new beginning for Maylin and Daniel Wende
and Daniel Wende have retired from competitive skating due to his
injuries. They now have started to study for the coaching license. At
the same time they are working as coaches in Oberstdorf.
You now have started coaching. What is your first
Positive, actually! We know everybody here and we already got some
jobs to do. We are more in the ice rink than before. It is fun and it
is what we really want to do. So far it has been very positive for us
and we got positive feedback. It can go on that way.
I have mostly coached kids. It is nice to see when you give
corrections something and they are implemented relatively quickly. It
is really fun, because the kids are learning very, very fast.
What is different in the coaching job from what you expected? What do
you like and what do you like less?
It is different that you don’t do the things yourself. You are
giving advice and try to change things and to teach something. But it
is not about doing it yourself anymore. You don’t do it for
yourself, but you want to pass on knowledge. That is an adjustment.
You are trying to get into the athlete’s mind and to pass on your
knowledge in words. It is a huge step, but you are learning and it
gets better day by day.
At the moment it is still difficult for us to put into words what we
want to get across. We are often showing things to make the children
understand. This is what we have to learn in our coaches’ training.
Obviously it is nice that we still can show it. It is an advantage
that we are still actively on the ice. When words don’t help and
the kids are confused, then we can show it to them.
Why did you want to become coaches?
We’ve thought a lot about it. We both have more than 20 years of
skating experience and we got an incredible education. We wanted to
put that to use and for me it was obvious that I wanted to stay
connected with the skating sport. The next step was to become a
coach, obviously, because this is what I enjoy. I now want to learn
as much as possible and then pass my knowledge on.
I do not know yet if I want to coach full-time, but in any case
part-time. This will become clear within the next few months.
You are a trained bank clerk, correct?
Yes, but I don’t really want to go back into the bank. Since it is
a mercantile education, there are plenty of options what I could do.
How long does your coaching training take and how does it go?
We now have started with the training for the coaching B license.
This will take one and a half year, until 2016. We are attending
seminars of four to five days in different cities. The next seminar
will take place after the season, in April. The first one was not
long ago (in Dortmund). At the end we will have a theoretical exam, a
demonstration exam, a term paper and practical exam. This is quite a
lot. But in order to be able to work as a coach you need higher
licenses. We are now working on the B license and certainly we’ll
do the A license and maybe get the coaching diploma. We want to take
everything that is available.
You are still in the German Army?
contract expires at the end of next year. During this time I want to
find out what I want to do. Maybe I’ll become a full-time coach
after all. We’ll see.
It is good to have the professional support program of the German
Army, so we can take part in programs like the coaching license
training without paying ourselves. The Army is paying for it. This is
a big advantage and we are using everything we can get.
How do you experience the transition from athlete to coach?
It is going relatively smoothly, since we had been preparing for this
season until recently. Then I got these health problems and we
decided that we will retire from competing. But somehow we are still
feeling in the midst of things. Therefore you can’t say that it was
a big cut or anything like that. It is a smooth transition, which is
good. We are still on the ice every day.
Actually we were rarely together on the ice in the past month. Since
we still want to perform in shows, this will come back. So we stay
still in touch with the ice.
How difficult was it to end your skating career? When and how did you
make the decision?
It was difficult, because we really planned to compete this season
and we got two Grand Prix events. The motivation was back. Last year
we fought for getting one Grand Prix and we got none. Now we had two
and we had to withdraw. This was hard and probably it will be even
harder to watch the big competitions. This will be a weird feeling.
This year many teams are injured or are new and maybe we’d have had
a good chance. But at some point you have to say that’s it and turn
Especially when you have to risk your health.
It is the right decision.
Daniel, how are you feeling now?
It is quite good meanwhile. I still have problems here and there, but
it is fine if I am not doing too much, no big lifts every day and so
on… The detoration of the discs in the back is huge and I still
have to be careful and do something for my muscles. But knock on
wood, momentarily I am feeling quite good.
Who are your students now?
I have been working for more than a month with the Turkish pair Oli
(Olga) Beständig and Ilhan Mansiz. This is more or less my main job.
These two have decided to skate for another season. They want to go
to Europeans and achieve the minimum score. I am on the ice with them
for three hours every day. Additionally I am on the ice a lot with
Katharina Lesser and we are helping Mr. König and Mr. Fajfr from
time to time and can get a whiff of it. We are also doing athletic
training for the EC Oberstdorf. We are quite busy.
What kind of a challenge is it to work with Oli and Ilhan, since he
was a professional athlete, but in figure skating he has to be
considered as an adult skater?
Yes, it is a huge challenge. We know them, because they trained in
Oberstdorf before and we know a little bit how they are like. It is
still a challenge, because you cannot assume that he is like us, who
have been on the ice for more than 20 years. He has started only
recently, so to say. Considering this he is doing a great job and I
am now trying to polish them so they can make it, get the score and
reach their goal.
What realistic goals do you see for Oli and Ilhan?
To qualify for Europeans is realistic. They have to work, work, work
and to build endurance over the next few weeks and to get their
elements more consistent. Theoretically, if they do their stuff and
stay cool, they can make it.
Why do you stay in Oberstdorf?
Because we really like it here. It has become our home in the past
few years. We have found friends here and it is always nice here in
the mountains. Plus we have great ice conditions here.
We like to be in a big city, because we are coming from big cities.
But it is always nice to be here. You can breathe again, it is more
relaxed. The big cities are not so far away and we just have the best
conditions for work here. We really like being here.
What is the most important advice you want to pass on to young
skaters and especially pair skaters?
Daniel: Yes, hang in there! You never can give up.
You need patience. We have been through a lot and you have to fight
back and can’t give up. Then it will work.
At the end it is like in a marriage, especially in pair skating.
There are highs and lows. You have to fight through it, keep going
and work hard.
What kind of a challenge is it to be a couple not just on the ice but
also in private life and how do you deal with it?
We are now in our second year of marriage and it has come to rest
(laughs). It is nice! Obviously we did have times when preparing for
a competition or during the summer when we had a lot of stress on the
ice. But this was a part of it and we managed to really separate
private life and job, say skating. Now we have reached a good harmony
and we are doing some things together as coaches.
What were the highlights of your career?
Obviously the two Olympic Games in Vancouver and in Sotchi, they both
were highlights, to be able to participate twice. It was awesome. But
there were other highlights such as the bronze medal in the Grand
Prix in Paris and the two national titles.
Looking back, our first and last World Championship were our most
intense competitions besides the Olympics. The first (Worlds) was in
L.A. back then and the last in Tokyo with that great banquet.
We have collected many impressions and together they form a great
What were the toughest moments of your career and how did you get out
The injuries of course and when we were fighting on the ice. But
we overcame our differences each time.
It was bitter when we had to take a break, because we were doing
was an enormous setback. Then
it was even nicer to come back strong the season after.
Thank you for the interview and best wishes for the future.