Posted by: Pete Robertson | January 27, 2012

An Interview With Robin Cousins

Robin Cousins is a four-time British Champion, European Champion, three-time World Champion, and an Olympic Gold medallist. Now, promoting his new Holiday on Ice show, Tropicana, he took time out at auditions to have a chat to me for http://xpressradio.co.uk/.

I’m here with Olympic Champion Robin Cousins, Robin how are you?

Very well thanks.

Great. Now Robin, how did you get into figure skating in your youth?

A rather odd way through the back doors I have to say, I wanted to be Gene Kelly when I was a kid so took up gymnastics and dance classes. I put skates on for the very first time in Bournemouth as something to do on holiday with my family. Then I found out there was an ice rink being built in Bristol so I asked for some skating lessons for Christmas. That’s where the bug really caught me and here we are a couple of years later (laughing).

So just how difficult is it to get the top of figure skating? And what is the day to day life of a figure skater like?

It’s the same as the day to day life of any top athlete. If you have an idea of where you want to be you have to just love it and enjoy the process of learning the craft. You can’t do it because of what you think you might get out of it. The biggest thing for kids now is that they think “What’s in it for me?” before they decide if they like something or not. I tell them that you’ll regret taking something on because of what you might get out of it rather than because it’s what you want to do. If you don’t get the rewards at the end of it then you’ve done something you love anyway so haven’t lost anything. You have to train hard, learn from your mistakes, and be honest with yourself about what you’re going to get out of it.

Robin Cousins taking time out for a chat.

How much has the sport changed since you were Olympic Champion back in 1980?

In a nutshell, novice ladies aged 10-14 are expected to do what I was doing as Olympic Champion 30 years ago! It’s changed dramatically, and what the senior international skaters are doing now was literally science fiction when I was competing. Once a double spin in done, it only takes one person to do a triple before everyone realises it’s possible, it’s that kind of evolution. But now girls have to do triples, juniors too, and men doing quadruples, I find it mind-boggling! The biggest change though is the impact it has on the skater’s body. Now, you won’t find skater’s with a 20 or 30 year career like I had or Torville and Dean had, they now come in, compete for 4 years, win their Olympic medals and then they’re gone, because they can’t keep that level of fitness up.

I’m guessing then that it’s more difficult to get started in the sport nowadays? And shows such as Tropicana must help promote the youthful talent coming through.

Skating is one of those sports that you can do every day of the year if you want to. Ice, a coach, talent, and an ability to want to learn, that’s all you need. Using the internet you can look at what is out there, who is out there, even look at competition in Japan, America or anywhere else and think ‘ooh, they’re the same age as me but is doing much more training than I’m doing’. It allows you to keep things in perspective but also see where you need to up your game. Just being the best in your local club or even Great Britain isn’t enough anymore, we want people to compete on the World and Olympic stage. When Dancing on Ice or Holiday on Ice comes along with Tropicana it gives people , the opportunity to see skating live, see how fun it could be, see how good it can be to keep fit with your family. At this time of year we have a huge influx of people skating, the challenge is for the rinks and skaters to keep interested all year round, the rinks will be open all through the summer!

And Holiday on Ice and all the shows you put on must have the ultimate aim of advancing the best youth talent to give us better chances at Winter Olympics and World Championships in the future?

Absolutely! Again it’s about getting the word out and letting people know what’s available out there. What we’ve found with Holiday on Ice is that we have a lot of young skaters who have never competed in front of judges before and may not have the jumps, but they join the ice show and they blossom into great performers. We have soloists in our shows who have never been to an Olympics before, but we also have Olympic skaters who can’t deal with putting on eight shows a week! The show is great for getting kids who are forced to try and skate competitively and just letting them skate for fun!

So tell us about Tropicana.

It opens in Cardiff in February and I’ll be going in a few weeks’ time to put the show back together. This is my tenth production for Holiday on Ice and with Tropicana I’ve taken things I’ve enjoyed over the last ten years and put them together in the one show. The LED screen is phenomenal in terms of the backdrop and the content has been drawn to fit the music second-by-second. It uses the music of Barry Manilow but not just all the usual hits, there’s some more modern songs in there too and not just all sung by him but by other singers too! It’s a fun show and a great night out for the audience.

Well we really look forward to seeing it when it comes out. Thank you so much for talking to us.

Not a problem, thanks a lot!

You can listen to the full interview by downloading it from the iTunes Store. To listen just click here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/xpress-radio/id421247395.

Also, listen out for From the Sidelines every Tuesday at 1-2pm. Find us at http://xpressradio.co.uk/ or on Twitter @xpressradiofts.

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