Brian Joubert announced two days ago that he would not participate in the Coupe de Nice, as he had intended. After a poor showing at the French Masters two weeks ago, where he lost to Alban Preaubert, Joubert had hoped that he could start his international season in Nice, just three weeks before his first Grand Prix assignment, the Trophée Eric Bompard.
This will not be the case.
Officially, Joubert made the decision to withdraw "because he has not solved his equipment problems and does not want to give a poor image of his new programs." It is a fact that his blades have bothered him a lot these three last weeks.
"I am a rather heavy skater," Joubert explained earlier this week. "So, if we sharpen the blade so that it is too hollow, then my skates do not glide enough anymore. This is what happened in Orléans." Then every move became more difficult, especially the start of his quadruple jumps, which he failed in Orléans.
"Alain Giletti [the 1960 world champion, who has been Joubert's master blade sharpener for the last seasons] has come to Poitiers [Joubert's home rink, in the South-West of France] the day after I returned from Orléans," Joubert recalled. "He admitted that he had sharpened more hollow because he thought that it would be good for me, so we had to redo the whole thing to have the blade flatter."
So much for the official version of the case.
In private, however, Joubert is also quick to recognize that his own personality also plays a role into his withdrawal. "When everything is going alright, when there is no problem, it is just impossible to stop me," he explained. "But, then, when there is a tiny sand stone that comes in my way, nothing goes right anymore."
It would be too bad that all the work Brian has done last summer falls into pieces just because of that problem," Jean-Christophe Simond, who coaches Joubert, added. "He is in great shape, once we solve this everything will be back to normal."