They didn't win a medal, but they received probably the most applause of all ice dancers at the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck. Of course that was because Christine Smith and Simon Eisenbauer were the local heroes, but also because in their free dance they offered a special story to their fans.
Simon, at the age of 14 the youngest among all Austrian athletes at the Youth Olympic Games at Innsbruck, dressed up as the famous Emperor Franz Joseph I, who ruled Austria between 1848 and 1916. Simon’s partner Christine Smith acted as Franz Josephs wife Sissi.
Still popular today, the love story between Franz and Sissi that begins in 1854 when Franz Joseph refuses two offered marriages and instead marries Sissi, a bavarian princess, and ends tragically when the well-beloved emperess is murdered by the italian anarchist Luigi Lucheni in 1898, was turned into some of the most successful movies of Austria.
"Our coach had the idea of us dressing up as this pair,” Simon said after the event. "We liked the idea a lot, because it is so famous in Austria and we were sure the fans would love it." They did, especially with the perfectly fitting Donauwellen Waltz by Johann Strauss II as the background music. Their dance earned them an international best result with 46.04 points and the ninth rank. "We're very happy with this outcome", both agreed. Gold went to Anna Yanovskaya and Sergey Mozgov from Russia. Aleksandra Nazarova and Maxim Nikitin from Ukraine clinched silver, while Maria Simonova and Dmitri Dragun (Russia) earned Bronze.
Check out Christine Smith's and Simon Eisenbauer's short programme.