Danielle Earl photo
Turning many heads with his impressive final flight performance in the senior men's free skate at the Canadian Championships in Kingston, Quebec's Christophe Belley finished the competition in seventh - no small feat since he had finished only eighteenth the year before. A very stylistic skater with great attack on his jumps, he clearly made a statement that he's a name we will be hearing a lot more often in the future. Immediately following his Kingston performances, I had chance to catch up with him and talk about what made this season different, his goals, life off the ice and much more in this short but definitely sweet interview:
Q: Let's start by talking about your competitive career so far! You've represented Canada internationally on the Junior Grand Prix circuit and this year vaulted over ten places in the standings at the Canadian Championships, finishing eighteenth in 2014 and an incredible seventh this year in Kingston, Ontario. What has been different about this season?
A: Sorry if some of my answers don't make any sense, I'm French and I'm still working a lot on my English! This season, I was more prepared. I knew what to expect about being a senior men and that helped me a lot to go through the season. I also started to work with a sports mental preparer every week. She helps me with my mental weaknesses which are what hold me back from being better.
Q: You train in Drumondville with Annie Barabé, Sophie Richard and Yvan Desjardins, who also coached Shawn Sawyer when he was competing. What makes them the perfect team for you?
A: I actually train in Contrecoeur which is closer than Drumondville from Montréal. They are the perfect team for me because they're working on the 'whole package'. They work on everything: the jumps, the spins, the choreographies, the skating skills... There are nine on-ice coaches in my team right now and I like them all.
Danielle Earl photo
Q: What's next for you? What are your goals both in skating and life in the coming months?
A: Shows are what's next for me right now. My goals for skating in the coming months are to be ready at summer competitions so I can get Challengers. I also want to work a lot more on my quads because I really need one! In my life as a young adult, my goals are to be done with college and to find a university program that I truly like.
Q: What are the strengths and weaknesses in your skating and how have you been working to improve upon your weaknesses?
A: As I said, my main weakness is my mental. I work a lot on it and I try to surround myself with lots of positive thoughts. I also have to work on the consistency of my flips and lutzes and my skating skills that are not on point yet. I'm very lucky because one of my strengths is my triple axel. Being able to perform a lot of different emotions is also a strength.
Q: What's one movie you could watch over and over again?
A: That might sound funny but I love "Project X". This is my favourite movie and I could watch it every day.
Q: If a genie could grant you three wishes, what would they be?
A: Eat whatever I want without gaining pounds, infinite bank account and unlimited plane tickets for weekend excursions.
Q: Who are your three favourite figure skaters of all time and why?
A: Alexei Yagudin is my all time favourite skater. His jumps and his ability to entertain the crowd are what makes him special to me. Michelle Kwan is my second favourite. She was such a consistent skater and could also entertain the crowd. Queen Yuna! I like her for the +3 she gets on everything she does.
Q: What's one thing most people don't know about you?
A: I work as a barman on the weekend and I love it.
Q: What makes figure skating the best sport in the world?
A: Because it combines artistry, elegance, emotions, technique, injuries and satisfaction to perfection.
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