In keeping with tradition, the 2014 edition of the Paris Slalom World Cup took place on the last weekend of May at the Trocadéro, with the same timeless but none the less breathtaking view onto the Eiffel tower. Fate had the better of the slanderous weather forecasts and, despite a few rain drops on Friday, the sun did justice to the event.


Chloé Seyrès for WorldSlalomSeries.com

Interviews by Polina Semenova

June 2014

There's nothing new under the sun:

The same old effective schedule was implemented for this year's edition with the slalom competitions planned as following: Classic on Friday, Speed and Battle qualifiers on Saturday, and Battle on Sunday. To those competitions were to be added the Slides contest… and the Free Jump contest, making its comeback after years of absence, both scheduled on Saturday evening.


Victim of its success, the schedule of the event was tight with none the less than 162 competitors including 67 women and 95 men!

This year, the PSWC gathered 20 different nationalities: Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, China, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Poliand, Russia, Ukraine, Denmark, Norway, Estonia, Belgium, Senegal, Thailand and Malaysia!


That first article will focus on the first day with the competition of Classic Freestyle for the Women's and the Men's categories.

The heavy number of registered freestylers was the occasion to apply the new rule in starting with qualification groups. Out of the 47 women and 51 men, the 16 top ranked skaters of each category were selected for the final phase, while the rest were divided into 4 qualification groups. Only the first skater of each group would be allowed to take part in the final, that would consist of 20 skaters, including the Top 16 and the 4 best qualified.


From a judge's view point, having qualifications with contestants being divided into groups was extremely positive for concentration and accuracy of judgement. Only 7-8 skaters per Q-Groups and 20 for the finals brought pondered relative rankings, with neurons still in working order at the end of the day. And yet, 106 runs of classic unfolded before our eyes in one afternoon!


The PSWC started on Friday at noon, with the qualification phases of the women's and men's categories...




Belarus VASILISA MASLOVA (#61) seized the first qualification place in the 1st Q-Group with a daring music choice -- Michael's Smooth Criminal! By the way she will play her cards right in final, reaching place 7 with a cleaner run!

Russian OLGA MATTER-RODRIGUEZ (#125) qualified in the 2nd Q-Group in a 3 vs. 2 decision of the judges against Spanish BOHDANA HOTSKO (#261), whose heavy penalties cost her the qualification.

In the 3rd Q-Group, French CHLOE ARBONA (#62) also experienced a 3 vs. 2 win against compatriot EVA COCHEY-CAHUZAC (#42). She will honor her qualification in finishing 8th at the final ranking.

Italian LAURA LA VOLPE (#93) got the last open place for the final in winning the 4th Q-Group.


Amongst the skaters trying out at the qualifiers, were spotted a lot of Italians and French, but also girls from Belorussia, Spain, Russia, and -worth mentioning- the first ever Norwegian competitor! (She lives in Barcelona but forget I mentioned it.)


The Men's qualification groups were more heterogeneous than the Women's, with the featuring of some prestigious skaters whose rankings dropped for competition attendance reasons.


The first Q-Group was won hands down by Spanish TONI CASTRO ZAMORA (#28) with a promising run to a music-hall theme, which he is going to upgrade for the final phase to reach rank 9. Let's also note the smooth performance of Belgian ALEXANDRE DEL MARMOL (#47) who finished just behind, at the threshold of the final phase.

Argentinean GONZALO COBO (#32) took the qualification of the 2nd Q-Group thanks to a musical expression outdoing his opponents. He will finish at the 18th place in final.

Thai Junior KANCHANOK SAWANGSRI (#35) qualified unanimously in the 3rd Q-Group with a pretty technical performance that he is going to upgrade for the final, switching toe foot guns to toe christies, managing strong wheeling combos and precise footwork. But his lack of amplitude and body expression will send him down to the 11th place.

Last but not least, the fourth qualification place available went to Russian VIKTOR 'GENERATOR' MELESHKEVICH (#37) whose final performance will rank him 12th.


