« Charlie and the Chocolate Factory »
This second season was a success: our program on the theme of « Charlie and the Chocolate Factory » and our Umpa-Lumpas outfits made us popular thanks to their originality! Many skaters couldn’t wait to see us and found us « too cute! » 🙂
After a first season of discovering synchronized skating, it was sure that I wanted to continue. We were practically the same team as the previous season, with some new recruits. Although no goal was clearly set, we were a determined team and really wanted to have the best results possible.
Besides, I think it was that year that I found my place. I blossomed on the ice as a skater but also as a person. I finally felt like I find something that was made for me and where I could be free to be myself.
So I overcame my fear and shyness and with a little encouragement, I introduced myself to be captain. The team voted and I was lucky to be elected, I didn’t believe it! It was a real honor for me.
Compared to the previous season, we participated in more competitions and our progress was noticed, which was felt in our results:
We made a podium at each of our competitions!
One of our competitions was on our ice rink and we were really looking forward to skating at home, it was a great opportunity. We did a really amazing official practice, we had never been so good, so we were the big favorites of the public. However, it wasn’t the same thing during the competition, we had falls preventing us at the same time to win at home.
We had more luck during our competition in Colombes. Indeed, even if I fell and I crossed the ice on all fours before I can get up and go back to my place, on the other side of the rink, we won !!
It was our first victory and although I was disappointed to have fallen, I had the consolation prize and as captain of the team, the honor of getting on the top step of the podium.
Subsequently, our last two competitions of the season took place the same weekend. Rouen organized the Coupe de France on Saturday and the French Championships on Sunday. So we had two days of competition and therefore two passages on ice.
We finished 3rd in the Coupe de France and the French Championships, behind the two biggest synchronized skating clubs of the moment, Compiègne and Rouen. The podium was exactly the same for our category on both days! We were keen to eventually win one to two places on Sunday, but to finish 3rd out of 6 and 3rd out of 8 was already honorable.
In addition, with the other teams from Louviers, we were writing the club’s history and making the city known in France. In two years with Valérie Ballester as a coach, we managed to climb the national podiums.
In parallel and as I had just stopped gymnastics, I was able to reorganize my schedule. Doing about 15 hours of sport a week has never scared me and I also believe that this is what I did since my 8 years with all my activities. But from this season, I did it only with skating.
To be part of a team in Louviers, you also had to take one to two individual skating lessons. It was obligatory.
Personally, having expressed my desire to progress to Valerie the previous season, I did more than two lessons: I was at the rink 5 days out of 7.
I had the privilege of joining the competitors’ training, which meant that I was with the stars of the club but also that I had to push myself to try to follow them. I loved it: I didn’t always feel in my place, but I wanted to have their level, they were my source of motivation.
This privilege was all the more important as I was given for the first time a number at the Christmas gala outside of the synchro teams. Valerie wanted to start a couple program with one of the boys in the club, Alexandre. The skater who was chosen refused, so Valerie asked me to take her place and I immediately accepted.
I was proud to be able to participate in the show this way, but at the same time, a bit stressed.
Screenshots of my show with Alexandre, at the end of season gala at Cléon in 2007.
In addition, a new coach arrived at the club, Jacques Mrozek. He didn’t try to adapt his exercises for me, on the contrary, I had to do the same thing as the competitors and manage as I could to follow. I appreciated being considered as others.
Anecdote : My mother had gone to see Jacques and told him that if it was too difficult for me, there was no problem so that I wouldn’t come to this practice anymore. His answer ? « Don’t worry, for the moment she is learning and after she will follow like the others! » This was indeed the case at the end of the year.
Have you already started working on the Axel? Not yet, we’ll start! Here, look, this is how to do. Go try! »
He was the first to push me out of my limits and I was waiting impatiently for Saturday morning practices. I was really looking forward to working with him on the Axel because for me, once in a while it wasn’t enough. Especially during the season, I had a challenge: if I was able to achieve this jump by the end of October 2006, I could start individual competitions. And that tempted me well!
Especially since I participated in my second Coupe de Printemps and I won.
This season again, Valérie offered me to do a one-week summer camp, this time at Orcières-Merlette with some of the club’s competitors. I found myself propelled by some of the best skaters and hopes of France and some skaters will eventually be my rivals!
I had the chance to learn a lot from different coaches in France and to get closer to my goal, but also to work with Valérie’s brother, Jean-François Ballester. It was really a complete camp and a great experience.
It was also there that I met for the first time Bruno Massot, future 2018 Olympic champion in pairs with Aljona Savchenko, who was close to pass the triple axel and was doing his first couple trials.
I will have the opportunity to meet again in the future, especially with the Championships of Normandy and during different camps.
Needless to say, I really hoped to see him win the Olympic Games, by his past and his evolution that I could follow from a distance, but also by the admiration that I had for his partner, Aljona, for several years.
And finally: starting Synchro was like joining a mini community within my club and it allowed me to meet new people. It’s thanks to my teammates that I was able to live another summer camp, in Cherbourg, to improve myself individually. This took place at the end of August. We weren’t many, slept in a convent and walked every day to the ice rink. We alternated between ice time and off-ice work and completed the internship by doing a mini show for our parents.
It was also my first stage where my parents left me for a week and I understood that for the next time: it would be better for me to give them some news …!