Joubert is totally focused on new season

France's biggest name in skating to step-up programs this year

A new hairdo isn't the only surprise Joubert has up his sleeve this season.
A new hairdo isn't the only surprise Joubert has up his sleeve this season. (Getty Images)


Related Content Top Headlines
By Lois Elfman, special to
(07/09/2008) - When Brian Joubert landed on the medal podium at the 2002 European Championships he faced the press with a braggadocio befitting a 17-year-old.

"I said I want to be world champion and Olympic champion, and all the French journalists were waiting for it," he says. "It put a lot of pressure on me, so it was difficult to be focused and to forget the French journalists. Now, I've been world champion and it's easier."

Joubert won his world title in 2007 and finished with silver this year. He also won world silver in 2004 and '06. With the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver just 19 months away, Joubert, 23, is striving to become more consistent in competition. When contacted him, he was at the French team's training camp in Courchevel, high in the French Alps.

"Training at altitude is very difficult," he says. "The first three weeks are very hard, very difficult for the muscles, for the body. You have to be very strong mentally. That's why I like to train here, because if I have good preparation in the summer, the rest of the season is easier."

Back in May, Joubert came to the United States to have Evgeny Platov, two-time Olympic gold medalist in ice dancing, choreograph his programs.

"I wanted to change a little bit," Joubert explains of his choice of choreographer. "I knew that it's going to be great to work with him, because he's a great guy. I met him many times at competitions.

"I felt he gave me a lot of new things. We worked 100 percent. It was great, so much fun. I'm really happy about my new programs, because I feel very confident. I really want to start the competitions to see how it is with the judges and with the audience."

Joubert declines to reveal details, preferring to keep the music choices under wraps until he debuts the programs at the French Masters in September. He does say that he may try to do an international competition before Grand Prix season to get feedback prior to Trophée Eric Bompard and Cup of Russia. He's waiting to hear from the French federation about this.

To increase his flexibility and stamina, Joubert has begun a new off-ice training regimen. Now entering his third season working with coach Jean-Christophe Simond, Joubert finds his jumps require less exertion. When he competed in the early 80s, Simond was a master at compulsory school figures. He has slowly taught Joubert how to be more efficient in his skating.

"He knows how to use the blade, how to use the edges to be light on the ice and to have a lot of power," Joubert explains. "He has taught me a lot about this. I know how to do a jump without a lot of energy, because he taught me how to use my blade, how to use my edging. I think we will need one more year to be perfect. I think it's going to be perfect for the Olympic season."

After spending the summer practicing, Joubert hopes to work with Platov to fine tune the programs prior to the start of this season, but they haven't yet worked out a schedule. There are still costumes to be designed, and Joubert is sticking with the same people who've created his costumes for the past several years.

"I keep the same team every season, because they do a very good job," he notes. "I feel confident with them, so I keep them."

His goals are to improve on each aspect of his skating from season to season and also step up his consistency.

"This season is very important because it's 2009," Joubert says. "It's one year before the Olympic Games. I really want to do a good season to show to the judges and to the audience that I can be Olympic champion. That's why I want to do my best. I will try to give 100 percent in every competition and we will see."