The Men's qualifiers were not just varied in levels, they were also varied in nationalities: France and Italy of course, but also Spain, Senegal (from Paris - representz), Russia, Germany, Belgium, Argentina, Thailand and Brazil were on the menu!

Click for more pics by Tutti Photography
Click for more pics by Tutti Photography


The final phases were composed of 20 skaters, including the Top 16 registered skaters and the last 4 who qualified in winning their respective Q-Groups.

In the women's, you had to be in the World's Top 42 to be in the top group. Over, you had to go through qualifications.

In the men's, the competition was harder: the last selected to be part of the lucky 16 was World's #28.


In the women's category, the main fight was between the two favorites, who ended up, without much surprise, on the first and second steps of the podium. The real question was: in which order?

Polish KLAUDIA HARTMANIS (#3) won the Eiffel Tower trophy for the first time with a run without a single penalty, after an extremely tight decision of 3 judges vs. 2, relegating Russian DARIA KUZNETSOVA (#2) at the second place. The latter, having won the competition in 2012, had to make do with the silver for the second year in a row.

Last year's double champion (classic+battle), Chinese FENG HUI (#4), contrary to her male compatriots, couldn't make the trip this year for visa reasons.

Both performances were of high technical quality with great matching work to their musics. However, Klaudia had a better rate of success as for her wheeling combos and showed more commitment into her body expression than Daria, whose music expression has drastically improved but who still has to get rid of that shyness touch that prevents her to let go.


1st: K.HARTMANIS (POL) "Although I'm not sure I did my best, I reached my main goals, which were not to lose balance and stay positive during my whole run. I was surprised and happy to learn that I was first because Dasha has such a high technical level. But I was enjoying my skating, feeling the audience's support and feeling just good."


"I modified my run a little, I added some dance elements."


"I find Classic harder than Battle. There's only one attempt, whereas in battle you always have a chance to change the results and improve your runs."

To everyone's surprise including hers, bronze deservingly went to Italian CAMILLA MORBIDONI (#15) for her smooth performance. Her musical expression and matching combos to the beat enabled her to outdo Polish ANGELIKA PRUCNAL (#10) who remained at the foot of the podium: her cleanliness was not enough to make up for her lack of amplitude.


CAMILLA MORBIDONI (ITA) "I didn't expect to be part of the strongest skaters here! Now I will train even more. I hope to reach the Top-10 one day."


"I would like to thank Kim Sung Jin who helped me a lot to do my classic run. We started to work on it during his Master-Class in Italy and kept on working together by video chat on the Internet. It took about two months to do my run and I train two hours almost every day with my coach Elisa and my team-mates."

French ZOE GRANJON (#7) did a counter performances, with heavy penalties due to uncompleted combos with lots of tapping and a fall to finish with. However, the quality and flow of her footwork secured her the 5th place.

On the other hand, German ANYA ZIERTMANN (#39) treated herself with a well-deserved 6th place for her comeback after a one-year absence: a clean and composed run with technique elements and combos that haven't been spotted in a while, that's all it takes!


Places 8th and 9th went to qualified Vasilisa Maslova and Chloé Arbona, as mentioned above, feats that deserve to be highlighted as they ranked in the first half of the final phase!


The men's final was more challenging than the women's, because there were more world class skaters present and because different styles were competing against one another… technical, theatrical, dancing, popping… there was something for everyone!

Since the introduction of WSSA Classic into the PSWC in 2008, the Men's Classic Title has always landed into Korean hands. This year was no exception: last year's champion, LEE CHOONG GOON (#3), may not have showed up, previous champion, superstar KIM SUNG JIN (#NR), may have retired, YU JIN SEONG (#4) was there to pick up the torch. He got the vote of 4 judges out of 5, which indisputably propelled him to the first place. Let's note that he managed to stay focused despite a disturbing laser beam which he was the target of during most of his performance.



"It's my first time in Paris and at the PSWC. Paris is a very nice city and the competition is great with a very cosy atmosphere. The audience is very thankful and support you so much, it helps a lot! In Asia people don't react like that. Here, it doesn't matter if you are good or make mistakes, they cheer for you as hard as they can. This is really appreciated, especially when you're a foreigner."


