Ice Network

Březina tries to avoid fourth-place label in Sweden

Czech talks about inconsistent results, relationship with younger sister
  • Ice Network on Facebook
  • Ice Network on Twitter
Michal Březina says he is happy to be back training in Oberstdorf, Germany, with his old coach, Karel Fajfr. -Getty Images

Czech skater Michal Březina made radical changes at the start of this season. Because of the high cost of training in the United States, he decided to leave his training base in Hackensack, New Jersey, last June and go back to Europe to rejoin his old coach, Karel Fajfr, in Oberstdorf, Germany.

He started a new competitive season with a silver medal at the 2014 Nebelhorn Trophy. His results in the 2014 Grand Prix Series were mixed: seventh at Skate Canada and a bronze medal at the Rostelecom Cup.

At the 2015 European Championships in Stockholm, Sweden, the Czech skater wants to accomplish three main goals: perform well, stay as close as he can to his main rivals...and avoid fourth place. Indeed, Březina has become known for finishing one spot off the podium. The evidence shows that this reputation is warranted: Over the past five years, he has nine fourth-place finishes at international competitions. He does not want this figure to increase this week.

Icenetwork talked with the Czech about his moving back to Europe, his thoughts on the first half of the season and his feelings on his younger sister's debut on the Grand Prix circuit.

Icenetwork: Michal, the 2015 European Championships are this week. Tell us about your preparation for this continental event.

Březina: Well, the preparation went as it always does. I didn't do any special things...just the same as for every competition.

Icenetwork: You already have a bronze from 2013 Europeans. Do you expect more from yourself in Stockholm?

Březina: I just want to skate well and keep close to the guys I'm skating with there. I don't expect anything, but I want to show what I've been practicing.

Icenetwork: Your performances in the Grand Prix this season were inconsistent. Why do you think that was?

Březina: I don't know what happened in Canada. I was well prepared, but I think it was the pressure of the first big competition in the season. I wanted to do well and [do] too much…and it didn't pay off.

Icenetwork: Your main European competitors, such as Javier Fernández and Maxim Kovtun, didn't perform up to their usual standards in the Grand Prix circuit either. What do you think the reason for this was?

Březina: The Olympic season, for sure. It was long, [and] a lot of skaters took bigger breaks, so preparation for this season was shorter. But I think that is entirely OK because sometimes your body just needs a break and [to] recharge.

Icenetwork: Last June you decided to rejoin Karel Fajfr in Oberstdorf due to the great expense of training in the United States. Has your return to Europe met your expectations?

Březina: I know the (skating) center here very well, so there wasn't much to get use to, but I'm happy I made the change. The season has gone pretty well for me so far, and the conditions for skating in Oberstdorf are great. I'm really grateful they welcomed me back, and I'm happy to be representing this skating center.

Icenetwork: This season we saw your sister, Eliška, debuting at senior Grand Prix events. Tell us a little about her.

Březina: I think we have a good relationship on and off the ice. Of course, it's hard to be close if I live so far away from the Czech Republic and I don't go to my parents' house that much anymore. But from time to time she comes to train here in Oberstdorf, so I can see what she's doing and, of course, help her a little if I can. As for her debut in the Grand Prix, I think she did pretty well as the first Czech woman in a very long time to even qualify and be invited to the series. I'm happy for her that she did so well. I hope she will continue in that way.

Icenetwork: As the older brother, you most likely give her some advice. How does she receive it?

Březina: I think she's always listening when I'm trying to help her, but you never know how much of what I tell her will stay in her head (smiling). But she always tries to do everything I tell her on the ice.

Icenetwork: As I understand it, Eliška intends to eventually become a skating coach. And how about you?

Březina: Of course, I would love to be a coach. I love skating, and it's one of the things I can do really well, so I would love to give all I have learned to other skaters, if they give me a chance.

Icenetwork: I think it would not be wrong to say that one of your goals for your future competitions is avoiding fourth-place finishes. What are some other things you want to accomplish in the second half of this season?

Březina: Well, I really want to skate well at the rest of my competitions. If I end up fourth again, I'm going to be OK with it...if I skate well, though. But, yes, I would like to avoid the fourth places.