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Pechalat, Bourzat ready to fight for worlds podium

European ice dance champions expect the great competition at worlds

Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat hug after winning gold at the European Championships.
Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat hug after winning gold at the European Championships. (Getty Images)

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By Vladislav Luchianov, special to icenetwork.com
(04/12/2011) - European ice dance champions Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat are showing determination as they work their way to the top. This season, the team placed first in seven competitions including their victory at the European championships in Bern in January. Their gold-medal collection from 2010-11 also includes victories at the Nebelhorn Trophy, Finlandia Trophy, Cup of China, Trophée Eric Bompard, French Masters and French national championships.

On the threshold of the world championships in Moscow, the French skaters have kindly agreed to answer a few questions for icenetwork.com

How the uncertain situation with world championships has affected your preparation?

Pechalat/Bourzat: When we first heard that the championships in Japan were canceled, we were sad because of the tragedy there. We go often [to] Japan for shows, and we love this country and its people. We wish them all the best.

On the other hand we were a little bit down some days and we cooled down a bit on the practice. It was a big deception as we were ready for the event. Then we heard that the ISU and some federations were still willing this to happen, so we got back to work because we wanted to take part in it!

The world championships will be in Moscow, in a city where you train. Will this factor helpful?

Pechalat/Bourzat: We were joyful when we discovered that worlds will take place in Moscow at the same ice rink where we practice every day, but it won't influence to our performances. We have to be focus on our goal. We especially like the fact that our Russian friends and the family of Nathalie can come and see our skating performances live. We will [do] everything we can to win the best medal here and to show to Russia all the good things they give to us.

Has something changed in programs after your victorious European championships?

Pechalat/Bourzat: We did some little changes in the midline of the short dance, and we focused on the choreography and the step sequence technique. But since we [became] European champions we skate differently, with more heart and power!

Performances created by Alexander Zhulin are always very creative. Your free dance is Charlie Chaplin-themed. How much is it uneasy to combine such different emotions in this performance?

Pechalat/Bourzat: Sasha [did] an outstanding job on this program. We combined our efforts with his ideas to make such a routine. We put our own personality into it. Furthermore, we worked with an actor/clown who helped us to tell the story of Chaplin -- his life and all things he tried to explain and give to people. It helped us a lot to put our emotions into this work.

What could you say about new ice dance teams which appeared this season in ice dancing and about your main contenders at the upcoming worlds?

Pechalat/Bourzat: Of course I'm first thinking about the top ranked skaters such as Meryl Davis and Charlie White and Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, but we all have different styles which are very entertaining for the audience. But we think your question was more about the young teams like Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov or Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani. They have a high potential. Also, it's important that now the European figure skating can be proud and can be able to face the North American skaters.

As for our main contenders, we respect them a lot as we already competed against Meryl and Charlie this season [at the Grand Prix Final] but since January and our victory at the European championships, we are stronger and determined than ever. We are also expecting Tessa and Scott, who were injured this year, to be on the top. We want a fair fight and great competition, and we want to show it to the Russian audience.

Tell us, please, about your plans after the world championships?

Pechalat/Bourzat: After the worlds we have a charity shows in benefit of the Japanese people. It will be in St. Petersburg on May 2. Right away we are flying to Seoul to take part in the Yu-Na Kim show.

Month of May and June is usually booked for shows and holidays (10 days or so) and then we get back to work in order to prepare for the new season. Also, we will have travels with ice show programs over France, Japan and South Korea.

Are there any new images which you would like to create on the ice?

Pechalat/Bourzat: Everything we want to create on the ice we do it, but for the next images you'll have to wait until the next season.

We love to create, it is the way we started in this sport and it will be so until the end.