Lara Naki Gutmann
Italy’s Lara Naki Gutmann has competed at three World Figure Skating Championships, steadily climbing over the past several years. Last season, the 20-year-old also placed in the top 10 in her third trip to the European Championships, finishing eighth. In doing so, she picked up two slots for the 2024 European Championships.
“It was one of my main goals last season and I am still so happy about it,” said the three-time national champion. “We have some strong girls coming up, so it’s really good to have that second spot!”
Gutmann, who trains in Trento under Gabriele Minchio, Stephanie Cuel and Giulia Garello, is now gearing up for sixth straight senior season. Her first competition will be at the Challenger Series Lombardia Trophy in Bergamo in September. She is then slated to compete later the same month in at Ondrej Nepela Trophy in Bratislava and will then prepare for Skate Canada in Vancouver.
“I had the host spot at the in Italy two years ago,” she said of her Grand Prix assignment. “But now it’s of course very nice for me to have earned a spot apart from that. I was hoping I would get a spot but wasn’t sure and didn’t want to have too high of an expectation. It will be my very first time to Canada and I heard Vancouver is a beautiful city, so I am really looking forward to that!”
The skater, who took silver at 2022 Ondrej Nepela, is keeping her free skate from last season. However, she will be debuting a new short program to the percussive music of “Kiss of Death” by Mandingo, “Le Serpent” by Guem and Zaka and “War Dance” by Mandingo. She spent some time in Champéry refining the program with advice from Stéphane Lambiel.
“After I tried a new style last year, I once again wanted to try something new,” said Gutmann. “It’s a challenge for me. The music is very rhythmic, and I worked on it with my coach Gabriele Minchio and my choreographer Prisca Picano.”
“I am starting to feel the program now which makes me very happy!” she added. “I wasn’t sure at the beginning if it would suit me, so I am glad it seems to work out.”
Gutmann recently spent two weeks in Champéry where she also had a chance to also work with Ghislain Briand.
“They are both amazing!” she said. “Stéphane is such a passionate person and you can really see that he likes everything he does. It’s a different kind of training here and I feel it’s very useful for me. I train all the jumps and combinations in half an hour. It’s good for my mind to do it all in less time. It helps me to get more consistent. I also really like the people here!”
Gutmann has been spending a great deal of time focusing mainly on her new short program. Her main goal this season is to be consistent with a triple-triple.
“It would be really nice if I could do the Lutz-Euler-Salchow combination in the short, but I guess it would be too easy,” she explained. “So right now, I am working more on the triple toe as the second jump, and I think I will stick with it. I tried to put the loop combination in my program for the entire last season, but it didn’t work. I had faith in it, but it wasn’t meant to be. So now I will try something else. I of course still train it, but we will see.”
“We decided to keep the free skate because it worked very well and I could deliver it solidly at every competition,” she added.
While Milan 2026 is looming ahead, Gutmann isn’t thinking about it too much.
“I want to live in the moment,” she summed up. “But of course, it’s always in the back of my mind. It was my dream to make it to Beijing and now another dream is coming up. And of course, it’s special that it’s going to happen at home. It would be amazing to participate in the individual competition there!”