Comments from the men after the short program

By Helga Dobor, Titanilla Bőd
Photos © Helga Dobor

Tigran Vardanjan (HUN)

How would you describe this short program?

It wasn’t the best, but I tried to do my best. I wasn’t satisfied with the jumps, mainly with the Axel, but overall it was okay. I performed what I wanted; I know that people love this.

How did it feel to have your debut at a major competition in front of such a big Hungarian crowd?

It felt great. I have now lost my European championship virginity and I hope there will be more chances to compete at major events.

By the way, what’s it like to be coached by your parents?

It couldn’t be better! Sometimes private life is also mixed with skating, but it’s okay. At home we talk about skating but also about other things.

What were your goals in Zagreb?

To get in the top 24, and mainly to skate a clean program which people would like.

Are you a real entertainer?

I like funny programs. I love Laurent Tobel, and there are two big skaters I admire a lot: Philippe Candeloro and Alexei Urmanov.

And what are your further plans?

I would like to skate properly and get good placements at bigger competitions.

Igor Macypura (SLO)


You made some mistakes in your short program, what was the problem?

I just didn’t feel all right about myself. It was a mess, but next time I will do better.

Alper Ucar (TUR)

You were looking at the points for a long time. What was the problem?

There is no problem. I missed my combination, which I wanted to do so much, so I blame myself actually. I can easily do a clean short program in practice, it just can’t be done in these two minutes and forty seconds. I need to practice more for my combination.

Last year you told us that despite having a Hungarian coach you know only a few Hungarian words. Has it improved since then?

Yes, I know much more. I am now at Semmelweiss University in the Sport and Coaching Program, so I take Hungarian lessons. Not so much because of the skating classes, but right now I understand very much. And I can say a lovely word: “Szeretlek” (I love you)

Mikko Minkkinen (FIN)


What do you expect from the competition?

I just wanted to enjoy my skating and I enjoyed it. There was a problem with my flip, but it happened.

Are you satisfied with the result?

I don’t think too much about it. But I wanted to skate my free program and I don’t know what happened.

Ruben Blommaert (BEL)

Congratulations! You skated great!

You are the youngest skater at this Europeans, and you compete here for the first time. What is it like?

It was a big pleasure to skate with all the best. I’m the youngest, but not the worst and that’s good. I’m happy with my result.

What do you expect from the competition?

It’s very high level and I hope that Kevin van der Perren will do very good, because I’m proud to be Belgian.

And what placement do you expect for Kevin?

I hope the best! And I wish him Good Luck!

Moris Pfeifhofer (SUI)

Are you satisfied with your result?

Not so much, because the Lutz wasn’t perfect and I’m a little bit sad about it.

Peter Liebers (GER)

What is your opinion about your skating in the short program?

In fact I was surprised that I wasn’t nervous! But it’s a pity about the fall in the triple Lutz. The takeoff wasn’t optimal and I tried to fix it but wasn’t able to. That combination would have brought a lot of points.

Clemens Brummer (GER)

What do you think of your short program?

I’m not really satisfied with my performance. I didn’t have enough speed after the triple Lutz, I lost my balance and I fell. Too bad.

What were your expectations?

My aim is to secure two spots for Germany for next year. In the free skating I’ll be looking for an improvement over my performance at Nationals. I won’t go for the quad (toe) in the free skate because I want to play it safe. It’s better to skate a clean program.

Albert Preaubert (FRA)

What do you think of your performance?

It was really bad and I’m very disappointed. I did so well in the warm-up.

What do you expect now?

I don’t have any expectations at the moment. All I can do is try my best in the free program.

Andrei Lutai (RUS)

What do you think of your program?

I tried to do everything but I made a mistake and I couldn't jump the triple loop. I don't understand what happened, I did the triple Lutz - triple toeloop in the short, and I did the triple loop also at the practices, and had no trouble, so I don't understand.

How will you prepare for the long program?

Tomorrow I will do everything, a quad and the triple loop.

Sergei Voronov (RUS)

What do you think of your short program?

I’m feeling good despite the downgrade. But it wasn’t so easy for me to skate in the last warm-up group just before Stéphane Lambiel.

Kristoffer Berntsson (SWE)

Are you satisfied with your performance and the result?

Yes, I’m satisfied! I had a good program (and he was in the lead for a long time - editor's note). I did a nice (triple) Axel and I got all the levels on the elements and I think it was good. But the component marks are a little bit low for such a competition, I don’t know where that come from.

What is your goal now?

My goal is to skate another clean program tomorrow.

Good luck!

Kevin van der Perren (BEL)

What do you think of your short program?

It’s the first Lutz I’ve missed this week. But I’m still very happy with the way it went. As the competition approached, I became more and more nervous. The warm up was really, really bad. If I want to medal again I can’t make any more mistakes.

Brian Joubert (FRA)

Were you nervous before the short program?

Yes, I was. I don’t know why, because the practices were very good, the six-minute warm-up was perfect, I was confident. But my last international competition was in November and that’s quite a long time for me. That’s why I was a little bit nervous.

What will this mean for you in this competition?

Europeans is an important competition. I want to keep my title, but after this short program it’s going to be very difficult. But I want to see how I am prepared for the World championship.

Is the illness still bothering you?

No, the short program was okay at practice. But I was so nervous that I couldn’t breathe normally, that’s why I was so tired in the end.

Worlds are in a month, what are your plans?

I have time to work, to get ready for the World championship. I hope nothing will disturb my preparation. But this season is more difficult than the last one. Last season was perfect, everything was okay, but this season is more interesting for me.

How would you describe your relationship with Verner and Lambiel?

It’s okay. But when we are at competition, I want to beat them, so we cannot be friends. But I respect them and they respect me, and that’s the most important.

But psychological games are going on…

Yes, at practice, in the hotel, everywhere. It’s really like a game.

Tomas Verner (CZE)

Congratulations Tomas! Are you happy now?

I’m really happy! I’m glad that I made it, that was a biggie for me! But during the program I heard the audience clapping to the music and that’s what I’m always looking to do; entertain and make people smile. And that goes for the free program too; I skate for the people while having fun with all my jumps and footwork.


And now?

For the second time at Europeans I’m in first position after the short program. Now I actually know what to do to keep it, but tomorrow is another day and you have to fight with those guys and that’s very hard. I aim for a personal best and to skate a clean program and enjoy it.


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