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Skate Today

Contesti Contends in Championships

Samuel Contesti

Italy’s Samuel Contesti was the surprise of the 2008-09 season. The 26-year-old won the silver medal at the 2009 European Championships and placed fifth at the World Championships, scoring a personal best of 226.97 points in the process. His medal at Europeans was the first for Italy in men since 1954.

“I was happy to perform so well,” Contesti stated. “I came to skate my best and I did. I worked very hard and I am happy that it worked well. I actually would like to thank my technical staff for the great job that they did.”

Contesti, who was born in Le Havre, had previously competed for France until 2006. He won the bronze medal in senior men in the 2004-05 season and the silver medal for the 2005-06 season. Even so, he competed in only two ISU championships for France, finishing ninth at Europeans and 26th at Worlds in 2004-05.

“I moved to Italy because I married Geraldine Zulini, who is Italian,” Contesti explained. “I became a citizen in January 2007. I decided to compete for Italy because they were offering me better opportunities to skate at a very high level and more support.”

“I have partners who support me and pay for most of my training,” he continued. “I would like to thank the Italian Federation (FISG), The region Val d’Aosta, the city of Courmayeur, and Edea for their support and partnership.”

Because of his move to Italy, Contesti did not compete for three years before the 2009 European Championships.

Contesti started skating when he was four years old. “My two sisters were already skating, so it felt normal for me to follow their path,” he recalled. “My father was a soccer player in the first league in France (Le Havre, Nimes, etc.) and I played some soccer but I liked skating. I prefer the jumping part even if I also enjoy all the other aspects of skating.”

“Actually I don’t remember precisely when I landed my first triple jump but I do remember that it was a triple Salchow,” he noted. “I have landed quad Salchow and quad toe loop.”

Contesti used a triple Lutz-triple toe loop combination, a triple Axel and a triple loop in his short program this season.

His long program included a triple Axel-triple toe loop, triple Salchow-triple toe loop, and double Axel-double toe-double toe combinations as well as triple Lutz, triple flip, triple Axel, triple loop, and double Axel.

But that’s the extent of his current repertoire. “The combinations I am working on are all included in my programs,” he noted.

Contesti’s wife, Geraldine Zulini, is his coach. “We have been working together for five years,” he said. He usually skates for three hours a day, five days a week and does off ice work as necessary.

Zulini also choreographs his programs, neither of which was new for the 2008-09 season. “I usually change one program a year,” Contesti said, “but it depends on circumstances. I don’t have any music preferences. I like skating to all kinds of music. I choose the music to fit perfectly the character I want to interpret.”

Contesti used “J’envoie valser” and “Valser des Montres” for his short program, which Zulini choreographed herself.

His Western-themed long program included “Once Upon a Time in the West” and “Cotton Eyed Joe”. It was choreographed by Zulini and Pasquale Camerlengo.

Off ice, Contesti likes to spend time with his family and friends. He enjoys listening to all types of music, watching all kinds of movies except dramas, and reading thrillers and comics. He also has a pet rabbit.

Contesti said he would decide after each season on whether to continue and what else to do in the future. “I have some ideas of course but nothing really set,” he said. “I prefer focusing on my skating and I will decide what to do once I am done with my sportive career. I do have all my diplomas to coach figure skating.”

“My goal is to do the best performance I can every time I step on the ice,” he said. “I believe in gaining some experience, improving in all the aspects of figure skating to become a stronger skater, and enjoying every minute of it.”

Contesti has his own website at

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