© Solène Mathieu
© Solène Mathieu


13 november 2022

Interview - Isabeau Levito

Isabeau Levito got two silver medals in the Grand Prix in her first season as a senior. We got to meet her in Sheffield after her free programme.
Solène: Congratulations on your second place at Grand Prix Sheffield. How do you feel? Was there extra pressure to qualify for the Grand Prix Final?
Isabeau:  I did not feel extra pressure about making the Final but I'm very happy I've made it. That was my goal for the Grand Prix season. Regarding my performance in the free programme I'm disappointed about the triple Lutz triple loop combo. I felt it was not perfect. I'm quite happy about the rest of the programme. I am slowly working my way up to performing the way I want to.
Solène:  In Sheffield you removed the triple Lutz triple loop combo from the short programme but kept it in the long programme.  Can you explain the strategy behind it?
Isabeau:  I wanted to focus more on the performance and a bit less on the technical side. With time everything will keep moving up, but for now I wanted to focus on skating like a senior, expressing something and being free. I genuinely love loop combos and love doing them in practice. For me they are quite natural to a certain extent. It is something I will always want to have in my programme.
Solèn:  What is your long programme about?
Isabeau : I'm an angel in love with someone on earth. I want to bring heaven and earth together.
Solène:  You have a French first name, Isabeau, do you know where your parents got the idea ?
Isabeau: I used to know! I know "beau" means beautiful, not sure about the rest of the story but my mom speaks French, she went to university in France.
Solène:  Your mother is Italian and the Grand Prix Final will be in Italy. How important was it for you?
Isabeau:  I am happy I did not let my "Nonna" (grandma in Italian) down!  (laughs). I'm excited to go back to Italy. I love it there and I'm excited to go to a competition where I can understand the language. It definitely feels a lot easier when you understand the language.
Solène:  Are you fluent in Italian?
Isabeau:  I'm very close to it, I understand everything that is being said to me, it just sometimes takes me time to speak. The words escape me but I'm practising Italian on my phone.
Solène:  You posted a picture of you with Caroline Kostner on social media. How was it meeting her?
Isabeau: Yes, I saw her and asked for a photo! She is very good at performing for the audience and not only for the judges. That is genuine and beautiful.
Solène:  You went from junior ranks last year to senior ranks this year. What difference do you feel between the two?
Isabeau: In the senior ranks, I'm around skaters who have been doing that for so long, I feel like they are more relaxed because they are used to it. They all know each other and it is fun being in the locker room with them. They are all friends and I'm starting to get into the club! The seniors also get more attention than the juniors.
Solène: Last year you competed in the US championship without any particular goal regarding placement.  I'm guessing that it will be a bit different this year ?
Isabeau: I hate saying that I want to get a placement but I definitely want to give a very solid and good performance and make the entire experience very nice to look back on.
Solène: Who are your favourite skaters ?
Isabeau: First Evgenia Medvedeva, then Elizaveta Tuktamysheva.
Solène: You love ballet and refer to skating as 'ballet on ice'.  What's your favourite ballet?
Isabeau: Tough question…
Yulia Kuznetsova (her coach): Swan Lake, Giselle, Esmeralda... She can dance Esmeralda very well!
Isabeau: Don't say that, people are going to want to see it!
Yulia:  Well, I have videos! She is beautiful when she is dancing!
Solène:  I know you like reading. What are you reading at the moment?
Isabeau: I will show you, I keep it with me, "One Italian Summer" by Rebecca Serle. I picked this up because I was about to go to Italy and it was summer time. I then kind of forgot about it. I had bought a few books and it takes time to read. Time is a luxury. It's pretty good! I found some lines that are very quotable, some deep and interesting sentences, that I want to remember. 
Solène:  Have you ever thought about interpreting a character from a book in a skating programme?
Isabeau: That is really a good idea. I don't think I have come across something like that yet but I've wanted to become a character of a book in training sometimes. I am reading another book at the moment, "Six of Crows" by Leigh Bardugoi, it's a young adult fantasy novel. There is this one girl Inej, she is very light on her feet like a cat, she can climb walls and ceilings. At one point in the second book she is walking on a tightrope. She has to go from one place to another. She is 60 feet in the air and a dagger has been shot into her leg. She is describing the intense pain she is in but she cannot stop. She has to continue otherwise she is going to die. It is quite extreme but I think a lot of athletes can relate to that, when we skate long programmes, especially when we are injured or experiencing pain. I can relate! It is less dramatic of course but I like to think about Inej sometimes.

Solène MATHIEU for Skate Info Glace - Reviewed by Louise CLYNE