Euros 2005 - Torino Trouble and Tidbits

Part 2

Reported by the AS Torino Delegation, compiled by Mireille Geurts & Titia Tolsma
Photos © Absolute Skating


The first event we visited was the pairs’ short program. This was the second competition, being preceded only by the compulsory dances. After the big battle of entering the arena and finding your seats (not that that was very hard, but it would have been helpful if the volunteers knew their way when insisting on ‘helping’) we were happy to find out we were sitting in a nice corner with a great view of the ice, surrounded by several people from the Netherlands! In the beginning we weren’t sure if we liked that or not, because they can also understand every comment you make (oops, blush), but it turned out to provide a very nice atmosphere and also some bonding due to the crappy circumstances. The short program was performed very well by most of the pairs present.

At practice

We were very impressed by Obertas/Slavnov’s huge throw triple flip! Sergei himself seemed very pleased with the sp and was seen backstage sword fighting with a silk flower he received from fans. Young Rumiana Spassova also impressed us; she fell very hard and practically none of the “Renaissance music” sp worked, but she kept skating and smiling! Her partner Stanimir Todorov was very supportive and since they’re so young, it was very sweet and commendable.

Totmianina/Marinin skated a beautiful program and were very deservingly in the lead after the short. Of course when doing the lasso lift the memory of the horrifying fall at Skate America came to mind and we were not the only ones in the audience sighing with relief when they came out of it ok. It will probably take a while before fans will be able to look at the lasso-lift in a ‘normal’ way. Much praise to Tatiana and Maxim for recovering and moving on so quickly, it took a lot of guts!

At practice

On Wednesday, the men’s short and pairs’ final were on the agenda. Arriving during the pairs’ practice, long before the men’s sp, was a problem, see above for all that. But we finally got in and settled nicely before it started. The problem with men’s sp was that we had too many favorites to root for and this left us kind of confused at the end of the competition. Some had done ok, some very well and some poorly. Should we be happy, sad or something in between? It was hard to say.
We did get word of Eurosport starting to air late because of the Australian Open, leaving some people in front of their TVs quite frustrated at not being able to see their favorites. Many skaters got skipped including AS’ own Zoltan Toth. This was of course a shame, although honestly, he didn’t skate great. He already had some problems with his jumps, when he found out the laces on his boots came loose. He skated over to the referee and got permission to start over from where he left off, but was never able to get back in his program, especially technically, but also not in expression. This led to Zoltan not making the final. Too bad Zoltan, we would have loved to finally get to see that program live, but better luck next time!

Compared to previous competitions, Gregor Urbas looked like he had made quite a few improvements in his interpretation and skating skills. Unfortunately his jumps didn’t want to be found, and he didn’t make it to the final either.

The Czech skater replacing AS’ own Tomas Verner (not being able to skate because of an ankle injury), Lukas Rakowski, skated to the “Kill Bill” soundtrack. Even though we really wanted to see Tomas skate, we enjoyed this very energetic program, and Lukas seemed to (unknowingly and maybe even involuntary) have captured the heart of some AS-crew girls (who shall remain nameless).

At practice

Vitaly Danilchenko from the Ukraine became a new favorite on the spot. His “Zorba the Greek” program was very appealing to the audience and really got them going. Could it be that his good looks might have had an influence on this... We were very pleased to see he kept up with the speed of the music; we tried to do the same while clapping to the beat, but failed miserably.

On to the higher ranks. Of course there were AS skaters Stefan Lindemann and also Stéphane Lambiel who was glad he could finally compete. He hates the waiting and said next time he'll do pairs so that it’s over faster… Both skaters performed well in spite of some flaws. Stefan had a troublesome beginning of the season but seemed to have gotten into shape, just like it happened last season, but he made a mistake on his quad. Stéphane jumped his quad very easily, but had problems with the axel. This was expected because of his knee injury and surgery earlier in the season. Both made us very proud in their own way, and we enjoyed their artistic impression. Stéphane lived his music with his entire body, heart and soul. Stefan, whom we had already seen live many times this season, seems to get deeper into the program every time we see it, making us love it more each time. Stefan should be seen live to be done total justice.

Personal preferences towards Plushenko turned out partially disappointing, because of his second place after the sp, but Kevin van der Perren, with his brilliant short totally made up for it. Skating to “Samba Adagio” by Safri Duo (and not “Everything” as the ISU bio mistakenly listed because he passed on to them the wrong track on the cd) finally landed his triple axel perfectly and not only that, but for the first time in a short program! Great Kevin, now don’t forget it! Repeat it over and over again! In our opinion he should have been ranked one spot higher, but we weren’t about to let that spoil our fun.

Brian Joubert skated great and should be commended for it, considering all the problems he’s had lately with coaches and the French federation.

Almost half of the arena was filled with school kids in the afternoon. While this sounds like a good way to fill up the seats, we were not totally sold on the idea. The kids didn’t have a clue how to behave and were running around, and applauding random moves of skaters, even falls, talking during program, kicking people in the back, and getting so excited for the Italian skaters they forget to applaud the next person on the ice. This was certainly annoying for the skaters, and even more so for the surrounding audience. Jokes were being made that if you forgot to bring a stuffed toy, you could always throw a cute kid on the ice (1 down - 62376575634 to go :P).

Also very present in the audience were the skaters, sometimes mixed up with the rest, sometimes at a separate tribune (left Sinead & John Kerr, right the Russan gang). The skaters did have their own section, but complained it wasn’t near big enough.


By lack of hot food in and around the arena, we decided to go back to our hotel to warm up, get a decent meal and watch the pairs’ long programs from our cozy and soft (!) beds in the hotel. Mental note for next year, don’t buy Italian lettuce, at least not when you expect it to have any flavor at all. Walking into the hotel lobby we were shocked by other (random) hotel guests commentating that they’d just seen us on TV. Oh my, why? This was only the beginning of the week…

The men had practice that night in the practice rink, but only two men showed up; British John Hamer and Belgian Kevin van der Perren. They had to open the gate themselves due to some volunteer confusion, but didn’t seem to mind a bit.

Go to part 3


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