ENVISIONING FUTURE IN MARCH 2022: ONLY ONE SEASON TO GO
Tip-toeing when it came to her future, a year ago in France Julia had this combination of optimism – “I really hope that this placement opens some supporting doors, so I might get some financial help next season” – and her already familiar realness, maturity that struck you.
“I think you’re allowed to dream, but you also need to be making smart life choices.
I mean, my husband is seven years older than me and his perspective in life obviously helped me look at life and see it in a different way, but it’s also the fact that I was always in the situation of figuring out how I could support myself financially for my passion…
And since we’re a family now, we also want to look a little bit into our future – but not making too many plans, because if we just look at what happened during the last three years, when things have changed so badly, you need to be OK with whatever comes.
But I could see us moving to the United States at the end of my husband’s career. He’s been without his family for half of his lifetime now, and because he’s not speaking German that makes it very difficult for him to find a job in Germany.
And coaching in the United States is more valuable – and I definitely hope to make some money back for what I have spent my entire life”.
A (serious) smile followed.
As for us at Inside Skating, there was one more thing that we wanted to know from Julia before letting her fully enjoy her success in Montpellier and spend her day off-competition in the city.
Trying to represent Romania at the Olympics has ever been on the table as an opportunity for which to strive for? Does she have Romanian citizenship yet?
“I don’t have it yet. Because when we first started, in 2012/2013, I was so far away from 2018 Olympics that we never asked for the passport.
And then, after 2019, I stopped for a whole year, and Olympics were so far away again… I think we always thought: OK, if it were to happen to get a spot, we’d figure something out. And even if not…
Obviously, if you’re going to the Olympics, it’s that dream – but for me it was really like making it to a Final at Worlds or Europeans. To me, that was fulfilling enough.
Going to the Olympics would have been the top of the top, la crème de la crème – but my life isn’t worse even if I’m not there…”
…VS JULIA’S FUTURE IN JANUARY 2023: “I’LL GO ALL IN FOR THE ENTIRE OLYMPIC CYCLE”
Ten months later, this January, we meet Julia Sauter again, at the end of an international competition taking place annually in Otopeni, Romania.
Julia finished 2023 EduSport Trophy on the 2nd place – and she is half joyful-half sad about the way things turned out.
Happy she could finally land the triple Lutz in practice, and in competition! Remember her “small goals” from a year before? “I want to get the Flip and Lutz done, that’s my priority”. Well, she’s done it now: she’s been landing them both in practice and, on January 15th, at EduSport Trophy, Julia landed a beauty of a triple Lutz in her free skate, with Marius Negrea hitting the boards with excitement. “At least something to accomplish here!”, a very demanding Julia grinned.
Yet sad, because she couldn’t make the (new) TES-minimum for the short in Otopeni, as she had planned. “For the free skate, I have it for some time now – but since they raised the points in the summer, I don’t have it for the short anymore. I know I can do it, I just have to get through a short program clean. It’s more a head thing now than it is a physical one”.
[As matter of fact, Julia only needed 0.10 points more for the technical content of her short program at 2022 Worlds in Montpellier, and she would have got those 32 points needed. But since she doesn’t have them yet, this season she embarked on a journey resembling the previous one, and the trip to Worlds became, once again, the target of the season.]
THE OFFER THAT IS CHANGING EVERYTHING
But then there’s plenty of other reasons to be excited as well: a brand new perspective that opens up in front of Julia; one that she will fully believe when she sees it written down and signed.
We know her by now, you know her by now: she’s kept her groundedness.
“Honestly, after last season I thought 2022/2023 was going to be my final year.
But as it seems right now, I’ll start getting a little support from a new club in Romania – I will get support for the Olympics. Corona Braşov, they’ve been really looking into me, and gave me an offer. And we’re really hoping that, after this season, I can switch clubs and get supported for the competitions and also receive a little salary.
And if that’s the case, and if this is really signed, I’ll go all in for the entire Olympic cycle!
I mean, I believe it when I see the papers signed, but, as of now, I really hope that everything works out.
That will be really nice, and a lot of relief too, because this year I work more than last year, and that’s why I get like small injuries, because I don’t get enough rest.
In the beginning of the season I had a knee injury that forced me off the ice for a month, so before my first Grand Prix I just had 4 weeks of preparation time…”
Coach Negrea confirms the discussions – you see him smiling too, relieved at the possibility.
“We want to change clubs, yes, move to Corona Braşov at the end of the season. We’ve been promised financial support: help for getting to competitions and a salary for Julia, because she is indeed a professional athlete, she wants to do this fully and she wants to do it better for three more years, we hope, towards the Olympics”.
A REMARKABLE PERFORMANCE: JULIA FINISHES 10TH AT EUROPEANS
It may seem pretentious on our part to keep on saying that Julia Sauter made history for Romania.
But she did, she does.
At the most recent edition of the European Championships, hosted by Metro Arena in Espoo, Finland, this January, the Romanian representative skated her long program in the penultimate group and finished the event on the 10th place. And she was brave enough to insert the newly-acquired triple Lutz in both her programs.
Never had a Romanian woman climbed to Top 10 at Europeans – and thanks to Julia’s placement, Romania will be able to send two representatives in the women’s event at the continental competition next season.
As for Julia, she got this one for the country – but she still needs to fight for herself, and secure her spot at Worlds in Saitama, in March. She’s been so close again to that TES-minimum in Espoo (31.37 points hers vs. 32 points needed) – she knows it’s in her capabilities.
And, rest assured, she’ll fight for it – remember the marathon of events, with the same purpose, prior to Worlds in Montpellier?
Julia Sauter really wants to go to Saitama and puts every ounce of her energy to get there in March.
Story by Florentina Tone © Inside Skating
Photos by Alberto Ponti at 2021 Lombardia Trophy in Bergamo,
2021 Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, 2022 Worlds in Montpellier,
2022 MK John Wilson Trophy in Sheffield, 2023 Europeans in Espoo
Other photos by Florentina Tone at 2022 Worlds in Montpellier,
2023 Edusport Trophy in Otopeni