Catching up with Tristan Cousins

by Helga Dobor

Photos ©
Helga Dobor

Being a skater and having Cousins for a last name does not go unnoticed in Britain. More often than not people will raise an eyebrow and ask “Are you related to Robin Cousins?” At the matter of fact, yes! The 1980 Olympic gold medalist is his uncle and has been a big help in his career. But Tristan asks for no favors, he wants to make it on his own.

Born on August 1, 1982, he started skating as an 8 year old in Gillingham, Kent.
“I started because my brother and mother skated; and I had to hang around the ice rink so long, I decided to get on the ice and try it. My mum never let go of my hand and I had very odd skates with four-blades, we call them "double runners" in the UK.”

But that was a long time ago and soon the little lad was skilled enough to compete.
“My first competition was a small annual domestic event at the Queens Ice Rink in London. I skated to "Superman" and the judges laughed all the way through.”

Family support is important and of course Uncle Robin was always in the back ground and he even choreographed Tristan’s program until 2001.
“I developed an early love for skating by watching family videos of Robin and other skaters of the same era. I loved to watch him skate. Overall my family is prepared to support me as long as skating is what I want to do, but these days I work and can pay for my own training.”

Sidelined by a back injury for the past two seasons, Tristan is now back with new goals and he competed at the Ondrej Nepela Memorial in Bratislava in September and won bronze.

“Placing third was a big surprise. I wasn't expecting anything when I arrived, so it was a big bonus. This season I aim to compete at a Senior International and medal at the British Nationals in December. (He won junior gold in 2000) The overall goal is to go as far as I can, but I have progressive goals at each event so every competition is important in its own way. But because I missed two seasons, this is my most important year with two Senior events. Skating to me is freedom and I have a natural "feel" on the ice. I love to jump and whichever jump I land on that day becomes my favorite! There’s no jump I favor more or really dislike. I know I also need to work on my spins and find new position and improve and then improve some more. But really, I skate for myself, for my own pleasure. Nobody holds a gun to my head!”

Choosing the music and creating the moves in a new program is a process.
“I will listen to some music and say yea or nay to it. The music should make me feel happy that I’m skating to it, but sure, sometimes I get tired of hearing it over and over… I have choreographed my own programs for the last two seasons, but my coaches in Nottingham all have an input where they feel it’s necessary.”


Are there any aims besides skating in his future?
“This is a secret known only to two people - myself and... I never used to look to the future, not until I was older, but I wish to live a long and happy life!”
He hasn’t lived so long yet, but he’s certainly experienced a lot already and has some fond memories.
“When I was about 5, I was once with Robin and we met Scott Hamilton and he said he was happy to meet someone smaller than him! After that I used to love watching his footwork".
As a skater he also has opportunities to travel all over, but there’s a little hitch:
“I hate flying! I do like to see other places and I would love to go on a boat someday. Home is where your heart is though and I love to get back to Britain again.”

In his spare time Tristan likes to read and his favorite book is “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. Daray, his Golden Retriever keeps him busy a well.

When asked about his fans, the reaction was very modest.
“Do I actually have any? Apparently I do have fans, to them I say thank you for all support and good wishes!”
Good luck to you, Tristan!

Mens podium at the Ondrej Nepela Memorial in Bratislava
Stefan Lindemann gold, Kevin van der Perren silver, Tristan Cousins bronze

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