The human heart is the same everywhere

By Helga Dobor
Photos by Sarah S. Brannen

Kati Hadford will be skating at the Hungarian Nationals this weekend. In our previous article you could read about her connection with Hungary, and now she would like to share with you her thoughts about this competition and about the future.

A special thank you to her mother again!

You are skating at the Hungarian Nationals. Does this mean that you will represent Hungary as well?

I will skate in the Hungarian Nationals because I am a Hungarian citizen and it is a very good experience for me to compete as often as I can - in as many places as possible. It is not decided whether I will represent Hungary, but this is not an impossible idea.

Where did this idea come from?

The idea to participate in the Hungarian Nationals came from the reasons stated above and also because my grandparents, Szele Gyorgy and Szechenyi Kornelia - with whom I went skating a lot while my Mother had to work - often told me about their beautiful, happy life in Hungary. And they told me also, that maybe one day I could skate there and see where they used to live, and visit our relatives.

Do you practice still in the USA? Or do you have coaches in Hungary?

Right now I have been practicing mostly in the USA with Priscilla Hill. This summer I trained for a short time in Budapest with Eszter Jurek and Andras Szaraz. The training in Hungary is very good, I was very impressed.

What does your coach think about this change?

My coach encourages all her skaters to explore any possibilities in the skating world that can broaden their experience and knowledge. She supports any opportunity that can help her skaters achieve their highest level of success. We have not confirmed a change yet. Right now, I must just go and skate my best and then we will see where this will lead us.

What are your goals for this season?

My goals, in skating, are always the same. In practice I must train hard on the ice and off the ice. I must stay focused and learn as much as possible especially now for the new judging system where everything, not only the jumps, are very important. In competition, I always want to skate my best. With the new judging system, I hope to increase my personal score each time I compete. Then I know I am improving.

What do you think of Hungarian figure skating?

Even though Hungary is a smaller country than for instance Japan, Russia, or the USA, the athletes and coaches possess the same motivation, strength, and perseverance as all of the larger countries. Great athletes have this desire to be the best they can be in their hearts and it does not depend on what country you come from. The human heart is the same everywhere. Hungary has developed enormously since obtaining its freedom and the training and facilities are as good as any that I have seen.

What do you expect from the Hungarian Nationals?

I expect the Hungarian Nationals to be very competitive. I will be competing with elite skaters who have world level experience. For myself, I hope to perform my best.

And what are your plans after the competition?

I will return to full time training. There is so much to learn under the new judging system where every spin, footwork sequence, spiral sequence, jumps and all the entrances and execution count. I don't think there is any skater right now who can say they can do everything and slow down their training. Many elements that did not count so heavily before - under the old system - are now very important. This all takes a while to learn and apply well in competition.

What do you think of the Hungarian skaters? What is your connection like with them?

So far I do not have a big connection with the Hungarian skaters because I was in Hungary only for a short time this past summer. I have seen Julia, Viktoria, and Diana on television in different competitions and they are very impressive to watch. I can only work hard and hope to be as good as them one day.

And a short AS dictionary by Kati:

Skating is a wonderful sport that I love and completely enjoy, but it is not everything.

Family is vital, from the family there is unconditional love, they are there no matter what happens.

Friends are important, it feels good to love and be loved.

Money is important to help those in need and to pay bills.

Sport is exciting and healthy.

Love Peace and Belief are the most important things to have in life, they are equally important to give and to receive.

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