Parisian ratatouille: Day Two at Trophée BompardAde wears same scarf every competition; Brown pleases crowd at practice
Jean-Christophe Berlot checks in with news and notes from Day Two of 2013 Trophée Eric Bompard.
Shanetta Folle has gained international fame from her coaching of Mao Asada, and now of Florent Amodio. She knows a lot about languages: She was born in Estonia, is an Austrian citizen, lives in Germany and now coaches both in Japan and France (and, of course, she expresses herself in English). She has always emphasized that a jump was actually the result of a whole sequence of preparatory steps. "A jump is like a sentence," she suggested. "It starts with the first letter and goes through a number of words and steps all the way to the end period, which is the jump itself. As a coach, I can see from any place in the sentence if it is going to be correct. If it is, then the jump will be big, easy and effortless, and if the skater is going to retain some speed after the landing. And it will get a +3 GOE!" Skaters, watch your words!
"When I started skating with Dalilah" [Sappenfield] (his coach)," John Coughlin recalled, "I tried to say she was from Hawaii. So after a while some journalists started asking her which island she was from." "In fact," Sappenfield explained, laughing, "My name is a Spanish one. This is why it is spelled that way, instead of the usual 'Delilah.' " Coughlin added, "I would pretend to be somewhere else when she was asking who had suggested the idea that she was from Hawaii!"
A scarf for life!
Kori Ade, who coaches Jason Brown, could be seen wearing an orange wool scarf in the arena. "You see that scarf?" she asked. "Jason made it when he was 7 years old and gave it to me. I promised him that I would wear it at nationals if he made it to nationals. He did! And I did." Except Jason went way beyond nationals, as he won a bronze and a silver medal at the world junior championships. Kori has worn it one day at every championship since. It is made with different colors -- yet mostly orange tones, and is quite elaborate, with different kinds of stitches. You never know where a scarf can take you. Maybe to the stars. Ask the Little Prince, whom Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat are portraying in their free dance. His scarf became famous all over the universe!
At 9:00 a.m. Friday, the stairs of the Paris arena were packed with groups of people, soon turning into a crowd. The organizers had invited numerous classes from Paris and the neighborhood to attend the practice session. Within minutes, there were 6,000 kids from kindergarten (holding hands) to high school students (impossible to maintain in any kind of an order). Entering the arena, the crowd recomposed according to specific classes, under the yells of their teachers.
"Whoa! That's what it is!" a kid whispered. They had seen the arena on television for a concert or tennis match but never had seen it live. Then they discovered the ice and the champions practicing on it. Any jump, spin or spiral was enthusiastically applauded with "whoas" and "haaans." "Don't you think they are cold?" a child wondered. "Is Brian Joubert here?" another one asked. Teachers are taking the coats of the little ones away one by one, and other teachers have to understand that they will have to watch their class more than the ice, at least at the beginning. Television will never replace live performance.
"You're not born a pairs skater ... you become one."
… Simone de Beauvoir, the renowned feminist philosopher from France, could have said. After their practice session, Nicole Della Monica and Matteo Guarise, the Italian pair, went around the stands in the arena. Guarise was wearing a black sweatshirt. Embroidered in his back were red words: "Built 2 resist." Della Monica is rather petite, and while their skating may look smooth and fluid, it's certainly worth stating that being a pair carrier is not only a vocation!
What a masterpiece is
You may think: "Oh, well, this is yet another skate: triple Axel, triple flip-triple toe, triple Lutz. I have seen this story a million times…" Yes, but… When that same "old story" came back Friday morning, as Jason Brown took the ice for his practice session, the audience stopped yelling and shouting all at once. Brown is not only a crowd pleaser and an artist -- he uses his unique gift to lead you on his own artistic journey. The arena exploded in applause after what was after all only a practice session! One of those jewels only figure skating can offer, and a magical moment for free.
Let's be in heaven!
"I'm in heaven!" Fred Astaire's song led the short dance of Canada's Nicole Orford and Thomas Williams. "Oh, that movie was such a blast!" honorary ISU referee Lysiane Lauret, almost 90 years old, recalled. "We loved that movie so much that my parents and I remained in the theatre where it was played, so that we could see it twice!"
It's not easy to be parents!
Anyone who has entered a skating rink has had an interesting story about security. Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat's parents have experienced the same Friday morning as they tried to enter the arena. "No, you can't" was all they got. "Our children are skating today!" "No, you can't."
Some did manage to get in for the training sessions, however. "We joined the school children!" they explained. They could not quite pretend that they were school children, though. How did security let them in without a word?
"It was very simple!" they said. "We just told them that we were parents!"
Who can ever say they lied?