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September 2011

Icons of Ice Skating and Bearding

Olympic Figure Skater Norbert Schramm and Beard-Champion Aarne Bielefeldt to attend German-American Steuben Parade - Saturday, September 14th on 5th Ave

Norbert Schramm The German-American Steuben Parade Committee is proud to add two more highlights to its ever growing event: German Olympic Figure Skater Norbert Schramm will be riding a float in the "Bavarian Division", and Aarne Bielefeldt, German-born star of Beard Team USA and audience-favorite of the IFC-Reality-Show "Whisker Wars", will ride a Mercedes-Benz convertible in the Metropolitan Division.

"We are honored to include these great figures in our Parade," said Steuben Parade Chairman Lars Halter, who invited Aarne Bielefeldt after watching the first episode of the IFC-series "Whisker Wars" in August. The series follows the members of Beard Team USA to competitions all over the US and Europe, and highlights their friendly rivalry with the German team, the reigning Champion of  "professional bearding".

Aarne Bielefeldt Led by team captain Phil Olson, who speaks German fluently due to a two-year stint as a teacher in a school near Stuttgart, Beard Team USA has quickly become one of the strongest teams on the international bearding circuit. A big part of their success is due to Aarne Bielefeldt, a multiple time Champion in "Full Beard Natural" and "Longest Beard", who often shows to competitions wearing Lederhosen and a Tyrolean hat.

Bielefeldt is not originally from Bavaria, though. Born in 1965 in Hanover/Germany, he emigrated to the United States in 1984 after studying electrical engineering. He has worked in the solar industry and specializes in off-grid power systems, and is still a consultant on energy efficiency and alternative power solutions on projects near his home in Northern coastal California. Bielefeldt started growing his beard as a teenager but had not completely given up on shaving until 2003. He joined Beard Team USA in 2005.

Norbert Schramm´s life story is quite different. While he has been publicly wearing Lederhosen, too, he is actually from Bavaria. Born in 1960 in Nuremberg, Schramm first practiced ice skating at age 6. His talent quickly won him a spot at the Bundesleistungszentrum, the federally subsidized training center in Oberstdorf. During the early 1980s, Schramm was one of the most prolific international figure skaters, competing with Brian Boitano and Scott Hamilton and alongside superstar Katarina Witt.

After ending his career as a competitive skater, Norbert Schramm became one of the stars of the "Holiday on Ice" revue and toured internationally. He was seen a perfect fit for the revue, since he had already been known as one of the "world´s greatest entertainers" during his competitive years, owing to his joyful and creative performances.

Norbert Schramm is newly married to German-American film maker Marianne Hettinger, a resident of New York City for over 20 years. The couple has starred together in Hettinger's most recent movie "Saint Vitus Dance", which can be seen at film festivals all over the world. Schramm splits his time between Bavaria and New York, and is excited to be part of the 2011 Steuben Parade.

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German-American Steuben Parade Committee • P.O. Box 3386 • Church Street Station • New York, NY 10008 • Tel. 347-454-2269 • Email: info@germanparadenyc.org