Ivana Reitmayerová: “Europeans in Helsinki was a lifetime experience”


By Titanilla Bod
Photo by Daveskatingphoto.com via Wikipedia

In Slovakia, Ondrej Nepela, a figure skater was chosen as the best sports person in the last century, but in the recent years this sport hasn’t had any big successes. However, the 16-year-old Ivana Reitmayerová surprised everyone by placing 11th at the Europeans. We talked to Ivana at the press conference of the Slovak Olympic Committee, which considers her as one of the most promising Slovak competitors for the Games in Vancouver.

You finished 11th at the Europeans. How do you feel about it?

I’m very satisfied and happy. It was a surprise but I was very glad about it.

You were sixth after the short program, so you skated in the last group in the free skating.

It was hard, but I felt like in seventh heaven being together with the best skaters. They were really nice to me. In the skating world we are all friends, so it was okay.

Weren’t you nervous to skate in such a great group?
No, I was even less nervous than before the short program, because the most important thing was to be among the best 24 skaters, to qualify for the free program. When I made it, I just enjoyed the long program. Overall, I’m very satisfied with my performance in Helsinki - it was a life-time experience.

Your first major competition at seniors was the Worlds in Göteborg, where you almost made it to the free skating, despite skating very early in the very first group. In the end you missed it just by a hair. How did it feel?
Firstly, I was mainly enjoying the atmosphere of the competition, just being at the Worlds. I was a bit sad that I didn’t make it to the free skating, but I know that there were good skaters in the other groups, so I understood it.

In Helsinki you just missed 10th place, which would have meant two spots for Slovakia next year. Weren’t you disappointed about it?
I was a little bit disappointed, because 10th place means something in Europe, but I’m also glad with my 11th place as these were my first Europeans.

What are your goals at the Worlds?
To get to the free skating. I don’t have too daring ambitions - the important thing is to qualify for the free skating and this way also to the Olympics.

How did you start figure skating?
My mum is a coach, so she coached children. I saw them skating and I wanted to do the same. I started when I was five and since then I've kept on going.

What is it like to be coached by your mum?

Until I was 12 it was okay, then we started to argue on the ice a little bit about what I should do and how I should do it. But the older am I, the more I realize that she is right and now our relationship is perfect again.

How much time do you spend on the ice?
I have a practice every day, even on the weekends. On Saturday I have two sessions, on Sunday just one. Apart from this I have gymnastics, ballet, conditioning training. I seldom go to the school - I attend there just for the exams.

What do you like more: the practice or the competition?
I love both. On the practice I love to jump, but I also enjoy every single moment of a competition, too. Usually I’m able to do what I do on the practice, but of course it is necessary to work a lot.

How do you overcome your nervousness?
I don’t have any tricks, but I have my talisman which is always with me. And I’m not so nervous – usually when I’m in my starting pose all the nerves are gone.

What is your most memorable skating experience?
Europeans in Helsinki! But I also had a great experience at the Nationals this year. I was very ill, I couldn’t train for a week. I messed up the short program. I was only second and there was a six-point gap between me and the skater in first place. I was afraid before the free skating as my condition was terrible and I was still ill. So I went there for the free skating and skated absolutely clean! It was like a miracle!

What do you think about the Code of Points?
I have competed a lot also in the old system but I’m very happy about the new one. It is much more objective.

Who do you admire amongst the current skaters?
Daisuke Takahashi and Mao Asada. I love their Japanese style.

Are you also trying to land a triple axel, like Mao?
No, even though once the coach ordered me to do it but I refused. Triple axel would be too much for me. I’m not planning to try it in the future either, although I love jumps - my favourite one is the salchow.

Who do you think is the best skater in the world?
It’s hard to decide between Mao Asada and Yu-Na Kim. Mao Asada is not so stable these days, but she has that triple axel...

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