French Cup 2013: The beginning of a dream

No matter how much I dreamed of international competitions abroad, the French Cup will always have a special place for me. In the good as in the less good memories…!
In the joys of the French Cup, we can count the parade in the streets of Rouen as well as the FlashMob on the forecourt of the town hall. Even though at first I’m still reluctant about the idea, it’s a moment that I always end up loving!

The French Cup is also synonymous with seeing the greatest teams in the world, at home, in our ice rink as well as the opportunity to see Marilyn again, the coach of Les Suprêmes, to have some advice before the competition, and to admire her teams during non-official practices.
I still remember being sat in the stands on Thursday morning to watch the training of Les Suprêmes. With Camille, we were totally fans of the Seniors free program, on a Tango. I would have loved to skate it! That’s what we thought: it must be amazing to skate program like this, to be in a team like that. Simply skate in a foreign team: we dreamed about it!

After the welcome festivities, it was time to start the competition with our short program. Even after two months, I was still struggling with our new music. I still hadn’t gotten used to this change and I wasn’t really enjoying the mix with our second part of the music. This is certainly one of the reasons why I had more difficulty performing this program. Unfortunately, it had to be felt.

We have no major mistakes occurred during our performance, even if some elements were inadequate. The audience was also not very receptive to the music.
Unsurprisingly, we were the 3rd French team after the short program. I had the impression of stagnating, of not evolving with this program. As if we loved to put spades in the wheels.

… but tomorrow is another day!

What we also appreciate at the French Cup is to see old TSEs again, who came to observe the competition but also to encourage us. It’s always nice to share what we love most in the world with our families and friends.

(Photo from 2011)

The second day of the competition was really long. As always, we didn’t have our hotel rooms for that day, so we dragged our suitcases around the rink, we did our makeup in the stands at the same time as the junior competition. We were just in a competitive mood all the time. What can be motivating in a short period becomes burdensome in the length.
Moreover, the start of the senior category was late, so we were ready in advance and had the opportunity to take a micro nap before our warm-up. I was tired and cold, but I didn’t want to sleep. Otherwise, I knew I wouldn’t be in good shape to skate.

Our warm-up was a bit difficult. The fatigue of the day, even of the weekend, was felt, but we were finally ready to skate. For one of the rare times in my life, I was the first one to set foot on the ice. I was focused, ready to fight to the end to move up the rankings.

The whole team was motivated to perform well. Moreover, the fact of skating at home, with our public, gives us an additional wave of confidence.
Despite everything, it was a heavy atmosphere that I felt on the ice and which prevailed throughout our performance. Our first element of the program was the lifts, which had never been a problem for us this year. Yet in my lift, the teammate we were lifting relaxed and almost fell… The performance started badly!
Then we continued with the step circle. The modifications since its creation 6 months earlier combined with the adrenaline of the moment made us skate faster and therefore we no longer end up in the same place… Which had a direct impact on the transition that followed!
It was like that throughout the performance. It wasn’t a disaster but it was far from our best performance.
To confirm this strange feeling that I had from the beginning, we had a fall in our angle. It was no big deal, but the accumulation of little mistakes here and there could end up being fatal to us.

It was now impossible to qualify for the World Championships. I knew it even before I had the results, but I was far from being at the end of my surprises!
Indeed, Zoulous had obtained a total score of 128 points, which consolidated their status as the best team in France, and ensured their qualification. My first disappointment was that Atlantides finished the competition ahead of us with a total of 107 points, against 101 points for us. However, reviewing the images and thinking back to our program, it was totally normal.
My biggest disappointment was also a big surprise for me. Ex’l Ice, which was always referred to as the fourth French team, was in the process of changing status. The team was skating their free program right after us, and no matter how much my coaches told me to go back to the locker room with the rest of the team, I stayed by the ice to watch their performance and hear their score. I was already not happy with our performance and our result, but the hard part of the day was coming.
Ex’l Ice had just beaten us in the free program and finished the competition just behind us with 100 points in total! They almost beat us!

I couldn’t believe it and I remember very well have said something like: « But is it a joke? We are here, to say that we are Vice-Champions of France, that we want to go to the Worlds and today we almost finished last French team? »
Yes, I had, and sometimes I still have a bad temper, but I was outraged and really upset. I had nothing against Ex’l Ice, on the contrary, it was great for them to see their efforts finally rewarded. My anger was more directed towards my team: we could do a lot better than that night, I was sure. I intended this to be TSE’s last disappointment.
Besides, I had always said to myself that if we were not the first French team, we had to be second, nothing less. There was clearly still work to do to get there.

This season again, we took part in the French Cup podium to conclude the French D1 Championship, which took place in several competitions. (The same as for earning the qualification.)
With two second places and a narrowly won third place, we won the title of Vice-Champions of France D1. I couldn’t pretend and didn’t want to celebrate this title. Certainly not after our result in the French Cup, where we almost became the last French team and recovered yet another second place. I was fed up, I wanted to win. I didn’t even want to take pictures with my « idols ». I wanted to be them.

Easy to spot: I’m the only one who doesn’t want to smile!

After the French Cup, because once again we were not qualified for the Worlds, we had a week off. I didn’t want to have a forced vacation, I wanted us to work on our shortcomings so while waiting for our come back on the ice, I took advantage of this free time to work on my own in figure skating.

On Friday evening, we were back at the rink for a team meeting. The opportunity to come back to the French Cup, conclude the season and anticipate the next one.
I don’t remember speaking. I knew I was still pissed off by recent events and I might say something I would regret because I probably would have worded it incorrectly. It is generally said that I am a time bomb: I accumulate before exploding… It is far from the best solution.
I didn’t want to be like that, that night, so I listened to my teammates and analyzed their words. I had no idea yet that I was going to experience one of the biggest disappointments of my skating life at that time.

Indeed, Valérie and Anne-Sophie wanted to know who intended to continue the adventure for the next season. We had to give our answer one after the other, like a round table. As the responses progressed, it was easier to count the people who wanted to stay than the departures… Normally, it’s always been the opposite.
There were 6 of us who wanted to stay, to have the rage to fight. Only 6! I was disappointed to see that we were giving up, that we didn’t dare to pursue our dreams.

With so many departures, I didn’t need to wait for everyone’s answers to understand: we didn’t have enough skaters to replace them, it was the end of the adventure for TSE. I no longer had a team. My grief and disappointment were immense.

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