Williams shifts Brazil’s interest towards figure skating

Brazil's figure skating team

By Vladislav Luchianov

It seems that Brazil, a well-known soccer country, begins to pay serious attention to figure skating. Last month, the country’s Ice Sports Federation organized an event in New Jersey with an aim to support promising Brazilian skaters.

Moreover, they are planning to make similar events regularly, holding them in different ice rinks across the United States to see sports facilities, training regimens and get opinions from different experts. Brazil’s ice invasion? Not yet, but who knows? We all remember modest Spain, which now takes high places at top competitions and whose city of Barcelona will be the host of 2014/15 ISU Grand Prix Final.

The successes of the Brazilian skating primarily associated with the name of Isadora Williams, who made history, being the first female figure skater to represent Brazil in the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi last season. This skater came very close to her Olympic dream at the 2013 World Championships, where she had to place in the top 24. Williams missed by a single place, finishing 25th. In spite of this, an 18-year-old Andrei Krukov’s student continued to work hard and move forward toward her Olympic goal.

In September last year, Isadora competed at the 2013 Nebelhorn Trophy, the final qualifying competition for the 2014 Sochi Olympics. She finished 12th overall and as a result, Brazil received one of the six remaining Olympic spots.

This summer, she participated at various ice shows and, most likely thanks to her very artistic style of skating, was invited by Michael Weiss to take part in his Foundation Ice Champions skating project.

WFS online magazine talked with Williams about the growing interest in figure skating in her country, Brazil’s young talents, her new programs and general preparation for the coming season.

Isadora Williams photo work

– Isadora, recently you participated at the opening event of the first ever organized clinic for Brazilian skaters in Little Falls, New Jersey. Tell us more about this clinic and its purposes.

– The clinic was a workshop gathering all the Brazilian skaters training in the United States. We all were able to meet each other for the first time, evaluate one another and work with several coaches at the rink.

– Will it be something like a main base for Brazilian skaters who train in the United States?

– Not exactly. While in New Jersey all the Brazilian skaters came up with the idea that we would rotate rinks for future clinics. For example, this particular clinic was in New Jersey, the rink of one of our skaters. But the next will be held at the rink of one of the other skaters. By doing this we’ll be able to travel and see the facilities and training regimens other Brazilian skaters and get a variety of expert opinions that could help better us all as skaters.

– In your vision, how did Brazil, a 99.9% soccer country, decide to support such a winter sport like figure skating?

– The Brazilian people are shifting their interests and looking to athletes of other sports to support and cheer on. Recently figure skating has gained a large interest in Brazil and I think they’ve put a little bit of pressure on the Brazilian Olympic Committee to see more successful skaters come out of our country. By investing in our skaters, we continue to keep putting out better and better skaters and we are slowly but surely gaining respect from the international skating committee.

Isadora Williams is performing her short program in last season

Isadora Williams at one of last year’s performances

– Are there some supportive programs for those young talents who don’t have enough of financial sources for our not cheap kind of sport?

– Unfortunately was not a point yet financially to invest in skaters not ready to complete on the international circuit. But those who are now are getting financial support for their training, which is a huge improvement for our federation than from a few years ago.

– We all know your achievements of last season. But could you tell us a few about promising Brazilian juniors?

– At the clinic I was pleasantly surprised to see that we have several promising Brazilian skaters. They all train at respected, well-known facilities with great coaches and I believe that several of them could be very competitive in a few years.

– The new season is coming soon. How is your preparation going?

– After the Olympics I felt a little burnt out, and was actually on the verge of quitting, but four months later at new rink and with a new coach here I am training again. I’m still getting back into the swing of things but overall training is going well and I’m excited to be competing again.

– Tell us about your new programs and images you will portray on the ice?

– I’m a HUGE classic rock fan and my new short program is a classical version of one of my favorite songs Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin. In this program I start out very soft and delicate, and then progress to a more powerful piece of the music in the second half. For my long I am skating to a beautiful compilation of Brazilian music. I really wanted to show my heritage and a more fun side of myself with this program.

Isadora Williams is getting ready for new short program

Isadora Williams is about to take the ice for the new short program

– Do you already know your events schedule for the first half of new season?

– I plan to compete at the Volvo Cup this fall and Four Continents, and hopefully the World Championships early next year.

– What new goals would you like to achieve in the coming season?

– Competing at the Olympics was my biggest goal ever since I can remember and qualifying, and competing in Sochi was one of the most wonderful experiences of my entire life, but also one of the most stressful. With the pressure of the Olympics gone, my goal this season is to do my best at my planned competitions and have a little more fun.

Photo: Matheus Figueiredo, official Facebook page of Isadora Williams

WFS - An independent online sports magazine