Illuminating the ice : Mauro Bruni a passionate skater and artist

Illuminating the ice : Mauro Bruni a passionate skater and artist

Creator of 2 international contemporary figures skating company and at nearly 15 years of career as a professional skater, we talk today with Mauro Bruni, who participate this summer at the french figure skating ice show “Rouge”. Meeting with a brilliant and passionate artist who is on the path, to revolution the ice show world.

 #PoJo, art, artist, athlete, athletes, Auxerre, backstage, figure skater, figure skating, France, ice, ice skater, ice skating, interview, journal, lights, London, moneteau, New York, passion, performer, podcast, podcast journal, professional, Sarah Barreiros, show, shows, sport, USA, work

Mauro Bruni, figure skater, performer, artist.. (c) Mauro Bruni.https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.podcastjournal.net%2FIlluminating-the-ice%C2%A0-Mauro-Bruni-a-passionate-skater-and-artist_a28180.html&layout=box_count&show_faces=false&width=100&action=like&colorscheme=lighthttps://platform.twitter.com/widgets/tweet_button.html?url=http%3A%2F%2Fxfru.it%2Foo4mj0&counturl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.podcastjournal.net%2FIlluminating-the-ice%C2%A0-Mauro-Bruni-a-passionate-skater-and-artist_a28180.html&text=Illuminating%20the%20ice%C2%A0%3A%20Mauro%20Bruni%20a%20passionate%20skater%20and%20artist&count=verticalPartagerKehinde Wiley said : “Art is about changing what we see in our everyday lives and representing it in such a way that it gives us hope.”

The world is upside down and yet, we can observe all around the world via social network Instagram videos and others passionate artist who are missing more than a job, what they love the most: performing, sharing happiness, vision of the world, hope and dream thru their art. That’s what was the topic this summer of the exceptional french figure skating Ice Show named « Rouge ». One of the only event around the world that took place the 7th of August and the 5th of September in Auxerre – Monéteau France. Created by the 8 times Italian figures skating champion and Olympian Alexandre Riccitelli and Thierry Voegeli. This ice show reunited performers from all over the world who performed in different ice shows productions in their career. The point of the ice show was to tell a story. The story of the world we are currently facing. Of those ice skaters who were able to skate for the first time since the lockdown and the pandemic stop their profession. One of them, was Mauro Bruni. He stepped on the ice and was able to share a message, emotions and passion that is missing since so many months.

He Recently graduated from the Imperial College of London of Masters of Business Administration and skated about everywhere. And with some of the biggest ice shows companies around the world. After being an international figure skating competitor between 1995 and 2005, training with the famous US figure skating coach Frank Carrol in Los Angeles, Mauro Bruni quickly found his reconversion into an ice show skater. On the highlight of his impressive career, he performed as a principal performer for many international company such as Holiday on Ice where he performed there 11 years between 2007-2018, in 5 productions: ‘’Romanza’’, ‘’Energia’’, ‘’Speed’’, ‘’Passion’’ and ‘’Time’’. He as well performed and worked as a cast Manager on various Royal Caribbean cruise ships between 2009-2015. And many more companies and events.

But Mauro didn’t stop here. Additionning his impressive performer background, Mauro directed and choreographed few shows : ‘’The Creative Spirit of John Curry’’ at the Billingham International Folklore Festival of World Dance 2019. ‘’A Night on Ice’’ for House of Mauro Productions 2019, ‘’Ice FM’’ at Le Zenith de Lille 2017, ‘’Rendezvous sur Glace’’ for Scobe International 2016, ‘’Skating Through the Movies’’ on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas 2015 and ‘’Let’s Dance’’ for American Ice Theatre 2014. Recently, he began a new adventure by creating his own companie an accomplishement and the result of his career. ‘’House of Mauro’’ : A contemporary figure skating performing arts company and platform created for promotion and collaboration of choreographic talent within the professional figure skating industry, founded in New York in December 2018. And, ‘’Ice Theatre of London’’ : A contemporary figure skating performing arts company, community platform, and educational establishment created for the enrichment of the arts community through promotion of creative and performance ice skating in Britain, founded in London, in January 2020.

Mauro talk to us today about his projects, his passion for figure skating and the vision he has about the ice show world and the art of skating.
18_nov__à_12_12.aac18 nov. à 12.12.aac  (1.3 Mo)

“Live entertainment provides hope and dreams and inspiration for everyone, performers and audience alike”

Mauro Bruni, figure skater, performer, artist.. (c) Mauro Bruni.Mauro Bruni, figure skater, performer, artist.. (c) Mauro Bruni.- Hello Mauro, can you introduce yourself ?

My name is Mauro Bruni and I’m from New York, though the USA is only an address of mine nowadays. I was a National and International competitive figure skater for the United States during most of my childhood and throughout my school/university days. I graduated from the University of Southern California in 2007 with a BFA in Fine Arts, emphasising in graphic design. After graduating, I joined a European touring ice show company called Holiday on Ice and spent the next 12 years traveling the world, engrossed in the performing arts – an industry I love unequivocally.
While I was on the road, I developed a passion for choreography and directing. This led to founding a new performing arts company two years ago in New York called House of Mauro, to promote new choreographic ideas in collaboration with various artistic genres and expand the scope of art on ice. Directly after this I began a Masters of Business Administration degree at Imperial College London, where I recently graduated with distinction.
While I was studying in the UK, I began another figure skating performing arts company called the Ice Theatre of London. With the ITL, I hope to educate and inspire younger generations by bringing contemporary performance figure skating to British (and global) audiences.

– When did you realize that you want to dedicate your life to skating ? How does everything start for you ?

I first stepped on the ice when I was 4 years old – and hated it ! My parents always joke about me falling backwards, hitting my head, and crying until they took me off the ice. A year later, I tried again – but I fell on my head and cried again ! This time my parents didn’t take me off the ice, and I started to learn very quickly. I graduated from group classes soon after, and was put on a local hockey team when I was 6 years old. One day I saw some figure skaters practicing and decided I wanted to try that instead. My mom bought me a cheap pair of skates from a department store and that was it – I was hooked. I skated in my first national championships 5 years later!
I really never thought about ‘dedicating my life to skating’ at all while I was growing up. Skating was just something I did, that I loved and was good at. Sometimes I still don’t think I’ve dedicated my life to skating as there are many things I’d like to accomplish outside of this realm. However, figure skating is still something I do, that I love and am good at, and I could never imagine my life without. I choose to continue working in this industry because it excites and inspires me everyday.

– Can you talk about your transition from competition to show skating ?

I’ll be the first to admit, I was not a good competitor. I had an extremely hard time with almost-paralyzing nerves in the competition environnent. I far preferred performing and skating without the requirement of the technical elements – even though I was technically very proficient!
It was only by chance that I ended up on Holiday on Ice 4 months after graduating from university. I was offered jobs with Disney on Ice and Holiday on Ice upon graduation, but the job with Holiday on Ice would begin earlier. Since I still loved to skate and was very good at it, didn’t want to give it up, and my coach at the time (Frank Carroll) said Holiday on Ice was ‘fabulous’, I signed the contract and flew out to the Netherlands to join the company. I had never even seen a HOI show before rehearsals!
You could say I loved it – I skated in Holiday on Ice shows for 11 years after that!

