Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Figure skating season begins in France

There were two hot topics in Orléans this past weekend as the elite skaters of France gathered for their first competition, the French Masters. Brian Joubert was supposedly unveiling his new free program, crafted by former ice dancing world champions Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski. The other subject that got tongues wagging was Isabelle Delobel's baby, which was expected to arrive during the competition.

Though both stories gained a lot of steam, and The Masters, allowed for a valuable review of French figure skating on the eve of the upcoming Olympic season.

Joubert's new program
Many were wondering about Joubert's new free program.

"Finally, this is a winning program," one international judge present in Orléans commented after seeing it.

Joubert's 2008-2009 season ended in turmoil, as he cut ties with former coach Jean-Christophe Simond and decided to train again with Laurent Depouilly, who had helped him win his first European Championship in 2005. Many then wondered how Joubert could renew his repertoire and undertake the necessary changes to his skating style.

"We decided to keep last year's short program," Joubert explained. But Joubert will be skating a new free skate this season. After long discussions, the team finally decided to ask Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski to help him build what should be his Olympic free skate.

Joubert missed his quad in both the short and free programs in Orléans, and he lost to 2008 Junior Grand Prix Final winner Florent Amodio. His showing, however, reassured federation experts and judges.

"I am well aware that there is still a lot of work ahead of me," Joubert said. "Yet I am on track. And I love this program."

Full article.

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