I started figure skating by chance, I was a gymnast, I was doing Rythmic Gymnastics.
I had started a course with Giulia Staccioli when I was 6 years old, my dad had met her in Los Angeles during the Olympic Games, she was an Olympian in Rythmic Gymnastics.
Half a year after I started the course, she had to leave to perform in the Momix shows around the world.
My dad is from the Marche region, where the most popular sport is roller skating. When I was a kid I used to roller skate in the summer there, so we thought I could do ice skating in Milan.
It was love at first sight; I still love Gymnastics although I was not good at all.
I loved being at the center of the stage, and this is one of my strengths on the ice now. I love feeling the wind on my face, being in total control of my body's movements, flying like a butterfly.
When I am on the ice, it's as if I am alone, as when you dance alone in front of the mirror, and you give your best because you know there's no one watching around. When I skate, I feel the same way.
When people write conpliments to me, I always wish them to have the same feelings I have when I am on the ice, which you don't necessarily find in sport, but can also be in your studies, in your everyday life.
I have learned to appreciate little things, small improvements, even having to wake up at 7 to be on the ice at 8, who wants to do that? Being on the ice, it's so cold... But it's not common to do what you love as your job, I am very lucky.
My life is built around my training schedule, I have to sleep well, to eat well, and many people tell me that it requires many sacrifices. But whether you reach or not your goal, those sacrifices don't bother you, it doesn't bother you to have to eat well, to not be able to eat pizza for a whole season, or not be able to go out to the disco in the evening.
It doesn't matter, because you make these sacrifices with a smile. The emotions you receive from this sport cancel everything else.
My name is Valentina Marchei, four-time Figure Skating National Champion.