Arlet Levandi (EST) was on the ice before he was born, his heavily pregnant mother coaching until the day before his birth. Two months later, the youngest son of Winter Olympians, infant Arlet was part of the Estonian contingent at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games.
At the Lausanne 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, the boy who grew up around the figure skating rink is about to put on the most important programme of his fledgling career.
“It’s my biggest competition yet,” he said, after a practice session at the Lausanne Skating Arena. “It’s a big step, going from last year to this.”
At 14, Levandi is just into his first season on the junior circuit and has limited experience of competing on the international stage. But he has few inhibitions being up against others who have already made their mark at top events, and his pedigree might have something to do with it.
His coach and mother Anna Levandi (Kondrashova) is a two-time figure skating Winter Olympian (1984, 1988) and 1984 world championship silver medallist. His father, Allar Levandi, competed at three editions of the Winter Olympics (1988, 1992, 1994), taking bronze in the Nordic combined at Calgary 1988.
“Sometimes I think about my parents, that they were Olympians and world-class athletes, and I think maybe I should grow up to their level. That’s what I’m trying to do,” Levandi said.
As his coach and a veteran of the figure skating circuit, Anna knows what a step up the Lausanne YOG are for her son. “I understand really well that it’s too early for him. It’s too big, too serious a competition. But he needs to use this chance.
“I feel how difficult it must be for him, but I’m really proud of him. He’s working so hard and really fighting for it,” she said.
Levandi trains six times a week, often as early as 6am, in order to get at least two hours a day on the ice.
“I really like to be artistic on the ice, show my quality of skating,” he said. “I don’t think about the score or placing. I just want to skate clean. I work hard on my programmes, so I want to show it.
“Maybe I’ll be nervous on competition day, but there’s more excitement. It’s a great experience.”
Figure skating at Lausanne 2020 will continue to feature five events: men’s singles, ladies’ singles, pairs, ice dance and mixed NOC team. Competition will take place at the Lausanne Skating Arena from January 10-15.
Andrei Mozalev (RUS) and Daniil Samsonov (RUS) who finished second and third respectively at the Junior Grand Prix Final in Turin, are among the top juniors slated to compete. Yuma Kagiyama (JPN), champion at the Junior Grand Prix in France, is also pencilled in. Kseniia Sinitsyna (RUS), fourth at the Junior Grand Prix Final, will participate in the ladies’ event.