We left for the French Championships with the confidence and the certainty that we were going to win. We now had the same feeling about the French Cup: qualification would be for us.
What I liked most about this competition was the opportunity to see the biggest teams from around the world at home, in my second ice rink. I was sort of behind the scenes: I now knew every corner of this place and I spent as much time as possible at the ice rink to watch the unofficial practices. Indeed, throughout the week, the rink was practically privatized for the French Cup and every teams had the possibility to train on the competition rink from Tuesday.
For my part, I generally had an absence for the school which started on Thursday. So on Wednesday, after classes and my figure skating practice at noon in Louviers, I found myself wandering around the Rouen ice rink until our training.
Despite the fact that the competition took place at home, we still slept at the hotel to be together and have the best possible cohesion. Especially when it came to playing our qualification for the Junior World Challenge Cup.
Again, we passed before Black Diam’s. Our official practice was good and we felt ready for the competition. I think we’ve never been so excited to skate.
The atmosphere of the French Cup is incredible, and any skater who has had the chance to skate there will say it, but when you represent France and you are the star team of the city, it’s indescribable. Our families, our friends are there to encourage us and it motivates us even more.
It’s a lie to say that it doesn’t have a certain impact. We were skating at home and we knew it was to our advantage. It helped us to have even more self-confidence. But that wasn’t all: the proof, we still lost the previous season.
What counted above all, it was skating.
We had the honor of opening the junior competition, in front of an audience also made up of primary school students. Suffice to say that the atmosphere was deafening: we represented France and the children were screaming so loudly that we barely heard the music. It was intense and a little stressful. But there is always a moment when you skate, I don’t know how, I forget what is happening around me. I’m in the moment and the only thing I see is my teammates.
The biggest drama of a team is a fall. And it’s even more frustrating when it happens at the end of the program. And that’s what happened to us.
We had an intersection and we were done, and there without warning, two girls collided and fell. In the space of half a second we saw our dream fly away, our world had just collapsed. It was a disappointment coming out of the ice, I couldn’t believe it really happened, and it was even worse when we get the scores: around 35 points and we had another point of deduction because our music was too long…
Our coaches were trying to reassure us: « It’s not over, there is still the free program tomorrow, we haven’t yet seen the performance of Compiègne. » The words echoed in my head but I couldn’t forget my disappointment. I needed a moment of reflection for them to act on me.
But for Anne-Sophie and Valérie, it was not easy either to believe it, it was also their dream and their chance which had just escaped us.
Especially since the Black Diam’s skated well and they were more than 5 points ahead.
Sometimes it’s nothing, sometimes it’s huge. In this case I found it irretrievable, and I thought it was over for us. I was collapsed. We had a good free program, which twice considered to be better and had allowed us to win the French Championships, but I had doubts for this time.
I lived my disappointment perhaps longer than my teammates. At the end of the competition, they were already starting to think that tomorrow, everything was possible. Our families, our friends believed in it for us, so individually, our motivation and our desire to fight began to soar.
For my part, I found it hard to tell myself that it was still possible, and I found it unrealistic to always believe in it. But ultimately, my family and Camille, my teammate with whom I shared my room, were able to find the words. Camille believed in it so much, she kept finding signs of fate that I ended up getting caught up in.
We all worked hard for this deadline and each competition being unique, we had to honor our work. It doesn’t matter how it ends.
At this point in my life, the day of the free program was certainly one of the most stressful. Usually it’s just fun to skate as a team, much more than getting on the ice, alone, and having to jump without falling.
However, for the first time, I was practically as afraid, because I knew it was important, because there was one issue, because everything was based on this performance.
But we were a real team, ready to help each other and work together to give the best performance so as not to have any regrets.
