Talking to the Hungarian Team
Series part 1


Hungary is having quite a team of skaters these last years. Most of them still train in their own country and not abroad. As a special project, Adastra, Helga, & Kati went to the Jégcsarnok icerink in Budapest, to talk to several of them for Absolute Skating, as well as for Pixieworld.

Not only skaters will get the mike, but also some coaches. Some interviews were in-depth, others were mostly focused on fun. All interviewees filled out the same 'fluff' questions and choices at the end. Join us for the first part of this marvelous series!

1.1 Viktória Pavuk

by Adastra & Helga Dobor & Judit
Photos © Adastra

Viktória Pavuk is a great young Hungarian skating talent. She was in the junior top ten in the world, until the 2003/ 2004 season when she, as a senior, finished 4th at the European Championships held in Budapest. She became the new sensation and headed in to the next season with the same enthusiasm.
Viki, as she is nicknamed, is a cheerful person. She is friendly with everyone, and soon became the audience favorite everywhere she went. Her coach is Szabolcs Vidrai, who himself reached some good results as an eligible skater in his days.

A year ago Viki won the Ondrej Nepela Memorial, her first competition that season. She was assigned a Grand prix competition when suddenly everything changed – she got injured. It came at the worst possible time, as usual, as injuries can stop an athlete for a long time. This one did and to her own disappointment, and that of her fans, she had to sit out most of the season.
"Well, it was really hard, because I wasn't able to participate in anything. But thanks to God (and Dr György Béres, surgeon; Éva Bánfalvi, physiotherapist; and Dr Márta Vura, psychologist) and all the hard work we put in, my recovery was successful. My leg healed quite fast and it didn’t leave any permanent damage."
But Viki didn’t recover in time for the 2005 Europeans, and Diana Poth, Hungary’s second lady skater, took her place. Before the World Championships she felt better, but had to test skate against Diana Poth for the spot and the chance to travel to Moscow. Comebacks are always very hard…
"Before Worlds, I had just a short time to prepare. And on top of that I had to face another problem too, somebody has stolen my wonderful car in the morning of the test skate. But the fact that I missed competing so much and that I had already won two competitions that season helped me a lot to get the spot for Moscow."
With only two competitions in a season, it’s hard to show what you’re really made of at the biggest competition, the Worlds. Viki placed 18th in Moscow, but skaters usually aren't satisfied with their results after a comeback.
"I managed well, although the judges didn't give me a real good placement. Because of my injury, they hadn’t seen me skate all season, and I had to break into the field again."

The full effect of the new judging system made the Worlds even more difficult. It was Viki's first competition under the new rules, and it was hard to prepare.
"It was hard in the way that I had to learn by experience what the judges liked, at the qualification round and at the short program. I did ok, but I needed to compete more to truly find out what counts and what doesn’t. Even the more experienced skaters were in the same situation, they didn't know what’s important and what isn’t in the program either, we all had to learn it through experience! For the long program my choreographer came to Moscow, and we tried to suit the program to the rules."

The season pretty much ends after World, and summer is off-season in the sense that there are no competitions. But with the Olympics coming up, summer allowed little time to rest as new programs needed to be prepared. The pressure is on; all the skaters want to be the best they can in Torino.
"In June and July I spent three weeks in Canada, and then I continued my training at home. From mid August I spent two weeks with my choreographer, Igor Tchinaev. Of course, Szabi (Szabolcs Vidrai) was with me as well."
To come up with a new and fantastic program is a high priority before the Olympics, and many skaters prefer to keep the music secret until their first competitions.
"I haven't told anyone, but now I will, only to you ;) My short program is to Swan Lake and my long program is a classical mix with parts from Vivaldi’s 4 seasons."
We’re anxiously waiting to see those! And Viki has high goals for the coming season.
"My main idea is to work hard during the summer and throughout the year. I got invitations to the Grand Prix in China and Japan. I am happy to know the competitions in advance, when I know where and when I will go, I can prepare better! Plus there will be the Olympics. My biggest dream is to go to all those major competitions: Europeans, Worlds and of course to Torino! "
Viki family is a very supportive, and it’s not unusual to see her mother and sister in the stands at competitions in neighboring countries. Her mother plays an important part in her life.
"She supports my skating, and she really does everything she can to make me a better skater, that’s why she works night and day and even sews my costumes."

