The Flower of Luxembourg

Articles, Articles by Barry Mittan

Fleur Maxwell

Luxembourg’s Fleur Maxwell, 16, made her senior debut at the 2005 European Championships in Torino, Italy in January. Maxwell, who had previously won the novice and junior ladies championships in Luxembourg, won the senior ladies title for the first time in early January to qualify for the Europeans and Worlds in hopes of qualifying for the 2006 Olympic Games. “I did two Junior Grand Prixs this season and have been twice to Junior Worlds,” he said, “but I wanted to go to a bigger playground. I want to compete in the Olympics in 2006 and 2010 and maybe after. I love skating. When I’m on the ice, I feel so happy, and it’s a way for me to express myself.”

Maxwell made the jump to seniors partly because the new Code of Points benefits her style of skating. “It’s a very good thing,” she said. “The new system encourages skaters, not just jumpers. You’re judged on what you do, not just compared to the others. I hope to gain a lot of points from my spins and my style. And you get more feedback from the judges so you can adjust your programs to gain higher levels. When we did my program this summer, we focused on transitions, interpretation, choreography, and spins to get easy points. I hope to have all Level 3 spins for maximum points, but that’s not always easy because one really has to be precise on everything. The system is good not just for me, but for the sport.”

The petite brunette began skating only seven years ago, when she was nine. “I went to a friend’s birthday party at the ice rink and didn’t want to ever get off the ice,” she remembered. “I had done ballet and loads of other sports before that, like swimming and horseback riding, but I just loved skating.” She landed her first triple jump, a salchow, at twelve. Although she has landed all the triples up to the axel, she only consistently lands the salchow, toe loop, and loop. “I have done the others, but I don’t want to put them in my program until they’re close to 100 percent,” she said. “I’d rather skate a clean program.”

Andrei Berezintsev and Nicolas Osseland coach Maxwell, who can only skate in Luxembourg during the winter because the ice rink closes from May to September. In the summer, she must travel to Auxerre or Courchevel in France to train. “I’ve changed coaches quite a lot since coaches don’t stay very long in Luxembourg,” she stated. “I just started working with Andrei this summer and I hope he’ll stay. He’s a great coach and we work well together.”

“It’s hard to find time for practice,” she said. “I have school from 8:30 to 4:30 and it’s a really hard school, not home school. Before January, I had only seven hours a week on the ice, now I have 13 hours. I skate just with Anna Bernauer twice a week from 6:30 to 8:00 in the morning but the rest of the time I skate with the club where there are lots of people on the ice. In May and June when the rink is closed and I still have school, I have to travel an hour and a half to the other rink in France to train”.

This season, Maxwell is skating to music from two movie soundtracks, “In the Mood for Love” for the short and “Cinema Paradiso” for the long. “My mum had seen both movies and had very much liked the soundtrack and thought it would be good for me. Then once I had heard them I just knew that was what I wanted to skate. The music made me want to skate and that’s very important because I have to skate to it nearly everyday. The long program is something new, something fresh. I tell a story showing the evolution from child to grownup. I think the pictures tell the story very well.”

“I like to skate to classical music or movie soundtracks,” she continued. “I like something soft and lyrical. For shows, I like faster stuff. I did a show in France with some big skaters and used Nora Jones’ ‘I Don’t Know Why.’ I’m very open when it comes to listening to music. I listen to mainly pop and classical, not so much techno or rap.”

Maxwell has quite a musical background herself. “I played the piano and the cello,” she said. “My mother started me on the cello when I was four. I didn’t even know what it was at first but I became very good on the cello. I think I got my musicality from my mum, and learning to play instruments has definitely helped develop it.” She is also very flexible. “I’m very lucky, because I have natural flexibility, and I don’t really have to work on it as much as others,” she said. Maxwell took ballet classes herself, but only for three years, starting when she was four.

She is a junior in high school, where her favorite subjects are history and languages. She speaks fluent English, French and German. “I didn’t like chemistry and science, so I switched to philosophy,” she said. “I absolutely plan to go to university. Both of my sisters have done amazing studies and I have to keep up with them. I want to know things and education is important to get anywhere. I hope to go to Paris and study law. I find it quite interesting.”

“I don’t have much time for hobbies after skating and school,” Maxwell said. “I like to go to shopping or to the cinema with my friends or sometimes just rest at home with the television. I like any kind of film, but not so much science fiction or horror films, more comedies and tragedies. I don’t collect anything, not even skating pins. We don’t have any pins from Luxembourg to trade. I love clothes and shoes and bags, but all girls love clothes and shoes so that’s not really a collection.” If she receives a lot of toys from fans, Maxwell said she would donate them to the children’s hospital. “I think the kids would really appreciate them and might put a smile on their face, it might make their stay in hospital a little easier,” she noted.

Her main hobby is travel. “I love traveling,” she said. “Thanks to skating, I have traveled to so many places that I’d never think to go to like Slovenia and Croatia. I like Sydney (Australia) a lot because the colors are so vivid and because I’m half Australian. When I was smaller we would always spend our summer holidays in Greece so of course I have great memories from there as well. But I can’t pick a favorite place. I like so many!”

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