Brian Joubert On the Comeback Trail

Susan D. Russell
Brian Joubert

For the first time in almost 10 years Brian Joubert is not ranked as the number-one singles skater in France.

“This year, Florent Amodio was better at both Europeans and Worlds, but it is good that I am no longer the only one who gets all the attention from the public and the media in France,” Joubert said in an exclusive interview with IFS.

“The season was not what I had been hoping for, but I have competed in 10 European Championships and won as many medals (three gold, three silver and four bronze), and I have been on the World podium six times,” Joubert said in his own defense.

Early in the season, he was so concerned about his health he considered taking a year off. “Perhaps I was burned out after so many years. I was also worried about my left knee. I put pressure on my hips more and more to compensate for the pain I was feeling.

“After Worlds, I saw different specialists and decided not to have surgery after being advised that my chances of fully recuperating my normal strength were just ten percent. In order to avoid any further medical issues, I am on a strict diet and have specific exercises to restore my musculature balance.”

Even though he regained his technique, Joubert struggled with his short program. “Perhaps, I did just three or four clean run-throughs in practices overall,” he said. “Every mistake would mean I had to catch up with the music. It was stressful. I was concerned. I was very happy with Antonio Najarro’s flamenco, but if I stumbled during the routine, I had to cut out some of the moves and steps he crafted for me.”

At both the 2011 European and World Championships Joubert made costly mistakes in the short program, placing seventh and ninth, respectively. But he showed that he was a fighter at both events when it came to the free. “At Europeans, I had to prove to myself that the real Brian was not ready to quit skating (he ranked first in the free and placed second overall), and in Moscow I really felt in sync artistically with the program. I intend to keep the free program for next season.”

“But I will change the short program. My idea is that it should be a total opposite style, compared with the free.”

Joubert plans to return to Toronto this summer to work on his free program with choreographer David Wilson. “For the upcoming season, I might want to change my usual summer routine. Going to the same place 10 years in a row is rather boring,” Joubert said, adding he planned to discuss this with his coach and the French federation in late May.

After parting ways with his current coach Véronique Guyon twice before, Joubert said he was surprised that things turned out well last season. “I had fun when I went for training; it was a happy atmosphere.”

The 2012 Worlds are scheduled to play out in Nice, France, which is an inspiring factor for Joubert. “Having Worlds in your own country is a key motivator, but in order to get the best possible result there, I need to have a strong start,” he said.

“I need to qualify for the Grand Prix final in Québec City. I have good memories of this city, because that is where I won Skate Canada in 2007. Then, my mind will be focused
on Nice. I do not know what the odds will be for Florent and I to place one-two there, but it is worth betting on us now.

“My result in Nice will obviously be a deciding factor for the furtherance of my career heading toward the 2014 Olympics.”

Originally published in August 2011