"I had prepared a harder run in adding some technical elements, but 10 minutes before my run I decided to go for an easier version. I was nervous and didn't want to take risks. Every year I am getting more and more nervous before competition. Public makes me nervous. This time it was crowded and it was very hard to concentrate. I could hardly hear my music, so I am very satisfied to have managed to do my best."

Chinese Junior ZHANG HAO (#9) inserted himself at the 2nd place, downgrading Polish MICHAL SULINOWSKI (#5) and French ALEXANDRE CLARIS (#6), last year's 2nd and 3rd, to the 3rd and 4th places.


A personal soft spot for the latter who wisely chose a slower tempo than usual, enabling him to perform a more composed skating, with flow and creativity, and yet in the pure French vein...

A performance that made quite an impression on the Asian skaters, paying their respects with similar comments: "It was very good mix with good music, stylish dance elements and very high level tricks." (YJS) "Alexandre Claris had a good mix of music and tricks. He has improved a lot, he changed a lot his classic run. He really impressed me this time." (Guo Fang)


Let's note that Michal's run, full of up body popping moves which he integrates more and more naturally into his skating, could have been challenged by that of French TEDDY THIERRY (#15) if he hadn't done a counter performance. The French came up with a very choreographed run to a Ice Ice Baby Vs. You Can't Touch This mashup, but unfortunately wouldn't bring his technical tricks to a smooth ending… he even treated us with a fall that looked pretty painful. Nevertheless he didn't lose countenance and stuck to his program until the end. He was downgraded to the 17th place.



"It's probably one of my best runs ever. I did all my tricks and the most important was that they matched the music and my links were smooth. I added one particular combo to my run for the competition, but unfortunately with this floor condition it didnt work out the way I wanted."


"I am prouIer of my performance than of my place on the podium. I managed to calm down and do all my tricks. The Chinese skaters always say that self-confidence is the key to good classic runs, so I tried to follow this advice. This time I decided to focus on enjoying my run, just like in training, and on the audience."

Little Russian prodigy SERGEY TIMCHENKO (#8) took hold of the 5th place just in front of Chinese GUO FANG (#11), one of the favorites of the competition. His skating is gaining in maturity although it would be more appreciated if his technical footwork remained in the cones and not wandered too much outside. His high rate of success in top technical tricks as well as his energy remain his main assets.

As for Guo Fang, he bet on ten-year old symphonic metal FM hit Bring Me to Life by Evanescence and did a pretty convincing and theatrical interpretation, but technical elements were too rare for him to reach the podium.



"I can say that I tried my best. I was feeling very tired, my legs were shaking during my run but still, I did the best I could."

Let's also note the performance of DAWID JAWORSKI (#21) who remained first at the provisory ranking for a good while before being ousted by Guo Fang. He finished at the honorable 7th place with a dangerous hard rock choice of music, which he handled astonishingly well, thanks to his energy and technique, preventing the music to overcome his skating.


French ROMAIN LEBOIS (#1) signed a slow run with unconvincing footwork and, despite worthy technical feats including a { reverse shift + fish + seven } toe combo and a nice toe christie, he was relegated to the 8th place.


At the bottom of the final top 10 can be found the two Spanish of the final, Toni Castro (see above) and CARLOS NELSON (#14) with a performance full of smooth and flexible characteristic footwork but lacking cleanliness.


In the competitors' defense, the Trocadéro ground has the reputation of being very challenging: sloppy and damaged with holes in the asphalt… it's no picnic. Performing a clean run is either miraculous or the fruit of tactical anticipation. At the PSWC, be smart and stay in your comfort zone!


The first day finishes with almost no delay, at 11PM. Next article will focus on SPEED SLALOM.



Klaudia Hartmanis // Credit: Sebaskates
Klaudia Hartmanis // Credit: Sebaskates



Yu Jin Seong // Credit: Sebaskates
Yu Jin Seong // Credit: Sebaskates


Chloé Seyrès for WorldSlalomSeries.com

June 2014