Lukas Britschgi wants to continue enjoying skating

By Matteo Morelli, Team FSO contributing writer
Photos by Robin Ritoss and Matteo Morelli

After reaching his dream of competing at the Olympic Games in 2022, Lukas Britschgi of Switzerland has been enjoying a couple of really good seasons with top ten results at both European and Worlds level, including earning a European bronze medal in 2023 and a Grand Prix bronze medal at NHK Trophy this season. We met with him at the World Championships in Montreal, Canada, where he finished in sixth-place, talking about how he is evolving as a skater competing against the best in the field whilst remaining humble and grounded.

FSO: Lukas, thanks for finding time to talk to us while at Worlds in Montreal. This is your fourth World Championship attendance. Do you feel you entered it more experienced than before?

Britschgi: Yeah, for sure. What helps is always the experience. I know the routines, I know where is what, what to expect. That helps a lot and helps me to enjoy it more. I remember my first Worlds. I was so stressed about everything, about how everything works. But now I am a bit more relaxed. I can focus a bit more on enjoying everything.

FSO: You ended in eight-place at Worlds last year, already a great result for you. This year, you have an even better placement. Have you made any specific objectives entering this year’s Worlds?

Britschgi: To be honest, my big goal is again top ten. I am fifth (after the short programme) and in the last group, I could never dream of that! Behind me there are so many other really good skaters who are usually in front of me, but I try to stay humble. I don’t expect that I will keep this place, but the dream is to stay in the top ten, maybe top eight again like the last year. It is crazy to see what the guys here are doing. This year, the short programmes level is so high: the top sixteen men were over eighty points after the short!

FSO: Let’s look back at the start of this season. You competed at two Grand Prix, winning a bronze medal at one of them.

Britschgi: Both Grand Prix were a huge success for me. At the first one in France, I had a perfect free programme: it was technically perfect, the choreography not that much because I was too exhausted, but it was still my personal best. I ended in fourth-place there, I couldn’t even think about that. And then there was NHK Trophy, with a third-place! To be on the podium was not even my goal. I wanted to be in the top six, and then finished third with a bronze medal! Since (Stephan) Lambiel, no one has achieved that for Switzerland. So, for me personally it was a huge success. The season went really well for the first half, I won a couple of medals, continuing as I ended the year before.

FSO: Then you had a fifth-place finish at the European Championships.

Britschgi: Yes, at the European Championships the short was perfect, I was really happy with it. In the free, I did some mistakes. It was the first free skate since two or three years that I messed up. At some point, it had to happen and it is a shame that it happened in such a big stage. It is always tough. Figure skating is tough, you can’t just compensate if you make mistakes. In football you have at least ninety minutes, you can compensate with a goal. But in skating, if you mess up one part, this bit is gone and can cost your medal. This is the sport, it is rough!

FSO: Reflecting on your senior career so far, how do you see yourself having evolved from where you were a few years ago when you became a senior skater to now?

Britschgi: Honestly, I never even dreamed to be where I am standing at the moment. My goal was always the Olympics. The dream came true: I manage to achieve it in 2022. From then on, I told myself I just wanted to enjoy figure skating, because before it was always more stressful but now I had the things I wanted to achieve. The Olympics were a big thing. Whatever happened afterwards, I couldn’t have dreamed about it! A medal at Europeans was never a goal for me. My goal was top ten, maybe at some point top six, but a medal was always out of my mind. I was always in the middle, I had my successes but never something big. From last season, everything changed a bit, now I am able to skate with the top skaters. To skate to a fifth-place in the Europeans is still good.

FSO: Switzerland is enjoying a time full of important results, particularly for the skaters in the individual disciplines with you, Kimmy Repond and lately Livia Kaiser.

Britschgi: Yes! Last year, Kimmy and I ended Europeans and Worlds at the same places, so we just copied each other! What is going on in Switzerland is really outstanding, considering the type of performances we have been putting together since the last two years. I guess my Federation is doing a good job, having so many really good skaters. What Livia and Kimmy showed at Worlds this year was a top ten for both, Kimmy even ended in fifth-place!

FSO: What is your relationship with the skaters in your field? Is there any of them that you are good friend with and that motivates you?

Britschgi: I am pretty good friend with Ilia (Malinin). I had the honour to skate in some shows with him lately, at Art On Ice in Switzerland and at the show in Italy, we spent a lot of time together. I am for sure rooting for him. But everyone in my group at Worlds, I wouldn’t say that we are friend but we know each other pretty well. Ilia’s skating is from a different world, so I really looking up to that, but also look at the Japanese skaters (Yuma Kagiyama and Shoma Uno) and everyone in my group, even the Italian (Nikolaj Memola): this top ten at Worlds has the best skaters we have and it is just an honour for me to compare myself with them and be able to compete with them.

FSO: What age were you when you started skating?

Britschgi: I was I think six or seven years old when I started skating.

FSO: And how did that happen?

Britschgi: It was my mom, she was coaching small kids in the club and she brought me and my brother on the ice, so she didn’t need to have someone taking care of us at home while my dad was working. That is how I got on the ice.

FSO: Did you like the sport from the start?

Britschgi: I really liked it from the start. I didn’t like all the technical stuff, but I liked to have these “catch me if you can” games on the ice because you could get so fast with your skates, which is just not possible on the ground. I used to love that, and then step by step all the technical elements came but yes, I liked it from beginning.

FSO: What do you do when you are not skating? Are you studying?

Britschgi: Yeah, I am studying at the moment, I am in my sixth semester of eight of a bachelor degree. I am doing a part time degree studying Business Administration, so hopefully next year I will finish university, at least the bachelor before I start the masters degree! This is the thing that takes up most of my free time. I also try to spend as much time as possible with my friends, but skating demands most of my energy!

FSO: Have you got any other passion other than skating?

Britschgi: I like to play tennis. I started maybe four years ago, however this year I had almost no time because I was really busy with the skating, but before I really liked it, I played quite often. When I was younger, I used to like football, I was always playing it with my friends. Most of my friends were football players, I was be the only one who was doing something else!