Today Stéphane officially presented his school in Champéry. Below are some quotes, links, photos and a video. Not sure how many news there wll be in this thread, but this is such an important milestone in his career that I wanted to make a separate topic for this news.
I was really proud to finally present the Skating School of Switzerland to the media this morning. It is a project that is very close to my heart, and that my team and I have been working on for quite some time. A wonderful moment!
Really proud to finally present the Skating School of Switzerland to the media this morning. A wonderful moment! vimeo.com/104448084
"Lambiel the skater would never have been a good coach"
Stephane Lambiel and his team have chosen the region called "Chablais" to start their skating school consisting of, at the moment, some ten young people coming from close by (Vétroz) as well as from Ireland.
(…) Champéry and its Palladium did not search for the former world champion of figure skating. It's Stéphane Lambiel and his team who chose the center of "Chablais" to launch their skating school, the new challenge for the man from Saxon now based in Lausanne.
Having been around the skating world as a choreographer and before living maybe one day in Japan, Stéphane Lambiel will return to Switzerland and the Valais much of what he had learned during his career, but also and perhaps especially what he has learned after its end. One hour of interview during which he left behind all stereotypes.
Stephane Lambiel, skating coach, the scenario was that part of your ambitions after retirement from skating in 2010?
No. I never thought I would teach. It's while taking care of the choreographies of several champions in Japan, Korea and the Czec Republic I re-learned skating. Having to dissect a movement which I, as a skater, had learned instinctively made me realize that I loved choaching, learning.
From there to create the own skating school here in Champéry, there have been four years of work. What was actually the trigger?
Perhaps my trips to Japan and my personal background. Young, I went to school in Saint-Maurice and Martigny, I was training in Villars or in Geneva, without counting my trainings in Zurich for choreography and camps in Germany. A crazy program, when I think back. Today I want to offer all this skills at the same site, here in Champéry. There are so many young people who are talented and can saturate between 12 and 14 years because they do not support any longer the sacrifices associated with all the planning, money, the travel. My goal is to prevent a talent from becoming frustrated to the point that eventually they even hate skating. And this can happen very quickly with teenagers.
And what has Japan to do with this?
There I've been giving workshops for students who are on the ice for six hours a day with a personal program. I thought that, if we could do some of what they do in Switzerland, ...
… you could cause world champions.
That's not the purpose of my approach. I don't think this way. I want to bring my students to their highest level, even if it's (just) a national one - with an individual, personal training. There are so many doors that open in life by learning the craft of sports.
Yet you will become a credible coach only if "producing" champions ...
Listen. This year, as an consultant in Sotchi, I was really sad to not see even one swiss skater. For the first time in more than sixty years. But yes, if I could one day bring a team or a champion to Worlds or the Olympics, I would realize a dream. But, again, it's not the main goal for my approach.
You live in Lausanne, you have worked for different federations all over the world and now you start in Champéry. Is it not too risky, too remote?
In contrary, it's ideal. The "Palladium" has an ice rink and high quality facilities not overused, which allows to work in total freedom and in peace. The opposite of a club where the high number of children does not allow an individual work. Here curling was developed, but not figure skating. Today we must move forward together. A one hours drive from Lausanne is not a sufficient argument to make me give up or to prevent a young talent to come. At least I hope so.
From skater to coach
Everyone remembers Stéphane Lambiel, the skater. Does the coach resemble the skater?
(Smile.) The skater Stéphane Lambiel would never have been a good coach. If I had stayed the same, I'd get excited over each student, I would not have any patience and I would explode when I do not understand why something does not work.
At this point...
Yes. In fact, I learned more in the last four years than during my entire career. About me, about skating. That's normal. During your career you simply rush forward. You do not have time to think. You have an objective and you just go for it. And you're well enough supported to do so. Today I'm much more mature than at the time when I got titles on the ice.
Does this observation provide regrets?
No. This lack of perspective does not prevent you from enjoying your career, especially with as many titles as mine. The best feeling I had remains the return flight home from Moscow after my first title of world champion in 2005. I thought I was the champion of all this world, just below, visible trough the window. A rare moment.
Don't you miss those moments and the adrenaline of competitions?
No, because as a coach I can find another kind of adrenaline. Lately I had to accompany students of my former coach Peter Grütter to a contest. Well, I can assure you that adrenaline is definitely there, together with a dose of tension much greater than when you can let go on the ice.
The evolution in skating
As a coach, if you want to get your students as far as possible, you will have to adapt to the new, and always stricter rules of skating...
Of course, even if I don't approve of this trend. We get lost in the details by wanting to measure everything. Worse even… Before, which made the fascination of skating, was the ability of the greatest ones to bring out their individuality. From an eccentric Candeloro to a very centered Russian. Today, when watching TV, swiss or japanese or american, you too often seem to see the same show.
You openly say this in your various journeys on the skating planet?
Yes. And it can create some tension. But I am hopeful that things will evolve in the right direction.
Is it for this reason you decided to stop after the Olympic games in Vancouver?
No. I simply felt like doing something different, shows/spectacles, and I knew it before the competition. My fourth place has not changed anything, except a depressing three days right after the olympic games. But I also understand that Plushenko and Joubert are still around today. Because competition brings you a routine, not easy to break discipline. To stop means also changing its life dramatically. And if you stay home or do not have projects, new doors will never open. Otherwise, they will be multiple, on condition of not being afraid to be less performant than during your sporting career.
In your case the entertainment world has quickly come to you. Not only on the ice with Art on Ice, but also as an actor or singer in "La Revue" or with the circus "das Zelt". To the point that, for your conversion, we would more have imagined to see you in this world than as a coach?
It was a pleasure for me to do this, that's true. But frankly: It's by doing so many shows on stage that I realized I could not leave the skating world. The ice, that's my life, even if I loved to be on a stage. Today, at the age of 30, I know to do other things beside skating. And, if I'm there three days a week at least in Champéry for the school, I will not give up the shows on the ice.
You could not, financially?
No. In skating, those who have won titles or medals have the chance to live their passion through shows. But obviously I take a financial risk by opening this school, with a setting around me to be payed and rates for the students that match perfectly to the market. But to continue the shows is also and above all a physical need.
Do you train as much as before?
No, but I train better. And I have much less problems, physically. Because I know better how it works and how I work. And then, in Japan, I learned about effectiveness. Over there, there's never a minute wasted. Today, I am inspired by much of this country.
Will your students spend six hours every day on the ice?
No. In Russia or in Japan, given the number of talents, the social aspect goes second plan. Here, with their methods, would break everyone. We have to find the good balance. Because a skater, as many sports for that matter, will never be considered a professional in Switzerland. In Russia, he'd be professionally supported from the age of 10 years ...
In Switzerland, we must wait to be world champion to be recognized?
Even then. Even with that title I was still asked what I was doing next to skating.
You could have answered that you were double world champion.
Even that would not have been enough … (burst of laughter.)