Florent has decided to keep skating till the 2018 Olympics. His return to competition will be at the Lombardia Trophy (Sept. 18-21).
Florent is talking about his devastating experience in Sochi and how he moved on.
“[My results in Sochi] were very hard to accept. I had a tough time right after the Games. Luckily, I started touring with ice shows right after. So I had three very difficult days at home, alone, with so much going through my mind, but then I immediately got to interact with the audience again, to go back to skating. And I thank everyone who attended these shows because I think they saved my future as a skater. I found the magic I’d lost all season. It reminded me, you know, ‘See, you can do it!’ I experienced amazing feelings, and meeting all these people at the shows, receiving all the messages of support from fans…
It was a tough time but it taught me a lot, it made me grow and it made me rethink why I’m skating. Now I’ll only do it with happiness and passion, which I’d lost. Since I went to a new coach last summer, everything went too fast, we didn’t have time to think about all that… I gave everything but it didn’t work. It was like a slap in the face and it kept happening, and at the Games it happened again. It was very hard but now I have to be smart. I want to go on because it’s my dream but I have to make the right choices, find the right solutions… and keep going and work hard to keep the magic alive. People know me as the fun guy who always has a blast on the ice but it wasn’t the case this season. And since it wasn’t the case, I couldn’t possibly succeed at my assigned competitions. So now I want to look ahead with only happiness in my heart.
It wasn’t just about me, I was also very sad for the people around me, who helped me in my 20 years of skating. Qualifying for the Games is a reward for your hard work, but it’s also a gift you’re giving to the people watching and supporting you. Not being able to control myself, to perform well, doing movements I wasn’t even living, it was very hard. And in the three following days I didn’t even want to go to the ice shows, I wanted to cancel everything. I didn’t want to hear about skating, the word held so much sadness. Skating is my life and always has been, my parents sacrificed so much for me to be able to keep doing it… Now I think ‘Okay, I failed at one competition, it happens’ but right after it I couldn’t think that way and it was really hard. Before, I told myself if I medalled at the Games, I’d retire. And now I still have that goal so I want to keep going until the next Olympics. But it will be for me, for my own happiness, because I realized that’s the only way I can succeed. I want to make the best of the next four years, to work hard with a great team, and I hope to be there in four years.
Interviewer: Do you want titles, are there things you long for?
Yeah! The thing is, when I skate my best, I honestly think it can be worth a medal. The question is how do I better my quads, how do I dance and occupy the ice, how do I handle all this? And if I work well on these things, then yeah, why not a medal? This season I wasn’t myself, I didn’t feel well, how do I erase that and move on? All the changes this season kept me from taking the time to find the real problem. We were always in a rush, we had to work hard for me to be ready and there was no time, the Olympics were coming, there was so much to think about. Now I got to analyze the problem, I’m working with a coach to improve my mental preparation. And I will look ahead, keep going, but first of all be happy because it’s just a sport. Now I can relax. I know where I come from, I know all the sacrifices weren’t for nothing. Sometimes you forget that when you reach elite level.”