– What is the biggest difference between performing in competition and shows for you ? Do the nerves ever go away ?

There are quite a few differences between competition and show skating, but the obvious one is this : In competition, you have 9 judges scrutinizing everything you do. In shows, you have thousands of audience members ENJOYING everything you do.
Ultimately, a performance is meant to be exciting for the audience. I’ve experienced some wonderful ovations – some very exciting and appreciative audiences all over the world. But you know what an audience loves just as much as a perfect performance ? When a skater takes a huge fall – one of those falls that looks like it hurts – and then gets up and keeps going with a smile. It humanizes the performance and reminds the audience that this is still a difficult activity. A lot can be forgiven in a show, that can’t be forgiven in a competition.

My struggle with nerves took an interesting path during my performing career. I would answer your second question with a no: No, nerves don’t go away, and I would never want them to. We, as humans, will always feel anxious when we care deeply (as I did/do) about something we do. If you don’t care, you won’t feel nervous. But then, your performance would no doubt look like you don’t care – and that’s not good.
The trick with nerves is to take those anxious thoughts and channel them into excitement and energy towards your performance. Now instead of being ‘nervous’, you have fire in your eyes – those are two very different feelings ! By changing my mindset in this way, the nerves I used to struggle with made me a dynamic and inspired performer.

– What do you like the most about performing ?

Of course I love traveling and visiting new cities with great friends. As performers, we are all very fortunate to do what we love as our profession. But my favorite part of all of it is something very specific :
The moment when you’re standing backstage, in the darkness. You’re warming up your body, hoping your tricks will be solid in this show. You check that your blades are clean while other skaters come off the ice, wish you luck and stop for a short ‘goodie.’ Through a sliver of opening in the curtains you catch a glimpse of a huge audience and your heart starts beating faster.  The music and lights die down – your solo is about to start – and the lights and followspots will all be on you. You check to see if your costume is perfect and take one last deep breath as the music starts again, the curtains open and muscle memory takes over. Before your mind catches up with your legs you’re practically running out into the middle of the ice, full speed ahead, energy bursting out of your toes and fingertips, with an instant heat that comes from 20,000 eyes focused directly on you. And you tell yourself, « Let’s kill it tonight !»

– You joined and performed with different company around the world and as a principal skater. Can you tell us more about those experiences ?

I’ve had some pretty amazing experiences while performing over the last 12 years. I’ve performed on tours, stationary shows, tv shows, cruise ships, in arenas, in winter markets, at Rockefeller Center in NYC, in front of the Hotel de Ville in Paris, and even in Red Square, Moscow. I’ve performed on stage at the Lido in Paris, alongside Sarah Conner in Berlin, twice on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Kimmel, and even alongside Beyoncé and Destiny’s Child in NYC!
Early on, I decided I wanted to experience many different companies in my performing career. Since we all work on a contractual basis, this is possible. That being said, there are not so many large companies to work with in our industry. I have had the pleasure of working with most of those available, as a principal skater.
Like every new experience, I learned a lot about all the companies I worked with. Not everything I learned was good, but that’s not the point. I met many different people and worked with many different choreographers, directors, skaters, crew, and others. There were ups and downs, benefits and drawbacks to every experience. None of the companies I’ve worked for were better or worse than others – they were all just slightly different. Experiencing these differences and diverse range of characters made me the well-rounded performer and professional I am today.

– What was the biggest challenge you faced while you were working as a soloist ?

Depression.
I’ve discussed this topic with many peers and professionals, and I currently co-host a podcast called I’ll Cover You, that focuses on mental health awareness in the performing arts and entertainment industry. Depression was and is my biggest challenge personally and professionally. I talk about depression in the present tense because I don’t believe anyone truly recovers fully from deep depression – we just learn the tools necessary to help ourselves in the best and most efficient ways possible.

– Which choreography and solo piece did you prefer the most during your career ?

As an amateur competitor I had the wonderful priviledge to work with Patricia Curio, a former member of the New York City Ballet. She choreographed almost all of my competitive routines without ever stepping on the ice, and inspired a huge ‘aha’ moment within my performance ability. I loved working with her because she brought creative, new ideas to my skating that I was not getting from traditional skating choreographers. She really infused interest into my skating and sculpted me into a principal performer and artist.
Working with Pat prepared me for an experience that proved to be my next performance ‘aha’ moment : working with Bart Doerfler and Simone Grigorescu on Holiday on Ice’s show, Speed. Bart came to Holiday on Ice as a dance choreographer and also never stepped on the ice (with skates). He brought a wild new energy to the company, and brought out wild new performance abilities within all of the skaters involved. Alongside Simone’s brilliant choreography on the ice, Speed broke the mould of the traditional ice show and was a very special experience for all of us.
Working with Bart and Simone on my feature solo, set to Michael Buble’s Feelin’ Good, was a true collaboration. Because of my work with Pat for many years, I easily understood Bart’s direction and with Simone, translated it to the ice. The result was an absolutely fabulous number that pushed my performance and skating abilities to new heights. It’s a piece of music that follows me around these days – it’s impossible for me to hear that song without performing the number in my head! I’ll always remember Feelin’ Good.

– How do you define yourself as an artist ?

Precise but wild, regal but edgy, restrained but free, calm but explosive, courteous and efficient, cunning and ready to disrupt. Always an original.
About 15 years ago, my best friend and I chose animals to represent our artistic personas. She chose a stallion to represent me because of it’s regal posture, resting power and flowing unkempt mane, along with a ready-to-pounce energy that also makes a stallion incredibly dangerous.

“Having the opportunity to perform again, to do what I love again, to be with my tribe again, brought me back to myself”

– How did you deal with the pandemic and the quarantine situation as an artist (mentally and physically) ?

COVID-19 has hit all of us hard, equally. All businesses in the UK were shut almost overnight, and the reality of the worldwide pandemic was terrifying for a while. I caught the virus in March and was very sick for about two weeks. Luckily, I made a full recovery without hospital visits but I am also not in the ‘high risk’ age group.
When we didn’t know very much about the disease, I was really scared to leave my apartment for fear of transmitting the virus to others or catching it again. We didn’t know what we know now. Everyone stayed home for weeks on end – it was depressing.
Being unable to leave my home affected me both mentally and physically : I became rather sedentary and uninspired. I needed to move again, for my mental and physical well-being, so I started working out at home and used my skate-carrying bag as a weight to get stronger. Every so often, I would make the weight heavier by adding objects to the bag (usually bottles of wine – we all drank a lot of wine during lockdown). This creative workout strategy worked, and I did get stronger, but I didn’t feel like myself without the ice.
I hobbled along running and doing home workouts until we were finally able to travel again. I took the first opportunity to visit France, where the rinks were open, and went straight to Patinoire Cyberglace in Moneteau. Being back on the ice after 4 ½ months off brought me out of the lockdown funk – it was my longest time spent away from the ice since I was 5 years old. And there, two weeks after getting back on the ice, I was a part of the show Rouge by Alexandre Riccitelli.
Having the opportunity to perform again, to do what I love again, to be with my tribe again, brought me back to myself – even if my ability on the ice had become somewhat rusty by then. Alex’s show incorporated contemporary themes, masterful skating technique, and inspired creativity – all of which I love and revere. It was an honor to be invited and included and to be honest, it made the prior few months worth the wait. Rouge completely affected my attitude, my lockdown depression, and my ambitions for the future : we WILL need the performing arts desperately after the COVID-19 pandemic. Live entertainment provides hope and dreams and inspiration for everyone, performers and audience alike. If we felt like the performing arts were diminishing before, lockdown has definitely changed this.
Something lockdown didn’t change is the fact that the Ice Theatre of London needed to continually engage with the UK community, so my team decided to use this down time to focus on growing our audience. I was also still remotely studying and attending lectures, seminars, and international business conferences for my MBA throughout – no matter where I was in the world, lockdown and travel restrictions didn’t change that !

