Interview

"We are eager to reorganize the French Cup in 2022"


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The junior Russian team Junost, multiple winner of the French Cup. (Credits: Roy Ng Photography - 2019)

Usually, at this time of year, the city of Rouen in France turns into the synchronized skating capital of the world during the French Cup. For the first time this year, this legendary competition will not take place.

A year without French Cup, how are you living this exceptional season?

Sandrine Devaux - President of the Rouen Olympic Club and the French Cup:  It's difficult for the organizing committee to feel a little helpless. As one of our volunteers said recently: "We have nothing to do, it feels weird". We all miss not seeing each other because we love being together.

The French Cup is obviously a competition and above all the fans and teams like the "festive side" of the event, so not being able to give this atmosphere to the skaters is heartbreaking, but we have no choice. The decision was taken at the end of October when the second confinement began in France. All this pains us, for sure, but it is better to come back in 2022.


Since the French Cup's creation, is this the first time the competition has been cancelled?

Yes, so imagine the responsibility! This would have been the 27th edition. It's a blow, but I tell myself every day that it was the right decision to make. A French Cup without spectators would not have been a French Cup. It's better that way and with the curfew in place right now in France, it just wouldn't have been possible.

In Rouen currently, the ice rink is open because there is the professional ice hockey team, but since synchro skating is not Olympic and therefore not included in the ministerial lists, everything is at a standstill. Everything is closed for skating clubs, and since the end of September, skaters over 18 are no longer allowed to train. We had a small derogation to prepare for the Masters at Villard-de-Lans at the start of the season, but not afterwards, and that's understandable.


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Helsinki Rockettes (FIN) at the 2019 French Cup. (Credits: Roy Ng Photography)

Did it allow you to think of improvements or things you would like to change for the next editions?

Yes, it turns a lot up there (laughs). We have been trying to do many things for years, and now we are thinking about it seriously, but I cannot say more for the moment it is still a little early. 

Following the cancellation, will there be financial losses for the competition?

No, we are fortunate to have institutional support (City of Rouen, Rouen Normandy Metropolis, the Seine-Maritime department, the Normandy Region, etc.) who follow us. The grant applications were launched in the summer, but with the current situation, the decision to cancel reassured everyone that it would not have been reasonable. Everyone is united.

Where are the renovations going on the Rouen's ice rink? 

Everything is finished! The fourth grandstand has been built; there is now a cube, new lights, boxes, and the entrance has also been refreshed. The changing rooms were already ready for the 2020 French Cup. There are still a few details, but I would say that all that is missing now is the teams and the public.

Exactly, is there more room for spectators?

We go from 2,700 to just over 3,000 people. It creates an arena, and it is now possible to see all around the ice.


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Skyliners Juniors - USA (Credits: Roy Ng Photography - 2019)

Are you confident for next season?

Yes! Everyone is ready, and after the impossibility to organize the 2021 edition, we are eager to reorganize the French Cup in 2022.

You recently published a video for the teams!

It was a message to the teams to get news and especially to support them. I didn't want to write just "cancelled" on social media because I find it traumatic for the athletes. This little video was to give them a wink and to tell them that we think of them.

Do you think this crisis will change anything for synchronized skating?

Sport in France is suffering from the pandemic, and I hope that the teams can keep their skaters. I am afraid that there are no longer enough team athletes in the country. Competition, and especially high-level sport, is difficult. The athletes have to hang on. It's a difficult time, but you have to continue to prepare physically and intellectually to come back.

Book now the first weekend of February 2022 for the next edition of the French Cup.

Relive the atmosphere of last year's French Cup by reviewing videos, scores and articles about this event!