Slalom interview: Fanny Violeau
Collected: October 2009 - by Close Yr E's
« Hello, my name is Fanny Violeau, I live in La Rochelle, I'm 18, and I'm a Freestyle Slalom Skater. »
I could say that this sentence has become a cult-quote in the World of Freestyle, but I'll only say that this quote should probably ring a bell to most of you !...
For those who still dry up, here is a little clue concerning its source: it is part of the introduction of the video FannyStyle which made a big hit on the Internet in 2005 – it is one of the most popular freestyle videos, maybe even the most popular ever (that is to say: for the last 15 years because before, freestyle just didn't exist)... You must have met with it at least by chance on Abrutis.com or on some other Nerds websites.
We all know that Fanny Violeau is from La Rochelle. Even on the other side of the planet: One day when I was in Singapore, a skater came to ask me quite a weird question "And where do the SebaTeam come from?" Then I started listing "Well... Xuan comes from Paris, Igor from Besançon, I am from Bordeaux, and Fanny is from La R[...]" "Yes, yes I know that Fanny lives in La Rochelle". Okay, Good...
Name: Fanny Violeau
Birthdate: June 9, 1987
Lives in: La Rochelle (powaaa)
- World #6 in Freestyle Slalom (Nov.09)
- World #5 in Speed Slalom (Nov.09)
A personal definition of Freestyle?
Freestyle has both an artistic side and a sporty side. It's a kind of dancing around the cones, and its major asset is its spirit: the skaters all know one other, and meet on specific spots and competitions in a very friendly atmosphere.
Evolution: A short chronology... Could you make a quick recap?
- First competitions... the kind of competitions taking place on supermarket car-parks, like the one in Bressuire.
- 2001, My first French Championship, in Nice – there I already started to meet well-known skaters.
- 2003, my first Lausanne Starway contest.
- Around 2004, my only source of motivation in skating and taking part in competitions was the French Team.
- Then in 2005, I learnt to know Seba better, and we started travelling together. He took me to my first big event in Shanghai. The same year, I shot Fannystyle, a video which did well on the Internet.
- Today, I'm still sponsored by Seba, and I take part in battles with the Team.
How did you discover slalom skating?
By chance! I tried one sport amongst others, and this one caught my attention. I love the fact that it is basically an individual sport – though I can only practice within a group.
How long have you been practicing Freestyle skating?
I started slalom skating in 2001, in the skating club Les Sauterelles, next to La Rochelle (fra). I'd been skating with my club until 2005, taking part in national federal competitions, and sometimes in other international events with my club or with the French Team. In 2005, I had a go at the Battle series – the World Series were not born yet. Since then, I've been taking part in this series because of its atmosphere and the level of its participants: it still is my motivation in attending skating events.
And what about Speed Slalom?
When I was in a club I started speed slalom together with freestyle, and I really liked training speed slalom because we did KO Systems and it was cool.
Otherwise I do speed only during competitions. The atmosphere has got nothing to do with that of freestyle. There is a big difference between the qualifications and the KOs: I used to do very good times during the qualifications (they are not as good today) and I used to rank at the top of the charts. But for KOs, I handle stress badly and I lack motivation, so that very often I was quickly out! (still at issue today). But even if I ranked well in speed, I prefer freestyle because there are a lot more possibilities... and besides, it's hard to train speed slalom outside competitions.
Competitions and Trainings: The 'Club' Factor: You'd been training in a club (Les Sauterelles, in La Rochelle) for a long time... In the end: Club or Street? Do you really never skate alone?
I manage to skate only within a group of people! It's a shame, but training alone is too much for me. I really loved the time when I was skating in my club: we were a good bunch of skaters and we were improving all together, spending our time playing and challenging each other. I guess it's the same for skaters who meet in the streets. But then I moved to Bordeaux and I never found a real group to skate with again. Fortunately, it was the beginning of the SebaTeam: this is the group I travel with and go on skating with. In the end, it is (also) thanks to them that I didn't give up.
You tried the two existing kinds of freestyle competition: Individual and Battle. What did you get from these different approaches of freestyle?
I got something out of the two at different times. At the beginning, I appreciated being supervised and setting a run, because I did it in a friendly atmosphere and also because that was the only type of competition existing at the time. Then I trained less often, and I had no time to set a run. Moreover the atmosphere during competitions limited my improvement: people were just banking the maximum points they could, they were not trying new tricks anymore.
At the same time, Battles were becoming more and more operational – and they brought a new atmosphere of complicity. There I found the atmosphere and the skating I was looking for.
Competitions are important for freestyle, because they enable skaters to meet, play, and improve; the results speak for themselves, given the international level in the World Slalom Series today.
What aspects do you prefer in your discipline? Your favorite tricks?
I love this feeling of freedom when you skate in general; In slalom skating I'm fond of sitting-tricks, I haven't grown tired of them yet! And I hate wheelings. Definitely.
Fannystyle, indisputably one of the most famous videos of freestyle on the Internet... How do you cope with your fame?
With Seb I travelled in Europe, but also to Asia and to the USA. It was great. Indeed, Fannystyle made an interesting hit on the Internet. And other videos and interviews were good experiences too. What matters is that it helps promoting our sport. I think people liked Fannystyle because it's a dynamic video.
Did the media play a role in your learning?
Not really because it was the very beginning of the sport and I was completely out, in terms of technology.
Besides... Other passions?
Theatre! Still and always! And travels. And lots of little things.
How do you handle these two passions?
I never tried to partition or mix, but in the end everything mixes, and I think it's a good thing. I hope I'll be able to keep these two centers of interest for a long time.
Something more to say? Thanks?
Yes, big thanks to the skaters I'm skating with, and to those I've been skating with for a long time – because my circle has always been the key to find motivation, even if it has evolved in ten years. I would like to add two special thanks, to Seb and Martin. The others will recognize themselves!
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