Belgium has never been famous for its figure skaters, but the success of Kevin van der Perren has increased the sport’s visibility there. That’s made things better for other Belgian skaters like Sara Falotico, a 19-year-old from Saint Georges. “He’s had very good results so more press write about skating and it’s starting to be known in Belgium,” she said. “That’s great for the development of skating. Last year we had a record number of ladies at Nationals.” And van der Perren always make a point of cheering on the Belgian ladies when they attend the same competitions. “It’s important for me to have people supporting me,” Falotico said. “It’s something I need.”
Falotico had a busy 2002-03 season, switching back and forth between junior and senior events. In the fall, she competed at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany and the Junior Grand Prix in Scottsdale, Arizona. Then earlier this year, she competed at Europeans, Junior Worlds and Worlds. And that was after a stress fracture sidelined her for three months until August.
She began skating when she was five. “My mom and dad both worked so they wanted something for me to do after school,” Falotico said. “I saw lots of people with skates going to the ice rink. My grandfather was a bus driver so he took me to the rink.” She landed her first triple jump, a triple toe loop, when she was 12. “That’s my favorite and best jump,” she said. “The loop is without hesitation my hardest jump.” Falotico has tried triple-triples in practice but said she had a lot of work to do before she could have a triple-triple in her programs.
Falotico’s coach is Jana Vaysse. She trains for about an hour and a half twice a day for four days a week, with one session on Friday. She also has conditioning classes from Wednesday through Sunday. “I couldn’t practice a lot last year because I had school from eight to four,” she said. “And I had too much homework. This season I will take a year off from school to concentrate on my skating.” Her home rink is also closed from April to September so she skates at another rink farther from home in Belgium in April and May and in the Czech Republic later in the summer.
Milos Man choreographs Falotico’s programs. “I don’t like slow music. It’s not convenient for me,” Falotico stated. “I always choose my music and propose it to my coach. Generally we agree. She looks for fast, slow and steps parts.” For her short program, she skated a tango using Tanguera by Mariano Mores and La Proprietiare by Richard Robbins. “I liked the tango a lot,” she said. “It’s music I heard three years ago, but it was hard to find the parts I wanted. I heard Urmanov’s music for 1997-98 and finally found it on the Internet.” For the long, she used Journey of Man from Cirque du Soleil by Benoit Jutras. “I went to the circus with my parents and heard it,” she said. “A lot of skaters are using music from Cirque du Soleil, but I listened to the CDs and found this cut. For show programs, she has been using Jenny from the Block by Jennifer Lopez.
Off ice, Falotico listens to pop and rhythm and blues. “I like Madonna,” she said. “She works in all different styles and is always at the top.” For fun, she likes disco dancing, chatting on the Internet, playing computer word games, and collecting all kinds of pins. She keeps all her stuffed toys she receives in her room. But her main goal for the summer is learning to drive. “I live thirty minutes from the rink so I’m always on the road,” she said.
She likes to travel and hopes to visit Asia one day. Her favorite trip was to Mexico for her first Junior Grand Prix. “It was completely different from Belgium,” she said. “The country was very beautiful. I’ll always remember it.” She also enjoyed seeing the desert in Arizona and the famous buildings in Washington, DC.
Falotico hasn’t made any plans for a future career and is taking her skating year by year. “I don’t know what I want to do,” she admitted. “I like languages and learned French and English in school plus some Dutch, but don’t have any special things I want to study.” She does hope to make the Olympics in 2006.