“I want my athletes to understand that there is nothing magical about champions. You need to work hard and approach your career with the same passion.” Florent Amodio about Anna Shcherbakova meeting with his skaters
Florent Amodio about his training camp with participation of Olympic champion Anna Shcherbakova.
source: Sport24 dd. 6th June 2023 by Anastasiia Loginova
At the Florent school, the Russian athlete conducted a masterclass and had a meeting with the athletes. Amodio told Sport24 about his acquaintance with Shcherbakova, and why it is important to hold events with top-level stars.
How long have you known Anya?
Florent Amodio: Oh, that’s a very good question. We met when I was still competing. After I retired, I stopped following her performances. Honestly, at first, we only communicated through social media, and I congratulated her on good performances. Two or three years ago, I was on vacation in Dubai, and Anya was there too. We got in touch and decided, “Yes, let’s have coffee.” I often skated in Russia, but this time it was different. I was already a champion, and she was just starting to compete on a big stage. After that, Anna became a true champion, but to me, she was still a super smart and very kind, well-educated girl. It’s just nice to be friends with her. We kept in touch because, in my opinion, she has something special. I like that she’s like a big star but at the same time never forgets how to be good and show respect.
How did the collaboration at your school come about?
Florent Amodio: Actually, she just came on vacation as a friend. I once told her, “If you have time during your vacation and you happen to be passing by my place, I would be happy to see you.” Anya was planning to come to France and replied that anything was possible. I hadn’t seen her in a long time, so I was able to personally congratulate her on winning at the Olympics. When you meet a friend you haven’t seen in a while, it’s really cool. Now I have my school, so the kids were certainly interested. I asked if she could talk to them because Anya is a big star in figure skating. But above all, she simply came on vacation, and we met up and had a great time.
Am I correct in understanding that Anna conducted a masterclass?
Florent Amodio: Yes, yes. We went on the ice, took photos with the athletes. Anna gave some advice to my top skaters, and we had a small meeting. My athletes had many questions, you can imagine. I said, “Alright, guys, if you want, ask Anna, she’ll be happy to answer.” It turned out very positively. You know, I’m a champion, I’m a coach. When you coach, you can say the same thing a thousand times, but if Anna says it once, they will listen differently. So it was really beneficial, especially for the girls, because they had seen her on TV, and they have a rich imagination about all of this. As a coach, I enjoy sharing what I like with people. I’m sure we can learn from everyone, so yes, it was amazing that Anna came to us. It was doubly cool for me. We had an Olympic champion visit our academy, but above all, my friend visited Vaujany.
How did the athletes react?
Florent Amodio: I don’t know if you saw the video I posted on my account that day. I didn’t tell them that Anya would be coming, so they were trying to guess who it was. It was amazing. You know, little girls who watch TV love this. It’s the reason why one day this child will become someone like Anna. I have trained a lot in Russia, and I really like that Russian style, as if it’s also a part of me. You understand what I mean? The athletes were thrilled, like, “Wow, it’s Anna. We understand that this is significant work.” And it was also like confirmation because everything she said was similar to what I tell them: how you need to work, be determined, motivate yourself. She confirmed what I say every day. So yes, for my athletes, it was a big surprise. They train day in and day out, so sometimes I try to surprise them, and this was the best surprise of the year.
Do you often invite top guests like Anna?
Florent Amodio: Javier Fernandez often comes. When it’s my friend, it’s very easy. I live in such a beautiful place, and they also want to see these beautiful landscapes. At the same time, they are passionate about figure skating. It’s the same as if I went to Moscow, and a coach asked me to simply help a skater or give advice. I would definitely do it because I enjoy figure skating. I don’t even need to ask; they do it naturally because it’s our life, our work. So yes, that’s exactly how everything happened. As a coach, I still want to learn a lot. Last year we collaborated with Mishin, and Javier Fernandez also visited. I try to involve dancers because they need to evolve. I do everything possible to make it cool, good. I want my athletes to understand that there is nothing magical about champions. You need to work very hard and approach your career with the same passion.
It’s currently a challenging time for Russian figure skaters. What are your thoughts on whether they should return to the international stage?
Florent Amodio: I don’t understand the situation, why some people are allowed while others are not. It’s unfair when there is some Russian tennis player, some Russian footballer. And why not? I won’t comment on the decision made by this country. It seems unfair to me that sometimes it’s a “yes,” and sometimes it’s a “no.” Honestly, I want all my friends to be able to compete and showcase themselves in figure skating. I understand that it’s difficult, but I hope this whole situation will end soon. I feel sad for all my friend both Ukrainians and Russians.
Morisi Kvitelashvili: “The time has come to take a pause in my competitive activities. I have come to the realization that this is the right moment to make this decision.”