Vietnamese roots, hockey and training on the same ice with Yuzuru Hanyu: interview with Nam Nguyen, the champion of Canada
At the next stage of the Grand Prix in Canada the young talented skater Nam Nguyen will perform. He was born in Ottawa in the family of Vietnamese immigrants, trained with Brian Orser for many years. Nguyen is the world Junior champion in men’s single figure skating (2014), Canadian champion (2015) and twice bronze medalist of the national championship (2017 and 2018), bronze medalist of the Grand Prix in the United States (2014). I have made a little interview with Nam on the eve of the major international competition. Let’s get acquainted with this figure skater!
- When and why you became interested in figure skating?
- I started figure skating at the age of 5. My parents wanted me to improve my skating skills for hockey, as I started with hockey at first. For a few years, I kept up with both sports until I decided to just continue with figure skating. I didn’t enjoy the physical aspects of hockey as much as I enjoyed jumping, spinning and performing my programs on the ice.
- Tell us about your family.
- Both of my parents work in the medical field. I have a younger sister (age 15), who also skates.
- You have Vietnamese origin. Do you often visit your historical homeland? Do you know Vietnamese language?
- I’ve only been to Vietnam three times in my life and I would love to come back more often to visit my extended family members. I can speak a little bit of Vietnamese, but I’m better at understanding it rather than speaking it.
- You’ve been training at the «Cricket club» for a few years. Tell us about your coaches – what are they in the work? Your impressions and the brightest memories are interesting!
- I’ve worked with a number of coaches at the «Cricket club», and they have all played a major part in my career. I am extremely thankful for all the work that they’ve done for me and for my career. I know that without them I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. One of my fondest memories at the «Cricket» was when Javier Fernandez, Yuzuru Hanyu and I were training altogether on the same sessions. The intensity and brotherhood we had for each other, was incredible and extremely motivating. We pushed each other to become a better version of ourselves on a daily basis.
- How did you work with choreographer Laurie Nicole? How does she make such unique programs?
- I have only worked with Lori Nichol once. Her work with her skaters is impressive and I’m so fortunate to have been able to have the opportunity of working with her. I worked with her back in 2012 and she had created my free program «Air on a G String and Fantasia». I’m also lucky enough to watch her work on a daily basis as she works at the same rink I train in.
- You worked on one rink with Yuzuru Hanu. What do you think is the secret of his talent and success?
- I think Yuzu is an incredible athlete on and off the ice. He demonstrates a huge amount of respect towards the sport, his fellow competitors and to his large number of fans. When I trained with him, I had the honour of watching him work on his craft day in and day out. His work ethic is what separates him from the rest of the field, because his drive and motivation to become the best is unparalleled.
- You communicate with the Russian ice star Evgenia Medvedeva. What are your impressions of her?
- I had the opportunity to share the ice with Zhenya on a daily basis during the «Stars On Ice» tour. During the tour, I had the chance to get to know her as a person, which was really nice. We shared a lot of similar interests and exchanged a lot of stories about our lives together. She’s a very sweet girl and such a strong fighter on the ice. Jane’s hard work and determination is something that I really admire about her.
- What are your plans for this sport season? Where will you perform after the Grand Prix?
- Currently, I have no thoughts on what I will do after I am done with skating. I am trying to stay in the present moment and take each day as it is. I know for sure, that I would like to stay involved with the sport in one way or another.
- Which skater do you like best?
- My favourite skater is Javier Fernandez. His love for the sport is so endearing and his journey as an athlete has really inspired me lately.
@ Interview by Marina Chernyshova-Melnik