We weren’t yet left for the Junior World Challenge Cup that I had the impression of being back with the gold medal, although we knew it was out of reach.
Indeed, this qualification propelled us into a new world, new doors opened to us. We were received at the town hall of Rouen, to congratulate us on our performance. It was a great honor and we had the chance to meet the first woman elected mayor of the town, Valerie Fourneyron, who in 2012 will become Minister of Sports and Youth.
This success also allowed us to have our first sponsor: Mondor. Thanks to them, we had new training outfits as well as tights for skating. For me, it was Christmas in February.
With these new outfits, we could also add the official coat of the French Federation, lent for the occasion at the team representing France. I admit that I would have kept it well: for the first time, we had a clothing with our federation logo. In addition, I finally had the impression that we were considered as a member of the French Team and it was a real pride to wear this logo.
This qualification was also synonymous with media coverage: France 3 Normandie, local TV channel in the region will begin to realize several reports about us, which some of them are still online on Youtube.
They will come to Sweden with us, and I will learn later that they will follow our adventures for a year, until the French Elite Championships in Tours, mid-December 2010. A 20-minute report will then be broadcast on their television channel!
We were impatiently awaiting the return to training. All the sacrifices, all the aches, the questionings no longer mattered in the face of what we were going to experience: a Junior World Challenge Cup! We had a month to be ready, so we still worked very hard, fine-tuning the details and fixing the flaws. We wanted to make a good impression, that was our main issue.
Fun Fact: One day during the February school holidays, for our intensive camp, Marine evokes the idea to get a belly button piercing. It took only 5 minutes for some of us to want to do with her. Including me.
So I started talking to my mother and against all odds, she looked rather agree but she thought I would never have the courage to do it. I intended to prove her wrong!
The girls planned to go on Saturday, but unfortunately I had a figure skating competition on Sunday, so Marine accompanied me on Wednesday. I didn’t want to do it the day before my competition, lest it bother me or my focus not be in the right place.
Once there, it would be lying to say that I didn’t want to turn around! But I wanted to win my « bet » against my mother, and today I do not regret, it is like a memory of this special year.
In addition, when I was 8 years old, I told my mother that I will got a belly button piercing at 15 years old… Promise kept!
Wednesday March 10th, 2010, the beginning of the dream, the great departure for Gothenburg. Half of the team had already had the chance to go there in 2007, including me, when I skated for the Jeanne D’arc. (See article)
I was looking forward to going back to participate in my first Junior World Challenge Cup!
Once arrived in Sweden, the suitcases deposited in the official hotel of the competition, which was just sublime, we took the direction of the ice rink. It was time to discover the place of our dream. Even if this rink impressed me, I was looking forward to skating here again. The place seemed much bigger than I remember but it was mostly my first steps in an event as important and it was exciting!
On Thursday, we had the chance to take the ferry to go downtown to visit but also to buy souvenirs during our shopping. We also had training during the day to be ready for the competition.
Besides, at the end of the afternoon, the draw for the short program took place. All the teams met at the ice rink to attend the ceremony. The captains were on the ice.
It was certainly one of the best draws I have ever seen: when the music was playing, skaters disguised as meese began to skate until the captains caught one of them. The passage number was located in their headband wearing antlers!
Now that we knew our order, the competition could finally start.
Friday March 12th, 2010 ; Day of the Short Program.
The advantage of being a team of 18 skaters is that with Marine there were just two of us in our room and there was no debate about who would sleep on the sofa beds. In addition, we had a lot more space to prepare. Outfits, chignon, makeup, room key: we were ready to join the team for breakfast.
Breakfast has always been my favorite meal! But none will match this one which was varied and excellent! We were as eager to eat lunch as we were to skate!
But strangely that morning, it was impressive to find ourselves confronting all these teams. The more we progressed during the week, the more I became aware of the magnitude of the event. It was what I had always dreamed of.
