German skaters in the 1980s and 1990s were everywhere. Of course, a lot were from the East, which had a legendary state funded sports machine. But what happened? Today Germany has a talented pairs coach, Ingo Steuer, and a brilliant pairs team, the star of which is imported from Ukraine. It has some other pairs teams who are good. It has a notable dance team, but its star is likewise imported directly from Russia. Who do they have in ladies and men's? Sarah Heichen is not on anybody's list to become a world contender.
I am not saying there is anything wrong with Germany bringing together teams with talented skaters from outside Germany, but I am questioning whether this means Germany has insufficient participation or interest in its boundaries to field talent for top competitors.
2004 Worlds in Dortmond were the last German Worlds. They were the last held in Germany and the last where Germans won medals in two skating disciplines, men's and dance. Incidentally both Stefan Lindemann and Winkler and Lohse, who won 2004 bronzes, had upbringing in the pre-unification East. How much that mattered I do not know. If I recall correctly, Jutta Mueller, the famous East German coach of Jan Hoffman and Katarina Witt, was working with Stefan Lindemann prior to 2004 worlds.
So what is going on in Germany? The Nations Cup used to be a marquee event. Now is is still held? Have German singles competitors never gotten over the loss of the figures. Did their big, strong German bodies somehow give them an advantage in that discipline?
What is Germany doing differently from what it used to do to 1) fund and support skaters for training, and 2) promote popularity of the sport among Germans and especially German youths.