After their accident in September 2022, Solène Mazingue and Marko Gaidajenko returned to the ice at the 2023 World Championships. After a rough start to the 2023/2024 season, they were able to compete in Kaunas for the European championships.
How did you feel competing at the European championships?
Solène: It was so amazing that I cried at the end of our performances. There were some technical mistakes, but we shared the emotion that we wanted to. I absolutely loved to be here. Since the accident, I've enjoyed everything a lot more because I don't want to have any regrets. I was, of course, tired after skating but feeling amazing. The public was amazing. Thank you so much to everyone who supported us. It was a big motivation for us.
Marko: How many times have you said amazing?
Solène: I don't know, maybe twenty times! But it's just so amazing that I don't know what else to say (laughs).
Marko: I absolutely enjoyed it too. The Lithuanian public was amazing, as Solène likes to say (laughs). They're really supportive. I enjoyed every second of it.
Solène: It's a miracle that I'm alive and able to walk. To be skating here only one year after the accident is something we can be proud of. I'm thankful to Marko, who was there every day for me.
Did you come to this competition with any specific goal?
Marko: We usually aim to do better than the previous years. But in our case, it's more complicated because we did really well in our first season, but then the accident happened, and we couldn't compete. Preparing for this season was pretty tough, so we didn't expect anything, but of course, we wanted to qualify for the free dance. Our main goal was to show as much as we could for the moment, with our current preparation and physical conditions. I think we succeeded. We did our best.
Can you tell us about the music choice for the free dance?
Solène : Marie-France and Marko chose this music. I love it. The story is about how I built myself back after the accident, how we came back together on the ice and our connection.
Did you have time to cheer on your teammates from the Ice Academy of Montreal?
Marko: Absolutely, especially Saulius and Allison, who skated in front of their audience. We love them. They're such beautiful human beings.
You mentioned that preparing for this season was tough. Could you tell us about it?
Marko: We usually start to prepare for the next season in June or July, but we had another fall. It was minor, but it affected Solène's health. While she was recovering, we couldn't skate much. We got our programs in August and started to get ready in September. Our first competition was already in November. It was rough, and we're happy to be at the European championships.
How is your daily life going?
Solène: I'm completely fine physically. My muscles are back, and I can skate. My brain however is not functioning normally, and I have damage. I have a lot of trouble with reading, writing, and counting, but I'm working on that with a doctor every week, and it will be fine within a couple of years. Doctors approved of me skating at the event. They would not let me compete if they were worried, and neither would my coaches.
You trained in France before Kaunas; can you tell us about it?
Marko: We competed at the Golden Spin in Zagreb and at Nationals in December. We did not want to go back to Montreal. Traveling is tiring for Solène. We decided to stay in France. Besides, Solène was able to enjoy Christmas with her family. We skated in Lyon for two weeks with Olivier Schoenfelder and Marien de la Asuncion's team. We are going back to Montréal to get ready for the World championship.
Solène MATHIEU - Skate Info Glace