Janse Van Rensburg & Steffan embrace new alternatives

by Matteo Morelli | Photographs by Yoriko Suzuki

Germany’s Jennifer Janse Van Rensburg and Benjamin Steffan are having fun with a season that’s giving them quite a lot of new alternatives to indicate their potential. We sat down with the 2 time German Nationwide Champions after they competed at their first European Championships in Espoo, Finland, the place they shared what this season means to them and what they’re specializing in in the direction of their future.

Jennifer and Benjamin, thanks for spending a while with us. You competed at your first European Championships, ending in ninth place. What do you’re taking away with you from this competitors?

Benjamin Steffan (BS): We really feel excellent about this, it has been fairly a journey to get right here for us. That is our first large championship collectively and reaching that prime ten placement means quite a bit to us. We’re very thrilled.

What does this outcome imply for you in relation to your goals? 

Jennifer Janse Van Rensburg (JJ): We’re fairly completely satisfied that with the highest ten we acquired two spots for Germany at subsequent 12 months’s European Championships. This 12 months we nonetheless have the upcoming World Championships in Japan, a contest that I believe is most skaters’ dream and that’s additionally coming true for us. We’re fairly excited.

Taking a look at this season, you might have taken half in a number of challenger competitions, you went to the Skate America Grand Prix, and secured a second consecutive title on the German Nationwide Championships.

BS: This season has been a giant step up for us. We have now been capable of safe a second nationwide title which meant quite a bit to us and we have now had two medals at challenger competitions (silver at each Denis Ten Memorial and Warsaw Cup), which is a giant deal. It offers us the sensation that what we’re doing is the proper factor and we aren’t at our restrict but however we are able to push our talents to get higher and higher.

Your free programme is on “Prelude (Age of Heroes)” by Balázs Havasi, a music that features a choir at the beginning, adopted by a piano and solo voice within the center, to finish with a crescendo. How did you give you it?

JJ: Our coach (Natalia Karamysheva) heard the music and instantly considered us. She performed it and we immediately liked it! 

BS: That’s how we selected the music, we might actually see us performing to that and as staff we determined to make use of it.

Though that is the post-Olympic 12 months, the subsequent Milano-Cortina Olympic Video games should not that far. Have you ever acquired any ambitions in relation to that?

BS: Sure, we have now sat collectively and talked in regards to the future, and we have now determined that we need to go for the Olympic Video games in 2026. That is our large purpose: we’re taking each step that’s obligatory and that we are able to take in the direction of it. 

We appeared at present and the long run, let’s now return to the previous. You will have been skating collectively since 2016, however earlier than getting there you each had totally different experiences. Beginning with you, Jennifer: you have been a single skater for some years till 2014, once you determined to vary.

JJ: I modified very late to ice dance. Fairly lots of people mentioned it was too late, however I took that as a problem. Within the final couple of years we got here to a degree the place we lastly reached what we have been aiming for. It took us some time, I needed to commit quite a bit.

And Benjamin, what’s your background?

BS: I’ve been an ice dancer for fairly a very long time. I by no means did solo skating, nevertheless I did play ice hockey earlier than that! However that was a very long time in the past. I began ice dancing once I was ten years outdated, I’ve had a number of companions up till I partnered up with Jenny. I actually respect each side of each partnership that I’ve had to this point. The whole lot that I’ve completed has taken me nearer to the place I’m, and the place we’re, proper now.

How did you discover one another and determined to skate collectively?

JJ: Truly, we have now recognized one another for fairly a very long time! We have now been associates exterior the ice rink too. We have now discovered one another in our primary military course and sport schooling: our educator knew we have been each in search of companions and prompt we tried out. 

When you focus in your aggressive profession, you might be additionally doing a training qualification course. 

BS: Our federation has given us the power to take somewhat shortcut, so to say, to that total schooling course of. Since we’re professional athletes, we have now to do the identical exams, however so far as the academic half goes we don’t must attend each seminar, which supplies us the power to do the course whereas we’re skating. It’s a actually good alternative to do one thing that we are able to use later and get a training licence whereas we’re skating.

Is that this a future aspiration of yours and one thing you positively need to do after your aggressive profession, or is it one thing you need to have in case you need to take that path?

BS: I believe I converse for the each of us by saying that it’s an choice, however there was nothing determined but. It’s positively a very good factor to have as a result of we each share such a giant ardour for this sport and ice dancing particularly. I might positively see myself teaching sooner or later, however it would rely on circumstances.

JJ: It might be good after all, we’re having this expertise and we’d like to share this with the youthful generations.

What are your greatest recollections as a staff?

BS: There may be not one reminiscence particularly, however one factor I actually respect about our partnership is that it’s not only a work relationship, but additionally a very good friendship. We have now managed to undergo so many ups and downs collectively and which means quite a bit to me.

JJ: I agree with that! That is essentially the most precious factor to have, in case you are exterior of the rink you can too do stuff collectively and never avoiding or preventing one another. I actually respect our relationship!