The Munich Fun Battle III (a battle quoted one cone in the World Slalom Series) took place within the Streetlife Festival, on the 13th and 14th of September, 2008. It was organised by the Freestyle Slalom Skater Club of Munich.
The Streetlife Festival
During a whole weekend, the Ludwigstrasse was occupied by dozens of various stands: spaces reserved for so-called “street” sports, dancing workshops, scenes on which various music bands took turns, spaces for charitable campaigns, beverage and food stands (beer: a rehearsal for the beer festival of the following week).
This event has been perpetuated since 2000, and has become more and more important through the years (550.000 visitors last year!)
It promises a good number of passers-by for the battle.
But we forgot to take heed of the weather… In Munich, it’s raining two days out of three, so a few rain drops are not enough to discourage people. It’s true that they were less numerous to press themselves against the security fences on Sunday afternoon in the rain, but there were still some spectators. To the rain, let’s add… the low temperature… indeed that Sunday had been the coldest day for six months (6°C). And it was not actually warmer on Saturday…
Precisely because of the weather, the battle did not unfold exactly as it was planned. Initially, on Saturday there was to be only the eighth and quarter finals of the freestyle battle, followed by a team battle. And the rest was to be on Sunday (speed slalom and the freestyle finals), and a rollerdisco to end up with.
Finally, the warm-ups started as planned on Saturday around 4PM, and the eighth finals around 5PM... but given the threatening weather forecast of the morrow, it was sounder to get done with the freestyle battle on Saturday (just in case), and to put back the team battle to Sunday.
As for Sunday, the schedule had been thus lightened. The site opened around 11AM for the speed slalom warm-ups, and the speed qualifications started around 12.
After the Speed Slalom Battle, there was the Womens Freestyle Battle, adapted to the number (non-exhaustive) of riders. Then there should have been the team battle that had been put back. But given the fact that the rain was in on it, we replaced the team battle by a slide battle. As for the rollerdisco, curiously enough it seemed to have got out of everybody’s minds. The 30 of us were much more motivated to have a convivial dinner in some random place where it was warm and dry.
With 25 riders (proportions: 21 men and 4 women), the overall look is quickly done. None the less, 8 countries were represented. The biggest half was (obviously) German: 14 (15 if you count Mischa Gurevich (WSSA #10 in freestyle slalom) a Russian living in Munich) – 14 Germans including Rudy Op’t Veld (#2) the winner of the Inline Games ’08 the month before, the young Martin Sloboda (#17) still 13-year-old and still dangerously improving, and his friend Andre Stepczak (#24).
The other skaters had come from France – some SebaTeam members including Xuan Le (#8), Chloé Seyrès (#2), Seba Laffargue (#16), and Greg Pinto (#84); from Spain – Victor Bermudez (#124); from Italy – Daniele Lenzi (#205) and Sara Masi (#68); from Ukraine – Viacheslav Sinyuchko (#149) who finished 3rd for his first battle in Warsaw a fortnight before; from Romania – Daniela Ungureanu ; and even from Senegal – Babakar Ndiaye (N.C.) the president of the Accro Roller Association in Dakar …maybe you remember this video called Dem Be Diekh, back in 2003?
After these generalities, let’s talk about the unfolding of the competition.
The Mens Freestyle Battle
The only challenge of Saturday.
The Mens Sixth Finals
6 initial groups were made up with the 21 riders. As soon as this stage of the battle, a few riders are unexpectedly knocked out: I allude to two particular cases, those of Victor Bermudez (SPA) and of Andreas Beuttler (GER) who both ranked 3rd of their groups, to the benefits of Michel Schultz (GER) and Ortwin Carstocea (GER).
In the fight between Victor Bermudez (SPA) and Michel Schulz (GER): today V.Bermudez has a biggest potential than M.Schultz (for example he did a speed heel wheeling managing 20 cones). But his performance was too untidy compared to that of M.Schultz (neat and varied), and the many cones he kicked considerably reduced his number of validated tricks.
And in the case of Andreas Beuttler (GER) Vs. Ortwin Carstocea (GER), it is the same scenario, taken to extremes: A.Beuttler kicks far too many cones and though he tries some advanced level tricks (sevens and so on) he does not validate (because he is out of the line, or without the cones – kicked off)… and O.Carstocea, with a technical level and an execution speed far more modest went ahead of him because he neatly validated his tricks.
