Coming soon – The European SOI!


By Magdalena Osborne

On November 20th and 21st the Belgian city of Antwerp will be visited by some of the best skaters in the world. The STARS ON ICE Antwerp shows return to the Sportspaleis to offer world class skating and family entertainment.

Igor Tacaks, Sales & Events Manager, and Ellen Dupont of the IMG Brussels office talk about the shows:
Igor: We’re very excited, first of all because it’s the first SOI shows in Europe since last year, and secondly it’s an opportunity to come and see the best skaters in the world. For some people this is a dream come true, and the IMG Belgium is proud to have made it possible.

Ellen: I believe Stars on Ice benefits different targets. The skaters have the opportunity to skate out of competition where there’s no jury. Fans are given a chance to see their favorite skater and finally an opportunity is given to the general public who don’t know a lot about skating but who look for entertainment, they will get a fabulous show.

© Helga Dobor
Kevin van der Perren, Short Program

Igor: I believe this years' cast is exceptional. We sat down and chose the best cast possible and then recruited the skaters through our events and federations department.
The Sportspaleis will look a little different this year so more seats can be offered and we’re very happy to have Stefan Lindemann, World bronze medalist in the show.
It’s the aim of the IMG to develop the SOI concept all over Europe. Much will of course depend on the success of the Antwerp shows. On October 4th we held a press conference and were lucky to have a star like Katarina Witt participating. She’s being an ambassador of the event and was well appreciated as was Kevin van der Perren, a young eligible skater. He appreciates the fact that we are hosting SOI in his own country. Kevin is a great kid and I am sure he will be among the best in the future.

Ellen: This is the first skating event I help organize and I look forward to meeting the skaters and to see the shows. I will fully enjoy everything!
I never met a skater before so for me the press conference was a real experience. At first I was a little nervous but Kevin is really nice and spontaneous and Katarina is a really good speaker and also very nice. She represents the skating industry in a way other industries should be represented. From listening to them I could tell they both fully enjoy their sport, it reflects in the way they talk about it.

The skaters also appreciate having been given the opportunity to do the shows which will offer solo spots as well as group numbers. Katarina Witt, Kevin van der Perren and Stefan Lindemann share some thoughts about what the audience can expect from their appearances.

Katarina: I am not sure yet. Maybe I’ll skate my program “I am ready for love” by India Arie, but a few weeks ago I skated to the unplugged version of Melissa Etheridge’s “Crawl to my window”, so I am not sure, we’ll see how I feel. But last year’s “India Arie” is very close to my heart and it’s a nice program so maybe I’ll show that to you.

Kevin: I don’t know yet. I’ll probably do my new short program, because it has the most difficult element and it’s always good to perform it in public one more time.

© Kata

Stefan: I haven't had time to choose a new program, so I will skate to Seal, my exhibition program from last year. To choose a new program is always a hard task. I have to find the right music that reflects my life, with lyrics to match my feelings. But I’m very happy about skating in the SOI, I like the shows very much. In competitions I have to prove myself the whole time. Shows are more relaxed, there’s not as much stress and we have fun together. In competitions I always skate alone, but here I can share the ice with others which is interesting. And it’s an honor to skate with the likes of Katarina Witt, Ilia Kulik and the others. I think it’s a great idea to mix the cast like this. Us eligible skaters know each other from competitions like the World and European Championships, so it’s nice. But to skate with professional skaters is a really good thing since we learn from their experience, get ideas and tips we can use and then can pass on to the junior skaters.

© Stefan Lindemann

© Kata

Katarina: I enjoy performing! I don’t like to be in an empty ice rink, where nobody’s watching. But of course practice is part of it and I still practice. It takes a lot of discipline to go out there every day but you know you’ll have to put in your hours; it’s a lot easier to perform when you’re in shape! After my win in Calgary I never thought I’d still be skating now, and I am truly grateful for all I’ve been able to accomplish. The truth is I’m still enjoying it but I know I can’t continue forever, so I am enjoying every minute while I can and not taking anything for granted. I hope I will be remembered for my skating, as a woman in skating, and as an athlete and good competitor.

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