Brian Joubert: A guy who never gives up
By Alexandra Ilina
He starts quite late his last season – there were withdrawals from competitions, changes of coach and programs, and then it was the long-awaited opening of his home rink in Poitiers.
But nobody knows how much work is behind these reports, how much motivation and power he is spending on the final season of his career. But Brian Joubert was never afraid of circumstances and hard work. He is somebody who never gives up, someone who takes the breath away the minute he appears on the ice.
Now, before his first competition in Dortmund, he talks about preparation for his final season, about working hard on and off the ice and about the “best program” of his life.
Editor’s note: Interview with Brian was done in Dortmund at the NRW Trophy, where he finished second with an overall result of 206.50 points.
Brian, what do you expect from this competition in Dortmund?
Brian Joubert: I want just show my new short and my new free program to judges, to see the levels of my spins, I hope to have good components.
A lot of fans of you were coming especially to Cup of Russia to see you…
Joubert: First of all I am sorry… I hope they will come also to Budapest to Europeans, may be not… but I don’t know, I am very very sorry. I was disappointed because I like to skate in Russia, especially at the Cup of Russia. For me it is a good memory. But this time it was not possible for me to compete there. I had a back injury and I could not go to the Cup of Russia and do my programs without spins, it was not possible.
So and now let’s speak about you new programs. Brian, in one interview you said that your new short program for this Olympic season is your best short program in the whole career. Why?
Joubert: Because, when I skate my new short program, I feel myself as a real skater.
Weren’t you a real skater before?
Joubert: (laughing) I feel myself in this program more completed, I feel more skating skills, transitions and there are more emotions, which I can show in this routine. It is not only technique, not only power. I can show more different things in the both of my new programs. My short program choreographed by Maxim Staviski, it is tango, but it is not only a dance. It is like a love story, so I can show a lot of passion, a lot of emotions on the ice.
Brian Joubert: “I will show more to everybody in my last year as a skater”
Tell us about your new free program.
Joubert: I love it!!! (laughing). It is choreographed by Lory May. She works also with Nathalie and Fabian. I chose the music, concerto de Aranjuez. Everybody knows this music; some athletes have already skated to this music. I can hear it every day, every day in the practice. I think it is a good program to be on the top level.
I’ve changed my free program some days before I had to go to the Cup of Russia and we had only few days to prepare it. Lory May and I worked two days, but we made a lot of work. We spent 7-8 hours a day on the ice to prepare it. But for me it was easy, it was so natural, I felt this music.
Together with Lory May we worked a lot over transitions, including them into the choreography… But what I like in these programs most of all is that I am moving all the time. There is no one break in the short program, as well as in the free one. So I am always skating between jumps. I have a lot of steps before spins and a lot of transitions. I never did it in my past.
What about your costumes for this special season?
Joubert: For the free program I’ve not chosen a final costume yet. For the short program the costume is a little bit modern. I did not like the costume that I had before, because I looked like a barmen in it. (laughing) That’s why I decided to change my suit. A new one will be very sexy, with tattoos; it gonna be a big surprise. Nobody could expect this kind of costume for this program.
We’ll see your new costumes soon, it’s great. And will we see a new Brian Joubert?
Joubert: Yes, I am sure I will be different. I feel it every day in the practice, programs of this season are more complicated but I feel much better in them. I try to give everything. I have a lot of work, a lot of changes. At the beginning of this season it was difficult to be ready because my home ice rink was closed. But now everything is OK.
But nevertheless you have worked hard. This summer you have worked with Lucinda Ruh over your spins. What have you learned from her?
Joubert: Together with her we worked over my spins. Lucinda is famous as a “pirouette queen”. Our federation invited her to work with the French team. She has taught me a way to be faster, to make the spins easier. Every time I trained with her, it happened in 2006 and last summer, my spins have been improved.
And in Italy you had a little consultation with Guiseppe Arena, famous Italian choreographer. Can you tell about this work?
Joubert: We worked two days with him, he is very professional. He helped me to understand the music, to understand what I am doing. He knows everything about choreography, about music, even for my short program or for the show I did this year. He gave me some advices that make me more confident when I come to the ice. I’ve got a new skating mood, a spirit for my last competing season. So, when I am on the ice, I know what I have to do and why I have to do it.
The artistry is very important. All skaters work very hard on it. What about you?
Joubert: Yes, we must work over everything, it is important; it brings you so many points. Components are very important, this year I try to improve all these components. Because before I showed that technically I can do good jumps. But I want to show everybody more in my last season. I will show that I worked a lot on components and that I can also get good marks for components.
Is it true that you are going to work with Nikolai Morozov?
Joubert: For the moment there is no work (with him), he just contacted me a week ago and told that he would like to help me. Maybe he would come to Poitiers and we would practice together for two days, and after Nationals maybe I come to Russia to work with him a little bit.
In Vaujany you worked at you physical condition. It was in the mountains and that’s why it was hard to skate… Right?
Joubert: No, in Vaujany is it not so high. For example in Courchevel it is so. There it’s hard to skate, especially to practice day by day. And in Vaujany we’ve had a lot of work on the ice during our summer camp.
Where do you take your energy and motivation?
Joubert: Sometimes it could be difficult to keep my motivation but I love my sport, I love practice, I love competitions and I know that I can still improve myself. I’m able to do it! That’s why I love to go to the ice every day and to work a lot there. I know that I can increase my level; I can be better.
Behind of figure skating, you were in a cage with a lion in Poitiers. I have read in one magazine that you’ve worked in a circus during four days… Was it right? Weren’t you afraid?
Joubert: I have been in the circus just for one show. They invited me. There is a lion in this show and his name is Brayan. I just took a picture with a lion and was there only ten seconds. I was not afraid but (felt) not comfortable having a lion behind me.
Photo: Alexandra Ilina