Faces of Synchro
Nadine Banholzer: "I want to pass on what I’ve learned over the years"
(Credits: James Coveart)
"The Woman of the Week" is back this season on Jura Synchro! This section explores the life and passion of different personalities in the Synchronized Skating world. Let's kick off this series with Nadine Banholzer, a Swiss athlete who moved to Canada to skate with Nexxice Senior! She's now back in Europe and she's telling us her story.
You remember probably Nadine because she was highlighted in the Nexxice's free program entitled "The Widow" (season 2016-2017), by being the only skater dressed in black.
Before she went to Canada, Nadine worked in Switzerland as an HR Assistant, and when she returned she started a job at the Attorney General office.
Here is her story!
The local club in my hometown was known for its synchronized skating teams and I would always see them at our galas. I started a “learn-to-skate” program and once I knew how to skate and was old enough, the Novice team was the next step. I joined the team and also did singles once a week, but I guess I fell in love with the team sport and continued with synchro.
I skated for Novice, Junior and Senior with my local club. At the age of 21, I moved to Canada to skate for Nexxice. The plan was to stay one season – it ended up being three. After that, I went back to my local club, where I am currently acting as a coach.
What’s your favourite synchro element and why?
The element I like skating the best changes every year. To watch, I always liked lifts. It's cool what teams are coming up with each year.
Could you describe the costume you were most proud to wear…
The short program dress in my first Senior year in Switzerland. It had an open cut back and we were wearing evening gloves with it. I felt very confident, elegant and feminine and I loved wearing it.
So so much. A strong work ethic and to have long attention span, to always believe in myself and keep going no matter what, how to take care of my body and mind, how to handle pressure and last minute changes, how to receive criticism, how to prioritize and manage my time and of course how to successfully work in a team.
I went to Nexxice’s annual international training camp the year after they won worlds in Hamilton. I fell in love with the way they skated and was lucky enough to get offered a spot on the team.
What has been the most difficult for you?
In the beginning; being so far away from family and friends in an unfamiliar country.
What did you learn with Nexxice?
That hard work and dedication pay off.
What are the main differences between Canada and Switzerland in terms of synchro skating?
As we had more ice time in Canada, we were able to focus more on individual skating skills and unison. Furthermore, I find that in Canada synchronized skating is more known by other disciplines in skating, so it is or more likely for a single or pair skater to join a team.
What was the best memory for you with Nexxice?
Winning a Bronze Medal in Colorado (Senior Worlds 2017).
Make sure you have an understanding of the basic skating skills and continue to work on improving them. And definitely give it a try! Not only is it a beautiful sport, but you will also make lifelong friends.
Now that you’re back in Switzerland, are you completely stopping your skating career?
I don’t think that I could ever live without skating. I haven't ruled out the possibility to go back and compete, but at the moment I'm on the ice as a coach.
What are your goals now?
To pass on what I’ve learned over the years and helping to build up Synchronized Skating in Switzerland. I want to create something in my own way.
What will you work first with the teams in Switzerland?
Basic skating skills - it's the foundation everything is built on. My priority as a coach will be that the team and each individual skater continuously develops.
I've only returned a few months ago but there is young talent right now and there has been more support from different parties – including schools. I hope that it keeps growing and more people become involved in the sport.
In your opinion, how can this sport evolve?
I believe that it's going in the right direction. The rules have changed a lot in the past couple of years and in order to keep up, athletes and coaches had to continuously develop and grow. It's also more connected to the other skating disciplines but has kept its essence, which I consider important.