– Can you talk about Ice Theatre of London ? When and how did you decide to create this company ?

In New York, my hometown, performance ice skating is celebrated. When I moved to London to study at Imperial College last year, I was really looking forward to getting involved with a creative, professional figure skating community in town. I figured London is very similar to New York : the UK has a vibrant skating community and London is a world hub for the performing arts, so there must be groups like this. If the TV show Dancing on Ice is so popular, there must be more opportunities for performance. I was surprised to find nothing available.
In October 2019, the Ice Theatre of London idea was born out of this deficiency, and I brought on 4 UK-based colleagues to grow this venture together. Yebin Mok and I, along with Maja Luther, Arthur Ebel and Philipp Tischendorf became the founding members of the Ice Theatre of London.

– What is your goal and the message you want to share thru this company ?

With the Ice Theatre of London, firstly, we want to generate a platform for the UK creative skating community to connect and collaborate. We want to offer an inclusive, open space for all skaters, young and old, amateur and professional, to share ideas, get inspired, and skate together without the rules of competition. We also plan to produce contemporary figure skating shows, facilitating collaboration across arts genres and elevating figure skating performance in the UK.
We have had an amazing amount of engagement so far and hope to move forward in a big way once we are physically able to.

– Do you think it is possible to develop the popularity of show figure skating and contemporary skating around the world ? If yes how ?

I think professional figure skating shows will always be popular in some form. As long as figure skating is entertaining for audiences, there will be interest. And to keep skating interesting, we must adapt to changing times and tastes. This is where ‘contemporary skating’ comes in.
The term ‘contemporary skating’ is thrown around a lot nowadays, with many individuals claiming that their version of skating is more ‘contemporary’ than another’s, or fits the mould of what ‘contemporary skating’ should look like. But that argument is inherently flawed, because everything created now is new – there is no mould. And so what really IS contemporary skating ? I’ll refer to the dictionary :
Contemporary (adj.) : 1. Living or occurring at the same time. 2. Belonging to or occuring in the present.
Ice Skate (verb) : to skate on ice as a sport or pastime
And so if we wanted to define ‘contemporary ice skating’, conditional reasoning would tell us that it is : any skating on ice as a sport or pastime that occurs in the present. With this in mind, any kind of skating that occurs in the present or years to come can be termed ‘contemporary’. But does this mean that all contemporary ice skating will be popular or noteworthy? No. That has always been based on personal preference.
Some audiences enjoy jumping, and some enjoy spinning. Some enjoy when performers actually lay or roll on the ice. Personally I enjoy any type of ice skating that uses our tools (ice, blades, skating boots) to the fullest extent, coupled with mastery of our craft. Maybe I have high standards ?
I also enjoy a performance. For me, contemporary ice skating should be exciting and entertaining and emotional and beautiful to watch – just like a dance performance or musical. If we can infuse today’s figure skating performances with these ideas, this is how I believe our art form will remain popular.

– Despite skating, do you have time for other activities ?

Well this past year I definitely made time to complete a masters degree, which I undertook full-time. I also enjoy being active. I love seeing shows and new art installations, and anything I can draw inspiration from. I look forward to the time post-pandemic, when the performing arts are given the go-ahead in England. When I’m in New York, I spend a lot of time with my niece – she’s almost 4 and I’ve already taught her the basics of ice skating.

– What is the upcoming project you currently working on ?

I am constantly working on new projects for the Ice Theatre of London. My thoughts and plans are invested in a live virtual variety show that we would like to host sometime in December. Stay tuned!

Interview with Allye M. Ritt : A Figure Skating Author

Interview with Allye M. Ritt : A Figure Skating Author

Allye M. Ritt, author of the new Figure Skating novel “Taking the ice” talks to us about her writting style, what inspires her and what advice she has for figure skater.

“My primary aim in this book was to express what dedication, hard work and passion often look like in the skating world, as well as in general”

"Taking the Ice" (c) Allye M. Ritt

“Taking the Ice” (c) Allye M. Ritt

These past months, if we are lucky, our lives have merely been paused and suspended, congealed into an endless state of not being able to plan for next week, let alone next month or next year. If we are unlucky, our lives have been turned upside down and shaken until something or someone we care for deeply has fallen away. And if, there’s one thing that’s essential for a rainy day, it’s a truly great book. Of course, while all dance and figure skating story generally follow the same formula (a.k.a. plenty of great romantic story, competition drama, injuries that are carreer defining moment), there’s actually an incredible variety to the genre – which means there’s truly something for everybody. But of course, the true appeal of ‘’Taking the ice’’ is that it’s not only a figure skating book, it’s a real life figure skating book wrote by an ex show figure skater, and now ice skating coach. Allye M. Ritt gonna tell us all about her book, the story, and her experience.

Interview

Could you introduce yourself, your experiences and present to us your book ? 

I started skating when I was about 10 years old as a hobby and immediately fell in love!  It took my parents a few years to realize I wasn’t kidding about wanting to skate more and more, and finally, at age 14, I got my first private lesson.  From this point on, I couldn’t be pulled away from the ice!  I pretty much lived and breathed skating all through high school and college.  When I started teaching middle and high school, I still structured my free time around getting ice time and continuing my passion.  My husband was Always supportive because he saw how happy it made me and how much I yearned for the ice when I needed to be away from skating.  As a skater, I am a U.S. Figure Skating seven-time Gold Medalist and International Dance Medalist, have earned Gold Dance through Skate Canada, and went on to Skate Professionally with Disney on Ice; I was even so lucky as to skate on the same show as the incredible Sarah Barreiros – author of this article! 
 “Taking the Ice – Khalli’s Big Test” follows 10-year old Khalli Davies through her start in the figure skating world.  Like many, she has fallen completely in love with the sport and cannot get enough!  Through Khalli, readers learn the value of hard work, but also get a glimpse at the sacrifices that the she needs to make as she struggles to balance skating with school and friends.  Her biggest goal is to pass her very first skating test, but to accomplish this, she needs plenty of lessons and ice time, requiring her often to skate before or after school, thus requiring her to reschedule her daily routine and give up time with her friends and family.

Why did you choose to write a fictional book about figure skating ?