Viki is not the only skater in the family. Her older sister, Patricia was a skater and represented Hungary a few years ago. She now works as a coach. The two blondes leave no doubt they are sisters, they are almost like twins!
"Patricia is a multiple Hungarian champion, but at age 15 she switched to ice-dance. Now she skates in shows, besides teaching and coaching. Patricia is also studying at the Technical Collage, this is her third semester, and she studies at the University of Physics, it’s a 2 year course. She will get both her diplomas at the same time next year."

Two great skaters in the same family. Perhaps there were more skaters, too?
"Nobody else in my family skates, just my sister and me. My mom was in ballet as a child, but it’s not quite skating…"
Viki is still very young, only 20 years old. At this age most people study at Universities, but for an athlete it’s hard to find the time, and it takes a lot of careful planning and determination to make it work.
"I’m enrolled at the University of Physics in a 4 year program."
Szabolcs Vidrai, Viki’s coach, is the best ever Hungarian male skater. (You can read more about him here) He is only a few years older than Viki, and they appear to have an ideal working relationship. Szabolcs recently received his diploma.
"He finished his 4 year training course. Usually he’s cheerful, but he trains me hard at the same time, we work very well together. We’ve skated together since I was a child and we both trained at the school of Simon István. We know each other’s personality, and he is fully aware of my abilities. He knows a lot about the championships, because he represented our country many times as the Hungarian champion. He is very open, and appreciates that I learn from other coaches too. The choreography for my new programs was made in Canada. It’s my style, and everything I have learnt from Tchiniaev is enriched by our common work with Szabi."

After all that information followed some lighter questions:

What is the biggest treasure in your life?
"My mom! We really love each other and she helps me a lot in skating."
Could you live without your skates?
"If I hadn’t started skating, I am sure I would be interested other things. I liked to draw in my childhood and my family tried to turn me to drawing. But my mom favored my skating, and so did I!"
Without sports?
"It depends... If I’d grown up without sports, I’m sure I’d go jogging or find some other way to stay physically fit, but it’s good that I am skating."

Without music?
" I couldn't, and it is needed for skating too. When I was a child I even sang in a choir."
Without credit card?
" I wouldn’t be able to pay for my training camp without it. However, I am not a big shopper."
Without a computer?
"I use it for getting information about competitions and music. And to check the sites of other skaters! And of course I’m checking my e-mails, but I can’t surf for more than 30 minutes per day."
Without friends?
"Well, that would be really hard, because I couldn't relax with anybody. I have friendships since childhood, but it’s not easy to catch up with me, because I have no time for anything."
Without dreams?
"Dreams are really important, because they will show you the way through your life. Dreams know no limits. If you dream about something long enough, you will make it come true!"
Which of the above would be the worst?
"Now I like skating first, so I feel the worst thing would be if it disappeared from my life. But I couldn’t live without dreams, friends, music or skating!"

What comes to mind:

Figure skating is :
Everything. It’s a nice sport, every season has its beauty. Spring: you choose your music, Summer: choreographing your programs, Autumn: you choose your costumes, Winter: the competitions!
Family is:
Togetherness, living in love.
Friends are:
Understanding. It’s important that I can speak to them, and that they can respect that my lifestyle is very busy.
Money is:
Money isn’t everything, but it makes life easier. Unfortunately, figure skating costs money. But luckily I have other sources of joy which don't need any money.
Is really important for everybody! You should to do a sport, like swimming or jogging, but you don’t have to be an athlete. It is a wonderful feeling.
Love ...
Cannot live without it.
Peace ...
I like living in peace, I really hate quarrelling. If I sense somebody is in a bad mood, I back off, but everyone has bad days. And the World could sure use some peace too!
It’s very important to have faith in yourself to make your dreams come true. I am religious, a catholic.

Please choose between:

Movies or Books
Summer or Winter
Langos or Palacsinta
Summercamp or Small Demonstration
Swimming or Skiing
Shows or Competitions
Black or White
Short Program or Long Program
Partying or Sleeping
TV or the movies
Judges and Fans
Balaton or Velence
Weightlifting or Ballet
Day or Night
Goulash or Pörkölt
Figure Skating or Being Rich


Do not miss the second interview in this series, with Viki's coach Szabolcs Vidrai. Now on AS! Click here to read!

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