Timothy Goebel, the first American to officially land a quadruple jump, continues to enhance his reputation as the quad king. His quad salchow at the Junior Grand Prix Final in Switzerland in 1998 was the first by any skater in competition. Since then, Goebel set new standards by becoming the first person to land the quadruple salchow/triple toe combination and three quadruple jumps in the same program in 1999. He is also the first to perform the quad salchow and quad salchow/triple toe at the U. S. and World Championships. Goebel loves to jump so much that he included a triple-triple-triple at the trials for Junior World in 1997 and can do over 15 double axels in sequence.
The 1994 U.S. novice and 1996 junior men's champion finished second at Junior Worlds in 1997, won the 1998 Junior Grand Prix Final, finished second at U. S. Nationals in 2000, and took third at the 2000 ISU Grand Prix Final. He has silver medals from Skate America and the NHK Trophy in 1999 and won his first Grand Prix event at Skate America in 2000, beating three-time world champion Alexei Yagudin. But he has not been as successful at Worlds, finishing 12th and 11th the last two years.
This season, Goebel hopes to win the U. S. championship and finish in the top five at Worlds to get into position for a run at the gold medal in Salt Lake City in 2002. Since he skates much better than most of the other men at high altitudes, Goebel has a good chance to join his favorite skaters, Brian Boitano and Scott Hamilton (who actually taught Goebel the triple salchow), as gold medallists. "After that I'd like to do some pro stuff for a few years," he said. "There's so much money in it now that I could skate for two years and pay for medical school. I hope to go to Harvard." An honor roll student and member of the National Honor Society in high school, Goebel was offered an academic scholarship to Case Western University but had to turn it down because he couldn't take a full course load while skating. He plans to become a cardiologist.
Goebel's parents started him skating at four so they could go on family outings. He also participated in gymnastics between the ages of size and twelve, giving him an advantage in jumping due to his superior body control and tight rotations in the air. He also has a red belt in karate and played baseball and basketball, but has given up most of his other athletic pursuits to concentrate on skating.
After training for many years with Carol Heiss-Jenkins and Glyn Watts near his Illinois home, Goebel decided to move to California this year to train with Frank Carroll. He has been concentrating on improving his presentation mark and has worked extensively with Lori Nichol to improve his edqe quality and body line. For the last two years, she has choreographed his programs, which include the "Longsomer Waltz" by Strauss for the short and music from "Henry V" for the free skate.
Goebel said his life away from the rink is "nothing really exciting. I like going out with friends, shopping and listening to music. My taste in music changes a lot, sometimes country or alternative, but not rap." He also works with children in the Special Olympics. Although he collects key chains, shot glasses, and skating pins, a gold cross from Rome is his prize possession. Goebel spends a lot of time on his computer, emailing friends and surfing the Internet. He has one pet, a dog named Toby.
Call him Mister Quad. Timothy Goebel set the world skating scene on its ear when he became the first U. S. man to land a certified clean quadruple jump, a salchow, at the Junior Champions Series Final in Lausanne, Switzerland this spring. Most people thought that honor would go to Todd Eldredge or Michael Weiss, who narrowly missed at the 1997 Nationals. After hitting another clean quad in his long program to "A Cool Wind is Blowing and I Will Not Be Sad in This World" at the Goodwill Games, Goebel now holds several more quad records: first U. S. skater to land a quad in a senior and international competition and first man to land a clean quad salchow in international competition. Quite a feat for a skater who turned 18 on September 10 of this year
Goebel has an impressive list of wins to go with his quad record, including the U. S. novice men's championship in 1994, the junior men's title in 1996, and the Junior Champions Series final gold medal in 1998. He also finished second at the World Junior Championships in 1997 before going on a tear and winning all three of his internationals last season: the Ukrainian Souvenir, the Nebelhorn Trophy, and the Grand Prix St. Gervais. Only a hip injury suffered at the World Junior Championships kept him from a probable win there and a possible berth on the U. S. World team.
Goebel has enjoyed the traveling associated with skating, especially the Gardena Spring Trophy in 1996. "I got to spend a week in Rome and by far that's been my favorite trip so far." During the coming season, he hopes to compete in Champions Series events, hopefully the Cup of Russia. "I want to see Moscow. It's a totally different culture, " he said. Tim also hopes to medal at Nationals and go to Worlds: "I definitely want to be on the World team. With three spots, there's a lot less pressure."
Tim started skating at four when his parents started taking him to public sessions. "I did good in it, so I kept going," he said. "I also played baseball and basketball, but I liked skating the best." Goebel also participated in gymnastics from ages 6-12, doing best in the floor exercises, but stopped other athletics other than weight training and stretching once he got seriously into skating. "I always liked to jump, so I stayed in singles," Tim explained. "I'm too short for pairs, but I'd like to try it sometime if I could find a really little girl with lots of jumps. But that would be way down the road."
Goebel has been coached by Carol Heiss-Jenkings and Glynn Watts at Winterhurst for the last seven years. Watts choreographed his winning programs last season and has created his new short to "Zorba the Greek", while Alexander Zhulin is choreographing his new long to "Malaguena." Still trying to define his own style, Goebel noted that "I haven't really found my niche yet. I like classical and real upbeat music, and I don't like slow music. But I'm looking for what's really me."
Tim has been trying the quad salchow for three years and was landing it solidly before his injury at Junior Worlds. He said he had been practicing the quad toe loop off and on since the spring pro-am, but has been landing it more consistently since July. He hopes to perform both the quad salchow and the quad toe loop in the same program this season: "I already have a quad salchow/double toe loop combination and I want to do quad sal/triple toe. It's looking good now, but I have to try for more spin and better flow out of it." His short will include a triple axel/triple toe combination. He's not willing to go for the quad in the short just yet.
Not surprisingly, Goebel cites Ilia Kulik and Todd Eldredge, two skaters with both jumps and style, as his role models. "Ilia's done every thing at such a young age, winning the Olympics at 21. That's what I want to do," said Goebel, who is aiming for the gold at Salt Lake City in 2002. "After that I'd like to do some pro stuff for a few years. There's so much money in it now that I could skate for two years and pay for medical school," he explained.
Goebel has definite post-skating career plans to become a cardiologist (even thought there are no other doctors in his family). Like another of Heiss-Jenkins students, Tonia Kwiatkowski, Goebel is no slouch in the classroom either. Currently a high achiever as a junior in high school, Tim plans to attend either Case Western or John Carroll University. "I want to graduate with a bachelor's in pre-medicine within five years so I can go to medical school, hopefully Harvard. I plan on taking close to a full load of classes except for the semester of the Olympics."
Tim said his off ice life is "nothing really exciting, just going out with friends from school or the rink." His taste in music "changes daily," he said, "sometimes country or alternative, anything but rap." He does have a few hobbies, collecting keychains, shot glasses, and skating pins. "I just got into pin trading," Tim explained, "but I've got a lot of old Soviet Union pins and others with Russian writing." He also has a red belt in karate, but quit the sport in 1996.
Goebel has a home computer but uses it primarily for schoolwork and some email with friends. "I've been to some of the skating chat rooms and there's some pretty wild stuff out there. A couple of people send stuff to me and Carol that they see on the Net, but I don't have time to surf much myself. There's not even any web sites about me."
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