Additional RD quotes from the first teams

by Anne Calder

Thirty-six ice dance couples competed in the Rhythm Dance at the recent 2024 World Championships. IDC chatted with many of the athletes who made their debuts and those returning to the annual ISU event.

Phoebe Bekker & James Hernandez (GBR)
Bekker: (first worlds) I’m just so happy. It’s been a long time coming. It was rewarding today. It was good.

Hernandez: We were trusting and went out there and skated like we know we can skate this program. (Recent training) We’ve worked hard and have done some really good training between Europeans and now, and it kind of showed today.

Emily Bratti & Ian Somerville (USA)
Somerville (on his fall) We put all our hearts and fire and energy into the performance. We got a little bit too excited when we knew it was going really well. (first worlds) We are proud of what we did up to that point.

Bratti: This is going to be a hard next few days, but we’re going to come back from it.

Adrienne Carhart & Oleksandr Kolosovskyi (AZE)
Carhart: (on the performance) We are so happy with how we skated today. We’ve worked so hard. We’ve improved so much this season. We love this program. We had a blast. I’m so happy with what we did today.

Kolosovskii: (on their second Worlds) This was our second Worlds. It was a little more work than the first year.

Carhart: In some ways it was harder because last season was so successful that we had such high expectations for us. To be here and to have been at our first Europeans, we are really lucky.

Loicia Demoigeot & Theo Le Mercier (FRA)
Le Mercier: We’ve worked very hard since Europeans, so happy with our results today. There were a few mistakes, but overall we are happy. It feels that they reflect what we’re capable of. Even with a little bit of stress, we were able to do well and do a stable performance. (Competing in Montreal) We are happy to be skating here for the first time.

Mariaa Holubtsova & Kyryl Bielobrov (UKR)
Bielobrov: (Training at I.AM) It has made our lives so much better. It has taught us a lot of things not on ice, but off ice in life. We are very grateful to the Academy. (Qualifying for the Free Dance) This one is more difficult. Lots of good skaters.

Holubtsova: (Worlds in Montreal) It’s only 15 minutes by car instead of 10 hours. There’s no stress, no jet lag, no getting bags on the plane. Here it was more relaxed. My family is here – my mother, father and two dogs.

Maria Ignateva & Danijil  Szemko (HUN)
The team switched coaches and relocated to Italy for training following the 2024 European Championships. (Third Worlds)

Szemko: (on the performance) It was tiring, to be honest, but the audience was great. This World Championship is amazing. Our first time in Canada also. We love it. It’s great. Of course, we could have done better. Next season we will do much better. We are now in a good place –  in good hands with Barbara Fusar-Poli. So happy to be working with her and our new coaching team.

Ignateva: (Program changes) We changed our Rhythm Dance a lot since Europeans.

Hanna Jakucs & Alessio Galli (NED)   
Galli: Going out first is not easy, but it was a good skate. Coming to our first Worlds has been exciting and scary, but it’s a reward for all the work we put in during the season.

Jennifer Janse van Rensburg & Benjamin Steffan (GER)
Steffan: (on the performance) Solid performance. We did what we were able to do. We hope we get to skate the Free Dance tomorrow, but that’s out of our hands as of now.

Janse van Rensburg: (Montreal fans) It doesn’t matter what the country. We all feel the love, and that helps us to skate.

Hannah Lim & Ye Quan (KOR)
Lim:. (skating at home in Montreal at first worlds) It was so much fun to skate today. A lot of students that we teach were here to cheer us. During the warmup, we heard some of them calling our names!

Quan: (change of costume for Ye). We changed it last week! I was skating with something similar without sleeves in practice, and we thought it was allowing me to show my lines better.

Victoria Manni & Carlo Roethlisberger (ITA)
Roethlisberger (on the season) It was a very difficult season, but it was really an opportunity for us to improve and to learn something. We didn’t have the results we wanted in the season, but we really have to find a way to improve even when things do not go as planned, but we will keep this as an experience for next season. First, we are going to stay two days here (in Canada) because I have family in Quebec City. We are going to visit them, and then we will go back to work.

Manni (about the seating of the audience) It’s weird for Europeans to have an audience so close. Especially the first days in practice, I was scared about the jumps and the leg extensions that were so close to the boards. I was always afraid I was going to hit someone. It was something to get used to having them so close, but it ultimately was great.

Katerina Mrazkova & Daniel Mrazek (CZE)
Marazkova: We are very happy and had so much fun today! This is our first Worlds, but the competition doesn’t feel different from other competitions like Europeans and Junior Worlds. We wanted to perform better than what we did at Europeans, and I think we did that.

