Interview with Penny
Oberstdorf, February 2013
A: You confirmed your position as
one of the top European dance teams this season at the European Championships.
What does the good result at Europeans mean to you especially since you had a
tough start to the season because of
Penny: It means a lot. I mean, going into a big
competition where there are so many strong couples you never know where you're
going to come. And so Nick and I just try to go out there and skate our
best and, you know, like the question says, we weren't ready for the other
competitions we had done earlier in the season, but we both felt like we had
trained really hard and worked hard and we felt good going into Europeans. So
we just wanted to go out there and show our programs off as good as they can
be and just skate well, which we're really happy that we did that. And I think
when you do do that then the placement does go up.
Nick: I think having a good result at Europeans
gave us a lot of confidence. Because, with a tough start into the
season...that's not best for the confidence and then you go into European
championships and you don't know where you'll be. So, but now, you know, it
gives us confidence that we can use in training for the World
Q: Your lifts always stand out. How
do you create these lifts and make them look so
Penny : I think we both sort of have a figure
skating obsessive compulsive. You know, all we're doing is watching videos and
writing things down, thinking of ideas... from anybody. From acrobats,
from ballets, from shows, from dances... We try and look and find different
things and think "Ok, can we put that on the ice?". And we always have so many
ideas, some of the times we can't always put them all on the ice. We have
even now some lifts on the back of our minds for next year, we weren't able to
put them into the program this year because of injury, but we're hoping to do
that next year and we're really excited about them.
Nick: Yeah, we're always looking and always
thinking of ideas what haven't people done before. And what makes it easy and
effortless is that Penny is small. (Penny laughs) So that's why they look
easy. (laughs) I have an easy job.
Q: Which ice dancers did you look up when you
were younger and why?
Nick: Well, huge ones are Torvill and Dean from
England. Everybody loves Torvill and Dean and people always talk about them
and they ask "Are you the new Torvill and Dean?" in England. Yeah, people want
to know.. so yeah, we look up to them and learn from their ideas. Also Evgeni
(Platov), our coach, he achieved so much, is such an amazing skater. So he is
a big idol of ours, I think.
Penny : We actually watched a video from Evgeni
when he was just sixteen years old. He showed it to us yesterday. And even
then he was just so clean. I mean, you know, skating has evolved from then,
but he was just sooo clean and that is something in Evgeni that you definitely
look up to and again Torvill and Dean are like that, also. For me, when I was
younger, I also looked up to Albena Denkova and Maxim Staviski. I just loved
their power across the ice. You know, they're not the tallest couple in the
world and obviously I'm no biggie myself, but the skating skills and how much
power they've got, that was good.
Q: How is it to
work with Evgeni Platov, a two-time Olympic
Nick : Uhm...very good. We really
enjoy it. (Penny laughs) He's very experienced. He's been there and has done
everything. You know, all situations, he's been there... So if you're having a
hard time, troubles or are nervous, he can give you advise. He's also amazing
at teaching basic skating skills. So we really love the time in the off-season
in the summer and just work on basic skating, like...no programs, just
learning how to skate again. And every year that happens and that's why I feel
we keep improving this season.
Penny : He's such a good mentor and
in training and you're doing your run-throughs he does them with you. I don't
know if that makes so much sense, but it's the same in competitions, too. His
energy is there with us. He's such a huge inspiration, because of everything
that he has achived himself and so we feel like we can learn so much from him.
And what Nick said, he's experienced everything so that makes him really
relateable as a coach. And he's also very very good at teaching tecnique.
Another thing is, when you're training and you're not feeling so good, he
knows when to push you and when not to push you. And sometimes he makes us do
things that if he had told us before the sessions "We will do this, this and
this." I would be like "No way!", but, we do it. And that's what he's
good at, very very good.
Q: What points you are focusing on in training before
Nick: I think we're trying to make
the programs look stronger and stronger and stronger. I think we got them to a
stage for Europeans where we felt they were good, but now we can push them to
achieve even more. We got some good levels. We can work on some areas for the
levels too, but mainly pushing the programs to make them
Penny: Yeah, I think what we can
take from Europeans is that we got good levels, but there is always room to
improve. Even if we got a good level on something, the GOE can always go up.
So it's just finishing and trying to get stronger skating skills and things
like that within the program.
Q: Where do you see your strong
points and your weak points?
Nick : I think our strong point is
that we always try to do intresting programs that people enjoy to watch. And I
think if the crowd kind of gets behind them and they're recieved well the
judges will mark you better. So I always want to try to do something that's
going to interest the people. And weak
points... I guess that would be the skating skills. We've grown up seeing the
Russians and how strong they are as skaters and you need that to get higher
and higher and higher. And also the Canadians and Americans, so that is
something we are working on with
Q: British ice dance has a long tradition and in
the past few years the ice dancers have been the most successful British
skaters with the Kerrs and now you. How much pressure does this put on
Penny: I don't know... I don't really see it as
pressure, it's more like a challenge. Torvill and Dean did so well so many
years ago, and then for us a couple of years ago to train with Sinead and John
and to see what they achieved. That kind of opens your eyes and think actually
those medals are possible and getting up to the top is possible. And for me
it's game on, I want to get there too and do what the Kerrs did and maybe
even there. So I don't really see it as pressure.
Nick :Yeah, I think, ever since being a little
boy I always wanted to win medals and do well. So it's no difference because
the Kerrs were there or Torvill and Dean were there, I wanted to do that
anyway so it's my chance now.
Q: How do you think skating can
become more popular again in Great
Nick : Good question. I think the
television show "Dancing on Ice" with Torvill and Dean and the celebrities is
doing a lot for skating and it's becoming more and more popular, but I think
we just need to keep going and get good results. I think, more people will be
become interested in it...
Penny: ...yeah, I think, the
better, for example, the better we do, the more exposure we will get and then
hopefully the more popular the sport will get. I think the good thing about
ice dance is there is a history of Torvill and Dean and Nick and I are from
Nottingham as well, which is where they are from. We just have to keep on
working and hopefully the British people will tune
Nick : And fall in love with ice
Q: Nick’s younger brother is an ice
dancer as well, still in the junior ranks, but one day he’ll move up to the
senior level and will compete against you. How do you feel about
Nick: I'm kind of proud that me and my brother
both train and compete on a high level. So I'm looking forward to that. We
train together, a lot of the time, with Evgeni as well, so we push each other
Q: Many thanks