Interview with Tomas Verner about his skating career, marriage & fatherhood

Sylvia

Off season is club competition season!
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65,041
Tomáš Verner interview in Czech (Oct. 28, 2020):

Excerpts (machine translated - corrections welcomed):

... Now I want to immerse myself mainly in my role as a father. And that is very difficult to reconcile with all the responsibilities I have on my shoulders now. (Tomáš Verner founded his own figure skating academy.)

Why did you marry your country in silence?
Because I'm not Jaromír Jágr or Petra Kvitová. In my case, the nation doesn't need to know every detail of my life. In addition, our marriage was marked by a crown. We got married on March 14, when the p*ndemic and all the protective measures had just started, so the wedding was very intimate - only about eight people. My father met us (Tomáš Verner's father is a councilor of the town of Borovany).
...
Your wife and her parents also come from Asia. You said you had to "hunt" her for a long time. I read that twelve years…
Yeah, my wife is an American with Thai roots. She is also a figure skater, representing Thailand. We first met in 2006 at the World Championships in Canada. Well, even then, when I looked at her beauty, I was speechless. But she didn't notice me at all then…
...
You finally brought your Tammy to the Czech Republic. Why did you decide to live in Prague and not in America or Thailand?
The reason is mainly working. I have quite a few commitments and responsibilities here. But not only that. Prague is beautiful and the Czechia very safe. A lot of people may not realize it, but we're doing very well here.

Some may think that the grass in America is greener, but this is not the case. There are a lot of good things that can be done here with a little good will.

I will now ask about your figure skating career. I'm interested in its origins. It is said that as a little boy you also did other sports than figure skating - football, karate or athletics. Why did figure skating win in the end?
As the saying goes: look for a woman behind everything. In my case, it was Štěpánka, my friend from kindergarten. I fell in love with her as a little boy and I wanted to be with her all the time. So I started going to figure skating. She was skating then.

At the beginning, I didn't care about any skating, I went to the ice for other reasons. But over time, I started to enjoy it.

So while Štěpánka did not survive figure skating, I finally chose it as my main sport. I was twelve. I liked that, unlike the others, it was individual. I was probably a little self-centered then.
...
In 2008 you won the first European Championship in Zagreb. According to the coach, you were on track to become a world champion and possibly an Olympic winner. Instead, failures began to chain. What happened?
You know, I thought I was special from an early age. Whether I played football or skated, I was on top of the others. I did it. So when I started collecting the first medals, I took it for granted. I had the impression that I had the right to win. That I only have a stellar career ahead of me because I deserve it.

Of course, that was not the case. The first failure came and I could not bear it. My ego - both human and sporting - has suffered. I began to discover with horror that there were more exceptional ones in the world. That everything doesn't necessarily turn out the way I dreamed.

Well, the more I thought about it, the worse it got. Then I couldn't even concentrate during the competitions. I also messed up the programs that I managed flawlessly during training.

So it was a mental problem?
Probably yes. If someone wants to win medals, they have to do it like Ester Ledecká [Sylvia's note: she won gold medals in the super-G in alpine skiing and in the parallel giant slalom in snowboarding at the 2018 Olympics for CZE]: at the moment when the race is going, only she and the slope exist. Nothing more. He must not think of sponsors, of the coach, of the parents. She must not be bothered by the condition of her opponents. He has to concentrate absolutely. If he does not concentrate, he will simply not reach the medal. Even if she was the best.
...
You have set up your own figure skating academy. In addition to physical training, do you offer your wards something like mental training that you did not get?
We've already tried it, but it's still too early. Our academy has only been running for two years. But yes, I appeal to our coaches to sit down with all the parents in the first place and say what they expect from the child.

If the coaches find out that their parents want an Olympic winner from their offspring, their entire training and lifestyle must be adjusted accordingly. But we are not in this situation yet.
...
Will you try to raise a figure skater or another top athlete from your son?
Of course we will teach him to skate. But he will choose what he will one day.

ETA that I forgot to link to wife Tammy Sutan's ISU bio: http://www.isuresults.com/bios/isufs00008625.htm
(thanks @crzesk8dad!)
 
