Meet Charlotte Grutter
Today marks our very first synchronized skating feature, and we couldn't be happier that it's with Montreal native Charlotte Grutter! From being a member of the 2019 national champion team Les Suprêmes Junior to training in ice dance at Centre Gadbois, Charlotte's passion for skating has brought her the best of both worlds. Charlotte exemplifies the core values of synchronized skating, bringing the spirit of teamwork and commitment to whatever she does. The world would definitely be a better place - on the ice and off - if there were more Charlottes in it. She speaks four languages, skates in two disciplines, and is one heck of a all-around great girl - read on to get to know the lovely Charlotte!
Birthday: October 7th, 2004 (14 years old)
Born: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hometown: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Currently: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Country Represented: Canada
Skating Club: Montreal FSC
Discipline: Synchronized Skating, Ice Dance
Team: Les Suprêmes Junior
Training Location: Montreal International Skating School @ Centre Gadbois in Montreal, Quebec, Canada / various arenas in the Montreal area, including Roberto Luongo Arena in St. Leonard, Quebec, Canada and Isatis Sport in St. Constant, Quebec, Canada
Coaches: Patrice Lauzon, Marie-France Dubreuil, Romain Haguenauer, Pascal Denis, Josée Pichée, Benjamin Brisebois
Blades: Jackson Ultima Matrix
Les Suprêmes Junior performing their 2018-19 long program Witches
Q: Synchronized skating is probably the least well-known discipline in the figure skating world. What are a few things you would like people to know about synchro, and why do you think it should be added to the Winter Olympics?
A: I would like people to know that even though it might look easy, it is the hardest discipline! You always have to make sure you’re on the timing, pushing as hard as you can, and always being aligned - there’s a lot to think about while you’re performing on the ice. But as hard as it is, it’s one of the most amazing disciplines, because you get to travel with your team, have the best of friends in the entire world, and experience competitions with 19 other people who always have your back no matter what!
I think it should be added to the Winter Olympics because it will be a way for synchronized skating to be recognized as a sport and for it to become more popular. It would be the best way to expand people’s knowledges of figure skating and maybe even encourage other skaters to try this discipline. Plus, it’s one of the most interesting disciplines to watch!
Q: When you compete in synchro, you have the responsibility of basically not letting down a whole of skaters, as opposed to just yourself or a partner. How do you deal with pressure and nerves?
A: On my team, we don’t think of one person letting down all of us, we always say that we make the person next to us shine! Anything can happen on the ice, because we are 16 skaters who are performing the same program at the same time on the same ice. So whenever a hiccup happens, we never blame the skater. I’m sometimes a very anxious skater when I wait for the music to start or before stepping on the ice, but having my team with me helps me a lot. They’re always there if I need to talk to someone, they will always make me laugh, and I know that they will be with me no matter what. We just need to trust our training and perform every single beat of the music.
Q: This past year, you and your team competed at the ISU World Junior Synchronized Skating Championships in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where you placed in the top 6. What were some highlights from that experience for you?
A: One of the biggest highlights was that we were in Switzerland! I am actually 100% from Switzerland, because both my parents were born and raised there. So I got to see my whole family, who came to the competition to cheer us on! I also have to say that the practice arena was one of the nicest, but coldest, arenas I’ve ever been in. One of the walls was made of glass, so every morning when we went to the practice ice at 5:30 AM, we would be able to see the sunrise while we skated.
Left: Les Suprêmes Junior with their gold medals at the 2019 Skate Canada Synchronized Skating Championships
Right: Charlotte focused right before competing the team's short program
Finally, one of the best moments was the feeling of stepping on the ice and giving it my all. I couldn’t help myself but cry after and give a big hug to my synchro and dance coach Pascal Denis to thank him for giving me such an amazing opportunity to experience such an amazing feeling. I was so happy that my team and I were able to give it our all.
Q: In addition to synchro, you also train in ice dance at the world-famous Centre Gadbois. Which dancers do you look up to the most at the rink, and how has training in that environment shaped you as an athlete and an artist? A: Well, if Tessa (Virtue) and Scott (Moir) still trained with us, I would have said them! I also look up to Madison Chock and Evan Bates - they are such kind-hearted people on and off the ice, and it is impossible to not like them. When I watch them skate, I see grace and ease, it’s absolutely beautiful! They bring so much energy, and they always have a smile on their face, even when some elements go wrong, but they also know how to be serious and concentrated.
Training there has helped me a lot with not only technique, but with performance too. The coaches encourage all their skaters to interpret their music and movements. I also know that even if it may not seem like it, the head coaches are always watching everyone, so that encourages me to try everything with 100% effort. I’ve been skating at Gadbois for over five years, and I know that since then, I’ve become a much better skater and performer. Gadbois is not only where I train, but also where I’ve met some of my best friends. They help me express myself and grow as a person. I love them so much, and I would never want to lose them!
Left: Charlotte practicing the Tango Romantica pattern with Gadbois training mate (and British national ice dance champion) Lewis Gibson
Right: Charlotte (second from left) and some of her Gadbois family at the rink
Q: What does a typical day in the life of Charlotte Grutter look like?
A: Right now it is summertime for me, so I don’t have school. A typical day would be that I wake up, drink some water, go for a run. Then I would get ready for my day, prepare my lunch and dinner, then practice piano. I usually skate in the afternoon, so I make sure to have very efficient mornings. I then go to my first arena of the day, which is usually in Gadbois or St. Constant, where I practice with my coaches or on my own.
Afterwards, I go to St. Leonard for synchro practice. When most of the team gets to the arena, we all go into our off-ice room and do our warm-up. Usually we do an articulation, active stretches that wakes up all the muscles in your body, a Zumba dance and/or a run of each program off the ice to revise what we changed the last practice or what we corrected. We sometimes have off-ice training like ballet, workouts or dancing, which help us in many different ways to be stronger skaters.
After that, we get on the ice and have a two to three hour practice, where we work on both programs - we take as much time needed to practice our elements and gradually perfect them. This takes time because it is difficult for two coaches to watch all the skaters as once, so they usually concentrate on what they can see. After our on-ice sessions, we stretch together for 15 minutes to work on our flexibility every day. Since our practices are until late at night, when I get home, I’m usually very tired, so I go directly to bed and get a good night’s sleep.
Les Suprêmes Junior performing their 2018-19 short program I Feel Good
Something you never leave the house without?
A water bottle!! It is very important to stay hydrated.
Favorite synchro and ice dance programs?
Les Suprêmes Junior's Skeleton 2015-16 Skeleton program, and Olivia Smart and Adrian Diaz's 2018-19 tango.
If you could open any business, what would it be and why?
I'd start my own makeup or fashion line - I love playing with makeup. Fun fact: makeup is all Madison Hubbell and I talk about when I see her at the arena! I also love to model so I feel like a clothing business would be a great option for me!
Best place to eat in Montreal?
Depends what you want to eat, but my favourite restaurant is called Bacaro Pizza Urbaine. It's an amazing Italian restaurant with great homemade pizza and pasta, as well as delicious Nutella desserts!
Quote to live by?
I know it's cheesy, but I live by, "Be so good they can't ignore you." I live by it on the ice, to push myself to my limits, because whenever someone tells me I did something well, it brings some kind of pride and joy and makes me want to push myself more. Off the ice, it's the same thing - I want to be good and kind to everyone, even when I'm feeling sad, so that they can always be positive and feel good about themselves.
Makeup on fleek!
KEEP UP WITH CHARLOTTE
Personal Instagram: @charlottegrutter
Team Instagram: @lessupremesjunior
Follow Charlotte to learn more about the exciting art of synchronized skating and keep tabs on everything this captivating Canadian teen is up to!
All other photos and videos courtesy of Charlotte Grutter