Duplicate entry '' for key 'ip' Karel Zelenka Fan Group | Interviews


Interview in Italian on


July 2008

Q: What are your thoughts about this past season?
A: I expected a little bit more, but I was in a bad situation last year, and the season was not very good for me. But in spite of all the problems I finished in a good position at Worlds and I was happy there. I want to be stronger this season, absolutely.

Q: You battled an ankle injury last season. How is your ankle now?
A: Now it’s fine. I’m just careful with my ankle. I don’t want to injure it like I did last year in the summer, so I’m careful, and I think it’s good now.

Q: What was the exact nature of the injury?
A: I twisted it (the ankle) on a jump. I was in pain afterwards and all season long (I struggled with it). I think I lost minimum two months, because I couldn’t prepare well in the summer. I was in good shape in summer at this time and I felt very good, but after the injury I couldn’t do the Axel. I was at the same level as the year before, but I couldn’t do more. It was impossible with the injury.

Q: Now we’ll look into the future. What did you do after Worlds and what are your plans for next year?

A: I had a vacation. I went very far away, to the Caribbean, because I needed the sun and the sea to have a complete change from the ice. After that I went into rehab for my ankle.

Q: How long was your vacation?

A: About two weeks and one week I just spent in my home to start things slowly.

Q: When did you get back onto the ice?

A: About three weeks after Worlds, but I did different things, I was just skating to prepare for the summer. It was not a light practice, just different, not as during the season.

Q: What are your plans, will you change your programs?

A: Yes. I will change both programs. It’s not easy, but I need to change both programs. I had a little bit of a hard time before (coming to) Oberstdorf, because I had to find music. Now I finished the short program and I still have to do the free program.

Q: What music did you pick and how did you choose it?

A:I have a new short program "Nut Rocker" and a new free program, consisting of a medley of several pieces, "Cheek to Cheek", "Let Yourself Go", "Top Hat" and "White". My new programs were chosen by Barbara Fusar Poli. She had the great idea for both of my music choices. She will build on the work and choreography that I did here with Frank Dehne. She’ll continue working with me in September in Milano to refine the programs for the competitions and she will make sure that I keep presenting them very well. She worked with me on the short program in Milano before I came to Oberstdorf. I also got help from Nicoletta for the short program. The free program was done by Frank Dehne. I’m happy, because the programs are great, absolutely  great.

Q: When do you want to start competing?

A: I don’t know exactly, but I want to compete more internationally this season. I couldn’t do that last season because of the injury, so I didn’t anything except for the Grand Prix, and this was not so good concerning the (World ranking) points, the experience. If it’s possible I will do more competitions this year, but I don’t know yet which ones, because I have to check the schedule first.

Q: What are your goals for the season?

A: I don’t like to talk about that too much beforehand, because it doesn’t bring good luck! But I’m expecting a lot (from myself), so it’s very important. As I said before, I want to do a lot better. I want to achieve very good results.

Q: What new elements do you plan?

A: I think, two or three. It depends.

Q: New jumps?

A: Yes, also jumps. That’s the most important (new element). For sure I want to do the triple Axel. I did the triple Axel, I had some problems, but now I’m fine. But it’s not only this (the Axel). The level is very high, and if I want to do well in competition, I have to be at the same level as the best skaters.

Q: What do you think about the rule changes?

A: It’s good, yes. I think it’s better that they removed one element, because it was very hard to include all elements in the programs. The time was not so long, and there were a lot of elements, so it was very hard. And now, especially in the free program with one less spin, there is more time for skating and for showing maybe better steps. I’m happy with this change.

Q: Thank you very much for the interview and all the best for next season!


February 2008

Q: How do you rate your performances at the Grand Prix? You skated a lot better at the Cup of China than at Skate America. What made the difference?

A: I think my Grand Prix was very good, but the second one in China was better, because I had a problem with conditioning in America. I started to skate one week before Skate America so I didn’t do the conditioning. But the Cup of China was very good. I was happy, because I didn’t have a lot time to prepare. But I had more time than before America so I skated well. I wanted to try the triple Axel, but I didn’t feel I can do it in the free program. But I’m happy with the result. It was very good, because it was hard to overcome the ankle injury before.

Q: How did you like Harbin? Have you ever been to China before? What was your impression?

A: I’ve never been in China, that was my first time. It was nice. I was happy to compete there for the first time. It was very good. Yes, l like it. It’s completely different from Europe – it was such a good experience.  After the competition I went a little bit around to see something.

Q: As you mentioned, you had some injury problems at the beginning of the season. What happened?

A: I had this injury during the summer. During the practice when I practiced a jump, something happened to my ankle. It was painful, so I couldn’t jump so well. I always felt pain. And later in September I decided to stop (training) because this problem didn’t go away. So I had to stop for about three weeks and to do physiotherapy, rehabilitation. Nothing was broken, but it was problem that required rest. So I decided not to go to Oberstdorf to the Nebelhorn-Trophy because of this injury.

