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Stéphane Lambiel Withdraws From Grand Prix Series

Retirement Speculation is Rampant

Stéphane Lambiel has withdrawn from the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series and has called a press conference for Thursday, Oct. 16 in Switzerland.

The Swiss star went to Europe to perform in a show in Italy and see his physician, and he was planning to return to the United States to resume training, according to member of his coaching staff, who said they had last been in touch with Lambiel two days ago.

Speculation in the Swiss media has been rampant that Lambiel will announce his retirement from the competitive ranks of the sport.

This apparent about-face comes just weeks after Lambiel gave an interview to IFS in which he said treatment to his injury (to the adductor muscle of his left leg), was successful this summer.

The injury first occurred while he was competing at the 2008 World Championships in Sweden but Lambiel thought it had healed when he began preparing for this season. During a training session over the summer, the pain returned. The muscle was cramping, Lambiel said, due to nerve issues.

Lambiel went to Germany for treatment. “I had physiotherapy, chiropractic sessions, massages and injections,” he said. Following the treatment he returned to training.

In September Lambiel went to Switzerland to work with choreographers Antonio Najarro and Salomé Brunner on his programs for this season.

Lambiel had been assigned to Skate Canada and Trophée Eric Bompard. Two weeks ago, he told IFS he was excited to be competing close to home. “It’s nice to go to France because I have had very few occasions to do so in the last few years,” he said. “I took part in Trophée Lalique a few years ago before it changed names. Plus, it’s close to Switzerland, so my family and friends will be able to come.”

Lambiel also told IFS he was very happy to return to the United States and to be in New Jersey with his coaches Viktor Petrenko and Galina Zmievskaya. “I very much appreciate the strict, severe style of the coaching of Viktor and Galina,” Lambiel said. Nina Pentrenko is also part of his coaching team.

Lambiel won the World title in 2005 and 2006 and also claimed silver at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games. Last season he won the Grand Prix Final but finished off the podium at the 2008 World Championships (he was fifth).

When interviewed by IFS in early October, Lambiel had a positive attitude about this season. “I am able now to work hard again. I will be ready,” he said. “My goals this season are to win the European title and the World Championships.”