[NB: the cones that are kicked are not taken heed of: the occurrence of the trick made on the kicked cone does not count. Egg. Managing 5 cones (but kicking 2 of them) doing wheeling corresponds to a 3-cone wheeling (5 – 2 = 3)]
Finally, M.Schultz and O.Carstocea go through to the quarter finals thanks to neatly executed basic (but validated) tricks…
The Mens Quarter Finals
Quarter Finals group #1
Heiko Bader (GER) and Ortwin Cartocea (GER) do not reach the semi-finals; as well as Babakar Ndiaye (SEN) and Viacheslav Sinyuchko (UKR) who found themselves, for B.Ndiaye in the group made of Rudy Op’t Veld (#2) and Thomas Vilcans (#22), and for V.Sinyuchko in the group made of Andre Stepczak (#24) and Seba Laffargue (#16). Although they both have quite a significant level, they still lack tactical analysis (and self-control?) – It was the first battle for Babakar Ndiaye, and only the second for Viacheslav Sinyuchko.
The Mens Semi Finals
At this stage, the competition gets inevitably closer. The first group gathers Rudy Op’t Veld (GER), Andre Stepczak (GER), Mischa Gurevich (RUS), and Michel Schultz (GER).
R.Op’t Veld is incontestably one length ahead of the others. At the opposite, it is very close between A.Stepczak and M.Gurevich, and it is finally M.Gurevich who obtains the going through to the finals. The 13-year-old A.Stepczak is very promising, but still lacks maturity in his skating, and variety in the panel of tricks he shows (during the whole battle he’s been tending to show Korean spins over and over).
In the second semi-final group, there are Thomas Vilcans (GER), Seba Laffargue (FRA), Martin Sloboda (GER), and Xuan Le (FRA). M.Sloboda ranks first beyond dispute. As for the second place, it is hard to decide between S.Laffargue and X.Le. Finally the jury decides in favour of X.Le. And yet S.Laffargue fought cleverly, playing on the most counts as possible: a varied panel of tricks (wheelings, spins, sitting tricks), with the ‘showman’ mode on. X.Le goes through thanks to his style which gets more and more refined… so that it becomes technical with the mastering and the commitment he needs to manage his tricks.
The Mens consolation final before the final
Only two runs for each skater because it’s getting increasingly dark.
The opponents are Andre Stepczak (GER) and Michel Schulz (GER) from the first semi final group, and Seba Laffargue (FRA) and Thomas Vilcans (GER) from the second group.
The ranking was quite easy to make: 4th M.Schultz, 3rdst A.Stepczak and S.Laffargue. To decide which one to put ahead, we can base our judgement on the analyses I made about their semi finals performances: A.Stepczak repeats himself showing Korean spins, whereas S.Laffargue varies the more he can his panel of tricks. That’s why the jury finally decides to rank Seba Laffargue 1st of the consolation final (i.e. 5th place at the general ranking), and Andre Stepczak 2nd (i.e. 6th). T.Vilcans, and the two 1
The Mens Final
The finalists are: Rudy Op't Veld (GER) and Mischa Gurevich (RUS) from the 1st semi-final group, and Martin Sloboda (GER) and Xuan Le (FRA) from the second group.
Here again R.Op’t Veld is still far ahead of the others – egg. managing 3 cones doing a back external seven in safety catch…
M.Sloboda’s potential in wheelings is impressive… but just like his friend Andre Stepczak, he tends to repeat himself at his expense, and thus ranks 4th of the final.
The real challenge is between X.Le and M.Gurevich – between the King of style and the cunning tactician. Their skating is so different that, with equal managing in their performances, it is quite impossible to decide between both. Because to decide you have to compare. And they are hardly comparable. Maybe you can compare on objective bases. Mischa knits faster than Xuan. Xuan is more balanced. Mischa manages more academic tricks (if we can qualify his home-made front reverse and his heel Korean spin of academic) than Xuan (whose tricks are know by him only). It’s finally thanks to his exceptional balance that Xuan Le goes ahead of Mischa Gurevich – cf. a good exhibition of never-ending toe spins – and he ranks 2nd behind Rudy Op’t Veld.
As for the last tricks, R.Op’t Veld manages a circle doing back heel wheeling combined to frontward circles still doing heel wheeling; M.Sloboda goes to and fro the 80s doing heel wheeling (40 cones); X.Le does a secret spin combo; and M.Gurevich a heel Korean Spin going frontwards.