After being Italian Champion for several years, you now had to pass on your title this year to your new rival Samuel Contesti. However, he is not yet eligible to represent Italy in ISU competitions. How much of a motivation is this new competitive situation for you? What do you want to do to win your title back?

A: It’s a big motivation this year, but yes, my next target is to win the next Italian Nationals. I want to beat Samuel Contesti of course. This year for me was very hard with this ankle and I didn’t have a triple Axel. So it was not easy. But for the next year I hope I can have back my title. I won the Italian title five times. It is a good result, it’s not easy. So 6 times without maybe one time second it was too hard I think so. It’s like a little break but I hope only for one year. I will be able to beat Contesti. I trust in me, believe in me so I think and I can do it if I skate well.

Q: Last year you did very well as Europeans, this year it didn’t go as well. What was the difference? What was the illness that affected you? What about your injury?

A: The difference was still a little bit the injury. Because I did three competitions, I did a good Cup of China, Italian Nationals. For Europeans I was in good shape, but I felt a little bit tired, too much pressure. I felt this pressure especially after Italian Nationals and there were too many things - injury and I was sick. After so many things in the same time it wasn’t me, it was very hard.

Q: What do you think about the level on the Men’s Event at Europeans in general this year?
A: I think it was a good level, but I think as about the same as last year. If I skated better I could be maybe around 7th place like last year. The level was good, but not hard, I think it was the same.

Q: I really like your beautiful new costume for the free skating. Who had the idea for this costume and who created it?

A: We created with a designer. She helped us a little bit. But we had the idea for the free program - me and my father and a little bit Eduardo, so we worked together. It was a good costume, but not so comfortable.

Q: So you will change it for Worlds?

A: Yes!

Q: You said that you now mastered the triple Axel. When did it happen? How consistent is the jump now in practice?

A: It happened a little bit before Europeans and I was happy for this because I worked hard for the triple Axel and I was in very good shape and I started to land the triple Axel in practice at Europeans. But then just before the competition in the short program and free program it wasn’t so consistent, so I hesitated to risk it. Maybe I should have, I don’t know. But now I think again (to risk it) for Worlds, but I need to be in good shape. I’m still working to do it this time in competition because I need to do it many times.

Q: Are you thinking about practicing quads?

A: Yes, of course. But first I’m focusing on the Axel. The time (before Worlds) is too short to concentrate on a quad. In summer I tried it and I almost did it. My quads were very good, but when you start the season, you have to do what you know to do. Well! So you have to leave maybe jumps that you are trying, but you don’t do it in competition and focus on programs, spins and the other jumps. So I’ll start again after Worlds. After Worlds I hope I’ll be able to do it again - Toeloop and Salchow. It’s not a big problem. The problem is the Axel, I know it. Somebody says that I can do maybe the (quad) Salchow or Toeloop before the Axel. It’s true, so I did sometimes. But now I need to get the Axel more consistent and I’m sure that the other jumps, quads, will come fast after the Axel.

Q: It’s rather unusual that a skater in your age learns the Axel. The most skaters can do it with age 18, 19...

A: It’s a long-time problem, but now I have to do it! I think before I didn’t work a lot on the Axel because I was too focused on competitions and other jumps but not so much on the Axel. I feel like a youngster (is laughing). Age is only a number for me.

How are you now preparing for Worlds and what goal do you set for yourself?

A: Normally I’m preparing similar as for Europeans. But now it’s better, because I’m training in Oberstdorf. It’s better for conditioning. The goal is to do better than last year, especially for the result. I’d like to progress and to land the Axel of course.

Q: What are your plans after Worlds?

A: I’ll have a vacation.

Q: Are you planning to take part in the summer camp in Flims and to compete at the Nebelhorn-Trophy this year?

A: Yes, I hope to do Nebelhorn-Trophy. I don’t know yet about the summer camp, but I’m planning to come to Oberstdorf and to stay a long time here. At the moment I think Oberstdorf is for sure and the other one I will see after Worlds.

Q: Many thanks for the interview and good luck for Worlds!


April 2007

Karel: First of all I want to thank all my fans for the nice scrapbook that I received at the World Championships. I was very happy about it.

Q: You're welcome! I'd like to congratulate for your excellent placement and achieving a personal best at the Europeans! How do you feel about this competition?
Karel: It’s a big result for me and I skated very well and it was so very important to me. So it was maybe the best competition this season.

Q: What were you thinking when you moved up more and more with each skater following you?
Karel: It was a big satisfaction for me and nice to see myself in such a high position. Now I want to do better each time in the future.

