“Trust in yourself, and never give up“
Interview | Mari Vartmann | Professional Figure Skater
I am …
Mari Vartmann, 27 years old, half-japanese and a professional Figure skater ,member of the national Team Germany.
Could you tell us a bit more on how you started with skating (pair skating)?
I started skating when I was 5 years old. Our neighbors always went to the public skating . On day they asked me if I want to join them and to skate with them. I was really excited when they asked me to come with them ,because I found Figure skating a very elegant sport. So I remember I had so much fun on the Ice and my mom and my neighbors already wanted to go Home but I didn’t want to because I was so fascinated in skating. We came a few times to the public skating and some days later a Figure skating coach came to me and asked for private lessons because she could see I had somehow a talent in figure skating. So that’s how everything started. I started to train more and more and I recognized someday I really want to do it professional. I was dreaming about to go to the big competitions like european or world championships. Well I was really dreaming about it and I thought maybe it will become true one day. It wasn’t always easy to aim your goals but I never stopped believing in me. I also went through tough times, really tough times. If you have to train specially in the teenager age while your friends are shopping or just doing teenager stuff , it is not easy. But I knew I love what I am doing and one day it will pay off.
In the choreography of your performance. Do you follow certain rules and techniques and or free to improvise or both? Could you tell us more?
We usually start our season in the springtime with building up our new Programs for the upcoming season. We have a Choreographer from Vancouver , Mark Pillay, and he kind of looks after music which suits us. We have to follow certain rules for the elements, which are in both of our programs but the choreography is arbritary. But at this point after we build up our programs for the season with our choreographer the choreography is set, we don’t improvise, this wouldn’t work.
But it is really fun to build up new programs every year , because you have the opportunity to be creative, you can chose how you want to appear, if you want to appear dramatical, funny, sad, whatever you want.
What is your cultural background?
My father is German and my mother is Japanese. When I was 3 I had to live in Japan for 1 year because my father was working for a Japanese Company at this time. I went to the German Kindergarden and the only thing I remember very good is that we were not allowed to speak Japanese in the Kindergarden LOL
In terms of ethnicity / culture / identity how would you describe yourself?
Well that’s hard to tell. I can’t really tell if I am more German or Japanese.
All I can say is that I am very proud to be half Japanese, because Japanese people are famous for being disciplined and so I am. My mother also parented me always to be polite to people and this is something which is different from Germany. For example when I walk into a store German people are not that polite like in japan, and at this point I feel more Japanese than German. It makes me feel uncomfortable in situations like this. But it’s weird because when I am in japan sometimes I feel more German but on the other hand when I am in Germany I feel sometimes more Japanese and I really miss Japan very often. Every time when I was on a competition in Japan and have to leave my heart is crying a little bit.
What aspects of your culture are most important to you?
I think to respect each other and to be tolerant. Specially nowadays it became even more important to respect each other. For me it doesn’t matter from which cultural background you come. In Figure skating there are so much skaters coming from different countries and religion, we all get on. We are all just human beings.
Has your cultural background influenced your life/ and or work – hobbies? And if it did could you give some examples?
Sure, specially whenever I have competitions in Japan, people know that I am half Japanese. They are always excited to talk with me in Japanese. I always feel very welcome in Japan.
And I am famous for being the „Japanese dragon“ . Because sometimes when I train I get very determined in a bad way actually but it got a little better I have to say and I am working on that .
Currently working on?
Currently working on….. Better say practicing for…. European Championships. They’re held in Bratislava this year at the end of January. We have 3 times a day Ice sessions plus 1 session Athletics a day. We train 6 days in a week and have 1 day off, well there is not much time to do other things.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
Definitely to trust one’s gut!!!!! Don’t trust your head, trust your gut! It is said so simple but it really works.
What are you listening (music) to at the moment?
At the moment I am still in Christmas mood and I love to listen to Frank Sinatra 🙂
Cannot live without?
Animals, specially without dogs. I love my dog! And my boyfriend 🙂
What inspires you?
I love to look at arts and fashion. Or just to walk around in a great city.
Message to the world.
Trust in yourself and never give up. It is always worth to fight for something.
Where can people find you? (Venues / Web / Social media)
Instagram : Mari Vartmann
Facebook : Mari Vartmann & Ruben Blommaert (If you want to know about news in our Skating Career)
Thank you for your time & energy
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