Beginning her skating career at the age of 5, Hana currently represents Croatia on the Junior circuit.
She mainly trains with her lifetime coach Ivana Jakupcevic in Zagreb, Croatia and also travels to Egna, Italy for practices.
“I combine practices with school and I always try to do my best in all aspects.”
Winning the Junior National Title of Croatia during the 2016-2017 season, Hana has represented her country in various events including Junior Worlds, the European Championships, and various Junior Grand Prix events. Currently, she is training in Slovenia, Croatia and Italy to prepare for the upcoming season.
Q: Who is someone in your life that inspires or motivates you?
“My mom is definitely the most important person in my life and she inspires me so much because she always does everything to help others and does everything that she can do for me. She always supports me and helps me in hard situations.”
“Other skaters really motivate me to improve and it is really inspiring to read other skaters’ stories. That really motivates me to work more.”
Q: Who was your skating ‘role-model’ when you were younger?
“My role-models were Yulia Lipnitskaya and Javier Fernandez. I loved their skating and they were my absolute favourites.”
Q: What is your favourite type of off-ice training?
“I like all off-ice practices. Dance makes me feel really energized and after cardio or strength practice I feel really powerful. I like the feeling of being tired after a good practice because I know I did something well.”
Q: What is your favourite element in skating?
“Honestly, I can’t really say I have any special favorite or least favorite elements. I know all elements are really important and a good skater must be good in all aspects. When I was younger, I loved jumping more than skating skills and spins and it’s still a bit that way but its not hard for me to practice everything because I know how important it is.”
Q: Do you have any pre-competition rituals or superstitions?
“I always put my left skate on first, before practices and competitions too. Before the competition I don’t watch other skaters and I don’t like to hear anyone’s scores. I like to think of my performance and focus on myself.”
Q: Do you do any type of visualization or meditation?
“I do visualization of my programs, jumps and just random things. I did it more when I was injured because this was a way of keeping the feeling of jumping and air position. I do it before competitions and I do it more often when some element isn’t working out the way I want it to be, then I visualize the perfect execution of that element.”
Q: You’re at an event, on the ice in your starting position, moments before your music begins… what are you thinking?
“I am probably wondering how this program is going to turn out and making sure I skate the best program I can. I think of my first element and I am just waiting for music to start so all my nervousness can disappear. My coaches always tell me what to think of on certain elements and tell me to enjoy my program because that’s what all of this is about.”
Q: Did you ever endure some type of adversity in your career?
“Last season was pretty tough with COVID and two injuries I got during the season. Now, I am getting my elements back and trying to go step by step and stay focused on what I do. It was hard not practicing because I felt that I am wasting time but I couldn’t change it so I just waited for my injuries to heal and kept doing the off-ice exercises I was allowed to do. Keeping a positive mindset is the most important thing and I just try to stay positive all the time.”
Q: If you had to describe yourself in one word what would it be?
“It would be “persistent”. I never give up.”
Q: Have you learned any life lessons from skating?
“Skating taught me to stay patient and I learned that I have to work hard and work a lot to be good at anything. Talent can help but hard work is definitely the most important part.”
Q: Do you have a favourite quote?
“Failure is not the opposite of success, it is part of success.” –Arianna Huffington
“I have been disappointed in myself many times but I always learn from mistakes and I know that they make me a better skater and they just have to happen in order to succeed.”
Q: On days that you don’t feel like training, what keeps you motivated?
“I always know that I will be happy after my practice and I just remember my goals, it is never really hard for me to go to practice, it’s just something that is my routine.”
Q: What is it that you love most about skating?
“I love the feeling of learning a new skill or just nailing an element. That’s the best possible feeling.”
Q: Any advice for young and aspiring skaters?
“Stay patient and stay positive, just work hard without expectations. This is an advice for myself too haha.”
Q: What is your favourite skating memory?
“I think my best competition was Junior World Championships in 2019 where I had a chance to compete in my hometown and it was absolutely amazing. I did a clean program and it felt so good to feel all of the support of my friends and family.”
Q: What is your ultimate goal with skating?
“My biggest goal is to enjoy skating and compete with confidence and feel happy while doing it. My dream has always been the Olympics and that will never change.”
Q: If skating didn’t exist and you could be anything else in the world what would it be?
“I think I would stay in sports. I’m not sure in which one, but maybe athletics or something like that. I am very competitive and really interested in sports so that’s why.”
Hana has recently graduated high school and will soon be attending university to study journalism.
“I would like to become a sports journalist when I finish my skating career. I enrolled the university for that now and I’m on my way to achieve this.”
“Outside of skating I am proud that I manage to keep really good grades while practicing full time.”
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of skating?
“I like to bake some healthy sweets and I love to go shopping. I also take long walks really often.”
Q: Where is one place you’ve never been but hope to visit?
“I would love to visit Japan. I know the culture is so different there and I would love to see it in real life.”
Q: What’s your Favourite ‘get in the zone’/‘hype up’ song?
“I always listen to songs that are popular at the time, I just open Top 100 playlist and go through it. I love modern music, at the moment I like the song Levitating by Dua Lipa.”
Lastly,what does it mean to you to have a #ChampionshipMindset?
For me it means to stay focused, positive and never give up no matter what. It means to always fight for your dreams and stay strong and keep going in all situations.