Alina Zagitova: When I leave the pedestal I’m an ordinary girl, who starts everything anew

Tatjana Flade’s interview with Alina Zagitova, translation. About her debut at senior Grand-prix.

Alina, congratulations on the victory. How do you assess your performance here, there was a mistake in the short, the free program you skated well.

– It was my first start at senior Grand Prix, so I was a little worried because I did not know how the audience would behave, whether the judges will like me. I made a mistake in the short program. In the free program I was more focused. Coaches helped me. Eteri Georgievna (Tutberidze – ed.) also helped. It seemed that she was with me.

Did you contact her?

– She texted me.

When you made a mistake in the short program, did you get mad at yourself?

– Of course, I felt a slight resentment because I didn’t do my favorite jump. I do it 100 out of 100. Such a ridiculous mistake. And, I almost did it.

Your short program is also balletic. Why?

– Daniil Markovich Gleichengauz and Eteri Georgievna Tutberidze choreographed my short program, because the ballet theme suits me. I show it better. First, in this program, I am a white innocent swan, then life breaks the swan down, and it turns into black. If you have noticed, in the middle of the program, my dress turns into black. It’s unusual.

Why did you decide to keep the Don Quixote program from last season?

– Because I feel this program well and last season I showed not everything, undercharacterized.

Did you see this ballet on stage?

– Only on Internet, but I’d like to go.

Which ballet do you like most?

– Ballet is a standart for me. Our choreographer Lyudmila Borisovna Shalashova – Daniil Markovich’s mother helps me a lot, she works with me on arms.

How has you changed after last season?

– Now I have more adult approach to trainings. Now I know why I do mistakes.

Why?

– It’s necessary to do more run-throughs.

How has your approach to trainings changed this season? What are your goals?

– The goal is to skate the programs cleanly and to improve with each competitions. Nothing has changed in training, we started to work on skating skills, choreography and jumps, of course. We want to focus on all the elements, because everything is important in the program.

Have you got any ideas to add or change something in programs?

– I think that this season no one will change anything. Me and coaches are satisfied with my programs.

Do you have any favorite jumps?

– They are all favorite, in particular lutz and loop.

You train in a group with Evgenia Medvedeva, and at trainings you have a “jump game” with her. Is it rather a competition or just a game?

– I don’t compete with anyone. In trainings, it happens, we play. Eteri Georgievna tells me to do this jump. Zhenya – do another jump. We do not compete with Zhenya.

Your next Grand Prix is in France. What will be the preparation? Probably, there will not be such a strong pressure after the debut in China?

– I will continue to train. But I will work more on the short program to show the best skate.

When was the first time you watched the Olympic Games?

– The Olympics in Sochi.

But do you feel the pressure because of upcoming Olympics?

– The pressure is always there. Each athlete does not want to disgrace himself and coaches. Coaches work with us so hard, we do not want to let them down.

But you have Olympics on mind?

– I would like not to answer this question. But what a sportsman does not think about the Olympics?

Many call you the second contender for getting into the Olympic team. Do you read what they write about you?

– I try not to pay attention to it. I do not read anything, I look at myself.

Is it possible not to think about it?

– My family, coaches, my pets help me. I have a cat and two chinchillas.

Besides sports, do you have hobbies?

– I like doing pictures with rhinestones. It really calms me. And also my pets. I already told that I recently bought myself a chinchilla, and she later had a little daughter.

Your idol in sports?

– At trainings I follow Evgenia Medvedeva. And I really like gymnast Alina Kabaeva.

Why?

– I know what a strong character she has. I really liked how she performed as an athlete.

You were named after her, right?

– Yes.

Your dad is a hockey coach. He probably helps you the most?

– Yes. With the mindset and right attitude. He has a lot of experience, and he tells me some things. Once when I came home I tried to play hockey with him. And there were so many falls.

Yours?

– Yes, when we played hockey. I thought: “Well, it’s not hard. You just skate with a stick.” But it turned out that it’s harder to skate with a stick. But this is a matter of experience.

Before the competition, Dad gives advice?

-In general, I don’t like when my relatives touch me before the competitions. Only my mother texts me some words. Before the competition I try not to talk to anyone.

Does the presence of relatives on the stands helps?

– My grandmother always at trainings, but does not watch. She is very nervous. Sometimes my mother comes to competitions. She was in Sochi at the test skates. Grandma says that my mother even jumps with me. Last year my mother came to the Russian Nationals in Chelyabinsk, she was sitting on the stands next to a woman. She then asked Mom: “Was it your daughter skating?” Mom was surprised: “How did you know?” And the woman said: “Because you jumped all the time with her.” They worry for me very much.

Zhenya Medvedeva said that silence helps her. And how do you relax?

– I watch TV shows. Different. I love comedies. Everything funny.

In connection with the success did you start to realize your own value?

– I have never thought about it. When I leave the pedestal I’m an ordinary girl, who starts everything anew.

Now you will return to Moscow, will you arrange a holiday for yourself?

– No, I don’t think so.

From plane to trainings?

– If the coaches say, then I’ll go.

What did you see in Beijing?

– I did not have time to. I saw that there was a very nice audience. I like China and Japan.

Isn’t it sad that being in all those countries you don’t actually see anything?

– For me, the very presence there is already a holiday. I’m waiting for trips, I’m happy. I say: I’m going there! It’s easier for me to perform abroad than at home.

by Tatjana Flade for fsrussia.ru

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2 Comments on Alina Zagitova: When I leave the pedestal I’m an ordinary girl, who starts everything anew

  1. “– I like doing pictures with rhinestones. It really calms me. And also my pets. I already told that I recently bought myself a chinchilla, and she later had a little daughter.”

    That’s the moment you realise that those great skaters are teenage girls overall…

  2. jimmbboe // 10/11/2017 at 17:16 // Reply

    Great interview. Thanks for translation!

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