Solene Mazingue & Marko Jevgeni Gaidajenko (EST)
Gaidajenko: (on the performance) It was really good. The crowd is cool. The ice is really nice. It’s more narrow, but longer at the same time. All the elements that go on the long board is easier to skate. It’s different, but definitely not a problem.

Mazingue: Just before I was to go on the ice, I broke my laces. I was really stressed, but when I was doing the program I didn’t think about it. 

Mariia Nosovitskaya & Mikhail Nosovitskiy (ISR)
Mikhail: (on the performance) It was not bad. It wasn’t the best we can do. We had a few small mistakes. It was a pleasure to skate here.

Mariia: When you come here and see the audience. They help you, support you, push you. It feels so good.

Olivia Oliver & Filip Bojanowski (POL)
Oliver: (on the performance) It was awesome. The Canadian crowd was very supportive of every country. I used to live and train here, so it was like a home competition. It was an incredible experience.

Bojanowski: It was fun to skate. In practice it was much better, but it was an okay performance. We know where we lost points. It’s our first Worlds, and we were basically last in the rankings, so skating second was not easy. I’m very happy for the experience in general.

Paulina Ramanauskaite & Deividas Kizala (LTU)
Ramanauskaite: (on the performance) Since it was the last Rhythm Dance of the season, we wanted to give it our all.

(training in Spain) Working with Sara and Kirill has been a blast. We asked them to make us a new program. After two weeks of classes, we decided to stay in Spain. (Skating at 2024 Europeans in their home country) It was indescribable. One of the best life experiences I ever had. It was self fulfilling and overwhelming. To be standing on the ice and have all the fans supporting us was amazing.

Milla Ruud Reitan & Nikolaj Majorov (SWE)
Reitan: (first worlds) We haven’t even skated one year together, so being here is amazing and unbelievable.

Majorov: Over 60 in the Rhythm Dance for us is surprisingly good. (on being new to ice dance) I had to relearn to skate basically. In singles, you never think of where you’re placing your feet. It’s been so much, but also so fun.

Anna Simova & Kirill Aksenov (SVK)
Simova: Immediately when the music started, the audience was screaming and clapping. It was like WOW! AMAZING!

Aksenov: When they start to clap for us, they gave us so much energy. I still feel this excitement.

Simova: (Pre-performance) We were both nervous, but we had great preparation so we can skate the best we can.

Aksenov: The mental coach helped us go through the difficult moments and stresses. They helped us go in the right way.

Diana Davis & Gleb Smolkin (GEO)
Smolkin: We felt more confident compared to the Europeans Championships. It was more like we can skate actually in the practices, The performance was closer to that level that we’re more capable of. (Purpose of changing from Michigan to Coach Kiliakov in Virginia) It was technical. We wanted to improve it, focus, and he’s very detailed on the technical stuff. Although (today) we didn’t get the levels we wanted, but I think it also depends on the warm up group. We feel more confident in our skating ability, edges and our work together as a couple on the ice.

Olivia Smart & Tim Dieck (ESP)
Smart competed at three and Dieck competed at one World Championships with previous partners.

Smart: This partnership, it is new, but it doesn’t feel that new.

(Choosing music for a new team) Coming up with a concept together when you don’t know each other’s personalities and style fully yet is one of the trickiest things I’ve ever had to do. It’s a good challenge. You can test out what works and what doesn’t work. (This season) We based the programs off what suits our personalities already. So Blondie is very much up my alley. I’ve been playing that character and that role. With the hair, it worked for me. I liked diving into the character a lot, and Tim looks great in rock clothes.

Dieck: (Music changes) We changed the Rhythm Dance around element wise, but the music is the same. The order is completely different which is much better now. Focus is to have more flow. To put the technical high points at the beginning worked out really well the last two competitions. You can see it has improved, and we are really happy with it.

Carolane Soucisse & Shane Firus (IRL)
Firus: We are very pleased with our skate! We have already been to a World Championships in Milan, ITA  representing Canada. We love that we still feel the support from the Canadian audience! We were fourth for many years in Canada. It’s a lot of time and energy to always be fourth. We thought we could look at other options or stop.

Soucisse: (On switching to Ireland) Shane’s family is from Ireland. We hope our performance will motivate the sport to grow in Ireland.

Gina Zehnder & Beda Leon Sieber (SUI)
The team competed at both the 2024 Junior World Championships and Senior World Championships.

Sieber: We were really pleased with how we performed and able to show what we’re capable of. It was for us about gaining experience, doing a solid program and entertaining the audience. From what it seemed with the atmosphere, they really enjoyed it. That’s what we’re really proud of.

Zehnder: (first Worlds) We are really inspired by all the athletes. We’re happy to be here with the top of the World teams.