Saitama soundbites

Complied by Javier Raya, Team FSO contributing journalist

2014 Olympian and five-time World competitor for Spain, Javier Raya, was in Saitama, Japan for the 2013 ISU World Championships, covering the event for Figure Skaters Online. Below are quotes from the mixed zones and press conferences that Raya complied. (ISU rules prohibit the posting of audio and video files from the mixed zones)


Free Skate

8th place finisher Lukas Britschgi (Switzerland) on free skate: “I feel great. My program was amazing. An amazing moment here in Japan. To skate in front of a full arena w/a Japanese program I find that is the highlight of the season. I had already won (bronze) at Europeans, but just getting top 10, it’s incredible.”

12th place finisher Daniel Grassl (Italy) on free skate: “It was very difficult today. I was nervous seeing so many people. But it was so nice. I did not let go all my jumps, but I secured them. I’m happy how it went today and I’ll fight for the next competition in 2 weeks – World Team Trophy.”

15th place finisher Sota Yamamoto (Japan) on free skate: “This competition was very difficult for me. There were some mistakes ,but in the second half I felt really good, so I was able to finish with a smile. There were some mistakes, but for next season I will improve. ”

19th place finisher Nikita Starostin (Germany) on free skate: “(I’m) 85 % happy 15% disappointed because I didn’t show what I’m able to do. A bit slow. Maybe I did not push myself enough. I hold a bit for the energy. Happy that after my second Axel I did put myself together & was able to deliver clean jumps.”

Short Program

Ilia Malinin (United States) on his short program: “I’m very happy with my program today. I think I was able to connect with the audience showing my artistic side. Certainly it’s something that I want to keep improving for the future.”

Lukas Britschgi (Switzerland) on being at Worlds: “It’s my second World Championships here in Saitama, and for that I’m really grateful. I think this season I’ve accomplished more than I thought I could, so I’m just going to keep enjoying the road, building up season by season.”

Jason Brown (United States) on continuing skating: “I realized I was not ready to hang up my skates. I wanted to continue and today I’m here, enjoying another performance in Japan, and really happy with my short program.”

Kevin Aymoz (France) on short program: “The moment I stepped on the ice I said to myself, I’m here. I’m present. Then I seized the moment enjoying a come back performance after two up and down seasons.”

Tomas-Llorenc Guarino Sabate (Spain) on short program: “It was not my best performance, but I’m really happy to be here in Saitama skating in front of the Japanese crowd.”

Nikita Starostin (Germany) on short program: “I’m really happy with my program today. I was in the moment and able to overcome stress. I really got to enjoy and engage with the public.”


Free Dance

2023 World Champions Madison Chock and Evan Bates (United States) on winning world title: “It feels amazing. It was a wonderful week with an incredible crowd, and today specially the arena was literally to the roof with everyone supporting us. It was extra special.”

2023 World silver medalists Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (Italy) on winning silver: “We came here with no higher expectations than being in the top 3, and we made it. Becoming world silver medalists, it’s something we can’t even realize right now, but it feels amazing.”

2023 World bronze medalists Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (Canada) on their free dance: “We are really proud of ourselves after our performance today. We did not know what to expect after the last couple of months off from competitions. Feeling the energy and the Japanese crowd again was amazing. It really helped us.”

7th place finishers Allison Reed and Saulius Ambrulevicius (Lithuania):”It was as amazing time. The crowd was really in it from the first second. Big crowd, isn’t it from the star and to have that, that energy kind of radiating in the arena really boosts our performance and really gives us that extra energy to get through.”

9th place finishers Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis (Finland) on their free dance: “We could not show our best today, although this season we had many good moments with the Grand Prix Final and Europeans. The crowd was really respectful and appreciative of our program and music. It was something special.”

11th place finishers Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi (Japan) on their free dance: “I’m really happy. Despite the pressure, we were able to do a good performance” (Takahashi).

“I think we were very nervous, but once the music started we were able to get into our program and the story.” (Muramoto).

12th place finishers Evgeniia Lopareva and Geoffrey Brissaud (France) on their free dance: “Today it was not our best performance. We loved skating here in Japan. Our main take away is that we’ve learned how to work together throughout this season.”