Results of the Mens Freestyle Battle
1) Rudy Op’t Veld (GER)
2) Xuan Le (FRA)
3) Mischa Gurevich (RUS)
4) Martin Sloboda (GER)
This freestyle battle generates only a few changes in the World Ranking. Note: the shooting upwards of Viacheslav Sinyuchko (UKR) who wins 29 places to reach #56. He still needs to participate to one more WSSA competition to count the maximum points for the year.
The Speed Battle
Not much to say about the qualifications: as usual the ranking for the KO systems was made according to the times the skaters did during the qualifications (two tries per skater).
As the schedule of Sunday had been considerably reduced (cf. the freestyle finals took place the previous day), we settled a double-chart KO system, enabling all the skaters to participate.
The first 11 at the qualifications went through to the KO systems. The other 10 were treated to a second-chance qualification: they fought in duals until there were only 5 of them left.
Then with the 11+5 qualified skaters, we made a speed KO System. The Top 5 of the qualifications was in the following order: Seba Laffargue (FRA), Viacheslav Sinyuchko (UKR), Victor Bermudez (SPA), and Mischa Gurevich (RUS).
During the eights finals, Gregoire Pinto (FRA) and Xuan Le respectively knock out Rudy Op’t Veld (GER) and Martin Sloboda (GER).
No reversal of situation during the quarter finals and the favourites go through: Seba Laffargue (FRA), Mischa Gurevich (RUS), Xuan Le (FRA) and Martin Sloboda (GER).
At the end of the semi finals, it is Seba Laffargue and Xuan Le who will have to skate against each other for the first place in finals, while Mischa Gurevich and Martin Sloboda will try to get the 3rd place in the consolation final.
Here again, no surprises, neither for the final, nor for the consolation final: experience prevails? S.Laffargue takes his revenge for his knocking out by Xuan in freestyle the previous day, and wins the KO systems; whereas M.Gurevich gets hold of the 3rd place beating M.Sloboda.
Results of the Mens Speed Battle
1) Sébastien Laffargue (FRA)
2) Xuan Le (FRA)
3) Mischa Gurevich (RUS)
4) Martin Sloboda (GER)
Immediately following: the Womens Speed Battle… where we are only 4 registered. At the end of the time qualifications, the semi-final groups are made up.
Chloé Seyrès (FRA) beats Sara Masi (ITA) in semi final, and Simone Beyen (GER) wins the second semi final against Daniela Ungureanu (ROM).
The final opposes C.Seyrès to S.Beyen.
Without surprise, C.Seyrès win the competition in two winning rounds.
Results of the Womens Speed Battle
1) Chloé Seyrès (FRA)
2) Simone Beyen (GER)
3) Sara Masi (ITA)
4) Daniela Ungureanu (ROM)
The Womens Freestyle Battle
At last, there is only the womens freestyle battle remaining… which is going to finish in the rain.
Here are the same four skaters as for the speed slalom.
In order not to do directly a final with the 4 skaters, a system of duals is organised, based on the same principle as the speed slalom KO systems. The highest ranked at the World Ranking (Chloé Seyrès – FRA, #2) meets the lowest ranked (Simone Beyen – GER, #97); and the second (Daniela Ungureanu – ROM, #50) meets the third (Sara Masi – ITA, #68). The two duals are made of two 30-second runs per skater.
Finally, and again without surprise, Chloé Seyrès and Sara Masi go through to the final. C.Seyrès wins the final beyond dispute; follow S.Masi, S.Beyen and D.Ungureanu.
Results of the Womens Freestyle Battle
1) Chloé Seyrès (FRA)
2) Sara Masi (ITA)
3) Simone Beyen (GER)
4) Daniela Ungureanu (ROM)
The Slide Battle
Basically there was a team battle planned on Saturday evening, then put back to Sunday afternoon… and finally replaced by a slide battle more appropriate given the weather (rainy).
The slide contest modelled itself on the battle scheme, beginning with qualifications: every skater shows three slides. The first 8 are qualified and two groups of 4 are made up (semi-finals). Same scenario: three slides per skater and the first two of each group go through to the final. At the end of the three slides of each finalist, the judges designate the winner.
Results of the Slide Contest
1) Martin Sloboda (GER)
2) Mischa Gurevich (RUS)
3) Babakar Ndiaye (SEN)
4) Xuan Le (FRA)