Franco-Italian Pairs Team Prospers

Articles, Articles by Barry Mittan

Nicole Della Monica and Yannick Kocon

Nicole Della Monica, 20, and Yannick Kocon, 22, won the Italian senior pairs title for the 2008-09 season over more experienced couples, a year after winning the Italian junior pairs gold medal in their first season together.

In 2007-08, the duo placed 14th at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships. This season, they won the NRW Trophy in Dortmund, Germany and took the silver medal at the Golden Spin of Zagreb before placing sixth at the European Championships. They finished the season by placing 18th at the World Figure Skating Championships in Los Angeles, California.

“For our career, our goal is to get to the highest level we can,” Della Monica said.

Both Della Monica and Kocon competed in singles, but for different countries. Kocon, who was born in Evry, France, competed for France in singles until 2007, winning the novice menvs championship in 2002 and placing 19th at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in 2006.

Della Monica won the bronze medal in senior ladies at the 2005 Italian Nationals and won the silver medal at the European Youth Olympic Festival in 2005.

Both Della Monica and Kocon were the first in their families to skate competitively. Della Monica began skating when she was six. “My father used to go skating in the public session and sometimes he took me with him,” she said. She had also tried swimming but didn’t like it.

Kocon started when he was nine. “I did a course with my school and after I decided to keep skating,” he recalled. The only other sport he tried was horseback riding.

The skaters both started pairs in 2007, when they first teamed up. “I was looking for new emotions,” Della Monica stated, while Kocon said, “I just liked pairs. We can share emotions and stress and we can support each other.”

Both of the skaters can do all of the triple jumps. Della Monica landed her first triple Salchow when she was 13, while Kocon landed his first triple toe loop when he was 12.

The skaters included side-by-side triple Salchows and a throw double Salchow in their short program this season. In the long, the couple did a throw triple flip and triple Salchow and side-by-side triple Salchows and double flip-double toe loop combinations.

Silvia Martina coaches the couple, who train in Piazzatorre, Italy and Berlin, Germany. They usually train on ice for three hours and off ice for two hours, six days a week. “We run every day,” Kocon noted.

The duo don’t have any particular type of music that they favor for their programs. “We haven’t found our perfect style yet,” Della Monica said.

Luca Mantovani choreographed their 2008-09 programs. They used Ravel’s “Bolero” for the short. “It has rhythm and it’s nice to listen to,” Kocon said.

For their long, they skated to Ennio Morricone’s “The Mission”.”We saw the Germans’ (Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy) program when they used that music and we liked it,” Della Monica noted.

For the 2009-10 season, they will be using the soundtrack of the movie “300″ for the short program and retaining their long.

Kocon plays the electric guitar and enjoys rock music, like Metallica. Della Monica likes every kind of music except hard rock and heavy metal.

Off ice, Kocon likes staying at home, watching films or playing with his computer. He likes science fiction and action movies, while Della Monica prefers comedies, musicals and science fiction. She also enjoys going out with friends or just relaxing by herself at home and collects skating pins.

She also enjoys drawing. “I have liked drawing since I was a child,” she said. “I like drawing everything, in particular characters from Disney cartoons.”

Both Della Monica and Kocon quit school two years ago to focus on skating. She was focusing on science and he was studying information technology. Della Monica hopes to study languages at university in the future. They both plan to stay in the figure skating world, probably as coaches.

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