Faces of Synchro
Peter Gerome, a French skater evolving in Canada
Peter Gerome, 26 yeard old, is a French athlete skating with Les Suprêmes in Canada.
Peter just turned twenty-six years old. He grew up in a city near Paris (France) and moved to Canada two years ago. While studying biology and geology at the University La Sorbonne in Paris and then, ecology and environment in Montréal, Peter skated and evolved in a sport where males are a few. He just started his third season with Les Suprêmes.
First of all, I started figure skating when I was nine, until eighteen. Due to a back injury, I was not capable to jump anymore. My coach talked to me about synchronized skating, a sport that I did not know.
My coach explained to me that a Senior team (Ex'L Ice) was doing tryouts for the upcoming season 2012-2013. She invited me to check if I was interested.
So I went to the tryouts and got selected to be part of the team. It was really a new challenge for me. I knew nothing about synchro. I had to learn how to skate with a team. It was something I never did in the past, as a single skater.
In 2014, I started again figure skating and did some competitions. It was an act of beautiful revenge regarding my injury!
Then in 2018, I decided to go further in my projects and I moved here to skate with Les Suprêmes Senior, for two seasons.
There are several things I love:
- Lifts (acrobatics or the unique element in the Senior category)
- Intersections: It is so impressive to watch and to do as a skater. You have the adrenaline coming with it which is a very particular sensation to feel while you are skating.
I really love these two.
It is the one from our long program last season, the theme was « Unsustainable ». It is my favorite for multiple reasons:
- To start, it was the best program I have ever skated
- To me, I also had the best team.
- The message o the program was strong and beautiful at the same time. It touched me as I am implicated in this cause and I am studying it.
- The season was rich and loaded of emotions I will remember my entire life. It was a perfect season, at all levels!
I would add that I was really proud to wear the Skate Canada suits, to represent the country that welcomed me so well.
Synchronized skating taught me several things. On a technical level, it allows me to develop better skating skills, to be more rigorous and precise (for example with my free legs placement, my shoulders, and my hips).
On the personal side, I learn a lot about social interactions with others. As I was a figure skater, I learned to work with a group, as a team, to adapt to my teammates and my coaches, and also to deal with situations which might be completely different compare to what I faced, positives or negatives.
I felt inside me this desire to evolve in synchronized skating, which was still a new discipline for me. I felt that by staying in France I would not have had the opportunity to do it as I imagined. On top of that, it has been a while I was thinking of moving abroad.
So finally in 2018, I decided to register for international tryouts, including Les Suprêmes in Montréal.
Everything went really fast. In January, I was thinking of auditioning. In March, I was doing the tryouts. On May 7th, 2018, I was leaving France to go to Canada. This is one of the biggest decisions I have made in my life. I was following my dream: being part of one of the most successful synchronized skating teams in the world.
Today, I can say how proud I am to be part of Les Suprêmes family.
What was the most challenging thing for you?
Following this dream was not always easy. The hardest thing was to leave my family, whom I am really close, my friends and change my way of living, to adapt to this new life.
This team and the two seasons I spent taught me to push my limits as an athlete, on ice and off-ice. I understood that I was capable of gaining a better physical condition, developing my creativity, improve my way of skating, and evolve on the ice.
I also improved my speed and strength. Finally, I became more detail-oriented while I was having fun and working hard.
If I have to pick one, it will be the French Cup 2020, when we won the bronze medal. To me, it is gold! It was the first time I was winning a medal at this competition. We all know it is not an easy competition, big nations are competing every year and we tend to call this event the «Mini World Championships».The competition is tough. The second reason why it is my best memory is that is my home, which more valuable to me.
I would like to add the Canadian Championships 2020 in Calgary. I was proud to be a Canadian champion and selected to take part in the World Synchronized Skating Championships in Lake Placid.
As a lot of skaters evolving at the international level, we do not have a lot of time to spend on our private and social life.
Hopefully, social media exist! It is a good tool to communicate easily with my family and friends in France, via WhatsApp for example. Due to the timezone, we have to be organized to find time to call each other.
For my social life in Montreal, I'm trying to work/study/organize myself in advance, so I can have free time; for me first and also to see my teammates outside of skating or friends I met here.
I think it is really important to keep an open mind, to be curious to learn a new culture, to meet new people. It is also necessary to go outside of our home, to discover what is happening in the city.
Finally, I will suggest not be afraid to ask questions, take time to discover and understand how things work in this new environment. Everybody is different and evolves at his own pace.
This question is not easy to answer. Everything may vary depending on the type of personality the skater has, how the team works, and also who is in the team.
For me, I like to step aside and look at what is happening, to better understand the dynamic in the group. I take the time to think about the information I received. I am also a follower, I am not trying to force things to happen.
We all wish that an international skater succeeds in his/her integration, naturally, without embarrassment from anybody.
My main advice is: reach out to your teammates, plan some activities outside of skating to better know each other, and being yourself.
For this question, I will answer based on my experience with Les Suprêmes. In the first step, it is important to make sure the skater has on hands all the papers (visa, passport, etc) valid.
The organization will have to be informed if the international skater is authorized to skate during international competition and to represent a country different from his nationality. It is possible the skater cannot skate, depending on the country, he/she is from. In this case, discussions will have to happen at the skating federations levels of both countries.
The skater will need to find a place to stay based on the budget allowed. This may vary.
All these points are a source of stress for the international skater but also for the organization itself. It can impact directly the team.
Everything was always great. I was never the only man in the teams except for my last season with Les Suprêmes Senior. Back in France, we were two male skaters and then four. When I arrived in Canada, we were two. Last season, I was the only one but this did not affect the fact I had beautiful alchemy with the girls. We knew each other pretty well and we were taking care of each other. We loved to spend a lot of time together, with the entire team: eat, walk, do some activities. My teammates were « My Girls».
The positive side, which is important to me, is I had the chance to sleep more. Indeed, for a man, there is less preparation time before the competition. No need to spend hours on make-up and hairdo.
I always received marks of affection from my teammates. I do not know with the other men in the other teams receive as much as I did. It is something that made my experience so positive.
Regarding the negative side to be the only man in a team, I would say it is the girls' time. I need sometimes to be alone. As you know men and women do not have the same way of dealing or reacting with situations we live together.
Overall, there is nothing I would change in the experience I had.
I will tell them to stay themselves, to keep their personality. Do not be shy because you are in minority. On the contrary, we are so well accepted. Know that girls love having boys in their teams.
2020-2021 is special (due to the worldwide pandemic), I started skating with Les Suprêmes Open. Seeing the actual situation, my studies, and my personal aspirations, I think it is a good option for me. On top of that, I was contacted to help to coach the development teams of Les Suprêmes (pre-juvenile and juvenile). It is with great pleasure I said YES.
Yes, I would like to go back to France. First to spend quality time with my friends and family. It has been almost eighteen months since I did not come back home. I miss them. With the previous season, practices and competitions at the senior level, I came back to France just once, for a week. It was a competition week, at the French Cup. It is not like I was spending time on vacation with friends and family.
If I have the opportunities I will share my experience in France or somewhere else in the world.
But for now, I am planning to stay in Canada as long as I can. I really enjoy living here and I am not done visiting this beautiful country. I would like to complete my studies, discover other provinces in Canada and why not start a professional project.