Javier Fernandez - a great skater who can even cook!Â Â Â
June 30, 2010
By Titanilla Bőd
Photos © Caroline Paré
Javier Fernandez of Spain was one of the bright surprises of the season. He established his place in the top ten in Europe and his step sequence of the drunken Captain Jack Sparrow will remain in the memory of the fans for a long time. We talked with him just after his free skating in Torino at the World Championships.
You have had a fantastic season. You finished in the top ten at Europeans and had great performances at Olympics and Worlds. I guess you are satisfied?
Yes, I am and my coach, Nikolai Morozov, is satisfied too. We worked a lot this season and I’ve had good competitions. I was training a lot. Both Nikolai and I did a very good job.
Did you expect such results at the beginning of the season?
No, I don’t really think about the future. I just work when I have to work, rest when I have to rest and compete when I have to compete. And then, the judges will decide.
How did you choose your music – Matrix for the short program and Pirates of the Caribbean for the long?
Nikolai chooses the music and then he asks me if I like it or not. And of course I like it -especially the Pirates of the Caribbean. Both my coach and I love this movie. I also like this program - it’s fun to do it.
How hard is it to act drunk on the ice?
It’s not hard. I like to make these steps. I’m good at doing steps, so it’s not that difficult.
Do you plan to keep these programs for the next season or will you try something new?
We are planning to change the short program, but to keep the free program.
How did you start skating? It’s pretty unusual that a guy from Spain starts to skate and not to play football or tennis.
When my sister was very young, she saw a figure skating competition on the television and she started to take lessons. When I saw her, I said: oh my god, I want to do it as well!
Does your sister still skate?
Yes, she is still skating. Four-five years ago she represented Spain at Europeans and Worlds.
Many siblings skate together as pairs. Have you ever thought about this?
Maybe, but in Spain we don’t have coaches and so on… I will just keep with single skating.
How many ice rinks are there in Spain?
We don’t have too many ice rinks. There are less than ten in the whole country. However, a lot of people like to skate, the ice rinks are almost full all the time. But there are only a few high level skaters in the country. There are some very talented kids who keep improving, so now we are just waiting for these kids.
What are your plans for next season?
I don’t know. As I say, I don’t think about it. I just want to have a little vacation and then I will work so hard. I want to improve, but I don’t set goals such as: “I want to be in the top five”. Next season, if I see it is possible, I will say: “I want to be in the top five.”
Do you have any idol?
I don’t have any, but I used to have when I was young. My idol was Evgeni Plushenko.
So what was it like to compete against him?
I already trained with him because he came to a summer camp in Spain with his coach Alexei Mishin. We talk sometimes. I still admire him, but he is not an idol for me any more, because now I want to beat him. Of course I can’t do it right now, but maybe in the future.
This year there was a big debate about the quad jumps. You have the quad in your free program, so what is your opinion, should the skaters try it or avoid it?
I think quad is a really hard jump and there are not many people who can do it, in the world. It’s important to have it in your program, but not that important that if you land a quad, you will automatically be a world champion. You have to be a complete skater. You have to skate well and jump good.
What is your favourite element?
The triple axel.
Do you like the spins and the steps?
I like the steps a lot.
You get many presents from the fans. What do you do with so many stuffed toys?
I keep the good ones. You see (he takes a nice koala bear from his big bag full of gifts), this one is good. It’s cute, it’s big. I will keep it. But this one (he takes another toy which we won’t specify) is not good. I will give it to the church. I can’t have a lot of things in my house, my room is not that big. So I can’t keep everything. I remember all the people who threw some presents for me, but I give some of them to the church so that the kids who can’t afford toys can be happy, as well.
You moved to train in the U. S. How has this change affected your life?
I moved to the U. S. two years ago and my life has changed so much. I live without my family, without my friends. This has its advantages and disadvantages. Of course you miss your family and friends but living on your own makes you stronger. I have learned so much. My coach is now leaving for Russia, so I will move with him. I don’t want to stay in the U. S.
Will you study Russian?
I will try. It seems a little bit difficult, but I will try.
What was the hardest thing about living alone for you: cooking, washing, keeping the house clean?
I didn’t have big problems. I started to cook when I was very young and spent time with my mum in the kitchen, to help and watch. I can do my own lunch and dinner. I’m not a messy person, so it’s not hard to keep it clean. Of course I’m not cleaning every day like my mother, but I don’t want to open the door and have difficulties finding my bed.
What is your relationship with your coach?
Nikolai and me – we are not just coach and a student. He is really good. He is the best coach I’ve ever had. He is just amazing. I really want to stay with him, even if he moves to Russia. Of course it’s a harder country to live in than U. S., but neither of them is my home, so it might make it easier to move. Of course I have to talk with my federation. They help me a lot, because I don’t think my parents can afford to pay for my life in Russia. It’s too expensive.
Do you have any rituals before competitions?
No, not really.
Does the practice or the warm-up before your competition affect your skating?
I think this training is not that important, it’s just to warm up and prepare your program. If you fall on a jump at practice, you can still do it in your program. For example, at Worlds, I didn’t do the quad toe in the training, but I still did it in my program. Of course it’s better to have a good practice, but I don’t think that if you have a bad practice it means that you will have a bad program.
What do you do in your free time?
If I’m in Spain I like to meet my friends, play computer games, a lot of things…
What kind of movies do you like?
I love war movies such as 300, Troy. From time to time, when I’m romantic, I also like to watch a romantic movie, just like everybody.
Do you like to watch other sports?
I like football a lot. I’m fan of Real Madrid and I like to watch their games. I also like tennis.
Where do you plan to go on holidays?
To Spain! With my family, with my people, my language and my food! Food is very important also. I love my whole country!