by Barry Mittan

Luxembourg’s Anna Bernauer doesn’t have to worry about too much competition at her country’s national championships. “We only have 19 skaters in all,” she said. “Nationals only takes a few hours on one day.” Bernauer has won the junior title in Luxembourg three times and competed on the Junior Grand Prix circuit, but the 2003 Europeans was her first senior competition. She finished 31st.

Bernauer began skating when she was four years old when her mother took her to an ice rink in Germany for fun. She began lessons in Luxembourg when she was six, but often had to travel to other countries to train. “The trainers only stay for a year or two in Luxembourg, so I have to go where the trainers are,” she said. “Some summers I go to Obertsdorf to train, sometimes to Spain.” She trains for about an hour and a half a day, plus two hours of gym every week and an hour of ballet with a teacher who visits the club once a week.

She has worked with Nicolas Osseland, a former French pairs skater since September. Osseland noted that she “has improved a lot since September.” She landed her first triple jumps, the salchow and the toe loop, when she was 12 and said, “I’ve landed all of them at least once in my lifetime, but not regularly.” Bernauer uses a triple toe/double toe combination and is working on a triple salchow/double toe but hasn’t included it in her programs yet.

Natasha Devisch choreographs Bernauer’s programs. This year she is using Rene Dupere’s “Xotica Journey to the Heart” for her short program and a medley of “Gypsy”, “Falling from Grace”, and “The Night” for her free skate. “I heard the short program music once at a competition and like it,” she said. “My previous coach chose the long program. I was using it for the junior events and just added 30 seconds for the Europeans.” “I like fast music,” she continued. “I’m not very good skating to slow music and I don’t like classical music. Except for skating, I don’t listen to music very much.” Bernauer tried playing the piano once, but noted that she didn’t have any musical talents.

Bernauer is nearing the end of her primary schooling, with another year left after this year. After that, she plans to attend the university to study medicine or law. “Nothing is as important to your future life as schooling,” she said. Her favorite subjects are physics, chemistry and mathematics. The talented 16-year-old noted that she is good at languages and speaks Luxemburgish, English, German, and French and is learning Spanish. She uses her computer mainly for school research and email.

For relaxation, Bernauer likes to ride horses. “In the summertime, I can ride in the countryside, but this winter the horse is a bit wild so I can just ride around the ring,” she said. “I try to go at least once a week. I also like to go out and have fun with my friends. I like to go to the cinema. I like all kinds of movies, especially comedies, but not horror movies.” Bernauer also likes skiing and snowboarding in the winter and enjoys scuba diving and windsurfing in the summer. During summer holidays, she often visits Italy or Sardinia with her family to go to the beach and get a tan. “I’d like to visit all the countries,” she said. “I like traveling a lot.” She also keeps more than 100 stuffed animals in her room and collects stickers from fruit.

“I just try to do a clean program when I compete,” she said. “I want to keep skating as long as possible, as long as I like it. I like it because skating is a complete work. You must have everything to succeed.” She plans to continue at least until 2006, maybe until 2010.

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