Thursday, 8th January '09
Au Revoir, Mon Petite Zèbre
Sigh. Somehow I had the nagging feeling something would upset me about the upcoming Winter Olympics. Like seriously, getting tickets to both of the highly coveted men's short and long programmes was too good to be true.
And it's not like I actually let myself believe there was a chance of seeing him during the Os. His form had really dropped of late (injury) and whilst the training under Petrenko did sound promising, one really doesn't dare to hope. Something about how once I discover some young male hotshot skater, he fizzles out with a large "pfft" (*koffTimothyGoebelkoff*). So I never banked on seeing The Little Prince live, as it were, and the sudden confirmation that I will certainly not be doing so is... making me a lot sadder than I expected.
Grr. It's not like he's retiring from performance, but somehow he was So Fantastic that I really wanted to see him stay in competition shape a while longer. Brian Boitano aside, everyone that stops competing gets fat and lazy quite quickly. They say he'll retain his eligible status, but I don't harbour hopes for much of a comeback - the next Olympics in 2014 he'll be 29 (shit, I'll be 30... did I mention we share a birthday?). And he really deserves a gold medal, if for nothing else than those exquisite spin combinations. Eat more Swiss chocolate, right? (If you've never seen that god awful video of him then it's best you don't.)
Twenty-three just sounds so awfully young to be RETIRED, my poor Little Zebra.
Which is such a annoyingly act cute name, if you think about it. But somehow it works.
In any event, to mark the sad day I discovered this (as opposed to the day it actually was announced, which was rather awhile back in October), here is that post-retirement interview (I understand the barest minimum of the French), a homage to by SuperKampf (I understand nothing of the German) and the Vivaldi's Four Seasons programme (not his best, but it is the most iconic because of the stupid sunburnt-zebra-with-blue-stockings affair) once more.
(Update: Alex is da bomb and has done me a translation. *muack*. This is what German friends are for. Haha. )
Interviewer: "Stéphane, you said you wanted to quit top-class sports. That hit us really hard because when you were on the ice, it touched our hearts. Not just mine, but the hearts of all Swiss who care about sports. And we never had the opportunity to say goodbye to you. You left world-class sports at a very young age and you’re leaving a very big void. It hurts us. We can’t give you a lot but... this we can give you: wonderful flowers from our junior athletes who strive to be like you and an applause that shall carry you into your future."
[well, the pictures aren't going to take themselves!]