Evgeniia et Geoffrey are 3rd after the Rhythm Dance (a rank they will keep after the Free Dance, winning their second GP bronze medal of the season). I meet them right after the RD press conference. They are undwinding and all smile.
Kate: What did you do since Masters in Villard de Lans?
Geoffrey: We were at Skate America! Where we finished third. Considering who was on the roster, it was a big challenge, so we are super happy. .We had fun and we gained confidence. This bronze medal strengthened our conviction that we made the right choices. Our performance was cleaner today even if the scores were a little bit higher in Texas. We must keep on improving.
Kate: What is your next competition?
Evgeniia: The free dance! (laughs).
Geoffrey: After Angers, we will be part of a Challenger Series in Varsaw with Marie [Dupayage] and Thomas [Nabais], and also Lou [Terreaux] and Noé [Perron], I think. We could consider qualifying for the Grand Prix Finale, but it will lie on other contestant's results and even on eventual withdrawals, it is very random, and it's not among our goals anyway.
Kate: While we're at it, what are your objectives this season?
Geoffrey: Just like last season, we try to think of performances rather than precise objectives. We work everyday with the improvement of our performances in mind. Of course, the best they will be, the higher we will rank. But, above all, we want to skate clean and we need to keep on improving our technical elements and the connection between us.
Kate: How was this RD?
Geoffrey: To be frank with you, at the beginning, I was very stressed. But when I heard the warm welcome of the French audience my tension immediately vanished. We love performing "at home".
Evgeniia: For us, to have the audience's support is very important. It gives us confidence and a lot of energy.
Kate: Why were you stressed Geoffrey ? Precisely because we are in France?
Geoffrey: No, rather because things went reasonably well at Skate America, and we were under the pressure to skate at least as good. We have to keep on working on our levels [Editor's note: 2 for the midline and the pattern step], they are slightly lower here than there were in Texas.
Evgeniia: But components are a little bit better. [E.N.: it will be the same in the Free Dance, with higher components, but in the end, there will be a less than 3 points difference between their final scores in Allen and Angers.]
Geoffrey: We start again with a clean slate for the free dance and we really wish to present a good performance tomorrow.
Kate: You are currently ranking right behind Laurence-Fournier Beaudry and Nicolaj Sörensen. At Skate America, Chock/Bates and Lajoie/Lagha were right ahead. You all train in the same club, the Ice Academy of Montreal. Is it an advantage or some kind of drawback to work with your closest rivals?
Geoffrey: We do not see things that way. We work besides pals, then we compete against contestants. There is a wonderful atmosphere at I.A.M. and every one of us enjoys customized training. Of course we keep an eye on one another, but it is healthy sportmanship, not every day competition. At skating events, we congratulate each others for our respective results, but on the ice, we are inside our bubble and we don't think about what the others are dloing, whether they are from Montreal or elsewhere. Here in Angers, we are in France, we play on our own ground, it is slightly an advantage.
Kate: Rare occurence, the press conference was held almost only in French, as Laurence and Nicolaj as Charlène [Guignard] and Marco [Fabbri] speak it very well and there was not many foreign reporters in the room. Evgeniia, your French is now 100% fluent. But you still have no Quebec accent (laughs).
Evgeniia: I still have my Russian accent, I'm unsure a mix of both would be ideal. (laughs).
Geoffrey: We haven't been in Canada long enough to catch the "virus" like Guilluame or Gabriella! But now that you talk about it, it's funny... Nikolaj is Danish naturalized as a Canadian citizen, and his partner is from Quebec, so they speak French together. Well, they speak Canadian French! (laughs) Charlene and Marco skate for Italy but Charlene was born in France. Evgeniia comes from Russia. Six citizenships at first for 3 countries! What a melting pot!
Kate: We will see you again in December in France for Nationals in Vaujany?
Geoffrey: With great pleasure!