Q = Interviewer Tatjana Flade for ISU
A = Anna Duskova
M = Martin Bidar
Anna Duskova and Martin Bidar (CZE) are the 2016 World Junior Pair Skating Champions and the first Czech Skaters to win a World Junior title.
Q: Happy New Year! How did you spend the holidays?
A: We spent our holiday with our families. We decorated the Christmas tree and bought carp, which is together with potato salad a traditional Christmas dinner in Czech (Republic). After the dinner on 24th December we get presents under the Christmas tree from Baby Jesus, so we are happy that we don’t have to wait till morning. And for the New Year´s Eve we wait until midnight and after that we do some fireworks.
Q: What was the best moment of your holiday?
A: The best moment of the holidays was that I could spend it with all my family, including my cousin, who came back from France for Christmas. That means a lot for me because we have grown up together.
Q: When did you start training again?
M: We started training again on December 27 and on December 30 we were invited to a show in Italy, where we performed our exhibition program and we also could try our short program there, where we changed the (solo) jump from (double) Axel to (triple) toeloop. Then we had two days off for the New Year´s Eve and now we are preparing again for the Europeans.
Q: How did the first part of the season go for you in your opinion?
A: I think it went really good. It is only our second season being somewhere else, on another level. We could go to the (Junior Grand Prix of Figure Skating) Final and we won the World Junior Championship (in 2016). I think this season started also really great, because of our first Junior Grand Prix in Ostrava (CZE) where we were first. I think we did really good programs, not clean, but still very good.
Q: What has changed in your approach since you won the World Junior title last March?
M: I think we tried to improve our second mark, the components. I think it’s the main thing we wanted to do. Now we want to try seniors.
Q: So you’re not going back to juniors anymore?
A: I think it will be very stressful to do junior and senior Worlds, so we will focus on the seniors, because at Worlds the spots for the Olympics are decided and I think it’s really important.
Q: Why did you decide to start your season as juniors and not as seniors then?
M: Because of the Junior Grand Prix. Maybe we would not get to the senior competitions, so we decided to go to juniors and we’re got to the Final, which is great.
A: Last year we didn’t do any senior competitions, so the judges and the world didn’t know about us as a senior pair. The Junior Grand Prix is still easier to get into.
Q: Is it a little sad to say goodbye to the juniors?
A: Yes, because we’re used to the programs, there are only two lifts and in seniors there are three lifts, so I think it will be hard. We have an extended version of our program for the senior level and we are training it now.
Q: How did your preparation go this summer? You went again to Montreal to Richard Gauthier and Bruno Marcotte’s school.
A: We went there for three weeks. Then we were in Czech Republic practicing at our home rink and we were at a skating camp in Slovakia. There were no injuries.
Q: You also competed in singles at Lombardia Trophy in Italy in September, Anna.
A: Yes, I did, but I couldn’t prepare. I didn’t have so much time for it so it didn’t go so well. It was right after the Junior Grand Prix in Ostrava. We’ll see if I continue in singles. I like it, but it’s really difficult to do both, especially if we do seniors in pairs and in singles. That’s really hard.
Q: What happened back home in Czech Republic when you won the World Junior title and is there a little bit more attention for you now?
A: For me, it was more attention in school. Suddenly I saw a poster in school with me and I was like ‘oh no, now everybody will know about me’. I was always good at school and there are some other athletes and their grades weren’t very good. I got some the best marks I could get and especially after Junior Worlds the teachers started to use me as an example like ‘see, this girl from first grade in high school has the best grades and she is Junior World Champion’ and I was like ‘now everybody will hate me’. Maybe secretly they hate me.
M: When I came home and had to go to school and I opened the school website I saw my face. It was a little bit different, but I have no problem with it.
Q: How are your grades in school coming along?
M: It’s okay. They gave me a different studying plan, so it is easier for me.
Q: How has your friendship developed? Are you still getting along very well?
A: Yes. We know when we start arguing, we wouldn’t stop and it would be the end of our friendship and the pair skating. It never happened yet that we fought.
Q: What does it mean to you to compete at the European Championships in Ostrava, in your home country?
A: It means that we have to prepare really well to show to the home crowd what we can do and not to disappoint them. We want to show them everything we can do without any mistakes. Nobody wants to make mistakes, but sometimes it happens.
M: We are really excited, because it will be our first big competition in senior category and my parents will come to watch the short program. Competing at home might look like it means more pressure, but for us all the competitions are the same. When we step on to the ice we only think about what we have to do. So I think we will not be nervous.
Q: What can you tell figure skating fans from abroad who are coming to Ostrava for Europeans about the city and the ice rink?
M: Ostrava is a beautiful modern city with rich history. There are plenty of places to visit such as museums or old squares. The ice rink is warm, which is important for the skaters as well as for the people, who are watching.
Q: What do you expect from your debut at the World Championships in March?
A: We hope that it will go well and that we can get to the Olympics, because it is our dream number one. It is the top competition where each athlete wants to go to.
Q: Thank you very much for the interview and all the best.