Q&A with Viktor Pfeifer


by Helga Dobor and Jana Vanova
Photos ©
K. "bird" N. and Jana

When did you start skating? Are there any skaters in your family?

I am the only skater in my family. I started skating at the age of seven, but it was only a Kindergarten course, and I skated just once a week. When I was nine years old I trained about twice a week. And I was eleven when I started training with my current coach, Elena Romanova.

How do you remember to your first time on ice?

I think I was the only one among the children who skated for the first time there - as all the others could skate already. It was annoying for me so I wanted to be better than the others.

And you quickly were. :) Do you have any funny stories from the earlier years of your skating?

Oh, yes! For example, it was when I forgot the sequence of my program during a competition (and not only that one time - smiles). I had to improvise, but I don’t think anybody noticed it - except my coach, of course.

How much input do you have in your choreography, for example in your Charlie Chaplin exhibition program?

Charlie Chaplin was my first National program, I was 12 years old. Some years later I decided to use the same music again. I made a lot of changes in the program, but it is very easy to skate to this music again.

What do you think are your strengths in skating?

First, I would like to mention my coach, Elena, and of course the technique she has taught me. I am also an all-rounder so I can do everything that is needed in skating. And last, but not least my mind- which is still improving - smiles.

What is your connection like with Elena?

We are a perfect team. She is definitely one of the best coaches in the world. And for me, she is probably the best.

What do you like in figure skating?

Nearly everything. I like the expression, the jumps, the steps, the choreography, even the spins, and I really like working on certain techniques or elements. I think figure skating is the most difficult sport. And I don’t want to forget mentioning the competitions and the feeling I have when I skate alone in front of thousands of people.

What keeps you motivated?

It’s very easy to be motivated because I like training and improving. It is also very interesting to solve problems that occur, and to fight for improvement. I love figure skating and is there anything you could be more interested in than in the thing you love?

Do you consider figure skating a hobby or is it mostly work?

It is everything. I think it is very difficult to define. It is work, hard training, fun and also my life.

How do you calm down and focus during competitions?

I know what I can do and what I have to do. So I do not worry about things that "could" happen because I believe in myself.

You are very young, but have you ever thought about quitting skating?

No, I have never really thought about quitting. I know that everybody has hard times in their life, but I also know that everybody is able to find the way back to the good time. And you always learn something from the more difficult times.

What does your practice look like?

I usually practice twice a day on ice, and on some days I also do off ice trainings with my coach. I also go to the gym twice a week. At home, I do stretching and some exercises. I meet my mental coach and my physiotherapist regularly.

In the past three years (since 2001) you became the Novice National Champion, the Junior National Champion and the Senior National Champion in Austria. It seems to be a very fast way up the ranks. How did you feel when you became the Senior National Champion?
For me it all went very fast, I improved a lot from event to event. When I became the Senior National Champion for the first time, I was just 15 years old, but there was no pressure on me, just motivation.

Youu also quickly became successful in the international field. You achieved very good results in all possible competitions. What do you think of the last season?

The last season was great. You have to keep in mind that the previous year I was 22nd at the JGP and one-and-a-half years later I was good enough to reach the final of the World Championships. However, the beginning of the last season, when I made many mistakes at JGP, was much worse than the second half of the season. This season the situation repeats itself - the JGPs were disappointing, but I know that I will be much better at the "big" competitions.

Which was the most significant result for you during the last season?

The Worlds in Moscow. It is always difficult to be a newcomer, especially from a country like Austria. Nevertheless, I still made the top 24.

You qualified for the Olympics in a very strong competition field.

The qualification was very important for me and I was so happy after the competition. But all the same I was not happy with my JGPs that took place shortly before this event. Now I know that the qualification was a hundred times more important than those other competitions. The good thing was that I skated my best at the competition where the pressure was enormous and when the result really mattered.

And now you are going to the Olympics at the age of 18.

This time, the most important thing is participation! That way I will be more experienced in 2010 at the next Olympics and I can be very good.

At Golden Spin you beat a lot of older and more experienced skaters and you placed 4th.

I had a good chance to be on the podium, but I was in a very bad shape at that competition so I couldn’t show all that I could do.

Do your fast good results and successes bring only positive things, or can you see negatives things too?

At the moment it is quite positive, but I think that I have not had too much success yet.

What do you expect from the Olympics?

A lot of experiences and good skating.

You also play the violoncello. What was the first love in your life - music or skating?

Of course it was skating. But I still play my cello sometimes.

So today you don’t have to choose between them.

No, the choice was made a long time ago.

How important is the music in your skating?

Music is very important in figure skating and I am even planning to compose and play my own competition music one day.

What kind of music do you like listening to?

I like all kinds of music, but I prefer hip- hop.

Do you like to sing?

No, I don’t sing, it hurts my neck and also the ears. -smiles

Do you have a favourite skater?

I do not have one particular favourite skater. Every skater has something very special and unique in their skating. So I just concentrate on the things a skater is good at.

How important is the support of the audience for you?

It is very important. It is a great feeling to skate in front of so many people and to get their attention.

What is your connection like with your fans?

The fans should answer this question...

Can friendship exist in figure skating?

Yes, it is not like they sometimes show on TV, lots of skaters are good friends.

Do you use the computer?

I just use it for surfing on the internet or for playing "football manager" -smiles.

Would you rather have 4 World Championship titles or one Olympic gold medal?


What languages do you speak?

I speak English, French and German. I am also learning Italian and I would really like to learn Russian too.

And some short questions to finish off with :)

What is the biggest treasure in your life? It is my secret.

How could you live without your skates? I would have to buy new ones.

Without sport? It’s not possible.

Without music? Ok, for a short time.

Without a credit card? With cash.

Without a computer? I do not care.

Without friends? Difficult.

Without dreams? I would die.

Which of the above would be the worst? Without dreams.

And we were also very curious about his thoughts for the future:
What are your goals in skating?

I want to win everything. The Europeans, the Worlds and the Olympic Games.

It sounds so easy and we think that you are on the right path for reaching your goals! We wish you good luck on your way and you can always count on some fingers being crossed for you! Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions!

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