank you for your time and good luck in your new life!