Winner of the French Grand Prix and the Cup of China, Adam Siao Him Fa qualified for his first Grand Prix Final, where he ranked fourth.
Solène: What's your assessment of the competition?
Adam: It’s positive. The big mistake was on the Lutz in the short program. It was my first senior Grand Prix final and the first major competition where I was a favorite. It was a lot of pressure to handle, and it was a new experience. I took a lot of positives from it, and it will serve me well for future competitions.
Solène: First alternate last year, first qualified this year. That's a great achievement!
Adam: Yes, I guess I took my revenge compared to last season.
Solène: What happened with the Lutz in the short program?
Adam: I rushed at the start. I was also a bit slow in the rotation, but beyond the technical aspect, I lost my nerve. The positive point is that I got back into the program, and I completed my other elements.
Solène: You moved up two places afterward.
Adam: I fought well in the free program. At several moments, I risked popping a jump, but I did everything I could not to relive the experience of the short program. The Lutz started badly, but I saved it.
Solène: The audience screamed during the rotation of your Salchow when they saw it was off-axis. Did you hear them?
Adam: Yes! Honestly, I didn't know how I would land it (laughs). When I felt that my foot touched the ice, I was pleasantly surprised.
Solène: Let's talk about your choreo sequence. It was subtle, but you had a balance issue, and the judges counted a fall.
Adam: The ice was very smooth (laughs). My body was not well positioned, my hand slipped, and my feet went the other way. I tried to hide it as best as I could, but of course, the judges saw it.
Solène: How did your training in Beijing go?
Adam: Overall, it went well, but I had a somewhat original training session on Friday. First, I had a nosebleed. It's not very common, but it had already happened to me, so I wasn't disturbed. What I didn't realize right away was that I had lost three screws on the ice. I had almost nothing left at the heel! I was telling Kevin about it in the locker room. He said to me that Shoma and he had found screws right at the beginning of the training, so I think I lost them early. He also told me he had seen blood on the ice during his slides (laughs).
Solène: Let's go back to that incredible Cup of China. Tell us about your experience.
Adam: So much happened! I went straight there after the French Grand Prix, so it wasn't easy, but physically, I was ready and mentally confident. During a training session, I saw that my hook had torn off after the first jump. No problem, I had spare hooks so that I could change it. I took out my screwdriver. When I put the screw in, I saw it was spinning in place. The thread was completely torn out. The boot was ruined. Fortunately, since last year's European Championships, I always have two pairs of skates with me.
Solène: Were they new?
Adam: Yes, but I adapt very quickly to new skates. I did my blade placement during training. I immediately felt good, and the blade placement suited me. I resumed training. After two quadruples, the lace broke. No problem, I tied a knot. It broke again, and I retied a knot. I stayed calm and put it into perspective. It is better that it happened on training day than on competition day.
Solène: Did the ISU give you an extra training session?
Adam: Yes, they were very understanding. They offered me the opportunity to train during a podium rehearsal so I could do my blade placement as I wanted and use my boot. During the short program, the mistake on the toe loop was due to a lack of focus.
Solène: After all these adventures, the day of the free program arrived.
Adam: Yes, but it wasn't over (laughs)! On the evening of the short program, I felt very sick. I had nausea and dizziness. I didn't eat that night and went to bed. I couldn't get out of bed. I had food poisoning. The French team doctor helped me. My stomach still hurt a bit the next day, but I could go to training. I could do my jumps individually, but I suffered as soon as the effort became more intense. Fortunately, we had a long break between training and the competition. I slept all day. When I woke up, it was better, and it was time for the free program!
Solène: At that point, given your health condition and almost a 14-point gap from Shoma Uno in the short program, I guess you weren't thinking about victory?
Adam: Indeed. I was aiming for the podium to qualify for the final. When Benoît told me about my victory, I was surprised! I didn't expect to win both my Grand Prix this season. I knew I could win one but didn't expect it to go so well.
Solène: In a few weeks, you beat the entire world podium: Junhwan Cha at the Shanghai Trophy, Ilia Malinin at the French Grand Prix, and Shoma Uno at the Cup of China. Your status in the world of skating has completely changed. How did you experience it?
Adam: I confirmed my place in the top 6 worldwide, but I think it affected how I managed stress in this Grand Prix Final. It's experience coming in.
Solène: Your popularity exploded in China after the Shanghai Trophy and the Cup of China. Did you feel it?
Adam: Yes, I see it in my interactions with the public. There are more fans. It's really pleasant, and the atmosphere is excellent.
Solène: You've gotten into the habit of doing backflips during your programs or when exiting the ice, but not in Beijing.
Adam: In the free program, I never considered it. I was last in the short program, wanted to move up in the ranking, and couldn't afford a two-point deduction. I wanted to give everything I had without any regrets. I didn't want to do it when leaving the ice, either. I didn't consider it, as I wasn't completely satisfied with my program.
Solène: Was it planned when you did it for the first time at the Shanghai Trophy?
Adam: Absolutely not (laughs)! I had never included it in a free program, even in practice. However, I did skate my short program with a backflip when touring in Japan. During the summer, I talked about it with Cédric, Rodolphe, and Benoit, asking what I would risk: a deduction or a disqualification? So, I knew about the two-point deduction, but the discussion ended there. I skated a great free program at the Shanghai Trophy and still had energy left. I thought it could be fun, so I did it. Rodolphe burst out laughing and told me I was crazy (laughs).
Solène: You're heading straight to Vaujany for French Nationals. How do you see this competition? Will you present your usual technical content or adapt it due to fatigue?
Adam: I'll see when I get there. I would like to include the quadruple flip to train on this content before the major competitions in early 2024. The free program with the flip went very well in training before the Final. However, I had a few issues during the week. I had a blocked neck and a blade issue. Yes, the adventures never stop (laughs). We talked about it with Cédric and decided to play it safe for the Final. We'll see how the training goes in Vaujany. One option is to include the quadruple flip in the short program, replacing the quadruple toe loop.
Solène: Always in the program's first half, without going for the second-half bonus?
Adam: In the first half, yes. Last year, we wanted to secure the two quadruples by putting them in the first half. We kept the same program layout this year, which suited me well. Plus, the sequence of the three jumps in the short program is very similar to the beginning of my free program, which greatly helps me.
Solène MATHIEU - Skate Info Glace