Q: I think you can be pleased with your placement at Worlds as well.
Karel: Yes, at Worlds I was satisfied as well, because Worlds are a very hard competition and I achieved my best result at Worlds. I skated well in the short program, and although I didn’t skate as well as at Europeans and Nationals in the free program, I’m still happy with what I did. I think, I was a little bit tired because it was the end of season.

Q: Maybe you were also affected by the jetlag?
Karel: Yes, I tried to push but it was a little bit hard. But I think the result is very good and it was a very, very good season for me.

Q: Do you watch the skaters before you?
Karel: Just a little bit, but not so much because before I skate I think about my program and I prefer not to see the other skaters. Sometimes I watch just a little bit of some programs.

Q: Even on TV I noticed that the audience in Warsaw was great and loved you. How did the support of the crowd help you?
Karel: There was good support and especially in Warsaw there were good feelings and sensations and people were great. It was very good for me.

Q: Are you trying a quad? What is your progress on the tripe Axel? Your other triples looked very solid.

Karel: Sometimes when I’m very tired, I can’t do the Axel because it’s not so solid, but when I am in good shape I can do the Axel, but the landing isn’t perfect - for now.  But for the next season I’ll land it in a competition. A quad is better than the triple Axel for me. I just don’t have so much time to try them because I’m focused on the Axel. I think the only problem was the Axel. Now it is almost okay. The other jumps are no problem for me.

Q: Who chooses your beautiful and elegant costumes?
Karel: The costumes for the short program and the new one for the free program at Europeans did a stylist. She helped with the design.

Q: Do you have input, too?
Karel: Yes, there are also my ideas but not only mine. It is a bigger work from everyone like in a team.

Q: Why did you change the free program costume?
Karel: The problem was that the new costume, the black and red one, was too heavy. It was not so comfortable in competition because it was very hot. So it was too warm for me and I preferred to use the red costume because it was more comfortable to compete in.

Q: What is your goal for the coming season?
Karel: My goal is to do better than this year because I want to do improve every time and I think many things can be improved. I would like to skate well at Europeans and especially at Worlds next year.

Q: What does figure skating mean for you?
Karel: It means everything for me - it’s my life! Skating is very, very important for me because I’m sportive and I like sports. When I was a little boy I was always running and doing sports.

Q: Your father was skater, as well?!
Karel: Yes, so I decided to skate as well. I enjoyed skating when I saw my father and other skaters and now it’s a part of my life.

Q: How many hours a week do you train?

Karel: A lot (laughs) - a lot! I don’t know how many hours, but it takes almost all day, every day.

Q: Can you say how many hours you train per day approximately?
It depends on the training period. I think it’s circa five hours. Sometimes it is maybe more, sometimes less, it depends.

Q: Do you plan to continue coming to Oberstdorf for training? Maybe you’re planning to take part in the Ice Dome this year?
Karel: I don’t know yet. I like Oberstdorf, but I want to try something else. I have some other places in mind, it depends. I would like to look for an opportunity maybe in America because I went there only once for training so far. I will see, I’m not sure yet.

Q: Do you have any role model?
Karel: Yes, I have of course. Especially (Alexei) Yagudin, Viktor Petrenko and Brian Boitano. I think I prefer the Russian style. I really like the style of Yagudin and Alexander Abt.

Q: Alexander Abt?!!! (laughing)
Karel: Yes (laughing), he is a good model!

Q: What things do you do besides skating?
Karel: I try to do a lot, but there is not much time. I try to spend time with friends and to go to the cinema and so on.

Q: What was so far the most important moment in your life?
Karel: The Olympic Games...  I think always it’s an important moment when I’m in a competition.

Q: How would you describe yourself?
Karel: I’m often happy and full of energy and I like to have fun. I focus on what I’m doing in my sport.

Q: If you were sent to an isolated island and could take three things with you - what would you take?
Karel: My girlfriend. Maybe my collection of movies.

Q: What kind of movies do you like to watch?
Karel: I have some action movies, some comedy.
And thirdly I’d take probably some good food and drink (laughing).

Q: Please - can you promise your fans that you never will cut your hair?
Karel is laughing.

Q: You have to! Please! (laughing)
Okay, I will try to keep the long hair as long as possible. For now I like to keep my hair long, but I don’t know what will be in the future, but yes for now (laughing) I can promise you.

Q: Can you tell us anything about your plans for the next weeks?
Karel: I’ll have a little bit of vacation. I need it because it was a long season. After this I will practise and maybe I’ll do some shows in Italy during the summer.

Q: What would you like to tell your fans?
 I would like to thank my fans their support. I’m so happy to see that someone is enjoying my skating and this is the most important for me. This is my motivation for continuing in figure skating. It’s a big support for the future because they give me energy and happiness. I wish them all the best.

Many thanks for the interview and all the best for you.


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