My Years at Louviers – Part 4

My first year Junior
« Pink Panther – Hip-hop »
Season 2007-2008

After our title of French Champions in Novice D2, and because the skaters in the Senior D2 team have almost all decided to stop skating, Valerie has decided to take up a new challenge: create a Junior D2 named the Mozaïk.

To be part of the team, we had to audition. In addition to meeting the technical requirements of skating, it was also necessary to meet the requirement for the category, ie be 12 years old before July 1st. I was close to have my thirteenth birthday, so I went to the audition and was chosen to join the team.

By joining the Junior team, I had just propelled myself into the club’s star team. Like everywhere else, the most experienced team inspires the youngest skaters to become like them later. In my case, in 3 years I went from the skater with the stars in the eyes to the example to follow…

My friends Camille and Maude, from Jeanne d’Arc of Rouen, have also joined the team. The summer-camp spent in Cherbourg during the month of August, the good agreement with the girls and less restrictive schedules allowing them to study have made them want to try the adventure. Their decision will mark an important turning point at the end of the season.

In the meantime, after the victory of last year and my time at the Jeanne D’Arc in Rouen, I no longer saw my sport as a hobby with some competitions to have fun: I wanted to win.

We had a good team and good progress as the season progressed.
Apart from our first competition and our 4th place, we were able to make a podium each time: even during our participation in a competition taking place in Huttwil, Switzerland.
Indeed, the official practice, one of my teammates, Mathilde fell and has his hand cut off during his fall. Fortunately, nothing serious, but we had to reorganize the whole program to be able to skate without her.
However, despite this little adventure, it was really a pride to make a podium, and even a second place in a semi-international competition.

With Camille, we were also chosen to skate with the Novice team. Two of their skaters couldn’t make the trip, so we agreed to replace them. It seems that we have brought good energy to the team: she had just made the best score of their season, and had the taste to work even harder to get on the podiums.
I have always loved doing several teams, it allowed me to skate with my friends who weren’t in the same team as me, but also to get to know the new skaters!
The only downside to this commitment was the practice when arriving in Switzerland. We had made our way by bus, by bus sleeper, and despite the fatigue of the trip we had an ice training around midnight. And obviously, doing both teams, we finished around 2 am, something like that! And it really wasn’t our best practice!

Photos of both Louviers teams
(First picture, I am at the bottom, in black on the left, on the second picture, I am at the second from the right)

2008 was a landmark year for the city of Rouen. She had the honor of hosting not only the French Cup in early February, but also the Junior World Cup in March!

For the occasion, Valérie was in charge of choreographing a program for the opening ceremony of the competition. Skaters from all over Normandy were invited to participate and of course I was part of it.

For the event, skaters of Rouen and Louviers welcomed home skaters from Caen, Le Havre and Cherbourg during the rehearsal week-end. This allowed to create a real cohesion between the different skaters and to get to know each other differently than in a context of competition and « rivalry ».

Our performance was really well received and what I saw in my future experiences, I find that our service remains one of the most original.
Subsequently, from the stands, I attended the competition with stars in my eyes and I had the desire and ambition to participate in my turn to a World Cup, but I did not necessarily realize this dream.

Photo of the Opening Ceremony of the Junior World Cup
And I have the chance to be lifted!

After this beautiful parenthesis, the rest of the season has resumed. We had a big chance to win the French Championships and that’s what we wanted.

We were competing with two other teams, Axel’ice from Caen and Etincelles from Saint-Etienne. We all won a competition in turn and never finishing in the same order on the podium which made the battle for the title of French Champions really interesting!

Last season, our victory was rather lucky, but this year, we knew we were in the race and we had the intention to succeed! Especially since just before, we watched the program of our Novice team and although the competition was important, they won!

The Novice team from Louviers was French Champion for the second year in a row!

