No rest for Spain's Fernandez this holiday season

Busy skater continues to make history

Javier Fernández's win at Skate Canada marked the first time a Spanish skater had taken home the gold from a Grand Prix event.
Javier Fernández's win at Skate Canada marked the first time a Spanish skater had taken home the gold from a Grand Prix event. (Getty Images)


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By Lois Elfman, special to
(12/27/2012) - It's a good thing holiday celebrations in Spain continue into January because leading up to Christmas, Spanish men's champion Javier Fernández was going full throttle. Immediately after finishing fourth at the Grand Prix Final, where he won the free skate, Fernández headed to Spain for the national championships, where he earned his third senior title.

With competitions finally done for 2012, Fernández, 21, is able to spend a bit of time with his family in Madrid. Before he left home at 17 to train -- first in the U.S. and now in Canada -- he spent the holidays with family.

"On Christmas Eve, we usually would go to my dad's parents," Fernández recalled. "We would spend four or five days with my dad's family."

His grandmother and aunts cooked delicious delicacies each day.

"Lots of different things on the table," he said. "Some little sandwiches, a lot of different entrees."

In Spain, an even greater tradition than Christmas -- which Fernández refers to "Santa Claus Day" -- is the Feast of the Epiphany, annually celebrated on Jan. 6. The holiday celebrates the visit of the three Magi.

"When I was young, I have huge memories about that," Fernández said. "In my family, we used to put shoes in all my family's houses. I would take a pair of shoes and put one pair in my grandparents' house, my mom's parents, another pair in my dad's parents' house. All my family that was living in Madrid at that time were putting shoes in all the different houses.

"The shoes were kind of for the kings to know your shoes were there. It was going to be a present with your shoes."

His first taste of a North American Christmas came last year, when he shared the holiday with his girlfriend, Canadian-born ice dancer Cortney Mansour, and her family.

"What I found out is so much more presents," Fernández said. "Everybody had at least, no joke, like 10 presents."

Mansour's birthday was not long before Christmas, so Fernández was going to combine her gifts. He said he bought one during the Grand Prix season, when he was at the NHK Trophy, and was planning to get something else when he was in Spain.

"She's not going to be able to have them on Christmas," said Fernández, who did promise to deliver the gifts when he gets back to Canada.

It's been another historical season for Fernández, who became the first Spanish skater to win a Grand Prix event. Even sweeter, his victory at Skate Canada came over reigning two-time world champion Patrick Chan.

"You don't know what you want after that because one of your goals is pretty much done," Fernández said. "I have to keep working on practices and I have to keep my mind focused. I have to concentrate and focus on what I'm doing every day.

"This year, I already improved a lot in competition," he added. "I don't feel a lot of pressure. I will have in my mind that I already improved because I was able to win a Grand Prix.

"I don't have anything in my mind about 'I have to do this.' I just want to go and do my job that I do every day in practice."