The idea for this book actually started because of my skating students.  Many of my skaters would bring books to the rink to read between sessions or while waiting for rides home, and I couldn’t help but notice that the books were never skating-related.  I did a quick search, and realized that there were very few authentic skating novels for kids available.  I remember as a teen, reading any skating book I could find, often biographies, and learning so much about the value of hard work and level of dedication involved to achieve a skating dream.  I wanted my young skaters to have the same opportunity to be inspired by the work ethic of others.  I believe it’s a very important lesson to learn, that no matter how hard you work, some one else is always working harder and putting in more time – and Khalli is beginning to set the example of what hard work looks like in this book.  The goal for future books, is to show how far hard work can take someone, whether it be in skating or a different aspect of life.  My primary aim in this book was to express what dedication, hard work and passion often look like in the skating world, as well as in general. 

Can you tell us about your writing journey ?

How did you proceed to start this book and to push yourself thru the end in the point of being published ?  I actually wrote this book rather quickly.  I was sitting down with my husband one evening when the plot idea came to me completely out of the blue.  I literally got up, went to the computer, and wrote for several hours into the night.  I dedicated entire days and evenings daily for the next month until the final product was what I wanted, submitted it, and landed a contract with Covenant Books.  At that time, I was still teaching middle and high school, but was making a transition the next year to coaching full-time and building a skating program, of which I had just became the director.  Really wanting to dedicate myself fully to my skaters and my program, I decided to sit on my book contract for one year.  I spent some occasional time returning back to the book and making edits, as sometimes stepping away and coming back provides new insights.  And then, one year later, I decided it was time to move forward.  From this point, it was another year of adjusting drafts, layouts, and cover designs before “Taking the Ice” went to print.  The entire process was a ton of work, but such a beautiful learning experience.

You were yourself a figure skater, a show skater even before working on your book. What advice would you give to all the figure skaters considering their career in general, and the after career and how hard it could be sometimes, as with any sport ? The best advice I can give is: you have to love it!  And that’s with any job – it consumes the majority of your life; it needs to bring you joy.  If as a skater, you decide you want to do shows, you have to want to be a the rink 10 hours a day, you have to want to travel and be away from home – sometimes for nine months at a time.  It’s a beautiful life, but it is also very different than a typical 9-5 job.  For skaters entering other jobs but who still love to skate, you don’t have to give up the sport; life doesn’t have to be one or the other.  If something makes you happy, find a way to keep doing it.

In regards to life after a show career is over, leaving the show world was different for me than for others.  I was returning back to my life from before shows.  After two years on the road, I returned to teach German and History at the same school district where I had taught for six years before joining tour.  My husband supported my decision to perform in shows and took care of things at home while I was in contract, so I essentially had my life waiting for me.  A lot of skaters join immediately after high school or college and as a result have many more challenges getting off the road – they are literally starting over.  I’m very blessed that things played out the way they did, and that I’ve had the opportunity to make so many of my career dreams a reality.

Pierre Souquet-Basiege : fougueux et ambitieux, le patineur en quête d’un rêve

Pierre Souquet-Basiege : fougueux et ambitieux, le patineur en quête d’un rêve

Par Sarah Barreiros Rédigé le 27/01/2020 (dernière modification le 28/01/2020)

Rencontre avec Pierre Souquet-Basiege 25 ans, patineur en équipe de France dans la discipline danse sur glace. Son parcours, ses objectifs et sa vision du patinage alors qu’il vise le plus haut, les jeux Olympiques. Interview.

Pierre Souquet après un entrainement. (c) Pierre Souquet

Pour beaucoup, le patinage comme on peut le voir à la télévision, ou plus récemment sur Youtube, semble facile, élégant et plein de magie. Mais lorsque l’on est sportif de haut niveau, bien évidemment il en est tout autre chose. Comme beaucoup de sport, s’engager dans une carrière de patineur dans le but de faire des compétitions internationales tels que les grands prix ISU, les championnats d’Europe, du Monde ou les jeux Olympiques cela demande un plan et des sacrifices à long terme. Des entrainements à 5h du matin jusqu’à parfois 20h, de l’argent, pour les frais de déplacement, les patins, les lames, les costumes, les appartements et logements même puisque, les plus grands centre d’entrainements de patinage se trouve soit aux Etats-Unis, au Canada ou en Russie. Il faut aussi ne pas omettre la dimension psychologique, physique, savoir surmonter les échecs, penser progression avant de penser victoire car souvent, peu de personnes, de l’entourage même croient et soutiennent les rêves auxquels le sportif patineur aspire, le haut niveau. Et pourquoi ? Pour du patinage ? Quel est l’intérêt ? Car au delà de l’aspect sportif, la notion d’accomplissement de soi, de bonheur et de plaisir est l’essence de la vie et la raison d’être des objectifs sportifs. Mais pour cela, il faut “se donner les moyens de ses ambitions”, comme nous l’explique brillamment aujourd’hui Pierre Souquet-Basiege, patineur en équipe de France depuis plusieurs année et figurants parmi les meilleurs de sa génération. 

Pierre Souquet et sa partenaire Juliat Wagret. (c) Pierre Souquet.

• Pierre, peux-tu nous résumer ton parcours et nous expliquer ce qui t’a donné l’envie de faire de la danse sur glace toi qui était patineur individuel ?
J’ai commencé le patinage à 5ans au club des Français volants de Paris (Bercy). Champion de France avenir à 10 ans, j’ai ensuite enchainé les blessures entre mes 12 et 15 ans. Ce qui m’a obligé à passer beaucoup de temps sans sauter et donc travailler le reste, et surtout la glisse, les pas, etc. Forcément j’ai pris beaucoup de retard et ce retard me semblait impossible à rattraper. Et en même temps plus le temps passait et plus cette sensation de glisse de carres et de patinage me plaisait et me donnait envie de passer en danse sur glace.

Juillet 2011, c’est parti, direction Lyon ! J’ai eu la chance de démarrer tout de suite en couple. Mon objectif à ce moment là était de participer à un JGP. On a été 1er remplaçant au WJC en 2012 et 3ème au championnat de France junior la même année puis sélectionné pour les JGP. L’ironie du sort veut que 10 jours avant j’ai subit une blessure (fracture tibia péroné ligaments et cartilage). Je n’ai finalement jamais participé à un grand prix junior mais j’ai participé par la suite à de bien plus belles compétitions avec ma 2ème partenaire Lorenza Alessandrini. Nous avons patiné 4 saisons ensemble, durant lesquelles nous avons participé à deux grands prix de France, un championnat d’Europe et un championnat du Monde, avec un titre de vice-champion de France.

Je démarre une nouvelle aventure avec Julia Wagret en avril 2018. On a participé aux Universiades en mars 2019 où l’on finit 6ème. On décide de partir s’entrainer aux États-Unis en juin 2019, et on a participé à notre premier grand prix ensemble cette saison.

• Qu’aimes-tu dans le fait de travailler avec une partenaire ?
Quand j’étais individuel j’aimais l’idée de réussir seul, avec ses propres moyens et mon propre travail. Il m’a fallu un peu de temps mais c’est avec Lorenza que je me suis découvert à aimé ce partage !
Finalement j’aime le fait d’avoir un objectif commun pour lequel on forme une équipe, soudée et prête à tout donner, pour soi pour l’autre et pour notre unité qui est finalement notre couple. Je prends plus de plaisirs à l’entrainement en étant avec ma partenaire que seul, j’ai moins cette sensation de routine, j’arrive à aller plus loin dans mes efforts et puis on partage plus que du patinage. On partage notre quotidien et notre vie, les succès les défaites les doutes et les projets et c’est tout ce partage qui rend l’aventure encore plus belle !