Rhythm Dance

Madison Chock and Evan Bates (United States) on rhythm dance: “The choreo steps sequence was very special, as we turned from the crowd to the judges and in that moment we connected with both. We could feel the energy in the arena.”

Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson (Great Britain): “We’ve gained momentum and motivation throughout the season, and we’ve worked very hard coming here to improve our consistency and the quality of our programs to put out there two good performances.

Charlene Guignard and Marco Fabbri (Italy) on their rhythm dance: “The energy was great today. We worked a lot before coming here and we are really happy with the way we skated.”

Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (Canada) on rhythm dance; “We felt really good and present today. It’s always a joy to perform in Japan and specially after the last three months that we have not competed.” – (Poirier)

Christina Carriera and Anthony Ponomarenko (United States) on rhythm dance: “We are really happy with how we skated today. It was probably our best performance this season, so we are really happy to have delivered on such a big stage in our first World Championships.”

Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis (Finland) on the rhythm dance: “We were a bit careful at the beginning, more sharp, but then we got to enjoy our program in front of the audience in this massive arena.”

Kana Muramoto and Daisuke Takahashi (Japan) on their rhythm dance: “I think for the first half we were really focused, but then we engaged a lot with the audience that was cheering, specially in the second half. It gave us a lot of energy during the steps sequence.” (Muramoto)

Loicia DeMougeot and Theo Le Mercier (France): “We are really happy with our performance today. This is our first World Championships and we are aiming to make the best out of this experience.”

Sofia Val & Asaf Kazimov (Spain):  “It was not our best performance, but we are happy over all being our second international together and specially skating here in Japan.”



Women’s Free Skate (Note: Javi was not at the women’s short program as he was traveling to Saitama. He also wasn’t feeling well during the women’s free skate) 

15th place finisher Bradie Tennell (United States) on her free skate: “Not my best skate. I’m kind of disappointed with that. I’ve been training a lot better than that. So it’s kind of unfortunate that it happened here of all places. I’m really proud of the fight that I had.”

17th place finisher Lara Naki Gutman (Italy) on her free skate: “I’m really happy with my program today. I was able to fix some little mistakes from the short and the jumps and levels were pretty good. My goal was to skate clean being confident.”


Free Skate

4th place finishers Deanna Stellato-Dudek and Maxime Deschamps (Canada) on free skate: “I’m obviously disappointed with my performance here at Worlds, not what I was looking for.” (Stellato-Dudek)

“Overall, I’m happy with our season,” (Deschamps)

5th place finishers Emily Chan and Spencer Akira Howe on skating in Japan: “It was great to skate here in Saitama, especially having my family in the arena supporting us.” (Howe).

“I believe we’ve had a great season and my take away is the confidence we’ve earned in each competition.” (Howe).

6th place finishers Lia Pereira and Trennt Michaud (Canada) on their skates in Japan: “We are really happy with both of our performances here in Saitama. It felt amazing.“

8th place finishers Anastasia Golubeva and Hektor Giotopoulos Moore (Australia) on free skate: “We are super happy to be here. Even though it was not perfect with the triple-triple, we are really happy. The crowd was just incredible, and it lifted us up.”

11th place finishers Brooke McIntosh and Benjamin Mimar (Canada) on Worlds experience: “We probably had the best performance of the season. It feels great to be back in Japan. It was the icing on the cake this season.”

12th place finishers Ellie Kam and Danny O’Shea (United States) on free skate: “Our performance was very mixed. There’s some elements we can be very proud of, and some others with very obvious mistakes. One thing we can be sure is that we kept growing as a team throughout these season.”

18th place finishers Isabella Gamez and Aleksandr Korovin (Philippines) on skating in Japan: “I loved skating in Japan! It’s been a true honor representing my country at the World Championships. I’m also grateful to my skating partner, Aleksandr, who has been so supportive and key to make this a reality.” (Gamez)

20th place finishers Daria Danilova and Michel Tsiba (Netherlands) on free skate: “After 72 hours of traveling, we are just grateful to have been able to skate here in Saitama. Today, we felt a bit tired, not as smooth, but overall we are really happy.”