Miracles of Pre-Olympic on Champs-Élysées
By Alexandra Ilina
Au soleil, sous la pluie
À midi ou à minuit
Il y a tout ce que vous voulez
This could be only exactly like in this famous song.
No matter if it is raining outside or the sun is shining, people are walking towards to the Place de la Concorde or running back to L’Arc de Triumph, looking at many Christmas booths with sweets like famous French macarons.
This amazing place on Champs Elysee was chosen by French Federation for the Pre-Olympic Presentation of skaters, which took place last week.
Exactly at this time, when everyone feels the magical Christmas holiday literally in the air, when wine flows in streams and a little magical smile playing on someone’s lips, and when we are smiling to each other and at the same time for ourselves.
It is a smile, which comes from within. Yes, in the heart of Paris, at the amazing Champs Elysees, the French skating federation arranged a presentation of its athletes who will participate in the Olympic Games in Sochi. Perhaps, for someone the choice of the place will seem to be very strange and especially the choice of the ice rink.
The ice is absolutely unsuitable for such great skaters like Brian Joubert , Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat , Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres ,and Mey Berenice Meite. Trees are growing exactly on the way of the skates and the narrow ice track don’t let figure skaters turn in full force.
But here, on Champs Elysee, thousands of people are walking and waiting for a miracle once sang by the great Joe Dassin. French people and Paris guests from different countries were standing at the wooden fence of the rink to watch athletes of French team, who were relaxed on the threshold of the coming Olympics.
They were joking, playing, taking pictures, giving interviews and congratulating Fabian on his birthday. Yes, the ice rink was not the best one but this place had another important goal – popularization of this sport. And if not here, where else? On the Champs Elysees only … On the Champs Elysees …
Je m’baladais sur l’avenue
Le coeur ouvert à l’inconnu
J’avais envie de dire bonjour
À n’importe qui…
“Bonjour!”, Natalie smiles cheerfully and begins to lace her skates. Two weeks ago Nathalie and Fabian won bronze medal at the Grand Prix Final.
“We are satisfied; we have more to do in the short dance. The free dance was very strong but it is not the reason to stop working. Our final goal is Olympic Games in Sochi.” she shares impressions of past events, tightly lacing her shoes.
She talks about her costumes and admits that liked the first version of her dress for the short dance, which she had on in Orleans. Many fans thought it was too frivolous for figure skating. Fabian is listening carefully to Nathalie and is preparing his skates, also. Today is his birthday (the event took place on December 19th).
The French couple likes their free dance more, because “everything is as it should be.” But in the short dance they will do some small changes.
Fabian tells about a little story they are showing on the ice. And this story has no end in Sochi.
Just a month after the Olympics, the World champs begins and Natalie and Fabian plan to take part in it. And then … everything is open. “Holiday!”, sings the “birthday boy”. “We are thinking about it (she means near future),” confirms Nathalie but she can say nothing concrete about it.
The audience is also ready for the Pre-Olympic celebration of the French team. They got special banners from French TV Channels 3 and 5. Impatient people wave them and waiting for the skaters.
We continue our little conversation with Nathalie. She is also ready to go out to the street rink. We are talking about their old dance – perhaps somebody can remember that Nathalie and Fabian a few years ago skated to famous “Masquerade” waltz of Khachaturian, the music that Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia chose for this year and now show magnificent world records.
“They are great athletes anyway and they’d be great regardless of kind of music they choose!” says Natalie and stands up. Brian, Nathalie and Fabian go on the ice first, and they are immediately surrounded by photographers.
It’s getting dark outside, people are exited and skaters show a couple of high level elements – a few things that can be done on a rink of such quality. Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres even dare to show their typical lift – the audience surprised and screaming “Ah…”.
Brian Joubert, who skillfully circles trees at a full speed, shows some spins and step sequences at full power under incessant applause. He can interpret every kind of music, skating with a little smile and great energy, and present himself even if he´d do nothing but just standing on the ice.
Mey Berenice Meite shows her program´s lovely elements and spins. Fabian suddenly picks Natalie. First they are rotating, and then he takes her up in the air, showing a new lift to pleasure the audience. Even thought she is suited in a short coat with a scarf and he is wearing a training costume, we can see and immediately recognize our Little Prince and his Rose – their eyes and their crazy energy reveals it.
After skating, Fabian gets his Birthday cake and his teammates are singing “Happy Birthday”.
It remains to wish to this great and friendly French team good luck at the Olympic Games in Sochi. And a Christmas wish, thought in such a wonderful place like Champs Elysees, certainly will come true.
Et de l’Étoile à la Concorde
Un orchestre à mille cordes
Tous les oiseaux du point du jour
Photos: Alexandra Ilina