• Pense-tu que le stress en compétition est allégé et comment vous soutenez vous au quotidien avec Julia que ce soit aux entrainements et en compétition ?
Je ne sais pas. Quand j’ai commencé la danse c’est l’impression que j’ai eue. Puis les choses sont devenus plus sérieuses et le stress je l’ai eu. Mais c’est un stress différent, avec le recul je me dis qu’en artistique c’était un stress plus désagréable parce que je n’étais pas confiant sur ce que j’allais être capable de faire, je présentais des éléments que je ne maitrisais pas, et du coup il y avait vraiment ce sentiment d’incertitude. En danse, j’ai du stress parce qu’il y a l’envie de faire de son mieux, et il y a des enjeux que je n’ai pas connu en artistique mais sauf exception quand tu arrives en compétition tu sais que tu prêt que tu maitrise ton sujet et que tu t’es bien préparé. Ensuite en découvrant les grands championnats j’ai découvert d’autres sensations, celles d’être très très stressé avant, et puis tu passes le rideau c’est une compétition prestigieuse, tu fais face à une magnifique arène avec plusieurs milliers de personnes et là c’est presque l’euphorie il n’y a plus de stress, et je comprends vraiment ce que s’est que du prendre plaisir dans son programme !

• Quel et votre force en tant qu’équipe et quelles qualités sont pour toi les plus importantes chez Julia ?

C’est notre connexion. On s’est connecté très rapidement, si ce n’est instantanément. Dans le patinage on s’est compris tout de suite. On est grand, on a des grandes lignes, et on arrive à bien travailler ensemble, ce qui nous donne des facilités sur les éléments, pirouettes et notamment les portés.
Julia a une grosse base de danse contrairement à moi ! 8 ans de danse (au centre chorégraphie des ballets du Nord puis au conservatoire de Grenoble ou elle s’est arrêtée au cycle 2, 5ème année. Classique, contemporain et aussi un peu de caractère et jazz). Elle est très souple mais aussi athlétique et en plus de ça elle me donne toute sa confiance, ce qui facilite mon travail de partenaire et nous permet de tout essayer en élément, c’est super agréable.
Et puis Julia c’est quelqu’un de très pragmatique, on a nos objectifs et elle ne se torture pas trop l’esprit elle y va, elle ne se laisse pas envahir et ralentir par ce qui parasite inutilement où si ce n’est pas le moment.

• Comment décrirais-tu ta propre manière d’aborder le fait d’être un sportif de haut niveau ? (Ta vision du travail, de minet, de mental, motivation etc…)

Je suis vraiment partisan du “se donner les moyens de ses ambitions”. Et par “moyens” j’y entend pleins de choses différentes comme le travail forcément mais aussi l’hygiène de vie, et puis faire des choix, prendre des décisions qui sont cohérentes avec ses ambitions etc. Il y a quand même un autre facteur qui n’est pas seulement une question d’envie, qui est celui de l’argent malheureusement. C’est un sport qui coûte cher et encore plus lorsqu’on s’entraine outre-Atlantique, mais c’est le choix qu’on a pris. Je suis aussi partisan du zéro regret. Je pense qu’il faut tenter quitte à se tromper plutôt que d’avoir le “et si j’avais fait ça” dans la tête. Si ta tête et ton instinct te disent de faire un truc et que t’y a réfléchis tu comprends les enjeux et les risques et que cette envie ne te quitte pas alors je pense qu’il faut y aller et tenter ! Au pire quoi ? Ça reste du patinage et du plaisirs. Cette envie de rien regretter va aussi avec le fait d’aller au bout de cette aventure. J’ai envie de voir jusqu’où je peux aller et j’ai envie de prendre tout ce que cette aventure a à m’offrir. Du coup tant qu’il y a ses envies, le plaisir et que c’est possible, je veux continuer et aller au bout. Si on sort de sa bulle patinage juste 2 secondes on se rend vite compte que c’est une vie incroyable et pleine de privilèges alors je pense qu’il faut prendre plaisir et cultiver cette chance.

• Tu as récemment décidé de partir t’entrainer en Floride aux Etats-Unis, pourquoi ce centre d’entrainement précisément ?

A vrai dire avec Julia on savait où on ne voulait plus être sans savoir ou on voulait être ! C’était une situation particulière et compliqué puisqu’elle nous a fait perdre beaucoup de temps et d’énergie que l’on n’a pas pu dépenser ailleurs et la préparation de la saison 2019/20 a été très difficile ! La seule certitude qu’on avait à ce moment-là c’est qu’on voulait garder contact avec Massimo que l’on a connu à nos débuts avec Julia. On était souvent en contact pour parler musiques, chorégraphie et planning. Du coup on lui a expliqué notre situation et il nous a aidé à y voir plus clair dans nos solutions. On avait donc 3 ou 4 solutions à creuser et à ce moment-là lui était en Floride pour monter des programmes. Il a donc parler de nous à Marina et Alper, qui du coup étaient prêts à nous accueillir dans de bonnes conditions et à faire le maximum pour nous. En même temps ils nous avaient aussi confirmer que nos autres pistes étaient bonnes et qu’après cela dépendait de notre choix et de ce qui était possible pour nous. Du coup on a choisi la Floride. Marina à une grosse expérience du haut niveau avec un palmarès incroyable, on a senti le soutien et l’engagement de Marina et Alper et ils nous avaient expliqué les conditions sur place très favorables. Il y a plusieurs pistes, de large amplitude horaire, une équipe de plusieurs coaches avec des intervenants comme Massimo et Oleg. Il y a suffisamment de couples sur place pour ne pas se sentir seul comme ça a pu l’être pendant notre première saison et en même temps ce n’est pas surchargé ce qui nous permet d’avoir toute l’attention de nos entraineurs. Le mélange de toute ça semblait bon !

• Quels sont les bénéfices que tu as pu ressentir face à ce changement des premiers jours jusqu’à aujourd’hui ? Combien de temps a-t-l fallu pour t’adapter ?

L’adaptation a été rapide, après deux semaines on se sentait déjà presque comme à la maison et maintenant on parle de là-bas comme “chez nous”. On est arrivé fin mai et au bout de 3 jours on avait déjà le plan de la saison, avec la liste des compétitions qu’on allait faire et les axes de travail avec les objectifs. On avait un plan à court, moyen et long terme. On savait déjà qu’avec une transition qui avait été compliquée (et on allait encore perdre du temps à s’installer sur place), cette saison serait comme une mise en place et une prise de repère, mais que dès l’été, en parallèle de travailler pour cette saison on commencerait à préparer la saison d’après. Et c’est ce qu’on a fait ! Finalement on a passé presque autant de temps sur les programmes de cette année qu’à penser et préparer la saison d’après.

• Peux-tu nous décrire une journée d’entrainement type, y a-t-il des changements par rapport aux rythmes que tu avais en France ?