For me, our official training was correct, but if we relied on Anne-Sophie’s comments in the France 3 Normandie report, this wasn’t at all the case!
Although it is important to make a good impression, the real competition started in the afternoon. The priority was to make a good short program at that moment.
In the meantime, it was a video analysis of the training, last advice and rest before applying makeup, or getting makeup for our performance.
The most important points for a good performance were present: cohesion, atmosphere and obviously, team spirit. We had earned our place to be here and were now ready to make our official debut in this new world.
Of course we were stressed and it was impressive, but our desire to outdo ourselves was even greater. Unfortunately, 30 seconds after the start of our program, there was a fall. Although it was a bit unsettling, we didn’t allow ourselves to be put down. There was 2min10 of program left to prove ourselves, and that’s what we did. The rest of our program was run without major errors.
Result: 15th out of 20, with 38.90 points, including 2 deduction points, one for falling, the other one for music that is too long.
Little disappointment, especially when we know that we have already been punished for our music at the French Cup and that the measures taken were not sufficient… But it’s like getting used to the fact that our short program we reserved surprises at every competition. So once again, we were counting on our long program to finish on a high note this incredible season, and why not win a place or two!
Saturday March 13th, 2010 ; Day of the Free Program.
New day, new battle. We were no longer in the discovery as the day before, now that we knew what to expect, we were even more determined. Our long program was our strength, it was time to prove it again.
The course of the day was similar to that of the short program. We were now used to the France 3 Normandie team following us everywhere. Our markers on the ice rink and on the ice were in place. We only had one thing left to do: take advantage of the present moment and our last performance in competition.
Before heading to the ice, we listened to our music for the last time. Placed in a circle between Camille and Clara, hand in hand, I could feel the energy and the excitement of the team. After waiting in the corridor and the last High Five with Edwige, one of our chaperones, it was finally time for us to skate.
After one last great inspiration, the music could finally begin. The countdown to our last performance of the season had just started.
It was going pretty well, I knew we were performing well. I felt the joy and enthusiasm of my teammates. However, 20 seconds before the end, a fall. Little frustration but we were still happy with our program.
Until the result… 16th in the long program with 62.22 points, including two deduction points. One for falling, obviously, and the other for excessive use of ice on an element… We even lost a place in the final result and therefore finished 16th out of 20.
A cold shower. A huge disappointment. Some of us will even cry. We felt that we had missed our chance and that we had not necessarily brought honor to our country.
However, we just forgot one thing: it was our first Junior World Challenge Cup, and we had just had an incredible time as a team. Together we fought and worked to make our dream come true. We did not have the expected end, but our season is nonetheless exceptional.
As a fighter, I was sure of one thing: I will have my revenge next year.
However, sometimes life has surprises in store for us…!
To finish on a slightly happier note, we had two consolation prizes.
The first was to be able to watch the biggest junior teams, and more specifically Les Suprêmes. We had discovered their long program on Scary Movie at the French Cup. We were totally fans, so much so that despite the disappointment, we hurried to join the stands so as not to miss them.
I also admired Fintastic, one of the two Finnish teams present, who will also win the competition. They skated after us on the short program, and I was impressed by their self-confidence and their skating. I still remember the look exchanged with one of the skaters before her performance started: it was intense and determined. I was hoping to have this self-confidence one day.
The second was the Team Party. All the participating teams met to spend the last evening together. It was a way to make new friends from other countries but also to release the pressure after the competition. Mini games were organized, but we didn’t necessarily understand all the instructions.
Luckily, there was Sarah, a Black Diam’s skater from the previous season, who was in Sweden to continue making her dreams come true. So she helped us and it was a real blessing to have her with us!
I feel extremely lucky to have experienced this Junior World Challenge Cup and this season full of twists and turns. This team has been exceptional for me. It was with this team that I made my first dreams come true and that I allowed myself to dream bigger. I will have the opportunity to experience other incredible moments with my sport, but this year will always have a special place for me.