Last edited:

crzesk8dad

Well-Known Member
Messages
735
Tomáš Verner interview in Czech (Oct. 28, 2020):

Excerpts (machine translated - corrections welcomed):

... Now I want to immerse myself mainly in my role as a father. And that is very difficult to reconcile with all the responsibilities I have on my shoulders now. (Tomáš Verner founded his own figure skating academy.)

Why did you marry your country in silence?

Because I'm not Jaromír Jágr or Petra Kvitová. In my case, the nation doesn't need to know every detail of my life. In addition, our marriage was marked by a crown. We got married on March 14, when the p*ndemic and all the protective measures had just started, so the wedding was very intimate - only about eight people. My father met us (Tomáš Verner's father is a councilor of the town of Borovany).
...
Your wife and her parents also come from Asia. You said you had to "hunt" her for a long time. I read that twelve years…
Yeah, my wife is an American with Thai roots. She is also a figure skater, representing Thailand. We first met in 2006 at the World Championships in Canada. Well, even then, when I looked at her beauty, I was speechless. But she didn't notice me at all then…
...
You finally brought your Tammy to the Czech Republic. Why did you decide to live in Prague and not in America or Thailand?
The reason is mainly working. I have quite a few commitments and responsibilities here. But not only that. Prague is beautiful and the Czechia very safe. A lot of people may not realize it, but we're doing very well here.

Some may think that the grass in America is greener, but this is not the case. There are a lot of good things that can be done here with a little good will.

I will now ask about your figure skating career. I'm interested in its origins. It is said that as a little boy you also did other sports than figure skating - football, karate or athletics. Why did figure skating win in the end?
As the saying goes: look for a woman behind everything. In my case, it was Štěpánka, my friend from kindergarten. I fell in love with her as a little boy and I wanted to be with her all the time. So I started going to figure skating. She was skating then.

At the beginning, I didn't care about any skating, I went to the ice for other reasons. But over time, I started to enjoy it.

So while Štěpánka did not survive figure skating, I finally chose it as my main sport. I was twelve. I liked that, unlike the others, it was individual. I was probably a little self-centered then.
...
In 2008 you won the first European Championship in Zagreb. According to the coach, you were on track to become a world champion and possibly an Olympic winner. Instead, failures began to chain. What happened?
You know, I thought I was special from an early age. Whether I played football or skated, I was on top of the others. I did it. So when I started collecting the first medals, I took it for granted. I had the impression that I had the right to win. That I only have a stellar career ahead of me because I deserve it.

Of course, that was not the case. The first failure came and I could not bear it. My ego - both human and sporting - has suffered. I began to discover with horror that there were more exceptional ones in the world. That everything doesn't necessarily turn out the way I dreamed.

Well, the more I thought about it, the worse it got. Then I couldn't even concentrate during the competitions. I also messed up the programs that I managed flawlessly during training.

So it was a mental problem?
Probably yes. If someone wants to win medals, they have to do it like Ester Ledecká [Sylvia's note: she won gold medals in the super-G in alpine skiing and in the parallel giant slalom in snowboarding at the 2018 Olympics for CZE]: at the moment when the race is going, only she and the slope exist. Nothing more. He must not think of sponsors, of the coach, of the parents. She must not be bothered by the condition of her opponents. He has to concentrate absolutely. If he does not concentrate, he will simply not reach the medal. Even if she was the best.
...
You have set up your own figure skating academy. In addition to physical training, do you offer your wards something like mental training that you did not get?
We've already tried it, but it's still too early. Our academy has only been running for two years. But yes, I appeal to our coaches to sit down with all the parents in the first place and say what they expect from the child.

If the coaches find out that their parents want an Olympic winner from their offspring, their entire training and lifestyle must be adjusted accordingly. But we are not in this situation yet.
...
Will you try to raise a figure skater or another top athlete from your son?
Of course we will teach him to skate. But he will choose what he will one day.
His wife is Tammy Sutan, who was coached by Tammy Gambill in Riverside CA. She was born here in the Los Angeles area. She is of asian decent. She skated within the USFS system, later representing Thailand.
 

overedge

G.O.A.T.
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I'm finding it hard to wrap my head around the idea that Tomas is 34 years old now :slinkaway
 

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