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- Interview with coaches Alexander König and Jean-François Ballester
Fernández makes senior grand prix debut
- Published: September 28, 2009
When Spain’s Javier Fernández placed 19th at the 2009 World Figure Skating Championships, he became the first male skater since 1956 from that country to qualify for the Winter Olympic Games.
Fernández was only 30th at Worlds in 2008, but placed 11th at the 2009 European Championships.
“I wasn’t surprised that I qualified for the Olympics,” Fernández said. “After I did my programs, I felt very good.”
“There’s no interest in skating in Spain,” he noted. “Sometimes people watch, but they don’t know Spain has skaters. I’m hoping if I skate well at the Olympics, more people will be interested in skating in Spain.”
“I want to do at least one more Olympics after Vancouver,” he said. “Then I hope to be a coach.”
Fernández started skating when he was six years old. “My sister, Laura, started skating and I went to watch her,” he recalled. “When I saw her skating, I wanted to skate too.” Laura competed in ladies at both Europeans and Worlds and is now competing in senior dance with a Canadian, Simon Gagnon.
The 18-year old first landed a triple jump when he was 12 – a triple Salchow. By 16, he had landed a clean triple Axel. “I tried a triple Axel one week and landed one the next week,” he stated.
Fernández is now working on both the quadruple toe loop and the quadruple Salchow. “I first tried the quad Salchow last season,” he stated. “This summer, I started working on the quad toe. I’ve landed both of them clean but not every time on every day.”
“I will have the quad toe in both my programs this year,” he continued. “In the short, I will have a quad toe-double toe combination and also a triple flip and a triple Axel. In the free program, I plan to have two triple Axels, a quad toe, and all the triples. Right now my combinations will be triple toe-double Axel and triple flip-triple toe, but I may change.”
Nikolai Morozov coaches Fernández and choreographs all his programs. He trains at the Ice House in Hackensack, NJ.
“I skate for three hours up to five or six hours a day, depending on how tired I am,” Fernández said. “I train six days a week on ice but I don’t do much off ice except warming up. If you do good training on the ice, you don’t need to do too much working out.”
“I was at Nikolai’s camp in Andorra last summer,” Fernández noted. “At the end of the camp, Nikolai asked me if I would like to come to Hackensack to train with him. In Spain, it’s not the same level of ice rinks and coaching. The rinks are closed in summer, so we have to train somewhere else so I couldn’t say ‘no’. I came in July and it’s like a dream being here.”
“I’m working with Nikolai now on the choreography for the free program, but without the jumps,” Fernández stated. “The short program is finished. I am using Mission Impossible for the short and Pirates of the Caribbean for the long. Nikolai thought it would be good for me because I look like Jack Sparrow.”
“I like to skate to music from films,” he said. “That way I can see the movie and see how the people move and tell the story. In my free program, my straight line footwork sequence will be sword fighting, and in my spiral footwork, I’ll look a little bit drunk like Jack Sparrow.”
“I’m working now to improve my step sequence and skate more cleanly,” Fernández added. “I’ve improved a lot this summer.”
When he’s not skating, Fernández said, “I usually go to the mall or watch a movie with my friends or play video games. I also like to listen to techno and pop music. But I need to go out and do something every day. I can’t stay in the same place like a mushroom.”
Fernández will compete in his first senior Grand Prix event this season, Trophée Eric Bompard in Paris, France in October. “I’m happy to go to France,” he said. “I’m just hoping to skate well.”
He hasn’t done many shows but doesn’t have a preference for skating in shows versus competitions. “You have people and music and the program is the same,” he said. “When I start, I forget the people and the judges are there and think only of the program.”