Fiery Fernandez carrying flag for Spanish skaters

Toronto-based skater excited for new Charlie Chaplin free skate

Medaling at the 2013 European Championships is at the top of Javier Fernandez's to-do list.
Medaling at the 2013 European Championships is at the top of Javier Fernandez's to-do list. (Getty Images)


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By Vladislav Luchianov, special to
(09/06/2012) - For Javier Fernandez, last season can be divided into two parts. In the first, he showed further progress in his skating and entered the history of sport in his country by earning the first three medals by a Spanish skater in the Grand Prix Series: silvers at Skate Canada and the Rostelecom Cup, and bronze at the Grand Prix Final in Quebec City.

But the rest of the season proved less successful for him. Although he was considered one of the favorites at the 2012 European Championships in Sheffield, Great Britain, he only finished sixth at that event. He ended his season by placing ninth at the 2012 World Championships in Nice, France.

In spite of his inconsistency last season, Fernandez is showing growth as a skater. Such difficult elements as the quad have become a normal part of his programs. talked with Fernandez about improvements in his skating, his new programs and his goals for the coming season. Last season was very historic for you as well as for the sport in Spain. Do you expect more from yourself in the coming season?

Fernandez: I will like to do good performances in all my competitions and get a medal at the Europeans this season. It's a lot of work, because there are lots of good skaters in Europe, but I'll work to make that medal true. Could you tell us about new improvements you've worked on during this offseason?

Fernandez: I think the spins for this year will be better. The triple Axel, which last year I had some trouble with, this summer came back as one of my best jumps, and the triple-triple combo now is working much better, too. In your view, what influenced such different results last season at the European championships and worlds as compared to the Grand Prix?

Fernandez: Last year I started the season really strong; it was the first year I skated at that level in my career. The practices were really good at that point, but at Europeans I didn't get used to the ice and to the competition in general, and I think that harmed the world championships because I was afraid to make the same mistakes. Tell us about your programs for the new season?

Fernandez: My new programs for this year are Zorro for the short program and Charlie Chaplin for the free program. Both of them are choreographed by David Wilson. The short program was David's decision, and Charlie Chaplin was my idea. I wanted to do it years ago, but I never ended up doing the music, so I talked with Brian [Orser] and David, and they thought it was a great idea. It seems you never make your programs simple just for the sake of receiving higher points. Is that right?

Fernandez: Exactly! I'm the person who tries to have the highest score I can, trying to put in difficult jumps, spins and steps. I don't think I can do a program with only triples; it's not my way of skating. After Evgeni Plushenko came back, many other elite skaters decided to return to the sport. What do you think about it?

Fernandez: Well, those skaters are coming on really strong, and we are going to fight to be in the top at every competition. In my opinion, it's good to compete with everybody who is coming back so I can see how much I need to improve. What do you think about Czech skater Michal Brezina recently saying about Plushenko: "Skaters like me and Javy [Fernandez] and Tommy (Tomas Verner) have to skate clean and show Zhenya, 'You were great; it's our time now.' " Do you agree with that?

Fernandez: What Michal said is really true. Now new skaters are coming really hard, pushing the skaters at the top, and each year we are going to push harder and harder. What do you personally have to do to defeat your main competitors?

Fernandez: I see skating like polishing a piece of wood. When you have the piece of wood, you have to make it smooth and shiny. That's what I need to do: to improve and clean up my skating. This sport is about perfection, and perfection is what you need to arrive at the gold. What are your expectations and personal goals for the upcoming season? Is waving the Spanish flag at victory ceremonies part of your plans?

Fernandez: A medal at Europeans, good performances in all competitions and being happy with my programs. Yes, sure! I want to listen to the Spanish anthem and have the flag up there always. I'm proud of my country, and I want my country to be proud of me.