At the end of last season Yannick Ponsero decided to lighten his skating agenda for the upcoming year in order to focus on his education.
“I considered it was time to take a break from figure skating,” the 2009 French national champion told IFS in late August. “At 24, I have to think about life after my career. I already have some credits for my first-year studies in physiotherapy. This course is time consuming and very demanding.”
The balancing act between high academic achievement and the demands of an elite sport is very difficult to accomplish, especially in France.
In early September, Ponsero returned to school in his hometown of Annecy. “It was strange to be a real student again, as I devoted a lot of my time to skating,” he said.
The popular skater admitted that he did not practice much during the summer. “I just trained enough to be in shape for the few exhibitions that I did,” he said. “After many years in this wonderful sport, I started getting tired of it,” he admitted. “When you spend more money than you earn from skating, it is hard to make ends meet. “
Ponsero has had an up-and-down career. One notable example is his performance at the 2009 Europeans. After placing ninth in the short program, he came back the next day to win the free program, ranked fourth overall and missed capturing the bronze medal by a mere 0.06 point. “I have been sometimes criticized for my lack of consistency during my career. Perhaps this pause will help me to mature,” he said.
Returning to competition later this year has not been ruled out, Ponsero said. “If I am injury free, I will leave my options open to compete at French nationals in Tours this December and perhaps qualify for the Winter Universiade next January in Erzurum, Turkey.”
Ponsero first competed at this event in 2005 in Innsbruck-Seefeld, Austria, where he ranked 10th.
“I still believe I can bring pleasure and have fun on the ice, otherwise I would have said stop already. I don’t want to believe I have wasted so many years of my life.”
Originally published in December 2010