By Matteo Morelli
In their second year as senior competitors, Loïcia Demougeot and Théo Le Mercier are a young French team that is already showing a unique style on the ice. We met with them at the European Championships in Espoo, Finland, where they shared how they feel about the current season and reflect on their transition from the junior to the senior field.
Loïcia and Théo, this was your second European championships. How do you feel after skating your programmes and securing a seventh place finish at the event?
Théo Le Mercier (TL): we feel pretty good, we did our new season best in the rhythm dance and we are happy. We didn’t do the best performance but we are still happy. A seventh at Euros is a really good result for us.
Loïcia Demougeot (LD): We try to approach the event without too much stress, showing what we did in practice.
You are both quite young: what age were you when you started to skate?
TL: I was three when I put my skates on, I was with my father and my brother.
LD: And I started at five and a half years old. Theo and I started skating together when I was fourteen and Theo was fifteen, so it has been a few years now.
2015 was the year you started skating together, with your training location in Villard de Lans, France. Have you always been ice dancers?
TL: I did a lot of sports, but on ice I have always done ice dance.
LD: I also only did ice dance, but without a partner first. Theo is my first partner.
TL: She is my second!
We understand you also do “ballet sur la glace” or “theatre on ice”, a discipline that is probably not very well known to the wider audiences. Could you tell us something about it?
TL: We do theatre on ice with a group of fifteen-twenty people. It is almost as if we do ice dance in a group, we try to create a really special and original ballet. There is a Nations Cup each year, almost an equivalent of the World Championships, although there are only few countries taking part to it. You could say we are world champions, but I prefer to say that we are Nations Cup winners. It is a really good event: this year it is going to be in Boston, in the same ice rink where we did Skate America.
LD: You can do whatever you want in this discipline: for example, you can go on the floor, do something between people. There are not so many rules. If you fall it is ok, you can go on the ice! It is a lot of fun to do it with other people, particularly because we do it with the people we train with.
You did a lot of competitions during your junior years, including winning two silver medals at Junior Grand Prix and qualifying for the 2019 Junior Grand Prix Final. What would you say was the best moment for you during those years?
LD: Not the last year!
TL: When we qualified for the finals in Turin, I think that was the best moment. Definitely not the last year, because of Covid we did nothing. But the year before was the moment we got discovered by those watching ice skating.
You then got almost catapulted into your senior career, and in your second year as seniors you have already collected two fourth places at both Grand Prix events (Skate America and Grand Prix de France).
LD: We had a chance to start our senior career very quickly, we are happy about that. We just hope to grow more and more during big competitions and collect good results. We are happy we had a chance to do our first two Grand Prix this year.
Thinking about your style, you come across as quite unique and with programmes that always try to bring something innovative on the ice.
TL: We always try to change our programmes and style every year. This year, we went with Benoît Richaud, which is good for us because he changed what we do and allowed us to bring something new to the ice and to improve on things we couldn’t do before. The programme is working really well and we are very happy with that.
Have you got any long term objectives you are working towards?
TL: We want to be in everything!
LD: We would like to go to the Olympic Games. We just want to take it step by step and see what happens.
Finally, are there any ice dancers you look at and get inspiration from?
TL: Of course Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, without a doubt. For me personally, Scott Moir was a model, and also Nikita Katsalapov: I think they have a style similar to mine and I want to keep working to become as good as them.