More like a little chat than an actual interview, the discussion with Brian Joubert took place a few hours prior to “Kings on Ice Olympic Gala” in Bucharest and focused on the things important to him right now; these days, Brian takes part in a French TV show, “Danse avec les stars”, competing alongside a professional dancer, Katrina Patchett. In Bucharest, at “Kings on Ice” – exactly as it happened two years ago, at his first visit – Brian was greeted like a king. A burst of enthusiasm followed both of his programs and the (adored) French skater looked like he had a wonderful time during the show: he took a walk in the crowded arena, shook hands with people in the audience, kissed a girl and received flowers – and, given the warmth of the public and Brian’s response to that, I’m sure we’ll see him again in Bucharest the following years. At the end of the interview, I’m approached by a group of Brian’s admirers: “Does he have a girlfriend?”, “Is he getting married?”… That popular he is in Romania.
by Florentina Tone
From where I stand, you’re doing a slalom between “Danse avec les stars” (DALS) in Paris and “Kings on Ice Olympic Gala” in Bucharest… Actually, while heading to Romania, you wrote on twitter: “Direction Bucarest pour le show Kings on ice. Retour sur parquet mercredi”. How is this experience, DALS, for you?
Brian: It’s wonderful, a great experience… But, at the same time, it is very difficult, because we have to work a lot, every week we have to change the dance. It’s a competition and the level is very high.
Is dancing more physically demanding than figure skating?
No, but you know, I’m not using the same muscles… It’s completely different than figure skating.
But you like it…
I love it. (He smiles)
And what dance you and Katrina have to prepare for Friday? (the interview was taken on Tuesday, October 7th)
Ballet. (He laughs, as if he’s not very happy with this particular task). It’s going to be so strange, but I have no choice, I have to do it.
Up to this point, what have you danced? We don’t see DALS here, in Romania…
The first dance was… contemporaine (Brian uses the French word for contemporary) and the second one was tango. And it was good, because, for the moment, I’m second.
From what I know, Nathalie Péchalat takes part in the competition too…
Nathalie is also second, we have the same score.
You’re for the second time in Romania, a part of the “Kings on Ice” cast. It must be a reason for your comeback…
The first time I enjoyed it a lot. The audience was great with me – and with everybody. I remember the standing ovation for 5-10 minutes… It was so long, so beautiful, so when they asked me to come back I said: “Of course I come back”.
The audience will be great, as usual, but the ice in here is not that good…
Yes, it’s going to be more difficult because the ice is small and the quality, not perfect; and we have to be careful, don’t get injured…
Will you be jumping difficult jumps like the Triple Axel?
Actually, no – the problem with “Dancing with the stars” is that is difficult for me to practice for both. So I will do triples, but I cannot take risks.
What are your programs for tonight?
It’s going to be “The Lord of the Dance” and “I gotta feeling”, Black Eyed Peas.
Do you miss competitive skating already? This is your first year off the competitions…
Yes, but I’m very happy. Because it was a very good moment for me to stop competing – and I have a lot of shows, I have a TV show, so I’m very busy. But I think that in a few months I will miss competition, of course. It’s like a drug, you know. But this first summer, without having to train for competition, it was very, very good. (He smiles)
But what are you planning to do? Which are your short term/long term plans?
I really want to be a coach. Not yet, but I think in 3 or 4 years I will have my school, ice school, in France. And, of course, I’ll work with the French Federation.
Looking back, is there a moment that you remember more than others, a moment that stayed with you for years?
I think it’s my first European Championship. A long time ago, in 2002, in Switzerland, Lausanne. I finished third and I was qualified for the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City – so it was a big moment for me.
To finish with, how was the last Olympics you attended, the one in Sochi?
Amazing. Of course, I’m a little bit disappointed about the score, about the results, but I didn’t care about it. I wanted to enjoy this competition. I did four Olympic Games and it was always bad, I had a lot of bad feelings. So, this time, I enjoyed the practice, the atmosphere in the Olympic Village… and it was very good for me to finish like this.
PHOTO-GALLERY: Brian Joubert at “Kings on Ice Olympic Gala” in Bucharest