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After worlds, things are looking up for Joubert

French skater anticipates competing next season

Brian Joubert's performance at the Winter Olympics was a catastrophe.
Brian Joubert's performance at the Winter Olympics was a catastrophe. (Getty Images)

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By Jean-Christophe Berlot, special to icenetwork.com
(03/30/2010) - One month after a disastrous showing at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, Brian Joubert managed an incredible comeback to win the bronze medal at the world championships in Torino.

He talked to icenetwork.com about his state of mind after winning his sixth world medal.

icenetwork: What was your goal coming to Torino for these worlds?
Brian Joubert: I just wanted to come back as I was before: a nice guy, relaxed. I wanted to find myself back to where I was a few years ago, when I was not asking myself any questions and simply wanted to do my job and skate well.

ice: Where do you think these "questions" come from?
Joubert: You know, for two years I practiced with a coach who trained me to calculate [Jean-Christophe Simond coached Brian to his world gold medal in 2007]. Everything had to be calculated with him. Everything had to be questioned all the time. I think he taught that to me. It may be good for some purpose. Yet, I am a guy who needs not to ask questions to oneself, not to calculate, not to analyze. Questions raise doubts, and doubts make me fail.

Of course, the more you grow in age and the more you have questions which come to your mind. I do not think I will ever find back the quietness of mind I had when I was 19 years old. Yet I have the means to be more relaxed. On the ice, but also (and mostly) outside of the ice, in the way I organize my life and set my priorities. This is where the Olympics Games have helped me tremendously to make me more aware and altogether better in my whole life.

ice: The difficulties at the Olympics must have raised even more questions?
Joubert: Oh yes. At the Games I asked myself so many questions. In fact, after the Games I completely lost my confidence. For instance, did that failure mean that I was not a competitor anymore? Also, I have always had difficulties with the International Judging System [Joubert has learned to skate and compete with the 6.0 system]: did I have to quit competing? I was questioning my being a skater, but it went farther. You may know that I see my future in coaching: yet could I be a coach, or should I quit skating at once for the rest of my life?

ice: So how did you manage to come back in Torino?
Joubert: You are right, this is rather ambiguous. I felt good when I arrived in Torino, yet I never found my confidence back. Actually I was terrified when I took the ice for the short program. My six minute warm-up had not been good. But as soon as my music started, all this was over and I had no questions anymore. I just wanted to live my program 100%, without even thinking of the level of my step sequences. And for the free skate, it was the last program for this season, so I really wanted to enjoy it as much as possible.

ice: After you had finally landed successfully your jumps, in the short program, you made a movement toward your coach, Laurent Depouilly.
Joubert: Yes, I wanted to share a look with him at that moment. The quad-triple had been great for the first time in a year, the triple Axel and triple Lutz had been as good and I wanted to give him a tribute. He deserves it. You know, my problems are not only for me, and Laurent had to take his share of them as well. So then, I could finally share joy and achievement with him. It was important for me.

ice: You have landed three quads in this competition, and yet you were only third. How do you feel?
Joubert: I was not really concerned with the results in Torino. Most important for me, however, was that I could enjoy and relax and find myself back. I was happy to land the quad-triple in the short program, and also to have landed two quads in the free program. It was the first time since 2006. Of course I will continue to do quads. I am sure that my competitors will work at them and will have quads by next season. I will not be the only one doing quads next season.

I would love to do the quad flip, just like Takahashi does. The flip is actually my best jump. But you know my problem: I have a wrong edge on the flip, so I lose points each time. Well (he laughs), if Takahashi does the quad flip, then I will have to do the quad Lutz!

ice: What did you bring back from these worlds, besides your sixth world medal?
Joubert: Well, as I said when I arrived in Torino I did not know if I was even able to compete anymore. Now I have my answer. These worlds showed me that I am still a competitor. I can still fight, I am not dead yet. I may not be the best in the world at this time, but I may become the best of the world again.

It is strange: skating makes me fall, it gives me so much pain and difficulties at some times, and yet skating also provides me with the best opportunities to rise back up.

This is my sixth world medal. I am very proud of this.

ice: What about the future?
Joubert: I am 25 years old now, I am still young. I will take it step by step. I will have to be much more careful next season. But one thing is sure to me: if I want to be the best again, I need to be as I was before.