A few days before the start of the European Championships, held in Bern – Switzerland, (Annecy-Infosports will attend the competition) we are finally offering you this long promised interview with newly retired figure skater Yannick Ponsero. Relaxed, he answered our questions willingly. Some of his fans will be relieved. As for others…
AIS : A few months ago, you decided to retire from figure skating, although you are still quite young. Why ?
Yannick Ponsero : Retiring is a big word. It would be safer to say that I’m taking some time off competitive skating. Despite my age, I took this decision for several different reasons. The first one has to do with being a student at the school for Physical Therapy. Both studying and pursuing a competitive career had become too hard. The second reason was that I had made my plans with 2010 Vancouver Olympics as a deadline (see ITW dated 03/08/2009 ) and I had always considered retirement after this date. To be true, I no longer had the necessary motivation to re-enlist for one more season. That’s why I chose to leave the ice behind me and to devote myself entirely to my studies.
AIS : Is it a decision you made on your own or did you discuss it with your entourage, and your coach Didier Lucine ?
YP : First of all, this decision was carefully thought through. I didn’t take it in the heat of the moment. The fact I wasn’t sent to the Olympics wasn’t the reason for which I took this decision, as much as a lot of people think it is. I weighted up the pros and cons and really chose what I wanted to do. For me, it was the right moment to carry on with my life and only my studies could lead me in the right direction. Of course, I discussed it with my entourage and with Didier Lucine. They heard me, understood and accepted my choice.
AIS : It’s your first season as a spectator, you were in the audience at the Nationals in Tours, isn’t it difficult not to be on the ice ?
YP : Absolutely not. Some skaters would have second thoughts, but despite I retired from competitive skating, I’m still training on a regular basis and I’ve been touring and doing galas. Besides, the French Federation recently asked me to participate in the Winter Universiade* and naturally, I said yes. Of course, my technique has deteriorated a bit, but I’m still able to perform programs including triple axels. So, even if I’m a «young retired grand dad», I’m far from being out of shape. Now, when I’m on the ice, it’s because I want to be there, I want to perform my programs. If I don’t want to do it, I simply don’t. Now, I’m enjoying myself, a feeling I had lost at one point, and which is finally back.
AIS : Some skaters make a come-back for the Olympic Games, would it be conceivable for you ?
YP : You never know ! Right now, for sure, I’m devoted entirely to my studies and I’m practically certain I won’t be back in 2012. Later ? In two years, maybe I’ll be missing competitive skating so much that I’ll try to come back. That’s also why I want to keep on training at a reasonable level. Even if this eventuality isn’t on my agenda, you never know what the future has in reserve. We will see !
AIS : Have you ever considered joining a pro tour to make the most of your artistic and showman potential ?
YP : As I told you before, I did a few dates on a tour in October. But if competitions would not allow me to continue studying, neither would professional skating. So, even if it would be easy to join the world of pro skating, I stand by my decision and I’m totally into studying, and taking part in galas once in a while.
AIS : You are the sponsor (“Godparent”) for the new Annecy Ice Elite Skating Team. Was it an obvious fact for you ?
YP : In practical terms, I wasn’t given any choice. But I must say it is a great joy to support such a beautiful and brilliant female team. I sincerely hope they will go far, really far, and if I can make them take advantage of my past good and bad experiences, and so spare them the mistakes I, myself, made, it will be a real great pleasure.
* Winter Universiade 2011, in Erzurum (Turkey) fom 01/27 to 02/06)
Interview by TS Annecy Infosports 01-13-2011 – Translated by Kate B.R. –
Photos © TORCHIO Sébastien