Brian Joubert: “Fewer children in France are taking up figure skating. Parents are scared of sexual issues and harsh treatment of children.”

Posted on 2024-05-17 • No comments yet


Translation of the interview with Brian Joubert made for Russian media.

original source: MatchTV dd. 16th May 2024 by Sofia Dzikia

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Translation if the interview with Brian Joubert posted on MatchTV. In the interview Joubert talked about restoring justice and return to work, discussed the problems of figure skating in France, and also shared a bit about his personal life.

Q: Brian, tell us about your life. What are you doing?

Brian Joubert: I work as a figure skating coach in Poitiers, my hometown. In winter, I occasionally perform in ice shows.

Q: What level of athletes are you training?

Brian Joubert: Figure skaters of all levels: those who skate for fun, athletes from the French national team who compete internationally. I really want to take a beginner level child and guide them from the basics to winning medals at major competitions.

Q: What elements does your best athlete master?

Brian Joubert: I have a Japanese skater who performs all triple jumps and is very close to achieving a quad. We are learning the salchow and toe loop with him.

Q: How about you? Are you in shape? Can you jump anything?

Brian Joubert: Honestly, I’m in very bad shape. I can, of course, do some triple jumps, but it’s not easy for me. To get in shape, I need to lose 12 kilograms.

Q: After retirement, Russian figure skaters perform in ice shows, some go on TV, earn money through advertisements. What is the fate of a former figure skater in France?

Brian Joubert: I used to perform in ice shows all over the world, had several tours in France, also participated in the television show “Dancing with the Stars”. But I must stress that figure skating in France isn’t as popular as it is in Russia. Here it’s difficult to earn big money after the end of an athlete’s career.

Q: Do you feel like a star? Do they recognize you on the streets?

Brian Joubert: I feel like an ordinary person. I’m not a star, just a figure skater who managed to win the World Championships. But in France, only three athletes have managed to win this title. So, I do stand out among the others.

Q: Is figure skating popular in France?

Brian Joubert: When I was an athlete, figure skating was very popular. All competitions were shown on TV, journalists were interested in figure skaters, they wrote and talked about us. Now nobody talks about figure skating. In recent years, French media have been presenting it negatively. They talk about problems with judging and bad attitudes towards children. My sport has a very bad image right now.

Q: Is there a children’s figure skating industry in France?

Brian Joubert: Fewer children are taking up figure skating. Parents are scared.

Q: What scares them?

Brian Joubert: Sexual issues and harsh treatment of children.

Q: It’s hard to imagine big sports without the opportunity to raise one’s voice on an athlete.

Brian Joubert: Of course. But French coaches have to be very careful. Otherwise we can lose our job.

Q: Can you tell your student that they are foolish if they performed an exercise badly and don not listen to you?

Brian Joubert: Of course not. This is impossible. Even if the athlete has extra pounds that prevent them from skating, I can’t tell them about it. I understand that we must respect children, but sometimes you need to pressure an athlete to achieve results.

Last year, I almost lost my license and the opportunity to train.

Q: What accusations were made against you?

Brian Joubert: They said that I was too harsh with the children. Some parents wanted to ruin my career.

Q: And how did you manage to solve the problem?

Brian Joubert: An investigation was conducted. It was decided that I am a good coach, and I was allowed to continue working.

Q: Do you think that too lenient an approach to children hinders the development of figure skating in France?

Brian Joubert: Yes, of course. In my time there were no such problems.

Q: Is it expensive to practice figure skating in France? How much money is required per month?

Brian Joubert: About 250-350 euros per month, if you skate at a high level. Plus, you need to pay separately for the choreographer.

Q: Imagine if a French child went to train with Eteri Tutberidze or Tatiana Tarasova…

Brian Joubert: You’re kidding, they would be in shock!

Q: Do you still have friends in Russia? Which of the Russian skaters do you keep in touch with?

Brian Joubert: I still correspond with Russian athletes. In the times of my skating career, I was close with Alexei Yagudin, friends with Evgeni Plushenko, Sergei Voronov. Also, I have fans in Russia, they write, support me. I’ve always liked the Russian audience.

Q: How did you react to the disqualification of Russians from international competitions? Did the level of figure skating drop without the Russians?

Brian Joubert: I am very sorry for the Russian skaters. I do not understand this decision. It was always interesting to compete with them. With the Russians, any competition, especially the European Championships, looks more competitive. The level has dropped, this applies to women’s singles and pairs skating.

Q: Name the three best single skaters in the history of figure skating.

Brian Joubert: What a difficult question… Alexei Yagudin, Yuzuru Hanyu and Ilia Malinin. I also liked watching the skating of Daisuke Takahashi, Denis Ten, Jason Brown, Evgeni Plushenko.

Q: Were you surprised by Malinin’s quad axel?

Brian Joubert: Yes, his jump looks very easy. I am convinced that Malinin is capable of more.

Have you followed the doping scandal involving Kamila Valieva? How did you react to the court’s decision?

Brian Joubert: I followed. Kamila is my favorite skater. I feel so sorry for her.

Q: When was the last time you were in Russia?

Brian Joubert: Probably in 2017. Then I performed in Plushenko’s show “The Snow King”. I hope to come back to Russia soon.

I repeat, I love Russian audience very much. Russians know figure skating, understand the rules. They supported me at all competitions, even when I performed against their athletes.

Q: How are things in your personal life? Do you have a girlfriend or wife?

Brian Joubert: No, I’m single.

Q: Why?

Brian Joubert: For me, work is a priority in life. I coach, put a lot of effort into it. So far, I haven’t found a woman who would be ready to accept this.

Q: What kind of women do you like?

Brian Joubert: I don’t have a specific type. I rely on my inner feelings and sensations. Of course, she must be smart and have a good sense of humor. Before I definitely appealed to women, but now – I don’t know.

Q: Do you want a family?

Brian Joubert: Yes. But I will be ready to create it only with a suitable girl whom I will love. If this does not happen, I am ready to remain without a family.

Q: Do you watch your performances? Do you miss sports?

Brian Joubert: I love watching my performances, but I do not miss sports. I finished my career because skating was hard for me. Although, I do miss the excitement and thrill that competitions offer.

Q: Which programs were your favorite?

Brian Joubert: “The Matrix”, in this image I felt very confident. I like “James Bond” and “Gladiator”.

I loved the programs choreographed by Nikolay Morozov. He is the best choreographer. He can find a suitable image for any skater. Also, I remember working with Tatiana Tarasova.

Q: What do you enjoy besides figure skating?

Brian Joubert: I love to take care of my pets and ride a motorcycle.


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