INTERVIEW w/ Alexandre CLARIS
"Whatever goes down must come up"
Alexandre CLARIS (FRA)
Speed Slalom Men's World #5
Nb of Comps in 2013: 10
Total score: 1966
Freestyle Men's World #6
Nb of Comps in 2013: 20
Total score: 4307
Chloé Seyrès for WorldSlalomSeries.com
2013 Top-5s Interview Series
Collected January 2014
French Alexandre Claris is an all-rounder, threatening the Top-5s as much in Freestyle as in Speed Slalom. Last season he had succeeded in an impressive double climbing up going from World #13 to #5 in Freestyle and from World #12 to #2 in Speed. 2013 promised to be tricky with two simultaneous fights in order to keep both his positions. After a first half of season surfing the wave of ascension, enjoying a a three-month peak of simultaneous Freestyle #3 and Speed #2, he is caught in a downward wind, but pulls himself together and finishes the season at (more than honest) places #6 in Freestyle and #5 in Speed.
With 10 competitions in Speed and 20 in Freestyle and despite a salutary mid-season break, Alexandre Claris is part of the most active skaters of 2013.
Reaching 6 times the Finals of main Battles and collecting the silver at Hannover and Gava, as well as the Bronze at Namwon, he also reached the finals at Busto and Lishui, and won the Consolation finals at Battle Masters Beijing and at the Worlds. Last but not least, he got the European Vice-Champion title in Battle at Warsaw, downgrading a little compared to last year (European Champion 2012).
His Classic results are worth being mentioned too with a silver medal at Gava, the bronze at Paris and two 4th places at Hannover and Busto.
His Speed Slalom performances are following the same range of results with a win at Gava, a 2nd place at Hannover, and two 3rd places at Namwon and Busto.
C.S. Looking at the world rankings, your first half of season was impressively varied with a World #2 ranking in speed slalom until August and 4 months as
the #3 in Freestyle. You drop a bit during the second half of the season but your final ranking remains more than honest, although you are one place away from the Top-5 in
What are your feelings on your ranking evolutions this season?
A.C. I started the season keyed up, ready to bring the house down, and try to reach the Top-3 in both Speed and Freestyle, but in mid-season, after my elimination in quarter final at the PSWC battle, I felt tired all of a sudden… I lost all the motivation I had found the previous months. I skated less, I refused some competition invitations, and I focused on my exams. I had a big break. Consequently my evolution in the rankings is logical. But I don't regret my choices. It's always good to have a break.
"after my elimination,
I felt tired all of a sudden"
C.S. Your 2013 objectives in freestyle were entering the Top-3 at the World Ranking, getting a medal at the Worlds and keeping your European Champion title.
You managed to remain 4 months into the Top-3 and you are a whisker away from a medal at the Worlds with a 5th place in Battle, and from the European title with a 2nd place at Battle in Warsaw.
Motivating of deceiving?
A.C. Motivating maybe not.. but I'm still satisfied with my results because, despite it all, I managed to prove that I was still a good client for top-level.
nobody dabbles in speed,
they are all fast."
WFSC 2013 - Battle Men's Semi-Final G2
C.S. The hardest result to get, the one you really fought for and of which you are the proudest this year?
A.C. It was probably my 2nd place at the European Championships because I was not in a good day, I was failing everything but thanks to the people around me, I managed to find the breach and sneak in up to the second step of the podium!
In speed slalom it's my third place at Busto: being on the podium in Italy is never easy. Speed slalom is king over freestyle in that country. In Italy, nobody dabbles in speed, they are all fast. Managing to impose myself there was very hard.
C.S. A regret?
A.S. My regret is for Battle at the Worlds. I was so up for it and I couldn't reach the final…
In Speed it's my two outs at Warsaw… I was powerless facing the cones. I went from 4th last year to 50-ish…
C.S. What was your improvement focus this year?
A.C. As I had a big break in the middle of the season, I spent my time trying to get back to my own level instead of improving.
"I have new skates and
the possibility to go very fast"
C.S. What do you plan to improve next year in both freestyle and speed?
A.C. In speed slalom I have new skates and the possibility to go very fast, so I train to impose myself next year and be regular on each competition. In Classic I've worked on a new music, very different from the previous ones, it's a brand-new style for me and I hope that this run will strike the judges at each competition. In Battle I kind of boycott sitting tricks, so I'll try to make up for it with wheeling combos.
BATTLE SUMMERSTYLE - CLASSIC PERFORMANCE
C.S. A moment, a run, a skater that you found particularly inspiring this year?
A.C. A skater… Guo Fang. He was already part of the bests when I was still an unknown skater… And he is still at the top today, he is my idol! He has managed to impose himself in all disciplines and I'd like to do the same!
A Classic run… that of Su Fei Qian in Shanghai. When I saw the video on youtube, I was like "Wow": a mix of speed, technique, grace, the perfect run.
C.S. Your objectives for 2014?
A.C. This year I would like to impose myself in Classic and Speed and show that I'm still as dangerous in Battle. And if I manage to get medals in each discipline, it would be great.
Free Space: I would like to thank Seba for sending me to all those competitions, French Coach Pierre Célat and Igor who are present on events to help us for better or worse, the whole French Team. The Polish Crew with the Czapals, the Gimbons, Tomasz, Wodzu and all the people who helped me find the motivation to train and with whom I spent such crazy times! And all the other skaters who make competitions turn into great moments.
Chloé Seyrès for WorldSlalomSeries.com