With this small boost in addition, it was now up to us to prove ourselves. We did a good program, but with two falls. I was the first to fall, really stupidly, and that’s what led to the second fall…
However, our falls occur at unwelcome moments, that is during program transitions, so our technical score hasn’t been affected. What could have been a tragedy for us, was not that bad and turned out to be our strength. We always had a tendency to weaken the level of energy towards the end of the program but the two falls have instead re motivate the team. It was out of the question to let down: we intended to fight to the end!

It was a lot of stress waiting for the notes, but finally we had 59 points, minus the two deduction points, that was 57 points. It was our best score of the season!
Our score will remain the best score of the competition and therefore:

We were also French Champions!

The different emotions of the team at the announcement of the score.♥

Two teams from Louviers had just climbed on the top step of the podium. In addition, at the French Championships! It was a real victory for the club and for skaters.
We always had to fight with the ice rink manager for hours of ice, and our season always started much later than for all the other teams on the circuit.

But nothing is impossible if you work hard to get what you want. This is due already seen and heard but it’s a good part of reality. This title, we went looking for it, working even harder to make up for less training hours and believing we could do it.

So we did it, as simple as that.

A successful year!

In terms of competition, it was one of my best seasons in France. Each competition was a surprise, not really knowing who would win, except the team that was able to do the best performance.
We had good chemistry in the Mozaïk, that’s what made the season unique but also magical, and that’s what allowed us to reach our goal, I think. We had the same goal, so we were able to work together for this success.

This season also marked my second year as an individual competitor with a lot of changes.
The French system, which until now had only 3 divisions, decided to go to 5 to allow more skaters to experience the competitions. The best were in the 1st division and for my part, I was in the 3rd, right in the middle.
However, the system allowed me as well to be in the 3rd division than in the 4th, and thus to be able to acquire more experience by multiplying the competitions as explained to me by my coaches.
For my part, I understood their point of view, but that’s not how I saw things. I just felt that being in the 4th division, I was less good and I wanted to be with the best, even if it was to finish last.
Now, with hindsight and more maturity, it was just in my personal interest to be registered in both divisions: to gain confidence and gain experience.

So I learned about the system and there are medals in skating to validate its skills. If I could validate the medal just above mine, I couldn’t go below the 3rd division. So that’s what I did, I reached the required level, I asked to pass the medal and I fought to have it.

And I achieved my goal.

My 2008 theme music program:
The Last Emperor

That same year, I won my first Normandy Champion title and started learning how to skate for the younger ones. By the way, half of my Saturday was dedicated to skating:
8:00 to 10:00 Figure Skating
10:00 to 11:00 Coaching
12:15 to 13:45 Synchro
I loved my Saturdays like that, it was just fun and starting to introduce to the youngest was something I really liked doing.
The only downside is that from 8:00 to 13:45, there was no surfacing!

It is also the first time I was « noticed. » Indeed, a 3 day course was organized in Poitiers, bringing together potential skaters selected, it seems, the League of Normandy. This course began the day after my French Synchro Championships, which was held in Brest.
So I had to make the road between the two, which is about 484km.
My parents had agreed with me so that I didn’t stay for the podium: I had to arrive on Sunday night in Poitiers. Finally, with our victory, my parents changed their minds so that I could live this special moment with my teammates.
We made the road in the evening, slept at the hotel and I was deposited the next morning the ice rink of Poitiers, which is also the skating rink of Brian Joubert, World Champion 2007. I felt like I was walking on his feet so there were pictures of him. In any case, during these three days, I was able to meet new people while continuing to progress.

In July, the Louviers club organized its first summer camp at Le Mans. An opportunity for everyone to keep skating during the holidays and strengthen our friendships. We were not only members of a club or a synchro team, but we were like a small family, the advantage of being few.

In any case, during this season I had the chance to climb the ladder of the synchro, by accessing the most coveted title twice in a row, but I was also doing the same thing in figure skating, opening doors of a world that was still unknown to me 2 years ago.

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