with Jorik Hendrickx
What made you take up figure skating? Aren't both of your brothers
ice hockey players? Why did you decide on skating, which is more of a
marginal sport in Belgium?
Because I couldn’t skate and I tried ice hockey. This tended me to
figure skating club to learn how to skate. I stayed there and I’m
sitting here ... (laughs). The intention was to go to ice hockey,
but... I don’t know why I skated. I was still young and I liked
this sport and so I continued.. I just loved it and I didn’t think
about going to ice hockey any more.
What do you like and don't like about figure skating?
have to train very hard and that’s fun, because you have to
challenge yourself. Everytime you have to motivate yourself you have
to be at your best in every practice session. Sometimes I want to be
too good, I'm a perfectionist. That’s my personality - I want to be
very good and sometimes it doesn’t work. What I don’t like about
figure skating is that you get a lot of injuries and if you want to
train, but you can’t train because of your injury. I think that you
have to do spins with so many difficult variations, you have to jump
and you have to do it on ice and that’s why you get a lot of
Kevin van der Perren made figure skating popular in Belgium. Do you
see yourself continuing his tradition?
Yeah, I don’t feel like it yet...maybe in the next years I will
feel the pressure because there is no Kevin ... the other
competitions I was in the shadows of him. They expected a lot from
him and I was just the second Belgium skater and I didn’t feel that
pressure from the media and other people. So maybe now I will feel
it. I think that I have to switch something in my head and just skate
and then we will see what happens - which results and which place I
What are your strong points? What is it, in your opinion, that makes
think that I pay a lot of attention to my spins and steps - I try to
get the highest level. I know my jumps are not the best because
there are better jumpers in figure skating. But every time I'm
getting more consistent. So last year I skated quite consistent than
I didn’t have an failures like missing all the jumps or something.
Which conclusion are you making out of your experiences in the past
season? What does it mean to you to have placed among the top 10
skaters at Europeans? Is that motivating you?
was very happy that I was in the top 10 because I didn’t expect it.
I feel like I'm living in a dream because 5 years ago I didn’t
jump any triples. It’s going so fast! I think I was 16 when I
learned all the triples in one year. In the next year I learned
tripe-triple [combinations]. And last year I learned triple axel. So
it’s going very fast .
What are your future plans?
First I will do Nebelhorn-Trophy and Coup de Nice and then I will
have my first senior grand prix. It’s very hard, but... yeah...we
will see! I’m really glad that I have one and that I was chosen
because they see potential in me... because they gave me one even
though I didn’t skate at Worlds. So normally it depends on which
place you make at Worlds ...like a lot of skaters from Worlds getting
grand prix events directly. I only did Europeans and small
competitions. So I’m very glad that they picked me to do one Grand
You have two new programs?
was looking for a choreographer for a long time because I wanted
something new: I wanted to create a new personality, I want to
improve my skating and so I was looking for someone who can make my
programs [like that]. It was very hard because it’s a lot of money
as well and involves a lot of traveling. Finally I found Shanetta
Folle and I travelled to America to train there for 3 weeks. I went
to America but I didn’t know what my music was because she
it for me. So
I went there and then the first day,
we went in her car and she had this cd with ten songs on it and I
said that I want this and this and in the beginning I felt a bit
program because it’s classic music and I never skated on classical
music. So it was a big challenge for me. The short...I like it
and Jazz, it’s
fun. But the free program... in the beginning I didn’t know what
they expect because she said it’s good and if you can skate on
this it will improve your components. So it was completely different
because normally first we choose a music and then we made the program
to it. So now she already had the music...she worked completely
different than I was used to. Normally we first cut the music and
then we make a program on it. We had a piece from 9 minutes and we
made a program on it. And then after this we cut the music. So it is
not complete yet, so I haven't skated on the complete version of the
music yet. So I will go back to train with her for one week and then
we will figure out the music.
How is preparation going so far and what are you planning to work on?
my skating skills I worked a lot in America. I was 5-6 hours on the
ice, but I didn’t jump that much. So we put a lot of steps into my
programs. I want to improve my skating skills. And of course my
triple axel needs to be consistent, because I learned it last year so
it’s not very stable. And I want to try two triple axels in my free
program. So it’s gonna be a challenge to get it consistent.
You often come to Oberstdorf. Is it helping to train here? What are
you gaining out of it?
It’s a good condition to train here and they have two ice rinks.
Well, at the the moment just one ice rink. But I will stay here for
another 2 weeks. I love working with Mr Fajfr. He has a great jumping
technique and next week my coach will come as well. So I can work
with my coach on my programs and spins and so on, and then improve my
jumps with Mr Fajfr. I think it’s a good combination to work with.
Last year I had a good example [Michal Brezina], but this year
there is none anymore.
Let's talk about the new – well, not so new anymore – judging
system. It's more like a hunt for points. It's hard to develop a
personality on ice. What are your thoughts on that?
think it is more fair because you get points for every jump and every
spin and every step sequence. It’s still in the second mark...there
it gets still a bit individual of course... how you like...some
people like this program or some people don’t like it at all
because it’s up to personal taste. I think sometimes to like the
choreography and to like the interpretation is the opinion of the
judges. Sometimes, if you have a big name, you get a lot of points in
transitions.... I think
it’s more fair because the first part is better because you get for
the jumps and spins, but then with the second mark it is a big
difference sometimes between skaters.
Are you having any role-models...or had any when you were younger?
Because I didn’t skate that much on international level just yet I
just like the Belgium skaters Kevin van der Perren and his wife Jenna
McCorkell. And in first place I like the skating of Stéphane Lambiel
and jumps of Michal Brezina. Of course Kevin is a big idol because he
made figure skating in Belgium so popular. Patrick Chan and Daisuke
Takahashi are my idols as well. I think every skaters has his own
What are you doing in your freetime? Any hobbies?
Not so many hobbies (laughs) I live in Belgium and I study in the
Netherlands.. I do sport management and marketing. Last year I did
the complete year so I had to do a lot of subjects. So it was very
hard because I spend a lot of time skating and a lot of time in
school. It was very hard because the system in the Netherlands is if
you go to University or College you have to do the first year
completely. So they can see if your capable
sport men have to do the first year. So I hope that I can split the
second year and then I will have less pressure from my school and I
can focus more on skating. So it was very hard last season and so I
didn’t have so much free time.
What are you doing in Oberstdorf aside from skating, after all, isn't
it a little quiet around here?
After America... I am still a little bit tired due to the traveling.
I traveled back from America and then I was four days in Belgium and
then I went to Oberstdorf by train for 12 hours. I was very tired and
I’m training here 3 hours and I’m working out off ice every
day... I’m doing condition programs. I have to run every day . If I
have any free time I take a break or I watch television.
Thank you very much for the interview and good luck for the coming
Translation: Nicole Graff