Andrea Gilardi: "I was overwhelmed by thousands of emotions"


The joy of the Italian athletes on the Kiss & Cry in Helsinki. / Credits: Sébastien Muller - Jura Synchro 2019

Italy's Hot Shivers made their debut among the World's best synchronized skating teams at the World Championships in Helsinki a few weeks ago. While synchro teams are already going back to training, we took the time to meet the Italian coach, Andrea Gilardi. He talks about his experience in Finland with his team.

Congratulations on your 9th place at the 2019 World Championships! Italy enters into the World TOP 10! What's your reaction?
Andrea Gilardi: I was overwhelmed by thousands of emotions because it doesn't happen so often. All my efforts, tireless, concerns were gone and transformed into pure joy.

Italy will get the chance to register a second team next season. It's historic! Do you feel proud?
Of course, I'm proud of this achievement. We have been trying this for 20 years. The decision of the Swedish association to send no teams to Worlds left a spot open for many countries who never had this chance. We knew there was a possibility but many countries were aiming to the same target. After the Worlds, we received many compliments even from people who never took synchronized skating into consideration. We need support from everybody and the Italian Federation is on our side.

Do you think this will help to develop synchronized skating in Italy?
I hope so. It's very difficult to keep teams alive in Italy mainly due to the lack of ice rinks in big cities compared to other countries. Making up new ones is even harder. I heard that some Italian club wants to make a Senior team and this is good news.

Andrea Gilardi (left) with Hot Shivers Senior. / Credits: Andrea Gilardi

The results of Free Programs were very tight with the German and Japanese teams. How did you prepare your team for these two great performances?
Actually, it happened during the whole season. The team was very much committed and never wasted a single minute of their training on and off the ice. All the skaters were trusting each other very much. We made a good progression improving the difficulties when the team was ready and always looking for a positive grade of execution. In practice at home, the team was often doing very good programs and I think this made them more confident and ready to enjoy the programs instead of fearing them.

In your opinion, what made the difference in Helsinki?
I believe nerves were what made the difference. I was strangely relaxed during official practices because I knew I could trust my skaters and it paid off.

What were the strengths of your team this season?
Unity, commitment, good programs. It was amazing to work with them and this allowed me to make up two programs which will stay in my heart forever. This season, my team always did good in competition but in Helsinki, they were ready to be fabulous.

Hot Shivers - Short program. / Credits: Sébastien Muller - Jura Synchro 2019

How did you live these last weeks after the Worlds?
We immediately started planning the next season but I want to be careful, as always, and be able to take the right decisions with no hurry. 

What will be your goals for next season?
I will prepare it as usual. I never changed anything in all these years. This is the way I work and this is my style and I always try to improve my knowledge listening to what other people tell me. Right after the Worlds, I had many people who came to me to congratulate and a number of them suggested that we should skate faster if we want to make a step forward. Therefore our goal is to improve this aspect.

And what about your athletes? 
I believe the team will stay nearly the same.

Hot Shivers skaters dressed up in the official hotel in Helsinki. /Credits: Andrea Gilardi

Have you already started working on the new programs?
I prepared the music of the short program and started to do some experiments. I also chose the music for the free but it will be a hard job to put it together because it must be absolutely perfect. I'm a maniac on how to cut and reassemble tunes and I'm never happy until it is exactly the way I like it.

Can we expect a change of style next season? ?
Sometimes I like to experiment with different styles but I know my skaters and my job is to make two tailor-made programs which will allow them to skate and express as naturally as possible. I wish I could surprise next season, our main goal is to wring the heartstring of everyone.