World Champion of Training

Articles, Articles by Barry Mittan

Yannick Ponsero

That’s what French skater, Yannick Ponsero, 21, calls himself. “I am now the world champion of training,” said the talented, but modest skater. “I can do perfect jumps in training, but I’m not sure of myself in competitions. My objective is to skate as I do in training and not hesitate. If I can do that, the places will come.”

Ponsero is a superb jumper. “I learned a double axel when I was about nine,” he noted. “Then when I was ten or eleven, I landed my first triple, a salchow. In one week, I landed the triple salchow, then a toe loop, loop, and lutz. I did my first triple axel at 14 and also my first quad salchow. Now I have a really good quad toe loop, so I don’t work on the quad salchow every day. I’ve tried one or two quad lutzes but now I don’t work on them. The quads are my best jump. I’ve been landing them in competition since Junior Worlds in 2004, I think. All of my triples are not regular. Before I put two quads in my program, I want to be able to land all the triples and one quad. I’m doing quad toe-triple toe in the short program and quad toe-double toe in the long.”

Ponsero got a needed confidence boost this season when he won the Coupe de Nice, but after coming second to world champion, Brian Joubert, in the short program at Skate Canada, his nerves failed him and he placed sixth overall. Even so, Ponsero has an impressive list of accomplishments. Thrice the silver medallist in France behind Joubert, Ponsero finished 12th in his first European Championships in 2007 and again this season. He placed 14th in his first World Championships in 2007. Ponsero also took the silver medal at Junior Worlds in 2005 and the bronze in 2006. If he can just get the needed confidence, he could finish at the top of the podium.

“I started skating when I was three years old,” Ponsero remembered. “My sister, Christina, was a skater and my parents were good friends of the coach. One day when I came to see my sister, the coach put skates on my feet. She stopped after 12 years and I kept skating.”

“My first love was skiing,” he continued. “I did a lot of skiing competitions before I did any skating competitions. I skied downhill but mainly competed in Super G until I was 11 or 12, then I started to do more in skating. So I made the transition and now just ski for fun.”

Didier Lucine, Sophie Golaz,and Claudia Lucine train Ponsero who skates in Annecy. “Didier was always our family’s coach,” Ponsero noted. “I started working with Sophie eight or nine years ago and the others more recently. We have a good staff at our club. My four trainers work together to help me.” He works for three hours a day, six days a week on ice and another 45 minutes off ice doing stretching and conditioning. “I do some dance, running and cycling in the summer,” he added.

Muriel Zazoui choreographed his short program to “Otonal” by Raul di Blasio, remixed by Maxime Rodriguez. Pasquale Camerlengo choreographed his free skate using music from the soundtrack of “The Da Vinci Code” and “Tristan and Isolde” again remixed by Rodriquez. He has two exhibition programs, one to music by The Beach Boys and the other to music from the Belgian singer, Jacques Brel.

“I pick the music for my programs with my coach,” Ponsero stated. “He knows me very well. “We got the music for the free program from CD of the movie after seeing the ‘Da Vinci Code’. Every time I do a program, I want to tell a story. I think about the story first and then I find the music.”

“I listen to both new and old music,” he noted. “I don’t have a particular style. I like rock, libertine, the classics, harp music, rhythm and blues, everything. I play the guitar myself but not too good.”

Ponsero is in his third year of studies to become a physiotherapist. “I have two more years to go and it’s starting to be very difficult,” he noted. “I want to go to the Olympics in Vancouver so for now skating is first, then school. After Vancouver, it will school first, then skating. Right now I can study in Annecy, but next year I will have to study in Lyon if I am accepted. I’ve always wanted to do it. I never wanted to be a skating coach, just finish my skating career and be a physiotherapist. I like to help people and I think I can bring something to other sportsmen.”

“For fun, I’m still doing some sports,” Ponsero said. “I love sports. Besides skiing, I go snowboarding and mountain biking. I like a lot of little things, simple things like going to the mountains.”

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