INTERVIEW w/ Barbara BOSSI
"Yes, I fought"
Chloé Seyrès for WorldSlalomSeries.com
2013 Top-5s Interview Series
Collected January 2014
BOSSI Barbara (ITA)
Speed Women's World #1
Nb of Comps in 2013: 7
Total score: 1968
After a 2012 season full of doubts during which she lost the lead of the world ranking of speed slalom, which she had managed to keep for 22 months in a row, Italian Barbara Bossi bounced back and fought to get the throne back, an objective she reached last September, after a whole year of World #2 on the heels of her team mate Cristina Rotunno. With a Best-4 of 1250 she is 143 points ahead of the latter.
Winner of the Hannover Inline Games, of the Paris Slalom World Cup and of Busto Battle, as well as 2nd at Senigallia, Warsaw and Taipei, she thus collects two Vice-Champion titles (Europe and World) this year. She missed the opportunity of a third world title by a whisker against Wang Tzu-Chien from Taipei, and of a European title against Cristina Rotunno, the only title that misses on her list. Yet, out of 7 competitions this year, Barbara Bossi collected 3 gold medals and 3 silver medals including two first runner-up titles and almost scored a perfect Best-4. No doubt she is back in the saddle.
C.S. Last year same time you were a bit weary and unsure about your future in speed slalom. You seem to have found the strength to get back up and fight! What do you think of the evolution of your performances during 2013?
B.B. 2012 was a difficult season for me. I was unsure, disappointed with my performances but most of all I had problems with my trainings. I couldn't find the necessary motivation to go on and I was thinking about quitting slalom right after the WFSC (note: in Lishui). But my big disappointment at the WFSC made me think that I definitely couldn't give up as a loser, and I tried to get back up from my "depression" and I changed quite everything. I found new support from old and new friends and I let go other things that were just disturbing me. This gave me new strength and yes, I fought. I decided that I wanted to compete at my best for myself, because after 10 years of competition at the top I think I don't have to prove anything to anybody. However, I am happy with my performances during 2013. I still have some things to work on, but generally my season was good.
"I definitely couldn't give up as a loser,
and I tried to get back up"
C.S. The most stimulating competition of the year? The one you really fought for and are proud of your achievement?
B.B. I can't choose. All my competitions are stimulating because I always find friends/opponents in finals who are like me: strong, precise and willing to fight for number 1! Whether it's Cristina, or Lily Granjon, or Wang Tzu Chien - just to mention my last 3, I never underestimate my opponent because I learnt at my expenses that even the ones that you think will never beat you have an ace in the hole!
"I never underestimate my opponents"
C.S. You had the potential to beat Wang Tzu Chien in final of the WFSC. You were faster… she won because she was cleaner. Can you relate the final from your viewpoint?
B.B. I know, I know I was faster. She won because she was cleaner and because I had a first cone penalty, which at WFSC was given even in case of doubt. I am absolutely not complaining about this, because the first cone penalty is something REALLY difficult to see. That's why I just regret I was that centimeter closer to the first cone, but WTC is a really good skater and I am happy anyway. I know what I did, I know how I competed and even if I 'lost' I am happy with it. During the finals I knew I had to be accurate and fast, because she was my opponent at Shanghai Slalom Open and she won for the same reason: penalties. I was also really concentrated on the floor, because Asian parquet is deadly for speed slalom. You should get used a lot, you should know HOW and WHEN to push if you don't want to taste it with your teeth.
"Asian parquet is deadly for speed slalom"
C.S. Your own personal record is 22 months in a row at the top of the world ranking. Do you feel ready to beat that?
B.B. 22 months? It's like 2 years... I don't know. My uncertainty is not related to my performances, but because hey, I'm getting older, I am now 23 and I am starting to see the "outside world". I am no longer a student, I am looking for a job and I don't know if I can handle the job+trainings+travelling-around-the-world cocktail. It is difficult for me to have long term plans. We'll see. For sure you'll see me at competitions in 2014 but then...who knows?!
"I don't know if I can handle the
C.S. What do you think of the evolution of the speed slalom landscape? Can you see serious competitors rising who impressed you during 2013?
B.B. Speed slalom has an evolution that runs on two different roads: the first one is technology and the second one is the new generation. About technology, there is now more general interest in speed slalom and the new 3x100/110 frame is a turning point. In my opinion, this frame is going to change the landscape of speed slalom completely. As for the new generation parameter, there are lots of new skaters who are seriously training at speed slalom. Before it was just Italians and French, it was a "leisure" discipline but right now more and more people are taking it seriously. Let's just see the Asians, especially Thailand, Chinese Taipei and Iran, for example. The competitor who impressed me the most is Lily Granjon (note: French, Women's World #7). She is so tiny that you will never imagine how fast she can run with those small legs!
"the new 3x100/110 frame is a turning point"
C.S. What are your objectives for 2014?
B.B. Hmm.. Objectives? I don't know, as I told you before I am building my future day by day, I think I'll focus on objectives the day before the competition! Haha joking, I'd like to keep my performances at the highest level as possible. That's it.
Free space: I don't really know what to say here but I will just say a big THANKS to you Chloé for interviewing me each year. For me it's a way to think about my year and you let me think of a personal resumé of the season. Without your questions I would never do it. Thank you! Thanks also to the Powerslide FSK Team, Zoé Granjon (be careful with your arms!), Tizy, Ksenija Komarchuk, and ALL the friends all around the world. See you soon in 2014!
Chloé Seyrès for WorldSlalomSeries.com