On démarre entre 8h et 9h30, ça va dépendre de l’heure de notre première leçon. Sauf exception quand on met en place une situation de compétition (5 mn d’échauffement programme en entier), on réserve au moins nos 45 premières minutes pour faire des exercices, seul puis à deux. Ensuite on se met sur les programmes, avec un gros travail en partie ou en entier ou les deux, ou bien on continue sur des exercices. On a 2 fois 30mn de leçon par jour, et c’est vrai qu’au début on ne s’attendait pas à un rythme aussi soutenu ! C’est 30 mn intense où on enchaine et souvent le rythme cardiaque n’a pas le temps de redescendre avant la fin. En dehors des leçons on est à la fois très libre et très cadré, on a des consignes et on sait ce qu’on a à faire mais libre à nous de le faire quand on veut dans notre journée ! Pour optimiser nos temps de leçon ça arrive souvent que lorsque l’on doit faire plusieurs programmes dans la journée on le fasse tout seul pour ne pas dépenser notre temps de leçons juste à faire des programmes en entier. On a aussi un système de semaines difficiles et faciles que Marina met en place. Elle adapte aussi la charge lorsque l’on enchaine les compétitions et les allers-retours. Moi qui ai toujours eu des difficultés physiques sur les programmes en entier je sens une vraie différence, cette année a été moins difficile que d’habitude. La route est encore longue mais c’est en bonne voie et les bénéfices se font sentir de plus en plus avec le temps.

• Parlons de cette saison, vous avez fait d’excellents résultats et obtenu de nouveau records personnels, quels sont vos objectifs sur du court et long terme ?

Oui ! Malgré que cette saison n’était pas la priorité absolue, elle a été très satisfaisante et surtout très prometteuse pour la suite. Le travail qu’on a fait à payer et on a hâte de l’appliquer sur une base plus solide et mieux préparée en amont. Nos objectifs court terme cette saison c’était le grand prix de France, podium aux élites et le championnat d’Europe. Après les Masters où toutes les conditions pour contre performer étaient réunies on a gardé confiance et on savait que ça ne reflétait pas notre niveau et notre état de forme. Direction Minsk où on a su le prouver avec des bases de points largement battues, ce qui a validé notre sélection pour Grenoble. Le grand prix c’est plutôt bien passé. Malgré quelques points lâchés sur la route bêtement on a confirmé ce qu’on venait de faire à Minsk. Puis la Bosphorus Cup où on améliore encore nos scores et on termine à moins d’un point du couple qui nous a battu de 20 points il y a moins d’un an. C’était donc satisfaisant et encourageant ! Grenoble c’était fait ! Restait la suite de nos objectifs. On a obtenu plusieurs fois le 3ème meilleur score chez les Français ce qui laissait envisager la réussite de nos autres objectifs. Malheureusement les élites c’est une autre histoire et c’est un point totalement isolé dans notre courbe de progression. On a fait le tri on prend ce qui va nous aider à avancer et on a laissé le reste derrière. Malgré cette déception et ce goût un peu d’inachevé qui aurait rendu la saison parfaite on est content de notre saison et de ce qu’on a su faire, surtout en voyant d’où on a démarré en juin. Cette saison nous motive pour la suite ! Nos objectifs à long terme restent les mêmes que lorsqu’on a démarré cette aventure ensemble, c’est-à-dire les JO 2022 et 2026 !

• Comment pouvez-vous décrire votre style et quelle direction en terme artistique souhaitez-vous prendre avec Julia ?

Notre premier libre ensemble reflète assez bien le style qui pourrait être le nôtre. Quelque chose de plutôt romantique, c’est ce qui colle le plus à notre physique, nos lignes et c’est ce qui nous vient le plus naturellement dans le patinage. Cela reste une question difficile, je pense qu’on est en pleine évolution et qu’on est en train de découvrir de nouvelles facettes de nos personnalités et de ce qu’on aime faire. Du coup je dirai que pour le moment on n’a pas encore trouvé et bien défini “notre style”. C’est d’ailleurs un vrai axe de travail pour nous, c’est assez intéressant et excitant et ça nous donne pleins de perspective et de marge ! Pour la saison qui arrive on a déjà des idées depuis cet été et on veut se diriger vers quelque chose avec plus de caractère plus d’identification et plus “Entertainment”. C’est un défi parce qu’on ne l’a jamais fait et ce n’est pas ce à quoi on nous associe. C’est un challenge excitant et c’est qu’on a envie de faire.

• Qu’aimes-tu le plus dans le simple fait d’être sur glace ?

La sensation de glisse ! C’est quand même quelque chose de kiffant cette sensation de glisse, de vitesse, de liberté, cette impression de 3D. Tout ça associé c’est un sentiment qu’on ne ressent pas ailleurs. Et puis quand on a la chance de trouver quelque chose qui nous procure autant d’émotion on à l’esprit qui s’évade quelques instants.

Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov : The russian pair team that take the lead

Anastasia Mishina and Alexander Galliamov : The russian pair team that take the lead

Par Sarah Barreiros Rédigé le 15/12/2019 (dernière modification le 14/12/2019)

She is 19, he is 20. They skate together in competition since 4 years and they already have a big career ahead. In fact, this young russian pair team won everything last year, from all the junior grand prix they did to the grand prix final and the world junior championships. This year they make their big entrance in the senior level with incredible result. They won ISU GP Internationaux de France 2019 in Grenoble and won the bronze medal at the NHK and at the grand prix finale. We take the opportunity today, to meet the pair junior world champion Anastasia Mishina, who gonna tell us all about their season, their projects and their evolution goals for this year. Interview.

– Anastasia last year you won the JGP Final, the Junior World, this year in senior you made an incredible entrance in senior, you’ve been in the podium at each grand prix and you arrived third at the grand prix final, which is the hardest competition in the world that featured the best skater in the world, how do you feel about it and do you realize how incredible it is to have those results first year senior?

I don’t think, that we need to realize this. We do our work and we try to skate better on every competition. We never thought about results. Our main task is always improve, to do better than last time. Of course we were really happy to be on the podium. Now we have even more motivation to work hard. We understood, that for us it’s possible to be in the top of pairs in the world.

– Your career is already amazing, what are your goal toward the Olympics concerning your progression? Which area do you want to improve?

First one is skating. It suppose to be smoother. Also we want to do our programs more interesting. We need to work more with choreography and emotions. In Russia we have really high concentration in pairs now. So, it’s not enough to do only clean elements.

– You have huge and amazing twist and throws, do you consider of working on quadruple and maybe triple axel throw?

We thought about quad jump through. We didn’t try it on ice, but maybe in the future we’ll do it. 

– Can you describe your basic day of practice, what kind of mood do you have during practice with your partner?

Usually in the middle of the season we have hard trainings. So sometimes we even don’t speak to much. We are both really focused on elements and programs and only after main part of the practice we can be more relaxed.

– What is your mind set during each competition and just before starting your program? Do you communicate a lot during those competition day with your partner or you have together different way of focusing?

We communicate like usual before and after practice, but just before competitions we let each other to focus how he want. I guess, that almost everybody do the same.

– What do you like the most about your partner and what does he like the most about you, on ice and off ice?

