Some addition to the Europeans - Smiles and tears
Friendship among Nations ;)
The French- German Friendship
At competitions you can always find several groups cheering on their national skaters very loudly with various kind of tools. If you have watched some, I am sure you have already noticed the Swiss fans dressed in red, often with a chain of small Swiss flags, ringing one of their national symbols, a cowbell, varying in size from very small to extremely huge, making a whole lot of noise. Something similar can be expected of the French supporters, without the bells and the chains of course.
It also happens that a fan first supports his own skater with their native flag and then exchange that one for the flag of the next skater on the ice. But every competition has surprises for us. Like hearing the sound of a horn from the skaters' area which is located next to the rink. ;) Or hearing some very strange noises which make you look for the source of it for hours. And when you finally find the it - a huge drum, in the mids of a row of supporters (how they could bring that to there - ed.) The cheering was for the German skaters, the fans were waving with German flags, shouting German sentences to the skaters, having huge clapping hands, and they filled a whole sector. So ok, German fans. Some skaters later, a French skater takes the ice and that section puts away the German accessories and starts cheering with French flags and with the same amount of enthusiasm and noise, shouting "Allez" to that skater. A bit out of the unexpected┬ů
But figure skating is not about expectation, it always has a surprise in store for you. It's the beauty of figure skating, it's always unpredictable..
It was also very nice to see the Stephane Lambiel Fanclub cheering
again, without Stephane present.
The Turkish- Hungarian Friendship
Hungary's history is for a large part bound to Turkey. Not a very good part, it involves involuntary occupation of 150 years and war, but history is history, and it's passed. But when we talked to Alper Ucar, the Turkish skater, who is coached by a Hungarian coach and lives in Hungary, Titi felt she has to ask him about this, and his answer made us laugh, especially when he finished the interview with a Hungarian word he already learned: "persze, persze" (meaning 'of course' - ed)
Alpar: "I think we (Turkey and Hungary) are close brothers and I don't think of us like enemies. I love Hungary and people so much." - smiled
The Soviet Flag
The Soviet Flag, meaning the flag symbolising the old Soviet Union that has fell into pieces, making it a flag of history, not representing any real country anymore, was being waved at this competition. The first time I saw it - an older woman waved it - I was not surprised as I am so used to seeing it, I didn't immediately register what it was. I just felt something strange. The next time I saw it, she waved it for a Byelorussian skater. That was the moment I looked around a bit shocked. Was I the only one noticing this and find it surprising?
Later this week I wasn't so surprised to see this flag before/after
programs of some skaters from parts of the old Soviet Union. We
were really shocked though and just hoped that the skaters didn't
take offence to it.
Karel Zelenka - Czech Republic?
As usual there is a skater that loses his luggage, and this time the lucky one was Karel. As this was common knowledge, his fans present kept asking everyone about it and they breathed sighs of relief when it got returned to him. After these first days of distress - we did not expect any other odd adventures for/from him, we just wanted to see good results. Fortunately this happened, he skated great and placed 7th in the final. But the audience could not only memorize his name well because of his good results but also thanks to an announcer's blunder, as in his warm-up group, he was introduced as 'Karel Zelenka, representing the Czech┬ůItaly'. Strange country perhaps?? Of course the natural ending would have been 'Republic' but the announcer saw his mistake and corrected it immediately. (Karel got his Italian Nationality in January 2006- ed.)
Injuries always come in the worst possible moment and they don't spare anybody. Figure skating is not only a beautiful sport but it is a very dangerous one too..
The most difficult time for a skater has to
be to be confronted with injuries and accidents. On contrary
of skating a bad program, nothing depends then on their preparation,
form or their talent. There is no striving against fate.
Unfortunately during this competition we saw several of these injuries. Smaller accidents like Federica Faiella's accident in the free dance (arm cut by blade) where they could continue the program. And like Nelli Zhiganshina and Alexander Gazsi: "I cut my arm during the spin, but it didn't disturb me at all, I only realized it when we were in the Kiss and Cry."
Unfortunately at the practice of the free dance a bigger accident happened, involving Attila Elek, ending up breaking his splinter-bone (check back for details >>here<< )
"It was only a simply fall and I still can't believe that it happened! It shocked me and it was so intense for me" - said N├│ra Hoffmann
Anna Cappelina, sharing the ice with them when this happened said:
"Luca (her partner
-ed) saw him fall. I remember I broke my leg when I was eleven years
old. I screamed like crazy, and he was so calm. I never saw an accident
like this in a competition. I felt horrible for him. When you are
taking the ice for your practice you never think that something
like this can happen. We were scared. It can happen to everyone"
This injury also came in the worst time, they placed 7th
before the Free Dance┬ů
"Luckily for us, we had already practiced our program when it
happened. It is a terrible thing to happen, especially because they
had been doing so well here" - said John
We hope the best for Attila and N├│ri, and that they aren't cursed, as N├│ri believed in Warsaw..
I learned there, that we have not only to keep our fingers crossed for the skaters, but also have to hope that their guardian angels work well.