We passed just before the Black Diam’s enough to remember the scenario of the French Championships and build confidence. We had the same fear, although a little different, before the short program in Marseille: during our warm-up block, we saw that there was something on the ice and it was going to be disturbing to skate. Aaricia took the time to pick it up and throw it on the other side of the railing. (We will learn later that at these times, it must be given to the judge next to the ice. In cases of a problem, he has the evidence with him and he can act accordingly)
Despite everything, the tension was rising a notch within the team: the situation was already stressful and this moment made us waste time to place ourselves before skating. We didn’t want to start with a deduction point before we even skate!
But strangely, once in place, waiting for the music, it’s as if all the nervousness and tension of the moment were evaporating. We could feel it: we were relaxed and ready to skate to give the best of ourselves.
This performance will remain the best of our season and certainly the most determined to prove that we were all just as good. Verdict: 69 points on the free program! We had just exploded our personal international record, and we couldn’t be happier with the score! It was suddenly an explosion of joy.
Total combined of the two programs: 104 points. It was honorable for us, especially at the French Cup, but we feared that it was not enough.
Compiègne was now on the ice, and for us, it was towards the locker room. The most horrible moment was about to begin: waiting. It was endless. Nobody dared to speak or even move. What was happening was too important. Anne-Sophie was with us in the locker room watching her phone. I don’t remember where Valérie was, possibly watching the performance of the Black Diam’s. In any case, we were waiting for the door to open to announce our future: going to the World Cup or seeing our dream escape us.
However, our time in the locker room was limited, we had to release it to the next team. So we started to change in the greatest silence. Only Pauline didn’t want to change: she wanted to experience the result in her dress. I don’t know why, but it’s something that has remained in my memories.
I was thinking, that being in panties, sitting on the bench in front of the door, was not the best idea, especially if it opened. It was right then, that Thierry, the president of the Rouen Olympic Club appeared, followed by the cameras of France 3 Normandie, and said to us:
« So girls, a ticket to Gothenburg, do you want it? »
I jumped in my pants at record speed trying to hide from the camera at the same time, and we all started to scream and even cry for some girls.
We were qualified! We were going to JUNIOR WORLD CHALLENGE CUP!
TEAM FRANCE : TEAM SYNCHRO ÉNERGIE !
These emotions, this memory, I will cherish all my life.
It’s going to be the trigger for my story.
After the announcement of the qualification and the euphoria of the moment, I saw my brother in the corridor and I jumped in his arms. At the same time, Black Diam’s was heading to their locker room with tears in their eyes. No matter how happy I was for us, I felt and understood their pain.
Some would say that we were lucky, that Black Diam’s had two falls in their free program and that is why we qualified.
We also had two falls in our short program and with « ifs », we can redo the world. They had 60 points in the long program, 9 points less than us, for a total score of 102 points for Black Diam’s against 104 points for us.
I understand the disappointment, but let’s be rather happy to have two French teams who are motivated to be better than the other while being fairplay. It is the best way to raise the level of the teams in France and thus help our sport to develop.
February 6, 2010 was no longer just the 18th birthday of our teammates Maude and Audrey, but it also became the day when our team dream came true. They will tell us for themselves: they couldn’t have a better birthday present that year.
We have so many anecdotes behind this moment, but I think that the funniest will be that of Alicia. From the bathroom, she later admitted to us with her little smirk, that she had heard the scores! But she didn’t want to tell us anything before because she wasn’t sure of herself. I had seen her smile, but I didn’t want to believe it without an official announcement.
For the skaters of Louviers, we never thought of going to the Junior World Challenge Cup, it was totally unrealistic, and yet we did it!
Conversely, for the skaters of Rouen, they had grown in the hope of doing like their big sisters before them, qualified in 2005 and 2006. Today, it was their turn.
From the moment it entered my life, the French Cup has always had a special place in my life. But since February 6, 2010, it changed my destiny and it will very often be responsible for the realization of some of my dreams.
It made me admire the biggest teams in the world, I participated for the first time in 2009, and today, thanks to its, we qualified for the Junior World Challenge Cup. A dream so distant and full of ambition but ultimately to be carried. Who would have believed it ? Certainly not me.
This weekend was marked with hope, disillusionment, tears, euphoria, and determination. But it was especially significant of one thing: