Why are you leaving now?
I had been saying this for a couple of years. Four years ago a new board came in and I told them it was time for new air to come in. I was asked that since the show groups represent a very big move, that we make the move slowly, and that I stay as president. I accepted it and in the end it has been four more years, but everything has an end because things get bogged down if no fresh air enters. One must know how to say enough. Now young people come up, eager. I have considered, by personal circumstances, that I now feel a little more at ease. Clubs are almost like companies, and lately I was incompatible with my job in a dental prosthesis lab. I’ve already done what was right for me.
Did he leave without making a fuss, when did he make the decision?
I’ve been saying it folded, but when there wasn’t one thing, it was another. The responsibility of presiding over the club took time away from my family, from being with my mother, who is older, and with my husband. In March I said it would definitely fold in September. During confinement I was able to spend more time with family and now it’s one of the things I want.
Did the uncertainty caused by the pandemic make her doubt?
No, the decision he had made was the one he wanted. With covid-19 there is a lot of work, and now I feel like doing other things. You always have that thing to say that you will miss it but after 21 years linked to skating it was time.
What is missing?
The relationship with the technical team, with the people on the board, and with the girls in the club, especially the big ones, who were very involved. I miss the human part. The best friendships of my life have been made thanks to skating. I have gone from receiving 10,000 whatsapps every day to having nothing. For the first few days it seemed like I was left alone. But I’m happy because then you see I can go up to Palau whenever I want. In fact I continue to be joined by Nuri (Soler) for the music of the show groups. All my life I have done this and will continue to collaborate with her in finding the soundtracks for her compositions.
Are Nuri Soler and Júlia Vallverdú, his daughter, and so far second coach, the best legacy he leaves?
Yes, totally. Júlia has also left the club this year, nothing has been sought to match me, because she is finishing her doctoral thesis and they have stayed with Nuri. And what can I tell you about Nuri? Without her the club would not be the same. CPA Girona is his job and his passion. We couldn’t find an equal person. She was my daughter’s coach when she started skating when she was six. Nuri was very young, did the selectivity and went to study Teaching. Then she went to do INEFC in Barcelona, but was still linked to the club. Júlia was Nuri’s first student and they went up together. What unites them goes beyond skating.
Why did they venture to create a skating club in Girona in 2010?
We were a section of Girona CH. Then we were starting to get into show groups and we needed to do a lot of things, but it was unfeasible because there were no separate budgets for hockey and skating. If we wanted to get seriously into show groups we had to go around our corner and that’s what motivated us and made us decide at that point. We were quite scared to take the club and run it on our own, but we knew the needs. We created the CPA Girona the board of that section and Nuri, as coordinator. Initially we were 60-70 girls and we got to about 140. We can’t take any more.
How have you skated during these 20 years of management?
(Laughs) I’ve skated a lot of things. It is very difficult not to skate. I can’t say in what, I wouldn’t know how to say it. Surely at times the club members have not agreed with some of the decisions we have made, but we have always done everything in good faith and with the will to look after the girls and skating. I hope I didn’t make a mistake looking more to one side than the other, because I’ve always said that show groups shouldn’t eat individual skating.
Does covid-19 put the future of the club at risk?
I do not think so. I folded in September and in August I still saw how day to day was going, and things are going well. The coaches are clear and, in addition, a person from the board, who works at Trueta, is in charge of all the protocols related to the virus. Yes, it is true that the uncertainty we have right now makes it a difficult time, especially in show groups, because it is demotivating not to know when you will be able to compete again. Until recently nothing was known. Now it looks like next year will be able to compete, although we have nothing clear either. At the club we have had doubts about whether to repeat this year’s record or make a new one for 2021. And seeing the complicated time, it is believed that it is not the time to expand spending. For this reason, due to the economic difficulties, and having come to dispute only the provincial and the Catalan this year with She, it was decided that in 2021 we will continue with this same dance.
What changed that bronze in the 2015 Spanish Championship in Zaragoza?
It was a brutal quality leap. We always tried to get over it and we had been there for many years. Being third in Spain is the most beautiful memory I have, and that we have been world champions. We struggled to get on the podium and we got it. The hardest part was being able to make the leap, once you’ve done that, they already recognize you more.
And in 2019 they won it all.
It was a dream come true. A spectacular year, also crowning us in Barcelona. Ours is a hard sport because it is not recognized anywhere, there have been cases of suspended exams because a girl has gone to a World Cup and it has been useless to prove it. After seeing the sacrifice of the girls, who are there on Saturdays, Sundays, not coming out … that’s what made me very happy. And also, of course, for Nuri.
Has skating made you sleepy nights? What have you given up?
Many nights of sleep, it got me out. Skating has taken me hours out of the family. But I am happy, both in life before and now.
Why has no one ever dared to hold a World Cup in Girona, with the tradition that exists?
That is no longer up to us, it is surely more of a political issue. The most that has been done here was the European Championship in Blanes.
How come the two best teams in the world are separated by only 45 miles?
With the CPA Olot there is a lot of cordiality. I have a great friendship with Ricard Planiol and in fact he was one of the first people to know that he was folding, I called him to tell him. Rivalry is there on the court, which is where it makes sense to be there. More and more clubs are coming up, the Celrà, the Maçanet … and this increases the competitiveness and quality of our skating.