Tuesday, 7/4/2020 | : : UTC-7
Skate Today

Italian Valentine

Valentina Marchei

Italy’s Valentina Marchei won her second Italian senior ladies championship in 2008 and finished sixth at Europeans in 2008. She has finished as high as 11th at Worlds in 2007 and 14th at Junior Worlds in 2004. This season, she started slowly, placing tenth at Skate America and ninth at Trophee Eric Bompard Cachemire after injuring a knee in September.

Last season, Marchei finished fifth at Europeans but third in the free skate. “I was second at the World University Games in Torino so I was motivated to skate well the week after at Europeans,” she said. “My goal was to be in the top ten. I got to go to Europeans for two years because of Carolina (Kostner) and wanted to earn my own place. I was surprised to be so low after the short because I was confused and fell on the stupid triple lutz. I’d missed none in two weeks.”

“Then I skated a perfect long,” she continued. “I was crying tears all over the place. I really wanted to do the exhibition so I ran to see if I could do it. It’s not always the top five. It was the first time I did an exhibition at an ISU championship and I didn’t even have my costume. I had to borrow one from Marilyn Pla and it was too small for me so I had a big crack in the back but no one saw it.”

“I was happy because so many people had believed in me and told me not to give up,” she added. “I wanted to quit after the Olympics in Torino when Silvia Fontana came back and I couldn’t go. Now I’m hoping to go to Vancouver in 2010.”

Pierre Trente and Christina Mauri coach Marchei, who now trains in Paris and Milan in the winter and Courchevel, France in the summer. “It’s five hours from my home,” she said. “I was there half of July and all of August. The first part of July I was in Flims in Switzerland working with Viktor Kudriatsev. He worked with me on steps before jumps and taught me about the technique for doing doubles and double-double combinations. I only did one jump of each triple every day but my technique was so much better that I couldn’t miss them when we started to practice only triples.”

She usually trains three hours on ice and two hours off ice in Milan five days a week, with two hours on ice on Saturday. In Paris, she trains six hours a day on ice with no off ice work. “When I go home from Paris, I’m skinny and dead, but happy and stronger for the hard work,” she said.

This year, Marchei worked more with Trente than last season. “I knew Christina since I was nine,” she continued. “At first, she didn’t want to work with me because I was doing roller speed skating. I was skating like a hockey player, not a dancer, not so nice. She said she couldn’t teach me because I was at such a low level. So I started skating in public sessions and by the time I got my axel, I was the only one left in the class. I started with her when I was nine in her lowest group, doing all my doubles but cheated.”

“Christina is like a mom to me,” Marchei said. I love it but not when I’m nervous. When you’re alone at the rink, if you’re in trouble with your coach, it’s the end. So last year, my parents and Christina decided that I need sometimes to change my rink and atmosphere, and that’s why I started to spend more time with Pierre.”

“He went with me to Japan ten days before Worlds,” she continued. “Not all coaches would let me go to Worlds with another coach for my health and happiness. After the time in Japan, Pierre started to know me and I felt confident to leave for other competitions this season with him, but of course Christina is still my coach and together they are a fantastic team.”

“Pierre is the supervisor,” Marchei explained. “Then I have one coach for my arms and one for my legs who knows the new judging system. “Raffaella Cazzaniga was an ice dancer so she works on my steps. Corrado Giordani was a dancer so he does my off ice work with my arms.

Marchei is doing a triple lutz-double toe combination in the short program. “I was doing a triple salchow-triple toe in September,” she noted. “But I fell and hurt a ligament in my knee. I stopped skating for a week and then started back too early and worked too hard on it and hurt my knee again so I took it out.” In the long program, she is doing a double axel-double toe, triple lutz-double toe, and triple salchow-double toe-double toe.

Cazzaniga and Giordani choreographed her programs for the 2007-08 season. She is using “La Traviata” and “Noi Siamo le Zingarelle” by Giuseppe Verdi for the short and “Les Feuilles Mortes” for the long. “I thought about the long program music after Europeans last year,” Marchei said. “I wanted to do a slow music to show the judges I could do other kinds of music other than tangos and flamencos. I wanted to change my style.”

“For cutting the short program, I gave the music to Anna’s coach, Roberto Pelizzola, who usually works on sounds,” she continued. “Then I went to train in Paris and then skated at Worlds. When I got back to Milan, Roberto had already used the music for their free dance. Anna and Luca and I skated the same hours so we didn’t care that the music was the same. The last of their music is the first part of mine so sometimes I skate to it when they are doing their free dance.”

“The long program music is the same music that I used in 2004,” Marchei stated. “Every time I skate, it reminds me of the year I won Italian Nationals. It’s a great program for me and feels so natural. It’s also special because it was arranged for Massimo Murru, first dancer from La Scala, by a Japanese Orchestra. Massimo gives me advice on the dance moves. My choreographer found the music for me. He said that it’s great music for you. Let the judges fall in love with you.”

“My gala program is the same music as the short program, but more spectacular,” she said. “It has the words. I use a fan and a shawl. I’ll also have two new gala programs for shows. One will be Marilyn Monroe.” Off ice, she said, “I like every kind of music except slow music. On rainy days or when I’m depressed, I listen to music that makes me dream.”

She collects Starbucks cups and other large cups from around the world, but computers are her favorite pastime. “I’m crazy with computers,” she said. “I’m always chatting.” Marchei is in her second year of studies at the University of Milan. “I want to be a television commentator or a journalist,” she said. “My father is a professional photographer and journalist.”

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