Golden Skate

Andorran Skaters Premier on World Stage

Andorra is a tiny principality nestled between Spain and France. It has a single ice rink. Last season, Andorra sent its first competitors to an ISU championship with Marc Casal and Melissandre Fuentes, both 14, representing the country at the 2002 World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Hamar, Norway. Casal finished 39th in the men’s competition and Fuentes was 43rd among the ladies. Both of the skaters were born in Canillo and skate at the Orient Club Sez where they are coached by Andrei Efremov. Victoria Kisluhineva choreographs their programs.

Fuentes began skating when she was five because the ice rink was near her home. Her younger sister, who is eleven, also skates there. Fuentes said, “I have never tried skating with a partner, and, anyway, in Andorra, there are not many boys who skate.” Besides, she likes jumping the most. She landed her first triple jump, a triple salchow, a year ago but her favorite jump is the triple loop. She uses the triple salchow in her hardest combination, a triple salchow/double toe loop.

Fuentes, who aspires to be a world champion and hopes to go to the Olympics someday, was inspired by three world champions: Evgeni Plushenko, who she likes for his jumps; Marina Anissina and Gwendal Peizerat, for their choreography; and Irina Slutskaya, who is her favorite skater overall. She plans to compete until she’s 20 or 22. After she finishes competing, Fuentes expects to “keep in shape and try to stay in the world of ice skating,” but is studying to be a medical doctor as a career. Currently, she is a student at the French Lyceum in Andorra, where her best subject is mathematics. She speaks both Spanish and French.

During the season, Fuentes trains only for about 45 minutes a day on ice with two off ice sessions a week. During the summer, she trains for about two hours a day. She started ballet when she was nine and still takes classes once a week during the summer.

Fuentes works with Efremov to select the music for the year’s programs. Her short program was to modern Spanish music, while the long is music by Bolt. She prefers to skate to Spanish and Russian classical music, but listens to modern contemporary music off ice. She also plays the flute.

Her off-ice interests include snow skiing, horseback riding, and badminton. She said that her favorite holidays are “on the farm with the horses.” She likes to watch science fiction movies and read history books. Fuentes enjoys traveling. Her favorite trip was to Slovenia, but she would like to visit Russia.

Fuentes gained a lot of experience from her first ISU international. “I liked the competition and talking with the other skaters,” she said. “I learned a lot from the Russian skaters.”