INTERVIEW of RUDY OP’T VELD
The Battle Discovery of the 2008 Season
Unnoticed at the Paris Slalom World Cup ’07 (May) in the Amateur Category, Rudy’s performance at Battle UK II : Attack of the Cones, only six months later (October ’07), was much more striking: he finishes 2nd of the Freestyle Battle! Not that bad – and quite promising – for a guy who started skating only one year before…
Is is really useful to say that his progress is terrific ?
Rudy has made a name for himself during the 2008 season in the World Slalom Series
circuit, getting into the finals of all the battles in which he took part : he ranked 4th at Battle Moscow (March), 2nd at the Paris Slalom World Challenge (May), and he eventually won the Inline
Games in Hannover (August) …so that at the last WSS World Ranking (of August, 5th) he overtakes Kim Sung Jin (KOR, #4), and pulls himself up to the 3rd place, just behind Igor Cheremetieff (FRA, #1)
and Guo Fang (CHN, #2)!
I interviewed him to penetrate his secret, or at least to extort a couple of tips… just the recipe of his magic potion… but alas, no miracle recipe, except an inhuman determination – yes, that’s the key for sure: he must be an alien!
Name: Op`t Veld, Rudy
Birth date: November 14th, 1984
Nationality: German/ Dutch
A personal definition? How would you define freestyle?
Freestyle slalom means more to me than only skating around the cones; it’s more a new kind of lifestyle. It’s a
way to express yourself with your personal style. It’s a chance to escape from your everyday life.
Freestyle slalom is a discipline where you have to find you balance between smoothness, rhythm, speed, body language and technical tricks. Especially the “body language” bring a lot of dancing elements in this sport.
How long have you been practising freestyle slalom skating?
My first year on skate was 2005, but only normal fitness skating, nothing special… then I started with slalom skating in 2006.
How were you introduced to freestyle? Any anecdote?
I saw the “Influences” video of Sebastien Laffargue on the Internet, and after the first minute, I knew that this is a thing I will try to do.
Which aspect of slalom first attracted you?
I think it was the individuality witch each skater can bring to his style, you know. I was really impressed how it is possible to move so smooth on skates and do so crazy tricks like spinning on one wheel, what was unbelievable to me as I saw it the first time?.
What are your influences : Did you train on your own, with other people (emulation) ? What was the role of the media (internet, websites, videos) in your training ?
I like to train together with my friends, because it’s fun and we can share our ideas for new tricks, or work on
a “double slalom”. So I can say, I got a lot of influences, but from the first day on, I want to find my own style and create my own tricks and combinations.
At the beginning, trick videos from the internet were very useful to understand the basically movements, and also now, some videos can be an inspiration to try new stuff.
What are the key-moments in your evolution ?
A very important moment was our first meeting with the skaters from Cologne in summer 2006; it was my first meeting with “real” slalom skaters ;-) The following events were also very important, especially the event in Moscow in March 2008 [Battle Moscow], because it was my first travel with team Seba, and a chance to see a different kind of skating (from the Russians and from Kim Sung Jin). That was a weekend with a lot of inspirations.
Titles you are proud of? You’ve just won the second edition of the Inline games in Hannover, in front of Igor Cheremetieff, unbeaten in battle competitions till then. How do you feel about it?
Yeah, the inline games was a great event. After the first round I knew a had a good day, and after my bad performance in Rom, I really want to do better ;-) but I never thought that I could be first, because there were so many really good skaters and my only concern was to show a good performance and have fun. And I had fun ? especially in the final to skate together with Igor, Luca and Martin, and made a good show. After they publish the results, I was really surprised, and it was a strange feeling… I can’t rally describe it ? But more important to me was the nice conversation between all the skaters, and results are only results, you know. ;-)
You’re taking part quite essentially to battle competitions. Why? You tried individual competition this year. Any preferences? Why?
When I go to an event, and skate in competition, I want to have fun. And I really enjoy the battle competitions, because you see your opponents in a directly comparison. So you can say to yourself “Okay when I risk one of my best tricks maybe a can go to the next round” that’s really exciting. Individual was okay; it was nice to meet the skaters, talk to them and had a nice time. But the competition mode is not my favourite way of skating, because you do your 90sec run, and than you just have to wait. Both modes have there strengths, but for myself, I prefer the battle competitions.
Do you get any opportunities thanks to skating?
Oh yes, many things in my life changed since I started with skating. I met so many nice people and it’s a chance to see some parts of the Word. Before I started with skating I never thought I ever would be in Moscow or Nottingham. I’m a very simple person who just wants to be happy and skating help me to be happy ?
What about your slalom sessions now? What does your typical slalom-session looks like?
That’s dependent on the place where we skate. In cities, when a lot of people watching us, I skate for style, just simple
tricks und standard combinations. But most of the time we skate on a quite place, or in our hall, than it’s only technical training and creating new tricks or working on difficult
What aspects do you like best in slalom? What are you favourite kinds of tricks?
Hehe, I think I’m known as a very technical skater, but that’s only for competitions, I don’t really like the way I skate in competitions ? but I think it’s important to show technical stuff, because that brings our sport more and more forward. Normally I skate more simple tricks with only one or two “high level tricks” in one line. My favourite tricks right now are wheeling stuff and spins. At the beginning I want to do more sitting tricks, but after one year I started to enjoy wheeling tricks more and more. ?
What are your aims in your personal improvement: next step in the mastering of tricks? Others: I know you’re taking part in the organisation of freestyle events…?
I hate to hit cones, so in the future I want to skate the difficult tricks more save. I also have to work on my sitting tricks, because they look kind of silly right now *laugh*. Right now I’m involved in the organisation for our event in Mönchengladbach on February 2009; I hope we can make it a good success, like last year. No need to say that everybody is invited. ?.
Do you have other passions?
No special things… watching movies, going out with friends, read a book, surf the internet, listen to music or just relaxing… even the typical boring stuff ?
What do you get out of these different centers of interest? Do you partition them or do you re-use the capacities you acquired in other passions?
Puh, that’s a difficult question, I never really thought about it ? I think the skating part helped me to handle other things in my life better, and find a better balance for myself, but normally I prefer to separate my interests.
More to say ? special thanks… ?
Tanks to the guys from 4wheelfreestyle the guys from Team Seba, The Apache, Seba, Dete and everybody else who support our sport! And greetings from Germany to everybody who read this *laugh*.
… and sorry for my bad English ;)