Translation of Andrey Simonenko’s interview with Anna Pogorilaya. About European Championships, Russian Nationals, difficulties she’s faced, vacations and driving.
Anna, the European Championships was one of the few tournaments where between short and free program was a day break.
– Such shedule doesn’t change anything in preparation, just a little breather. But it’s necessary to keep myself busy. Time passed real slow, I did not know what to do with myself in final hours before the practice. But on the day of free program, on the contrary, time passed very quickly, though I did not do anything. It’s amazing how different these days were.
Some skaters tell that in the day break they walk, try to get away, but the program is still playing in their minds.
– I do not have that. I move away from such thoughts completely and set myself only at the moment when it is necessary. If you start to think ahead of time, you can burn out, start to worry, splash all emotions and nothing will be left for competitions.
Are there any special techniques to get away?
– There’s no one specific technique. Before the free program I was watching a movie. Room internet wasn’t very good, so I sat near the elevator. People were passing by while I was watching a movie.
I think there are two ways to set to a task that requires a complete collection. Either to convince yourself that you can do everything, or think about bad things that will happen if it does not work, then the body will start to focus subconsciously.
– I think it’s better not to use the second option in figure skating. I’m calm, I’m confident I go and do everything. But there are situations in my life when I prepared for the worst, but in the end it turns out really nothing to worry about.
Do you like to take exams?
– No, don’t like at all. My last exam was for a driving license. To pass the practice was much easier then the tests. My brother is on contrary, more a theorist, he’s a chemist, he’s totally engrossed in study. I’m a practician. Before the tests I was sitting and almost praying, so scary I was. But still managed to concentrate.
At the same day break between the programs not everything was turning out at the practice session. Didn’t it scare you?
– No, I rather was upset. But the next day I realized that everything is well.
Do you see figure skating in dreams?
– Couple of times, but it was long ago.
Good performances dreamed?
– Not performances, but specific elements. How do I entry on them. But I don’t remember how I did them. Dreams are forgotten.
Did you have some premonitions before competitions?
– Yes. Not often, but it happens. But at the European Championships I was more or less calm. In contrast to the Russian Nationals. There I was more nervous.
Ridiculous fall at practice in Chelyabinsk (at Russian Nationals – ed.), because of which you had to perform through pain, was it a consequence of the excitement?
– I think there are three reasons. The first, I lost concentration. Second, I was worried. And third, it should have happened.
Fall on steps, out of the blue.
– Yes. Maybe if I had not fallen, something even worse would have happened. At least, to think so is one of my ways to calm down. For example, if at the beginning of last season I hadn’t skated so bad, maybe I would not have what I have now.
Didn’t you have a thought after that fall “Why is it happening to me?”
– Regarding everything related to figure skating, I’ve never had such thoughts. But I had such when a taxi crashed into my car. I honestly did not understand why exactly in me? I sit next to my mother and I just say these words “Why me?”
You just recently got the driving license!
– In September.
And have already been in a car accident?
– Shortly before the European Championship. I just drove from the skating rink, a hundred meters. A taxi driver was driving at high speed. The road was icy and he did not have time to stop.
Probably it distracted from preparation!
– Maybe it was for the best?
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Getting back to Chelyabinsk, was it hard to get together after such a fall?
– When I fell on my knee for the first time, it was funny. But when I fell the next day just at the beginning of the practice, it was scary. Very painful and very not funny. Now I will be more careful.
Knee pads in trainings in Ostrava were really just a safety net?
– Yes. Since then I’ve fell on my knees couple of times again so we decided to train with kneepads and not to risk.
In junior age you had a Schlatter disease, because of which you had to miss a lot of time. Then before the World Championships in Shanghai you had ligament rupture, now in Chelyabinsk a knee, at the Grand Prix Final in Marseille a key fell on the ice during practice…….Don’t you have a feeling of some bad luck?
– Well, a key it’s just nothing. I even think that a story with a key in Marseille and how I almost fell before starting pose in the short program, it helped. It distracts. You’re already thinking how to skate clean and then shudder – oh, what happened ?! And then you skate calmly. So that’s a plus.
But because of injuries your sports career goes harder, doesn’t it?
– I wouldn’t say that. I try to go gradually, slightly raising the bar. And circumstances only make us stronger. You know how to get out of them and what to do so it won’t happen again.
This season after successful free programs you were happy to tears, but in Ostrava it wasn’t like that.
– Because I was trying to understand what happened. And then, when we saw the scores and result, the joy was crazy.
Does the value of the medal depends on worries and pain you had to go through to get it?
– Depends on all. In general, when you skate well and realize that you did the maximum and thus take a good place, it is valuable for you.
At the Russian Championships you didn’t win a medal, but isn’t it the case when even the fourth place, which allows to qualify for the European and Worlds championships, brings joy after ridiculous falls?
– No, actually there was no joy from the fourth place. Coaches and I were a little upset and did not understand why we were moved so far. Ok, practices, injury, but performances were good. Well, happened what happened.
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There are almost two month before World Championships. Can you go on vacations?
– No, after the European Championships I’m flying on a show in Switzerland for 10 days. I think it can be such a relax for the mind. Then perhaps I will have a couple of days off and then we’ll start preparation. But vacations are a tricky thing. In the season, when I had a ligamentous rupture, I went on vacations with my mother, we went to Egypt after the European Championships. The first day of trainings after vacation started well: in the morning I regained all the triple jumps, in the evening all “3-3” combinations, and then on the physical trainings I sprained my leg and got a ligamentous rupture. Because after the holidays the body was not prepared. So now we’re careful with vacations.
Before this European Championships didn’t you thinks of last one with that terrible falls?
– No. My memory works so that I forget bad. That World Championships in Shanghai, where I skated after ligament rupture, I do not remember it, just that I took 13th place. But how exactly I do not remember. And the last European Championships recalled only when re-watched my performance with friends, we laughed of a loop with upheaval.
But after that European Championships something happened with you that brought your skating on a new level. No more such falls!
– Grew up, finally. In fact, we were well aware of the reason for such things. Technical errors, excitement … We just had to work on it.
You told me that before competitions you try to find out something interesting about the country where you go. What do you already know about Finland?
– Well, I have been in Finland, I like this country. Everyone is calm, nature is similar to Russian. Birches … Later I’ll look for something more.
Are you going to World Championships to win there?
by Andrey Simonenko sovsport.ru