I like that I can trust my partner. It’s really important in pairs. When I we do lifts, I don’t need to worry. Sasha likes my character. We never go out from ice if we didn’t do element clean.

– What is you biggest quality as a team and how do you keep your relationship going so well?

We both understand that we can do nothing without each other. And also we understand that it’s hard to work, when you’re grumpy. We try to save calm atmosphere.

– How do you support each other during competition?

We’re both strong people. So, we didn’t have  situations, that one of us worried to much. If something is going not good, it’s enough to say some words of support and repeat this element.

– Who are your favourite pair skater of all time and why?

My favorite pair skater is Irina Rodnina. She won 3 times on Olympic Games( with different parents). And she even found time to give birth to child between two Olympics. 

– What do you thing of the evolution of figure skating in pair and in general?

Figure skating is going forward really fast. 4 years ago nobody could imagine little girl with quads. I can’t imagine what they will do in next 4 years. Pair will start to do quads too, I think . Maybe not jump, but who knows.

– What do you love the most about being on the ice and about doing pair skating.

I always liked to skate. My parents never forced me to do this.I like speed and extreme, and also I like to “dance on ice”. Pair skating has everything.

Ted Barton: The journalist with the words made of gold

Ted Barton: The journalist with the words made of gold

Par Sarah Barreiros Rédigé le 09/11/2019 (dernière modification le 29/10/2019)

If you annually follow the junior grand prix season, you might notice every year the voice of the same man. Kind, respectful and positive who always see the brightside in each performance no matter the issue. In fact, we are going to meet today the New-Zealand born, Canadian raised Ted Barton, executive director of the British Columbia / Yukon section of skate Canada, and the ISU broadcaster of all the JGP series and the JGP final. He is going to tell us all about his vision and the evolution of figure skating for the near future. Interview.

Ted Barton, Broadcaster of the ISU. (c) Ted Barton.

– Mr. Barton, What do you like the most about your work and could you describe to us your typical journalistic day during a competition? 

I like the vision and the mission we have to raise the skating community, the skaters and the coaches with the ISU and the broadcast team. We are looking for transparence and honesty. On a typical day, I make sure I have all the information of the skaters and coaches with me, the country the skater represents etc.… I also watch the practice in order to see the reality of what’s happen during a competition, the emotions, happiness or sadness, how the skater can move forward. 

– How could you describe the evolution of the popularity of figure skating since your success to bring the live ISU watch in 2014? 

We can see that the evolution is for the exposure. Country like Brazil for example don’t have ice skating. The broadcast is accessible, positive, there is no negativity, no drama. I make sure to never give my personal opinion, no backlashing. People love more and more watching figure skating particularly on our broadcast because it is positive. That is why I am not offensive and it is important to stay supportive. During the years, our Channel has a significant grow and there is a total between 10 and 15 million views. It is easy to access, professional, we have 4 cameras and it is nice to ear. 

– You are well known by your incredible capacity to have in every situation, constructive comments and to see the positive side, how do you succeed to have a step back and such a balance in each performance without engage your personal feeling? 

I have been a skater myself. So, I understand what goes in the mind of young skater. They give the best with what they have. They all don’t have the same training conditions, the same facilities or time on the ice. I just want to be honest and careful of the words I choose and to be compassionate. I remember when I was a skater, some broadcasters were mean, rude and offensive on TV. What I the point? This hurt and I know it is not constructive. 

– What could you say about the comportment a young skater on ice nowadays particularly after performances? Do you think the skater should maintain a marketing image? 

It is not about marketing. It is about being respectful for the audience that come to watch the skater, the judges, the ISU. You can be who you want outside the ice, outside the competition but not in front of everybody. If an ice dance team or a pair team is not pleased with their performance, one of the skaters shouldn’t leave the ice without the other or behave with angriness against the partner. They are a team in front of the world so it is all about respect. 

– What do you think of the technical developments of the junior, particularly of the young girl doing more often triple Axel and Quadruple? Can we actually see those skaters having a long-term career? 

I believe that the technic is so good that it is not an abuse for the body, on the contrary of most of the people are thinking. I did watch the practice and the competition so I know the reality of it. The falls (if there is) are not extreme, or damaging or scary. I do believe in long career nowadays more than before. I admit it, I have some concerns about those young skaters and I watch carefully. But they are efficient with their bodies because the mechanic is not a problem. 

– We can see today that social media was a big step forward to develop the popularity of figure skating and to promote the ISU competitions around the world, what does the sport miss to be even more popular? 

I think we are missing exposure for sure. How can you fall in love with something you can’t see? In my country, in Canada, figure skating is famous and followed by the people because of the publicity and everything that promote the sport. With the ISU channel we provide a good reporting with for example an access on amazon. In Egypt and Brazil, they can now watch figure skating in live, and that never happen before. We have a big audience in those countries, they love it! 

– Do you have any new idea or plan for the ISU YouTube Chanel in short and long term? 

There is a discussion with the ISU with how we can expand the TV rights. We will see more things online in the next couple years but the biggest problem to develop all of that, it is the money. We are a crew of 6 guys and we do our best but it is a day by day process. I am pleased about the help of the ISU, it is a great partnership. We have the same vision. 

– What do you think of the seniors this season? 

I have a big faith concerning the junior that now integrate the senior level. For example, the Russian girls like Aliona Kostornaya, Anna Chtcherbakova, Alexandra Trusova, it is going to be fun to watch, incredible. It is going to be a lot of suspense!

Un champion de patinage s’est envolé

Un champion de patinage s’est envolé

Par Sarah Barreiros Rédigé le 30/07/2018 (dernière modification le 29/07/2018)

Médaillé de bronze aux Jeux olympiques de Sotchi en 2014, le patineur artistique Kazakh Denis Ten, s’est éteint le 19 juillet 2018 à Almaty après avoir été poignardé pour le vol de sa voiture.

Denis Ten. Photo (c) Deerstop

La nouvelle a choqué son pays, le Kazakstan, mais aussi toute la communauté du patinage dans le monde. Le patineur olympique de 25 ans a été poignardé mortellement alors qu’il finissait de déjeuner avec un ami dans le centre ville de la capitale économique du Kazakhstan, à 9h du matin. Ce dernier “a surpris deux personnes non identifiées qui tentaient de voler des rétroviseurs de son automobile” a indiqué le parquet. “A la suite de la bagarre (avec eux), Denis a été poignardé”, a-t-il précisé, ajoutant que Denis Ten est décédé à l’hôpital des suites de ses blessures à la cuisse, où il a perdu environ 3 litres de sang. Le Conseil olympique d’Asie (COA) ainsi que la Fédération internationale de patinage (ISU) a exprimé le lendemain leur sentiments sur le “choc et l’immense tristesse de cette perte: Le monde du patinage pleure la disparition de Denis Ten du Kazakhstan, un de leurs athlètes les plus chers, qui a été poignardé dans un acte de violence brutal et insensé le 19 juillet”

Denis Ten a non seulement écrit l’histoire du sport en devenant le premier patineur kazakh à remporter une médaille olympique, la bronze en 2014 et des médailles aux Championnats du monde de patinage artistique de l’ISU, mais il a placé le Kazakhstan sur la carte du patinage artistique. Plus que cela, Denis a inspiré de nombreux autres patineurs du monde entier. Il était un jeune homme brillant, non seulement un patineur à succès, mais aussi un musicien et auteur-compositeur talentueux, photographe et écrivain, un étudiant intelligent plein de centres d’intérêts. Il a poursuivi de nombreux projets et a organisé son propre spectacle de patinage “Denis Ten and Friends”. La dernière édition vient d’avoir lieu il y a quelques semaines. Denis a participé à deux projets de films et a fait partie de l’équipe qui a présenté une candidature pour les Jeux olympiques d’hiver de 2022 dans sa ville natale, Almaty (les Jeux ont finalement été attribués à Beijing). Il était un excellent patineur et “performer” et il a quitté la glace dans le monde des médias, de la société et de la politique sportive. Il a donné des interviews réfléchies et était toujours prêt à faire une blague et à partager son sourire généreux. En même temps, “il était une personne volontaire et il n’a jamais abandonné“, a publié l’ISU sur son site internet. 

