Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder, the 2008 ice dancing world champions, had programmed their return to the competitive ice for the upcoming European Championships.
In the interview with icenetwork.com Thursday, they indicated that they may not compete there and save their new programs for the Olympics.
"Our objective for this season has always been the Olympics," Delobel explained. "We are ready to follow all the steps our Federation sets for us. If they consider that we have more chance to achieve our goal by skating at the European Championships, we will. If they feel otherwise, then we won't."
"We may not be ready to compete today, although we are working hard for this, yet we may be ready to compete next week," Schoenfelder added.
"Taking part in the European Championships is not a mandatory pass." Muriel Zazoui-Boucher, who coaches the duo in Lyon, concluded.
It has now been one year since Delobel and Schoenfelder withdrew from competitive skating. Delobel injured her right shoulder during the exhibitions at the Grand Prix Final (which the duo had won in December 2008). The rehabilitation process took longer than expected, and forced Delobel and Schoenfelder to withdraw from Europeans and worlds in 2009. Delobel announced her pregnancy later that spring. She gave birth to a baby boy, Loïs, early October, before resuming training later that month.
The duo skated in two galas during the holiday season. Thursday they came to Paris for a skating test in front of some representatives of the French Federation, where they skated their original dance to a enthusing French Can Can. Although far from perfect, it showed that the duo was undoubtedly back on track for what will be their 20th season skating together.
After they finished their skate, they took the time to describe their current shape and the status of their programs.
About getting back on shape
Isabelle: We train each session at 200%, as if we were to compete the next day. Each day there is a new step forward. My shoulder is well monitored by my medical staff, which is very present around me. I just do not think of it and go ahead. The most difficult part for me after Loïs' birth was probably my adductor muscles. I did not think they would suffer that much. The main difficulty was then to rehabilitate my whole body and coordinate everything to work together.
Olivier: Coming back after such an injury, then after giving birth to a baby, was quite a challenge and we both knew it would be difficult. Well, it was very difficult! But I feel that our physical problems are now completely behind us. We do see improvements literally day after day.
Isabelle: As for my weight, it is no problem for me. Although I can assure you that I did not eat much during the holiday season (she laughs)! My nutritionist and therapist are overseeing it carefully. We are training a lot and work very hard day after day. We arrive at 7 am at the rink and skate 2 to 3 sessions every day, that is 5 to 6 hours, at the very least 4 days a week. After that, we get physical preparation, where we go together. Then I have some medical work until 7:30 p.m., to work on getting back on shape. Every day is better, and again it is so visible for us and for everyone.