Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Joubert completely changes free program

Just a few days before heading to Helsinki for the 2009 European Championships, Brian Joubert rehearsed his programs in Paris with his teammates Alban Préaubert and Yannick Ponsero. It then became obvious that Joubert had undergone a major change in the last two weeks: he changed his free program.

"I have changed my free program completely -- music, choreography, everything. This one is much better for me," Joubert explained. "It fits me better."

Joubert had never changed a program in the middle of the season before. "This is the first time," he confirmed. "Yet I really think it was the right choice to make. In 2005, I kept a program that did not fit me during the whole season ["Christopher Columbus"]. I skated well at the European Championships, but then completely blew it off at worlds [Joubert had finished 6th that year in Moscow].

"I did not want this to happen again, and the Last of Mohicans program would have led to similar results."

Although a strong runner up to Jeffrey Buttle of Canada at the 2008 World Championships, Joubert has not displayed consistent programs ever since. He was defeated by his teammate Préaubert at the French Masters early in the season, then finished fourth at the Trophée Eric Bompard, won the Cup of Russia but faltered in the free program, withdrew from the ISU Grand Prix Final in Goyang City (Korea) after the short program and withdrew again from the French National Championships a week later.

Last summer, Joubert had turned to double Olympic gold medalist (in ice dancing) Evgeni Platov to work on his new programs. Platov encouraged him to skate to the theme of The Last of the Mohicans. His choice did not prove good, although his free program was generally considered as having decent potential.

"Indeed I really thought this was a good idea," Joubert explained. "Yet the more I went, and the less I felt well with it. May be I do not like to play a role. I like better to be myself."

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