In interviewing skaters from all corners of this big, beautiful world the same story always seems to ring true. No matter what the obstacles and challenges are, if you love skating enough you persevere. This case rings true for Belgium's Jorik Hendrickx, the 21 year old who hopes to represent his country at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia after securing that men's berth at last year's World Championships in London, Ontario. A consistent jumper who has placed in the top 10 at the European Championships and won international competitions such as the Cup Of Nice in France and Coupe du Printemps in Luxembourg, Jorik took the time from his busy training schedule heading into this week's European Championships where he'll be competing to talk about setbacks, his Olympic dream, skating in Belgium and more:
Q: You are not only a Belgian National Champion but have also had success representing your country in international competition and at the World Junior Championships, European Championships and at Worlds, where you have twice placed in the top 20. What are your proudest accomplishments and most special moments on the ice so far?
A: It would be Worlds last year, coming back after an ankle injury and getting ready in 2 months. Even though my short program wasn't my best, I still performed a good long program and earned an international ticket for Sochi.
Q: What does a chance of representing your country in Sochi at the Olympics mean to you?
A: I'm still not sure if they will let me go but if I go it would just mean a lot to myself. It would be an appreciation of all the hard work I put into it and all the sacrifices I had to make for it.
Q: You are a student at Johan Cruyff University in Tilburg. How challenging has it been balancing
school and skating and what's one thing you've learned ON the ice that has helped you in your studies?
A: Combining both is really hard and abroad in Holland the facilities were much better. I took off this whole year to just focus on skating.
Q: Belgium has not won an Olympic medal in figure skating since Micheline Lannoy and Pierre Baugniet won the gold medal at the 1948 Winter Olympics in Switzerland. What do you think the future of figure skating of Belgium holds in store? How popular is skating there now?
A: Skating was getting more popular after some TVshows but there is no financial support and the sacrifices you have to make for it are mostly the reasons why they don’t get to the international level. My parents and I first had to put a lot of money into it before I got some financial support, as the support comes from the Belgian Olympic Committee and not from our Skating Federation. So the results need to be good and Olympic promising.
Q: If you could go back in time and change anything, would you?
A: Life is as it comes and I have no regrets from anything so far (besides breaking my ankle). I have had a lot of opportunities in my life from skating.
Q: If you had a week completely away from skating and the ice and could do ANYTHING, what would you do?
A: I never been on a real holiday! I would like to go on a beach holiday. I would also spend time with my family as I'm away a lot.
Q: Who are your three favourite skaters of all time and why?
A: I'm inspired by a lot of skaters. Everyone has their qualities and I don’t really have only one or 3 favourites.
Q: What you say that your ultimate goal in figure skating is?
A: When I was 15 I landed my double axel. When I was 16 I landed my first triples. When I was 18 I learned triple/triples and 1 year later I accomplished the triple axel jump. Everything went so fast and I never thought I would ever skate at the European Championships. Now I’m almost about to compete at my first Olympic Games. I always want more and more but sometimes I have to realize everything came so fast and be thankful for what I already accomplished. I would really like to perform a quadruple jump as I'm not capable of that yet.
Q: What's one thing about you most people don't know?
A: When I started skating I wanted to become a hockey player.
Q: What makes a great skater?
A: Talent and motivation to work!
If you enjoyed my interview with Jorik, be sure to always check back for more skater interviews and writing about everything under the sun in the skating world. There is also a Facebook page connected to the blog where all blog articles and interviews are shared - as well as current skating news, photos and videos of amazing skating. Give it a "like" at http://www.facebook.com/SkateGuard. You can also follow me on the Twitter at http://twitter.com/SkateGuardBlog and even download Skate Guard's smartphone app at
http://h.fanapp.mobi/skateguard. I love talking figure skating and would love to talk about the sport with you!