“Before the Olympics, I was just pushing towards the goal. Now I want to get more pleasure from training.” Eva-Lotta Kiibus on her decision to start training with Dutch coach Thomas Kennes.
Interview with Eva-Lotta Kiibus. About her decision to part with her coach Anna Levandi and start training with Dutch coach Thomas Kennes.
source: sport.err.ee dd. 31st August 2022 by Anu Saarits
Thomas Kennes (26 years old) is a multiple Dutch champion in men’s single skating and has participated in several European Championships, but has never made it into the top 20. He ended his sports career only a couple of seasons ago.
Tell us where will you train and why did you make such a decision?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: In the Netherlands with the Dutch coach Thomas Kennes. After the surgery, I had time to think about how and whether to continue skating at all. I realized immediately that I definitely wanted to continue. But changes has to be made and steps must be taken to bring them about. I felt that it no longer could continue the old way. I want to develop more. I want to seize all the opportunities that life offers. That’s what I did, that opportunity presented itself. I thought for a long time, because a sports career is not something you decide about on emotions. I had to consider a lot, go through all the options, in the end I made such a decision and I am very satisfied.
How did you find the solution and the new coach?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: I would say it was fate. We met at the summer camp. I don’t know what cards the universe played. It just came and I jumped at the chance.
Where exactly will you train and what does the new schedule looks like? In addition to the young head coach, how many people will work with you?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: There will be five or six members of the Dutch team around me. I’m no longer fighting alone. I will travel between two cities: Breda and Heerenveen. There is a choice in the Netherlands. Good, fancy and new ice rinks. This is the plan at the moment.
What makes this option so good?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: The training group and, of course, also… I didn’t choose the coach on the spur of the moment. He’s very motivated and he motivates me too. Modern thinking. Very innovative techniques and so on. It all seems to be working very well now.
What else can you take from this Dutch system?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: I know that there is more ice, maybe the ice rinks are bigger, but the main thing is what I am going to do there myself.
How was your recovery from leg surgery?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: The recovery went well, I’ve been training all summer. But I was off the ice for almost three months. It was something I have never experienced before and I hope I never have to experience again. But Madis Rahu (ortopeed – ed.) did a very good job, I am very, very grateful. I hope my leg stays fine. At the moment, everything is fine and I hope it continues so.
How did you summer training go? Where and in what way and who else is helping you?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: In the summer, we spent half the time in Estonia and then we were in Spain and France for a month. I definitely have to thank here… I’m very grateful to Anna Levandi for the great work done, for all these years, for our achievements. I have nothing bad to say, I am grateful from the bottom of my heart. Our cooperation ended on a good and positive note.
She has worked with you from the age of seven. Did she calmly accept such a decision?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: This is inevitable in a sports career. But this is my career and I make the decisions I want. Certainly Anna was also understanding it and will understand it. It’s necessary to seize the opportunities in order to continue developing.
Do you still work with Benoit Richaud as your choreographer?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: Sure! Thanks to the fact that I am going to train in the Netherlands, this is a very big advantage for me, because he also goes to the Netherlands and Belgium very often. Maybe then we can increase our cooperation.
What kind of skater do you want to be training in the Netherlands?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: I think the biggest innovation will be to enjoy your workouts more! Enjoy the whole process. In the last season, before the Olympics, I was just pushing towards the goal. After that, I had time to think about what and for whom I was doing it. I want to get more pleasure from this process. For the last two weeks, I have been training with this mindset, and the progress is immediately visible.
Do you already know your schedule of competitions?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: At the end of September, I will do my first competitions in a long time, in Germany. I don’t put too much pressure on myself, because the competitive break has been over half a year.
If you look at it as a whole, you have finished high school and entered the University of Tartu. What exactly do you study and what does the study look like when you train in the Netherlands?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: It’s quite complicated, isn’t it? I will have to learn how to cope. I will study political science. I rely on the understanding attitude of the teaching staff and mutual communication to get it done remotely.
Certainly, the goal of the season is also major competitions. Domestic competition is strong. Do you have a goal one-two-three?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: In terms of places, there is no goal. A month ago, I was holding my head with both hands, wondering how I would ever come back if I hadn’t skated for so long. As you can see, the work is paying off and I’m slowly coming back. I think I will focus more on my own performance than places or scores.
What day does the work start in the Netherlands?
Eva-Lotta Kiibus: Let’s see… in a week and a half. I will definitely be there by the end of September.
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