Claiming silver medals at the Grand Prix Final and European Championships, and capturing bronze at Worlds, crowned a successful 2010-11 season for Italy’s Carolina Kostner.
“Looking back, I was surprised how well last season worked out overall,” she said. “I had few expectations, but a good start motivated me a lot. It was a great pleasure for me that I progressed from month to month. Therefore, every success was an encore. I tried to take the joy of skating with me, and this motivated me during the whole season.”
Kostner reflected on the time she spent training in the U.S. heading into the 2010 Olympic season. “In the summer of 2009 I left Germany and went to California with great expectations,” she explained. “I liked the practice itself very much, and I certainly gained personally from the experience.
“But I was very often alone, and because of the time difference, I was not able to phone Europe very much. I missed my family, my friends and the mountains that surround my village in Italy, as well as my training site in Oberstdorf, Germany. I had gone to school there for many years and I have a lot of friends there.”
In the summer of 2010 she returned to Oberstdorf and her longtime coach Michael Huth. “I had not left him on bad terms, so it was no problem,” Kostner said. “He takes the time to listen to his students. I like his way of teaching. He always knows the latest rule changes and often comes up with new methods and ideas. Practice is never boring. Sometimes I wonder if these ideas appear to him in his dreams, because he is so creative.
“And on weekends I can drive home to see my family or my boyfriend in three hours. It is very convenient.”
Kostner is currently studying art history at Torino University. Though she does so mainly through correspondence courses during the season, she must attend at the university for her examinations. This is the reason she rarely performs in shows or galas in the springtime. “Also, I need a break after the season to get my small injuries healed and to live a life outside of skating for a few weeks,” the six-time national champion explained.
After taking a short summer break, Kostner headed to Florida in mid-July to work with Lori Nichol on two new programs. “I do not know yet which music I will use because Lori always chooses several pieces and gives me the chance to select and decide,” Kostner said.
Her Grand Prix assignments for next season are Skate America, Cup of China and Trophée Eric Bompard. “My federation has asked me to compete at three Grand Prix events next season, but I do not know yet if I will do two or three,” she said. “It depends how the summer and the preparation will go.”
Kostner hesitates to commit to competing in 2014. “I have not had the best experiences with Olympic Games. Therefore, I won’t decide now if I will skate until the Games in Sochi,” the 24-year-old said.
Although the three-time European champion does not speak much about her longtime boyfriend Alex Schwazer, her private life is no secret in Italy. The Italian media, particularly those in the South Tyrol region where Kostner comes from, often cover the couple.
“Alex is also an Italian sportsperson. He was the gold medalist in the 50 km walking race at the 2008 Olympic Summer Games,” Kostner said. “Most of his events are in the summertime, so sometimes I can go with him to his competitions, and he comes to mine in the winter. We understand each other’s problems in sport very well.”
Originally published in October 2011