Home Figure Skating News Kimmy Repond bursts onto senior scene

Kimmy Repond bursts onto senior scene

by Tatjana Flade
Tatjana Flade

Kimmy Repond

Kimmy Repond of Switzerland performs her exhibition routine to music from “Wednesday” at the 2023 European Figure Skating Championships.

Kimmy Repond

Switzerland’s Kimmy Repond burst on to the senior scene when she medaled at both her Challenger series events in Budapest and Graz. The 16-year-old prodigy then claimed bronze in her at the 2023 European Figure Skating Championships last month, surpassing all her personal bests from events earlier this season.

The national silver medalist put out two perfect performances to outskate more experienced competitors, and was even ranked second in the free skate in Espoo. Repond was in awe and could not believe what she just had accomplished, however, she remained cool and composed, even after surprisingly sitting in third following the short program. Besides a lot of hard work, not to mention talent, her personality is the key to her success.

“At Europeans, I felt like I do in any other competition regarding stress and nerves,” shared the Swiss skater, “but I was much more excited and happy! From day one, it was such a great experience.” After all, it has been a long-awaited dream for Repond to compete at the major stage of Europeans. “Obviously I thought about a medal after the short program, but my main goal still remained to skate clean. Therefore, I was so emotional after my long program, even before I knew the score. The medal afterwards was a dream come true!”

Her bronze medal, and the one of teammate, Lukas Britschgi, in the Men’s event, was the first for Switzerland since Sarah Meier won gold in 2011. Meier, by the way, was in Espoo, commentating for Swiss TV, and was extremely pleased to see her countrymen doing so well.

“Europeans was an awesome experience and I’ll keep that feeling for a few days for sure, but then I need to put it aside,” said Repond, not ready to rest on her laurels. “The next competition is coming up!”

The next event is the 2023 ISU World Junior Championships in Calgary, Canada, at the end of February. The newly-minted European bronze medalist is aiming at strong performances again. Additionally, she wants to qualify for a spot for the Winter Youth Olympic Games for Switzerland, which means she needs to be in the top eight. Another medal is not out of reach, though. Repond will then head to Japan for her first ISU World Championships, and hopes to make the top ten in Saitama. However, the teen won’t stop there.

“After that, the next year is coming!” noted Repond, who hopes to get selected for the senior Grand Prix events for 2023-24 season. “Then I’ll set new goals.”

The teenager definitely has the right mindset to reach these goals.

“I think when you love the sport so much and really enjoy it, it is easier to perform in front of so many people,” said Repond. “I am always more excited than nervous, and that is probably helping me. Also, I’m always there with my sister, Jérômie. On the ice, she is my coach, but outside the ice, we are obviously very close.”

Repond enjoyed being on the same ice in Espoo with Loena Hendrickx and Ekaterina Kurakova, as they are skaters she looks up to. And she was not at all intimidated at all.

“At first, you’re just happy (to share the ice with them), but we are competitors on the ice and everyone is focusing on herself,” Repond explained. “Later, at the exhibition gala and practice, it was a lot of fun and we chatted a lot. We talked less about skating, more about normal things. When you are at the event, you are one of them and not an outsider.”

Moreover, Repond was not looking for advice from the more experienced athletes as she feels each skater makes their “own experiences” and live through them individually.

“Loena Hendrickx, for example, has done very different competitions, and hopefully, I’ll experience them as well in the future,” said Repond. “That is my goal and I think it is better to make your own experiences. Everyone is different. I am teaching my little sister twice a week, just to give her some advice as well, but she is very different from me. She has other strengths and weaknesses and it hard to pass on your knowledge.”

At present, the high school student is investing a lot into her career. Repond, and her nine-year-old sister, Caline, train in the morning before school. They show up at the rink at 5:30am, are on the ice 6:00am and then they are off to school at 8:00am. Older sister Jérômie competed herself at the international level until 2017, until an accident with a motorcycle ended her career. She has been coaching her younger sister, Kimmy, since she was eight. The oldest of the four sisters, Sidonie, was a competitive skater as well, achieving a national title at the novice level. She now works as a mental coach and sports psychologist, and supports her sister as well.

