2011 Finlandia Trophy Blog by Tanja Kolbe & Stefano Caruso

German national bronze medalists Tanja Kolbe & Stefano Caruso are competing in Finlandia Trophy this week and will be sharing some thoughts and photos with IDC.

Sunday, October 09, 201111Fin-7447-SC


Here we are again! Now I am at the airport waiting for the plane to bring us back home.

Today was a tough day for Tanja. We woke up very early, like 6:15 a.m. and after a quick breakfast we went to the ice rink for the FD practice. Her scar on the shin was swollen and really hurting, even more than yesterday and the day before. During the practice we did quickly a check-up of all the elements and we decided to stop early.

When we came back to the hotel I spoke with her because actually I didn’t want her to compete if she has so much pain. I would have never forced her because I do understand what she’s being through in those days. After a long talk she decided that she wanted to try and if, during the FD she would have too much pain, we would have stopped and withdrawn from the competition.

The most important thing is the HEALTH — then comes everything else.

A lot of people around her were kind of pushing/forcing to skate the FD; she is a strong girl that loves skating, but I mean, if you will ask her: “do you feel like skating?” she would never reply no!

So during the warm up I talked to her again and she said she wanted to try, so that’s what we did!

Before competing, the doctor gave her an injection for the pain. Then they called our names on the ice, we looked at each other and we started.

The program was going really smooth. She skated for herself, for me, for the public, and at the end we felt that the arena really understood us. Between each other we felt the magic. I got emotional during the last piece watching her suffering face.

I am proud again of my partner. Not a lot of people would have done what she did today.

I will end this blog from Finland with this reflection:

The saddest thing is that I have learned in my life that in the figure skating world some people are not grateful and they can’t understand and recognize some efforts. Some of them they just don’t care and it’s sad because what all the skaters are doing is not just a sport, is an expression of feelings.

Tanja is a wonderful person and a talented skater. I actually don’t care about anything else that is not us and our skating. I wish to her a good recovery and the wish to come back soon on the ice to skate again together.



Saturday, October 8, 2011

Today is Saturday and the day off in between short dance of yesterday and free dance of tomorrow.

We just had one practice today, which was seen from outside pretty good, but I was feeling pretty bad. I realized that the free dance, with all its elements — lifts, step sequences and spin — is something different than just a short dance. In fact, my wound was hurting a lot and I felt really bad on the ice. So we just did what we had to do — all the elements — and finished the practice early.

The rest of the day we were relaxing, cooling my leg, and thinking about tomorrow.

We hope we will be lucky and we will be able to compete tomorrow.


Friday, October 07, 2011

After what happened to my partner yesterday, this morning we woke up without knowing if we will be able to compete or not. After breakfast she decided that she would like to try to skate at the practice.

We skated really well, just a short practice. We did all the elements and then we left. Her scar was really painful after the practice, but she put ice on it and cool it down.

We spoke to each other and she told me she wanted to try to compete. We called Hendryk Schamberger (he was former coach of Tanja and also our coach last season). He is also a doctor, and he suggested her to take two pain killers just before the competition.

We went inside the ice rink and I told her, “Tanja, just have fun!”

And that’s what we had — FUN!! We were just a bit upset because we did a little mistake in the second pattern of the Rhumba, but I have to say: “I am really proud of my partner!” Not a lot of girls would have done what she did today, skating after a really bad injury and with pain and with 7 stitches. She skated great, great interpretation and everything!!!

We actually don’t care about the results. We are happy like that, and we will keep going through our way — results will come!

Tanja will be my new Hero! ;)

Speak to you tomorrow!!!



Thursday, October 6, 2011
By Tanja Kolbe

Today we had just a practice in the afternoon, so the day started well with sleeping long and a nice breakfast.

The weather was bad the whole day. It was raining, so we were going with our coach, Barbara Fusar-Poli, and the Italian couple, Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri, to the nearby shopping center.

Before our practice, we could watch the other groups including Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir, which was pretty nice because we were in the last group with an Austrian, Ukrainian, and Russian couple.

The practice began not bad. When it was our turn for the music, we were doing short dance. We were in the twizzle — a little bit close to each other — and while grabbing his leg, Stefano cut me in my leg.


It was just feeling like a scratch, so I finished our run-through and looked then at what happened. The cut was very deep and long and bleeding a lot, so we had to go straight to the hospital to get it sewn.



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In the hospital they were sewing the wound with seven stitches, and I could go home straight away.

I hope it will not hurt a lot tomorrow and we can continue the competition.




11Fin-7440-SCWednesday, October 5, 2011
by Stefano Caruso

First day in Finland! We are really excited to start our season. We trained so hard since we left our last coach, Valter Rizzo, and now we want just to compete.

Last season for us ended after the German Nationals in January, so we didn’t compete for a long time. Also, we went to train with Barbara Fusar-Poli and this was so much different!

The trip was really good, just sometimes the plane was shaking due to turbulence, but apart from that, the flight was really smooth.

At the airport here in Finland we felt the difference of temperature between Milan, 30 degrees Celsius (about 86°F) and here, 13°C (about 55°F)!




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The hotel we are staying at (Airport Hotel Bonus) is nice and the rooms are quite big. We went to dinner all together with our coach and the Italian ice dance team, Marco Fabbri & Charlene Guignard.



Unfortunately we didn’t see a lot of skaters, “just” Virtue-Moir, but tomorrow already we will have the official practice at 16 p.m.!

Updates tomorrow!!