Flo riding high

An interview with Florent Amodio

December 8, 2010 
By Nadin Vernon
Photos © Absolute Skating by EMJO, Jeannine Bourdiau, D. Feldhoff, Miriam


The men's competition at the Trophée Eric Bompard promised to be an exciting event with three Frenchmen at the start. Out of the three, National Champion Florent Amodio emerged as the skater who kept his nerve during the free skate and finished second, behind Takahiko Kozuka from Japan. Not only did Florent highly entertain the audience with a programme that stood in stark contrast to the mostly classical music choices of the afternoon, he also showcased his ability to keep his focus when it really matters. Performing his energetic routine with attitude to boot, Florent had the whole arena on its feet and while the home support in France was strong, I think audiences anywhere in the world would have responded in the same way.

Despite being high in demand after this successful result, Florent made some time for us to have a quick catch-up.

Congratulations Florent, you must be very happy.

Yes, I'm very very happy.

You were skating in front of your home crowd here in Paris. For some the extra pressure can be too much to handle, while you seemed to really soak it in and make it work. How did it feel?

It was very special for me to skate here because it was my first big experience in France. And I was quite aware of all the pressure, but my coach Nikolai told me to just stay focused on my job and that's what I did. I feel very happy because there was a good exchange with the crowd and I did well, so I'm very happy.

There was quite some build-up in the press prior to the event as well.

Yes there was. There was a lot of talk about Brian and me and whether I could beat Brian. So I was aware of all that but I just want to stay focused and show my stuff on the ice and have fun and that's what I did.

Tell me a little bit about your programme choices this season, especially your free skate really stood out here and had everybody going.

I chose this music because it's me, this is the kind of music I dance to on the dance floor when I go out to clubs and I listen to Michael Jackson and the Black Eyed Peas on my iPod, so it's me. And I just want to show the public who I am and have fun with the public and for me that's what skating is all about. It's my vision.

So will we see more of the same style next year?

I don't know yet, I know I have to try different styles but I don't want to choose a piece of music which is not me. I want to have something special for me, like this year, so we'll see.

Before the warm-up for the short programme you had your headphones on until almost the very last minute before you went on the ice. Do you try to shut out what's going on around you?

Yes. And here Nikolai also advised me not to think about being in France, and the audience going crazy, but to just really concentrate on the job in hand and that's it, it's all about being very focused.


What were you listening to?

Lil Wayne (smiles)

And what did you do before the competition to prepare?

I spent some time with my friends. My practice in the morning was so so, not really good or bad. But then I gave everything in the competition.

Tell me a little bit about your training situation. You changed coaches this season and are now training with Nikolai Morozov in Latvia. But I understand you are also training with Annick Dumont. How does that work out in practical terms?

Yes, I changed many things for this new season. My federation proposed to me to work with Nikolai, so I tried it and everything is going really well. Nikolai is a great coach, there is a good feeling between us. But for me it's important to also be in France sometimes, so that's when I train with Annick. I made a new start and I'm really happy I did that. I enjoy having a coach I can really talk to and who boosts me.

Nikolai coaches many top level skaters, how does that affect everyday training?

It's very different to what I was used to in France. Overall the practice is much harder and it's very professional. But for me it's good to be around the other skaters.

Nikolai is my main coach, but obviously he travels around to all the Grand Prix events and it's difficult to find the time to work with him during this period. I try to go with him when I can and when I can't I stay in France.

You were at Cup of Russia even though you didn't skate there and Miki is here in Paris, so you travel around and train together?

Exactly. It's not always easy to go all over the world but my federation helps me, so that's good. Miki and I have become very good friends and we're all like a little team and that's fun. It's a new experience and I love it.

How many hours a day do you usually train?

Normally I spend around four hours on the ice and then I do off-ice training and dancing.

Is there anything around you where you are in Latvia, or is it just ice ice ice?

There is just ice and that's it (laughs). But it's good because we practice a lot and it helps me to stay focused. So yes, it's just skating but that's what I want so it's ok for me.

You went on tour with Kings on Ice earlier this year and it's clear you are quite the showman.

I love to do shows, it's my vision of figure skating. And I really enjoy my free skate this season because of the show factor.

Do you feel like you're bringing the show to the competition?

Yes, I try but it's very different. I'm much more focused on the competition but at the same time it's me and I love that contact and interaction with the crowd.

Have you got any shows planned this season?

I have a show in France but actually I don't want to do too many shows while I'm in the middle of competitions. Europeans are coming, so I don't want to have too much yet. When the season is over we'll see. I've had some offers from different productions, both in Europe and in Japan, so we'll see.

There was talk of Stéphane Lambiel possibly doing some choreography for you. It didn't happen this season but is it something that's still on the cards?

Stéphane and I met during Kings on Ice; we talked a lot about his career and his skating. We are good friends and yes, maybe one day we can work together. This season I changed so many things, I didn't want to go anywhere else for choreography, but we'll see what happens in the future.

 


What are you mostly working on this season, are you practicing a quad?

Yes, I'm practicing the quad, it's very hard but it's my big goal for the future as it's very important. But for this year, Nikolai wants me to skate my programmes clean every time and they are getting very consistent. So for now that's my main focus.

You qualified for the Grand Prix Final, what are your plans for the rest of the season?

I'm leaving for Japan this week because we're going to train with Miki and then we'll probably leave for China around Wednesday before the competition. That way we get used to the time change in advance as well. And then I have Nationals the week after the final, so things will be interesting.

Best of luck in Beijing Florent, all the best.

Thank you, and sorry for my English (smiles).

 




 






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