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The Love Story Between Two Figure Skaters | A Game for Two

The Love Story Between Two Figure Skaters | A Game for Two


I’m Anna Cappellini,
World Champion ice-dancer. I started skating
when I was three because there was an ice rink
near my home. So my parents took me there
one Sunday then another then I kept asking
to go back to the ice rink and that’s how
my adventure started. I’m Ondrej Hotarek, Italian Champion ice-skater
and Olympic athlete. I can’t even remember when
I started ice-skating. I was four or five when my grandma enrolled me
on a course then on another and after a while
that’s all you know how to do. (A GAME FOR TWO. ANNA & ONDREJ) Our first meeting was unusual because I remember it
whereas Anna doesn’t. It was the summer of 2006 and I’d arrived in Italy
just a few months earlier. I’d noticed her, but
I was too shy to speak to her. My Italian
was very basic at first and Anna came across as
a very reserved sort of person. I didn’t see her a lot, she’d pop down for breakfast
quickly then go back upstairs. So it was hard to approach her. Ondrej remembers
when we first met, but I don’t. I was going through
a difficult time in my life because my mother
had just passed away and I was keeping myself
to myself. So, poor Ondrej…
He wasn’t to blame. “Not today, not tomorrow,
next week I’m busy…” Then I was leaving to compete
in the World Championships, we were saying goodbye
and it was her who kissed me. I do everything, but then she’s
the one who decides in the end. The love that Ondrej and I
feel for each other is really important. It helps me when I compete, knowing that
I’m a complete person, that I have someone
who feels that way about me, knowing that someone loves me. It’s something I carry with me
when I’m skating. Even if spectators don’t know, it’s something that I convey
to those watching me. Love can change you. My relationship with Anna
is quite a stable one. We don’t argue much as a
couple. We try to make compromises and help each other
like, for example, when one of us is a bit down. For the spectators, when they
see a couple dancing together it may seem as though they
share an intimate relationship. In actual fact, the intimacy involved
is purely professional. On the subject of jealousy,
I’d say we’re quite used to it because right from the start we knew that Anna
dances with her partner and that I dance
with Valentina. It can happen that you plan
a performance where you’re interpreting Romeo
and Juliet just like actors do. It’s a compliment for us if we’re able between us
to create a moment that conveys emotion
to the spectators. May it be a romantic one
or an alluring one… It’s a compliment
about our skill if spectators perceive that. The 2014 World Championships was the greatest and
most important victory for me. Not just because we won
the World Championships but also because it followed a
very tough and difficult season which was the Olympic season and all athletes who want
to take part in the Olympics and do so in a certain way,
in order to obtain results, know how much stress
and hard work it entails and how every day
of that season is much harder than every day of any other
season. I really felt like
I’d earned that victory. We felt we had won before
the scores were revealed. Luca and I skated like
we’d never done before. That victory was, first of all,
a personal one for us and, then, secondly, a gold medal at the World
Championships. The greatest victory was the
World Championships in Canada where we managed to beat
the favourites, the Canadians, despite the fact that
our luggage hadn’t arrived, so at the last minute
we managed to compete and in the end we won. The most emotional moment
was singing the Italian anthem on the podium when we won because as an ice-skater
I feel Italian. I’m not Italian by birth but the progress I’ve made
in my sporting career has taken place in Italy so what better way to celebrate
the victory than to sing the Italian anthem? It was the best thing. Physical pain is, of course,
part of an athlete’s life. Whether it’s getting up at five to go to the gym
to do weight-training, or going onto the rink to repeat the same piece
again and again until your legs give way or having minor accidents. She’s a bad luck magnet
and has been all her life. Sometimes she forgets things,
sometimes she’s unlucky. It’s a bit of a miracle that
I’m able to go onto the rink and do things properly but I, obviously,
channel all my energy into being precise in one area then in my daily life
I’m a lot more relaxed. I usually do the cooking. I hate washing up
so Anna gets to do that. I like finding the plates
washed up and I think that Anna likes
finding dinner ready. Yes, Ondrej has become
a true Italian in the kitchen. He’s passionate
about it and so… choosing our roles
was a natural choice. I think the best moment is when
I’ve got everything ready and she comes home
after training and says, “I don’t feel
like doing anything” and then she finds
her dinner ready. I like surprising her
like that. That’s true. Then I say we can leave
the washing up until tomorrow. Luckily, we’ve never had
to work together because the few experiences we’ve had
weren’t really plain sailing. Yes, we tried…
They told us to try this move and I caught her
at the wrong moment. I whacked my head so hard I was actually crying
as I was skating. – That didn’t work.
– No. It’s best we do other things
together rather than skating. I think the right balance is
that we each do our own thing. We’re in the same profession
so we understand each other but once we get home, we’re
able to talk to each other as different people
and confide in each other. I think
that works better for us. Children… What have we decided? We agree that we want some,
but we haven’t agreed how many. I’d be OK with three. Ondrej said we should first
have two then see how we go. OK, three. Let’s start
with one, then we’ll have… Twins?
OK, I’ll see what I can do. (A GAME FOR TWO. ANNA & ONDREJ)

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