INTERVIEW TO OLIVIA SMART AND ADRIA DIAZ (ENGLISH VERSION)
Olivia has answered in english and Adri has answered in spanish, but we have translated the whole interview to english, in order to make it easier to understand for the international readers. (just in case anyone is wondering why a spanish forum asks Adri in english).
1- Was the breakup as fast as it seemed to us?
The breakup was unexpected, and believe it or not, it took me by surprise, the same as you. The way we were working on the rink wasn’t the appropriate. For many reasons we couldn’t find how to give our best performance and accomplish the objectives we had set. Like other times before, Sara and I were not on the same page, so to speak. But we had been in that situation before and one way or another we always were able to go through and go on. When I say that it took me by surprise is because I was confident we could go through it again. But it wasn’t like that this time. After a weekend, Sara, in her head, had already taken the decision to return to Spain. On monday, when I went back to the rink was when Sara told our coaches and me. That moment was when I realized this wasn’t like any other time before. And we were not working together anymore.
2- Sara took the decision, did you thought about giving up skating at some point?
When most things in your daily life don’t go as you wished, you are passing through rough moments or you just have a bad season you come to ask yourself “why don’t I just quit and focus on other things?” and after a while, when you have pictured yourself doing anything else, you come back to reality and tell to yourself: “no, you can not end like this, you have to go on, this is what you like, what you want to do”. So for many years in my sports career, even when I skated in individuals, I thought in giving up but I never could.
When Sara decided to leave, I passed some weeks in Montreal without skating, thinking and looking for different ways, but I was sure I wanted to continue competing, I felt my sportive career wasn’t over yet, I needed to learn more, give more of me, I could do better and of course I wanted to do it here, in Montreal, so after a talk with the coaches and their agreement, I started to look for a partner.
3- We are not used to know what the process of looking for a partner is like. How was it in your case? What requirements did you looked for?
The truth is that I also had no idea of how this process worked. First I asked my coaches for advice and they recommended me that I didn’t put my name on one of those “I’m looking for a partner” pages on the internet, because it was likely I was receiving a lot of messages from girls that maybe hadn’t the same internacional experience or skating level as mine. After two days watching videos of girl skaters who had stopped skating not long ago, there were not many options, especially when the season had already started. But the news about Sara and me not skating together anymore was already on Facebook, so immediately I started to receive several messages from girls asking if I had thought about continuing to skate and one of them was Olivia. Right after receiving her message I watched on Youtube some championships where she had skated, then I went to the ISU page to check her height in her bio, because in the videos she seemed quite tall. Next day, the coaches and I talked about it and they told me to talk to her and ask her to come to Montreal and doing a test. As soon as she could, she came for some days and the truth is the test was good. At the beginning I felt very strange, it wasn’t easy to assimilate all of a sudden being skating with another person. Coaches thought I couldn’t find anyone better at that time of the season, they believed we matched well.
When I was looking for a partner, the first thing I looked for was someone with high level and international experience, at least having participated in European Championships and Worlds, someone willing to come to Montreal, and then, someone that wasn’t taller than me.
4- We suppose this blank year has permitted you to understand each other and work well together. What can you tell us about Olivia? What are her strong points?
Last season was quite strange for both Olivia and me. We were training with the other pairs who were competing and we hadn’t any programs. But as you say, we have had time to know, to understand each other and to learn how the other person works. Olivia is a young and strong skater, she has a lot of talent and she is adapting very fast to the working pace we have here in Montreal. She is a cheerful girl willing to explore and discover new sensations and moments. We have a lot of experiences and moments to go through together to keep knowing each other. Season hasn’t started yet and we can say we feel quite comfortable with each other.
5 -.How has it been for you to change partners, country, coach…? Do you have adapted well?
Changing partners & countries is something I’ve never done before so it was a big thing for me to do, but adapting to Adrian and the coaches it has been great, it felt so easy and comfortable as they made me feel so welcome. I love training here in Montreal with Marie & Patrice with Adri.
6-. What do you think of “our” boy? What virtues do you think he has as a skater?
‘Your boy’ Adrian is outstanding, I’ve always admired his skating before we teamed up this year so its great to actually feel both of our techniques working together so well and making us stronger.
7- .It was difficult to get permission to compete for Spain?
The British federation released me immediately as soon as they knew I was going to be skating with Adrian! Which made things a lot easier
8- . To compete in the Olympics you need Spanish nationality. What about that issue?
Yes I will need Spanish citizenship to compete at the Olympics, and that is what we both hope for within the next season.
9-. At some point you have thought skate for England?
Not really, I knew we would have a better chance and opportunity skating for Spain over Great Britain. I know its a little different not competing for your country but I’m most definitely not complaining!
10-. Short dance of this next season is blues, and you can mix it with swing or hip hop. How do you make it to mix these so different styles?
The two different styles give us more a variety of music to choose from, and its nice to see so many different styles on the ice rather than just one. Im excited to see the different versions of swing and hiphop everybody is doing!
11- .In SD, “Proud Mary” and FD,music of Ludovic Einaudi. Why have you decided to use these musics?
We actually chose different swing and blues music in the beginning, and Marie then played Proud Mary in one of our lessons, and we both looked at each other and said how much we loved that music. And that whole night I couldn’t get it out of my head, and I then received a message from Adrian saying “I can’t stop thinking about Proud Mary!”. So the next day we came into the rink and right away we requested to Marie if we could skate to that music instead!
The Free Dance is defiantly more involving both our lives into the music, as the song is called experience, and new experiences is what we are both going through, so theres going to be a great, touching story behind our free dance music.
12- .It has been difficult to find a common style with that both are comfortable?
In the beginning I was definitely drawn towards hip hop more, but then we found our music and I was set on swing as we both knew Adrian would be great at swing. The free dance is more so a style we have both wanted to try but have never actually done in our career, its something new and different for us both, but it adapts well to both our skating styles and stories.
13-. The next season, in which competitions you will take part?
We are competing at our first competition in Lake Placid at the end of July.
The Summer competition here in Montreal the beginning of August and then Salt Lake City International for now.
14- How is training in Montreal with so many dance pairs? Do you ever thought about training anywhere else?
I was originally training with Igor Shpilband before moving to Montreal, and I requested to move to Detroit once, until I trained with Marie and Patrice and Romain and realised that this is where I want to be and train here with Adrian where he has been training most of his career. The coaches spread all the teams out very well and it works great.
15- How it is to train on the same rink with their partners, as all skate in Montreal? Is it weird to compete against them?
Haha funny question! But no, its quite great to train with our significant others, its motivating and nice to have them there to support you through training. We are yet to compete with them, but I’m sure there will be no animosity between us, and it’ll be pretty fun, as we are all wanting the best for one an other.
16- Recently there has been news that Sara will compete with Kiril Khaliavin; so that Spain would have 3 pairs dance of good level. What do you think respect? Do you think that will be easy will become in the first pair of Spanish dance and go to the European and world?
Its great that Spain will now have 3 teams for them. Unfortunately there is only 1 spot for the competitions, but at nationals that will all be decided and an exciting competition.
17- The “Pink fans” tend to be very insistent; screaming and cheering. (Always keeping the due respect it deserves who competes) in the rink, Do you arrive to notice the shouts of the crowd? Do you like it or prefer a quiet public to focus better in competition?
Oh no! I love when the crowd is loud and cheering, it bring on a sense of excitement and motivation whilst on the warm up or just skating on the ice. Its nice to hear from the fans who have traveled to come watch us compete and support us