The sisters get along well and manage to balance their on and off-ice relationship.

“The challenge is to clearly separate between being a coach and sister,” Jérômie Repond pointed out. “Meanwhile it is working well with Kimmy, most of the time. Our interaction during practice is different from the one at home.”

The coach realized quickly the extraordinary talent of her younger sister.

“Even as a little kid, her rotation was incredibly fast, and she had that emotional expression that set her apart from others,” she said. “This has not changed. Kimmy is a mentally strong athlete that can feel the music really well and express it. She is also very talented for jumps. We still need to work on the height of her jumps, though, which we want to improve for the next season.”

The Swiss skater has practiced the quad Salchow in the past, but after a bad fall, has shelved it for now.

“Right now we are focusing on Worlds and Junior Worlds,” Kimmy Repond said. “It’s not a one hundred percent sure yet what we’re going to practice after the end of the season. In general, we’ll discuss the topic of quads after the end of the season with doctors, for sure. It is important to me that I don’t compromise my health in the long term.”

Repond is not only successful on the ice, but in education as well. During the Covid-19 pandemic, when there were only a few competitions, she used her time for school and was able to skip two years ahead so that she will graduate from high school this spring. She studies in a British school, and therefore, speaks fluent English. She is also learning French and practices the language with her second coach, Mathieu Delcambre.

The skater has also learned how to play the piano and has done some modeling.

“It was fun, but now I’m doing it less,” said Repond of modeling. “I want to focus on the sport and graduate from high school. After that I want to start playing the piano again.”

Currently, Repond has over 173, 000 followers on Instagram, which is filled with professional and stylish photos.

“What I am posting on Instagram is mostly very authentic and not extremely planned,” said Repond. “It is just what I feel like posting at the moment.” Her mother, Claudia, helps the teen to manage the account which, like most accounts, has been targeted with some negativity. Fortunately, most of her social media experience as been positive.

“98% are positive messages and that motivates me a lot,” she pointed out. “Sure, there are negative comments here and there, but I see that it is the same for others as well.”

The young skater knows exactly what she wants and she already has a plan for the time following her competitive career: She wants to study medicine.

“First of all, I am very interested in it, and secondly, I really like to help people,” Repond explained.

She can imagine herself being a surgeon or emergency doctor in the future. Repond describes herself as “social” and “ambitious,” and that sounds accurate. She likes to cook for her whole family, has three cats and sometimes takes care of the dog of her oldest sister, Sidonie.

While Repond has many different talents and interests, she still prioritizes figure skating first.

“Skating brings me the most joy and it is so versatile,” she explained. “You can train so many different things – jumps, off-ice, programs, spins, improvisations, and that’s a lot of fun. When I played the piano, it was always the same for me, and that is different from figure skating.”

Repond mostly enjoys to skate her programs with all its different parts. “Element-wise, I like the jumps most and the skating itself, not so much the spins,” she revealed, laughing.

Additionally, the skater thrives on performing in front of a big crowd. She was very happy to get invited to the major show “Art on Ice” in Zürich following Europeans, and she put a lot of effort into her show number to music from the soundtrack Wednesday.

“I chose the music at the beginning of December,” said Repond. ” I just love the serial and the way Jenna Ortega danced to the music. I wanted to do something special, put on a real show.”

Repond’s sister and coach, Jérômie, normally suggests the music the skater uses. This would include this season’s Two Feet medley for the short program and “Exogenesis Symphony” for free skate, which Kimmy Repond kept from the previous season. ”

“Jérômie made some suggestions, and these two pieces spoke to me right away,” Kimmy Repond pointed out. It is always a number one priority that I like the music as well.”

Kimmy Repond’s career just has taken off in a short amount of time, and the future looks bright. Jérômie still sees a lot of potential for her younger sister.

“In my opinion, she has the potential to win a European title and a world medal at some point in her career,” Jérômie summed up.


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