Taken from an article at tischtennis.de (original in German found here)
Christmas marathon at Ovtcharovs / Bundestrainerin celebrates under palm trees
Frankfurt / Düsseldorf. “Driving home for Christmas” is not just a Christmas hit by Chris Rea, but also the motto of most of our table tennis stars. During the holidays, they set aside the bat and enjoy the peace in the family circle. We have asked some of our Olympic heroes how they spend Christmas and what they want under the Christmas tree.
Especially for top athletes the Christmas season is indeed a contemplative time. In addition to the summer holidays, it is probably the only days of the year when they stay away from the table tennis hall and enjoy the Christmas roast without a bad conscience. Just after the exciting but also very strenuous Olympic year 2016, the joy of some relaxation at our Olympionics seems to be particularly great. And 2017 with the home World Cup already the next highlight.
Petersburg, Stockholm, Springe, Düsseldorf
Germany’s number one Dimitrij Ovtcharov, however, is only partly true. On the 23rd of December, he will be playing in the evening in St. Petersburg for his Russian club Fakel Gazprom Orenburg. On Christmas Eve he flew directly to Stockholm with his first machine to his wife Jenny and little daughter Emma. On the 26th, it goes to Hanover to Ovtcharov’s parents and just before New Year’s Eve, the young family returns to their dignified home in Dusseldorf: “We are really looking forward to the first Christmas and New Year to third,” says the 28-year-old. In the new year the young family will celebrate alone, without any hustle and bustle.
Also Patrick Franziska is on Christmas Eve in Sweden with his girlfriend. There he is especially looking forward to the “Julbord”, a buffet with many Swedish dishes. On the second Christmas holiday, the whole family will meet for the Hessian family in Darmstadt: “We celebrate with mama, aunts and uncles, my 12 cousins. This is always a highlight for me! “A little rest with roast deer and fondue
Our Bavarian medalists Bastian Steger and Sabine Winter spend the free days with their parents in the home. The Winters, at home in Wörthsee near Munich, traditionally go to the church on Christmas Eve, then there is fondue and then the gifting. Wishes the 24-year-old no special, except the traditional fondue. Also “Basti” Steger spends the holidays with the family in the Upper Palatinate Oberviechtach. “I will eat a very, very good roast deer,” says Steger. For Christmas, he wants a collage with pictures of the Olympic Games in Rio – as a nice memory for home. “I am glad to be at home, I will definitely enjoy the time and spend a few quiet days here.”
Deceleration at Christmas
Shan Xiaona travels to China to her parents and her husband. Where Christmas is not really celebrated. She still has Christmas wishes: “I want to get more medals for Germany,” she says with a wink. Petrissa Solja, who has been visiting relatives in the Czech Republic these days, and who, just as she says, smiles, is a cultural program in Dresden. On Christmas Eve she spends her time in the closest circle of the family. On the 25th, Germany is celebrating number two at her sister Susi, where the big family is coming together for a traditional meal. On the second Christmas holiday, the party continues with their friend’s relatives.And the coach and mentor team? Women’s Bundestrainer Jie Schöpp exchanges tannenbaum against coconut palm trees and spends only with her husband the holidays in the Maldives. The boss Jörg Rosskopf and sports director Richard Prause, on the other hand, celebrate at home in Hesse. The latter finds that Christmas is the right time to slow down: “I wish for myself and my family above all health. And sporting an optimal preparation for the home World Cup, “said the sports director.
Training from 2 January
Some of the squad players also worked between the years individually, but the real pros will start again from January 2nd. For some women, the Cup Final Four in Hanover is already on the agenda on 8 January. The men will fight for the trophy on 15 January in Ulm. And after that, it is already going in big steps towards the end of May in the direction of the Liebherr-Heim-WM in Düsseldorf.
“Driving home for Christmas” is not just a Christmas hit by Chris Rea, but also the motto of most of our table tennis stars. During the holidays, they set aside the bat and enjoy the peace in the family circle. We have asked some of our Olympic heroes how they spend Christmas and what they want under the Christmas tree.