Denis, plus qu’un athlète

Comme beaucoup de ses amis et proches, patineurs de haut niveau, champions du monde et olympique, Denis, était plus qu’un athlète, c’était un artiste. Un passionnée de son sport, un génie technique dans sa discipline, le patinage homme individuel. C’était également un travailleur acharné, généreux et unique, qui savait transmettre aux juges et au public des émotions hors du commun qui se complétaient avec un touché de glace (c’est-à-dire une maitrise du mouvement sur glace) exceptionnelle. Il a commencé à patiner sur une patinoire en plein air à Almaty en hiver et il a ensuite pratiqué sur une patinoire intérieure dans un centre commercial. En 2003, il s’est rendu à Omsk, dans le sud-ouest de la Sibérie, en Russie, pour une compétition de patinage qu’il a remportée. Le juge en chef, Alexander Kogan, l’a invité à une autre compétition à Odintsovo, dans la région de Moscou, Denis rencontra l’entraîneur Elena Buianova (Vodorezova) et commença à s’entraîner avec elle au CSKA Moscou. Il participa à des compétitions internationales au cours de la saison 2006-2007, à l’âge de 13 ans. C’était la première année où il était admissible à la compétition de niveau junior de l’ISU. Le 5 octobre 2006, il a fait ses débuts sur le circuit de Grand prix junior (JGP) qui regroupe les plus grosse compétitions internationale de patinage et permet des qualifications aux championnats d’Europe et du monde par les fédérations. Au fur et à mesure de sa carrière, il s’entrainera en Russie, puis aux États-Unis, en Floride pour perfectionner son talent. Il se révèle aux yeux du monde à l’âge de 15 ans, le 26 mars 2009 à Los Angeles pendant les championnats du monde. en Californie. Le jeune patineur a stupéfié la foule, la presse et les juges avec une performance magique qui l’a catapulté du 17e après le programme court, à la huitième place au classement général après le programme libre. C’était de loin le meilleur classement jamais obtenu par un patineur du Kazakhstan aux championnats du monde. Cependant, établir ce genre de record n’était pas nouveau pour Ten, qui était déjà devenu le premier patineur du Kazakhstan à remporter un Junior grand prix (à l’automne 2008). Ten a ce jour là, déplacé dix milliers de spectateurs au Staples Center et à la télévision avec son magnifique programme libre “Rachmaninov” qui présentait des sauts parfaits, un jeu de jambes rapide, des tours élégants et une expression au-delà de son âge. À la fin, il tomba à genoux et embrassa la glace pendant que la foule se levait pour lui faire une ovation debout. 

Plus tard, la consécration se fera avec, une médaille d’argent aux championnats du monde de 2013, une médaille de bronze aux Jeux olympiques de Sotchi, puis une autre médaille de bronze aux championnats du monde de 2015. Lors d’une de ses dernières interviews, il déclarait: “L’athlète est un personnage qui vit sur un script, qu’il choisit lui-même. Quand j’ai commencé à faire du sport, ma première motivation était le désir de développement personnel. Quand j’ai commencé à avoir des dispositions techniques mes pensées se sont tournées sur les résultats. (…) C’est juste arrivé que je sois le premier patineur du Kazakhstan à remporter une médaille aux championnats du monde et aux Jeux olympiques. C’est le mérite de mes parents et d’une équipe fantastique d’entraîneurs qui ont travaillé avec moi, mais en même temps c’est une série d’événements uniques qui ont fait de moi ce que je suis. Difficile de dire que c’était ma mission, que j’avais tout prévu pour relancer le patinage artistique au Kazakhstan. Je n’ai pas eu un tel but. Mais une fois qu’il s’est avéré, j’ai pris cette responsabilité, c’est devenu ma motivation pour continuer ma carrière”

Hommages et faits 

Ainsi, Denis Ten est rentré dans l’histoire de son pays comme le premier athlète en patinage à remporter une médaille olympique et à monter sur des podiums internationaux. Il était surnommé “le petit prince du Kazakhstan”. “C’est difficile de comprendre et d’accepter ces nouvelles vraiment terribles sur la mort de Denis Ten”, a déclaré le président du COA Cheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah dans un communiqué. Sa mort est en effet abondamment commentée sur les réseaux sociaux tels que Instagram, Twitter et Facebook. La vice-championne olympique de patinage, la prodige Russe Evgenia Medvedeva a par exemple déclaré sur son compte Instagram: “Denis me paraissait être le plus drôle, et le plus non conventionnel et l’une des personne les plus créatifs du monde du patinage artistique. C’est impossible à croire, je ne veux pas et je ne pourrai pas y croire. Je suis désolée pour tous les proches de Denis. N’oubliez jamais son sourire”. De même pour le champion olympique de Vancouver 2010, le patineur américain Evan Lysacek: “Je suis rempli d’horreur et de tristesse d’apprendre le meurtre insensé de mon ami incroyablement talentueux et partenaire d’entrainement. Denis était une âme rare et spéciale; l’un des jeunes hommes les plus bienveillants que j’ai jamais connus; un trésor pour le monde du patinage et pour son pays du Kazakhstan, où il a fait d’énormes progrès dans la promotion du sport, du patinage et de la positivité. Il était idolâtré par tant et aimé de tous ceux qui le connaissaient. Mes pensées et mes prières accompagnent sa famille, qui a vécu toutes les étapes de sa carrière de patineur avec lui. Je ne peux pas m’empêcher de voir sa mère assise dans les gradins de la patinoire jour après jour, observant avec une telle fierté dans les yeux, que son fils pratiquait ce qu’il aimait. Mon cœur pèse si lourd pour elle et pour tous ceux qui ont eu la chance de connaître Denis. Une vie d’excellence coupée à court. Repose en paix, mon cher ami”

Pendant les funérailles du patineur au palaIs des sports de sa ville natale, des milliers de femmes se sont réunies pour lui rendre un dernier hommage. Certains ont ramené des fleurs, tandis que d’autres, ont brandi des pancartes marqués d’un “Pardonne-nous, nous n’avons pas pu te sauver”. La dernière chanson que Denis avait écrit et composé avant sa mort, intitulé “Elle ne sera pas mienne”, accompagnait la cérémonie.