Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte "We're a couple who wants to work"
Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte are a young talented pair from Italy who are competing in their first senior season. They have already left a vivid impression on figure skating fans, finishing 5th at the Trophee Eric Bompard in Paris - the first senior competition they entered - and 8th at Cup of Russia in Moscow. AS had a chance to talk to Anna and Luca in Moscow right after the free dance.
Are you happy with your performance in Moscow, especially if compared with that at TEB in Paris?
Anna: We skated better here in Moscow certainly. Well, we understood the scores better in Paris, so we're not satisfied with our result here, mainly with the technical levels. All the elements got higher levels last week, although we performed here at the same level if not better since there weren't inaccuracies.
Luca: Especially the free dance. In Paris I made a mistake on the twizzle sequence and therefore it was downgraded.
Anna: We got also two deductions for the lifts, but despite all these, the scores were much higher. Well, we're not angry about that, we'll try to understand.
Luca: It all depends on the dynamics of the competition, the judges, host country. I mean there were couples that competed in Paris as well as in Moscow, but at TEB we were ahead, this time we're behind. But that's figure skating, the mystery of figure skating. It's our first senior season and in Paris we got a great result. The most important thing for us at the moment is to make a pleasant impression, show that we're a couple who wants and is ready to work and we're here to get the best results possible.
Has your preparation changed, taking into account that you're doing your first senior season?
Anna: It's a bit of a difficult year. We've been skating together for a short time, only for one junior season. We started skating together last year in July, so last year it worked out as it did.
Luca: And it did very well.
Anna: But the preparation was done very quickly. This year we had some problems, because I finished high school in Italy and I had to take a break to sit my final exams, which was really important for me. Then my mother died and it all happened right at the same moment. So I had to skip a month and a half because I could not physically train. And as I resumed, it was difficult at first. But the preparation was rather furious. We were a bit frightened to do senior programs - free dance is a minute longer.
Luca: In my opinion our coach Roberto Pelizzola has prepared us very well for seniors, especially technically speaking. We're satisfied. We're no longer in juniors and the harsh senior reality with great strong skaters is right in front of us. The results so far are great. Last year we couldn't do senior programs, this year we do a four-minute free dance. We're very happy.
What are you goals for this season?
Anna: First of all, to skate well, to show how
we can skate, to show our character. We understand that this
year we can still afford some mistakes, it won't be devastating.
The placement we got here in comparison with our 5th overall
finish last week isn't devastating either. We would love to
skate well at Europeans because our federation has not decided
yet whether to send us to Worlds. But we would like to be
there. We've already heard some positive responses to our
results, so our goal is to go to Worlds and to show how well
we can skate.
How do you cope with your nerves during the competition?
Luca: My method is very simple. I don't
feel nervous in particular or have fear before the performance.
On the contrary, nervousness usually transforms into
adrenalin, in determination to do better, into power
during the performance. I become more aggressive than
Is the support of the audience important for you?
Luca: Well, we haven't expected such an audience here. The audience in Paris was a bit cold. Here we understood that the spectators enjoyed our skating, especially during the original dance.
Anna: They applauded every ten seconds!
Luca: It was really encouraging. We're happy.
Anna: When you skate, you hear that you are doing everything well.
Luca: that there is the audience, that they look at you, are with you, catch your emotions. In my opinion, that's the second main satisfaction skaters can get. The first is surely the result and the second is the fact that you manage to convey something. We're not here for a couple of levels, that's not the greatest thing in life, we're here to give emotions to the audience, and only after that to the panel of judges who give us components and levels.
Where did you enjoy skating most?
Anna and Luca: We don't have that extensive
experience, but the most beautiful arena we've ever
skated at was in Paris.
Anna: Tango Argentino.
Luca: The one that is drawn for this season and we do particularly well in is the Westminster Waltz. I also like the Blues, the old one though, not the Midnight. And well, Tango Argentino, but I have never done it properly.
What in your view do you still need to improve in your skating?
Anna and Luca: Everything. We're a young couple.
Anna: In my opinion, looking at what we don't do sufficiently well, we need to improve our flexibility. And we don't have enough experience, because a lot comes with years. We've been skating together for a little time and we need to work on our synchronization. We have not entered many competitions together, and at times we can't react appropriately and learn the lesson. We still have some problems which in reality are fundamental. As for the rest, we need improve our presentation as well.
Luca: You can never reach the end of improvement.
We can still improve everything: push, lines, flexibility,
Do you remember you first practice together?
Anna and Luca: Yes.
Anna: My partner quit and therefore the Federation asked Luca if he would like to skate with me.
Luca: Anna was Italian junior champion and I was vice-champion. They called me because they thought that this was a very good opportunity. At first, I was a bit skeptical about that. I wasn't sure if I should take this huge responsibility. Then, having thought it over, I understood that this was a very good chance. But it was by no means a compromise that I should skate with Anna, no way. I hope this journey we're on is going to be long, but not too much.
Anna: We hadn't talked to each other for a long time and it was a bit difficult to meet again. We were a bit embarrassed; we didn't know what to do.
What skaters do you admire and have somehow influenced your style?
Anna: Surely, Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio. They showed us how one becomes a champion. We skated with them when we were children. We admired their serious style, their diligent work. They inspired us, and we understand that we shall work like them. We hope that someday we reach their level. My personal favourites, the skaters that I enjoy most are Oksana Grishuk and Evgeny Platov.
Luca: I admire Maxim Staviski a lot. We skated
together with Albena and Maxim for a while last year when
Natalia Linichuk coached Barbara and Maurizio. I also enjoy
watching old Soviet videos of Bestemianova/Bukin, Klimova/Ponomarenko.
Right at the moment I can mark the Bulgarian couple, Albena
and Maxim, the Americans Tanith Belbin and Benjamin Agosto
and the Russian Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin. I really
enjoyed their free dance, but the music is very distinctive.
Do you quarrel from time to time?
Anna and Luca: Yes, Yes, sure.
Luca: More often in summer when we build our
programs and I say: "I don't like this move" and
Anna says: "No, no, let's keep it". But during the
competition it's different because we are very focused.
Is there any achievement in your career that you are proud of?
Anna: The end of last season. We finished third at the Junior Grand Prix Final and that proved that we are the third best couple in the world.
Thank you very much for this interview and good luck at the Europeans!