Annika Hocke and Robert Kunkel: We’re very proud of the result we showed
Short interview with Annika Hocke and Robert Kunkel (German National silver medalists 2019).
by Ludmila Orlova for blossomonice.com dd. 16th July 2020
At the debut European Championships, you skated both programs without serious mistakes, and took the seventh place. Are you satisfied with your result?
Annika: In short, we are very satisfied and very proud of the result we showed. Of course, there were small mistakes. There is always a room for growth. But still it was great. We felt at home in Graz.
Robert: Of course, there is still a work to do, but overall the feeling was just amazing. For me it was the first European Championships, before that – the first Grand Prix Final. Inexpressible emotions.
As far as I know, you have teamed up quite recently. Please tell us how you found each other and how easy or difficult it was.
Robert: We have started skating together, if I’m not mistaken, since May last year.
Annika: Yes, that’s right. Since the end of May.
Robert: At first, we just trained together, did pair elements. Then, 2-3 months later, we did the programs – it was very close to the Junior Grand Prix series. Before the first Grand Prix, we had only two full run-throughs of the free program.
Annika: Yes, not very much, let’s face it (smiles). In general, at first it was quite difficult. New partner, everything is new. The sensations were very unusual. And then somehow everything went very well and we felt that we should succeed.
And how did you find each other, who offered to pair up?
Annika: Well, we’ve been training together at the same rink for a long time. We known each other since childhood, we met when we were 10 or 11. So it was not difficult to find each other. We wasn’t really looking for (laughs). It was difficult later when they began to skate in pair.
Robert: Annika then parted with her previous partner, I also skated without a partner. So we decided just to train pair elements together, to keep fit. And then we saw that we were getting good at it.
And if we talk about relationships in a pair, who is the leader?
Annika: We are both leaders.
Robert: Yes, I agree. We just have different leadership roles. Someone is responsible for physics, someone for planning, something else.
Annika: In general, we are one team (smiles).
You have performed in both seniors and juniors this season. The competition schedule was very tight. How do you usually distribute the loads to approach competitions in the best shape?
Robert: We try to listen to our sensations. If something feels right, we do it. If the body tells us that we need to stop and rest a little, it means that we need to reduce the loads slightly, not to skate the programs completely in training, for example. And when we feel in good shape, we do everything on 100%, with all the elements.
Your free program this year is just super energetic, with a crazy pace from start to finish. Probably it also takes a lot of effort?
Annika: Actually, our initial version was even faster, but then we decided to make the slow part longer. It was really … a little too much. Well, but at least it’s fun (smiles).
Where do you usually find inspiration for your programs? Do you have any favorite pairs in figure skating?
Annika: Well, I guess I won’t surprise you. Of course, Aliona (Savchenko). I know this is a very common answer and almost every pair girl will say the same, but I can’t name anyone else. She is my idol since childhood. I remember watching her performances when I was very little. I saw her performance in a costume from “The Pink Panther” and immediately fell in love.
Robert: I also think Aliona is amazing pair skater. Both in pair with Bruno (Massot), and Robin (Szolkowy). At the same time, I cannot say that I want to copy them in everything. They are great skaters from whom you can take and learn a lot. But I want to be myself, not the second Bruno.
Related topics: Annika Hocke Robert Kunkel