Faces of Synchro

The essential role of team managers


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Marlies and her daughter Hannah.

Organising camps, competitions, athletic sessions, booking flights, planning journeys, competitions and camps... Marlies is the team manager of the German team United Angels. She lives nearby Stuttgart with her daughter Hannah who is also a synchro skater.


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How did you all discover synchro?

Marlies: When my daughter was six years old, we happened to see a synchro skating competition in Oberstdorf. We admired it very much and were immediately flashed. So there was born a wish, to become a synchronized skater.

At that time, we lived near Cologne (GER), and there was no possibility to skate synchro. The team we admired at the competition was the Team United Angels, exactly that team, in which Hannah is skating now. Our current coach was one of the skaters back then.

What is your background in the world of synchro?

Marlies: As a child, I loved figure skating very much, but back then, I did not have the opportunity to train. Later I decided to live out my passion as a volunteer, now with the United Angels.

Hannah: I started figure skating because my mom was skating at that time, and I always wanted to skate as well. So I started taking classes. I was a single skater for a few years until I started skating synchro back in 2015 when I was 13 years old. I started skating synchro because when I was younger I saw a synchro team compete and that‘s when I knew I wanted to become a synchronized skater. I thought it was so cool to skate together with so many people and not alone. As soon as my family and I moved to Stuttgart, I stopped competing in single skating and became a synchro skater for the Team United Angels.

If you had to remember a program that affected you, what would it be, and why?

Marlies: The program I remember that affected me is one of the Helsinki Rockettes. It was to the music the "Schindlers List" in 2016. This program was total and it was the pinnacle with the aesthetics and the costumes were magnificent.

Hannah: I really liked the 2019 free program "Wounded Angel" by the Helsinki Rockettes and Les Suprêmes short program "Never tear us apart". I think they both have a great message and interpretation and I really loved the dresses as well as the music.

Marlies
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Marlies - The Team manager of United Angels

Marlies, what was your motivation to become a volunteer? 

The enthusiasm! I love to help and support and want to invest in good things. I am very passionate and energetic. I´m in love with my team and this sport!

As the team manager, I am a little bit like the "office" in the background, the connection between coach and skaters and the people we work together with (judges, choreographers, etc.). I also organize camps, competitions, athletic sessions, book flights and plan our journeys to competitions and camps.

Can you explain how many persons are you working with for your organisation?

In addition to the people I mentioned before, we have someone responsible for the finances. Then there is the head coach, the second coach and the team. I also work with ice rinks, competition organizations and their volunteers, the skating federation, etc. There is a lot of people involved!

What would be the three tips to give to someone who wants to start volunteering in an organisation?

Here are my tips:

1) Enjoy helping and supporting

2) Dedicate your passion and lifeblood to one thing

3) What you give to others you get back twice

As a skater mom, how do you make sure everybody feels included?

I try to treat my daughter like all skaters. When I do my work, she is a part of the whole. As the "Angels Mom", I see all of the team members are my skating children. At home, my daughter inspires me every time.


In competition, can you describe your day as a manager?

First I have to make sure that all the important documents are handed in at the competition office.

Then I provide the team with the accreditation cards. The team goes to the official draw, and from then on, I am mental support and "mom" for everything. No matter if there are aches and pains, torn clothes, missing food and so on.

Before the competition performance, I am in front of the dressing room, giving everyone motivation and courage.

Then I accompany the team and the coach to the ice rink. I always nearly die because of excitement in the few minutes they compete. After the program when the skaters come back, I am really proud of them. At the end of the day, we sit together and make a review of the day.


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The team United Angels, coaches and the team manager.

Your whole family is involved in synchro!

Yes, I am a team manager, my daughter a skater and my husband an official. It is a very good feeling, because we understand each other and can share all experiences and adventures. And also we can help and support each other.

As a family, what is your best "synchro" memory, and why?

The best synchro memory we have was Hannah´s first competition at Mozart Cup in Salzburg in 2016. The team was just about to give up; we had just brought together a Mixed Age team. We did not know what to expect. The free program is still my favourite one of the Angels. I remember when Hannah came off the ice, (she was only 13 years old at this time) with the following words: "Mom I never want this moment to end".

Hannah
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Hannah

Hannah, how is it having your mom involved in synchro? 

It is really great to have someone so close to you sharing the same passion, travelling to competitions together, talking about synchro, etc. But obviously, sometimes it can be a bit challenging. Communication is key.

Hannah, do you have any rituals before the competition?

I have a lot of rituals before a competition. For instance, a breathing exercise we all do together right before we enter the ice is taking three deep breaths in and out while moving our arms up and down. And I also like to do some specific warm-up exercises and listen to motivating music before entering the ice.

What did this sport teach you?

Marlies: I can say this sport teaches me: affiliation, respect, teamwork, aesthetics and beauty. I have a motto I always use: "Teamwork makes the dream work".

Hannah: This sport taught me a lot. But first obviously teamwork and to "think as one". Then, it taught me the discipline and a lot of time management to be able to do combine skating with school and everything else that is going on.


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Hannah and Marlies

What are your family projects, synchro wise, in the future?

We want to make synchro more popular!

Today on the OneTeamMVMT's Instagram page, find out the take over of Emilia, one of the skaters of the United Angels!

Nominate yourself or someone you know with a unique story to share, for our next Faces of Synchro feature! Email info@jurasynchro.com for more information.