Nostalgia – and a promise. The promise we’ll keep Javier Fernández in our hearts

This being the first skating season without Javier Fernández in 14 years, we chose to go down memory lane, right before the buzz, the effervescence of the Grand Prix season starts.

We won’t go that far though – we’ll go to 2019 Europeans, the end of it, in Minsk, and show you Javier while skating probably one of his most emotional programs ever.

“Prometo” (I Promise) by Pablo Alborán, choreographed by David Wilson and Sandra Bezic, has been his farewell to competitive skating.

And though he skated this program more than once, in other shows, in his own show, “Revolution on Ice”, never has he looked so into it, so full, so filled with the air of it, the message of it. And, for all of us watching him skate that program, never have we felt so strong, so aching, the feeling that this is it, this is really the last time we’re going to see him skate in a competitive, thrilling environment.

These photos taken in Minsk in January seem to describe so well his state of mind, our state of mind during Javier’s farewell. These photos are about nostalgia. And about honest emotions, exactly as the singer, Pablo Alborán, wanted the song to be.

And so here’s to all of us already missing Javier Fernández.

Photos by Natasha Ponarina/Minsk

Brian Orser, at the end of 2018 Europeans in Moscow: “I’m all for moving the sport forward, I encourage that, I think it’s great. But I’m also all for beautiful skating, skating skills, effortless skating, transitions, choreography that makes sense, a blade that runs across the ice beautifully.

I don’t know if people are working on that as much, but in our camp – we focus mostly on that. Where the power comes from, how you get power, how you use your bodyweight and balance to get your blade to accelerate.

A lot of it is physics. People envision power by just pushing really hard. But you don’t have to. You have to use your knees, your ankles, your weight, where you put your weight – so that the blade would accelerate, and how you use the curve to help that. It’s all these ways to get speed for free, you know.

And once they get it – because it takes a lot of time, it takes months and months and months and months… And, all of a sudden, you see the light go off with the skater, when they just start to feel it. And it’s the greatest feeling in the world.

…I have to say that Javi is like our poster child for what we believe in skating. I say we, I mean Tracy Wilson and myself.

And when we started with him – he’s a super talent, but his skating skills were not great. He could do jumps, but if you watched him on a practice session, he was tripping all over the place. He’d be falling in footwork, he’d be falling on crossovers. Not on purpose, but he just didn’t have a sense of organization of skating.

Now he does, and it’s really quite nice to watch”.

“Prometo que no pasarán los años
Y arrancaré del calendario
Las despedidas grises
Los días más felices no han llegado
Te prometo olvidar mis cicatrices
Y devolver lo que he robado
A tus dos ojos tristes
Te prometo que nos mudaremos pronto
Del fracaso y desconcierto a la calle del silencio
Te prometo que vamos a volvernos eternos”

Pablo Alborán, Prometo

[Javier Fernández will take part, at the end of this week, in Japan Open, a (rather relaxed) team competition organized by the Japan Skating Federation; the event, featuring Team Japan, Team North America, Team Europe, with competitors invited to skate a free skate program for their teams, will be followed by the traditional gala Carnival on Ice.
Venue: Saitama Super Arena
October 5, 2019]


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Javier Fernández’s farewell – and the other big moments of the Europeans