Part of Tatjana Flade’s interview with Fedor Klimov. About victory at the Russian Nationals and how he survived six months of waiting until Ksenia Stolbov returned to the ice.
Fedor, how did you get through this waiting time?
– Badly. The uncertainty has lasted since summer, all fall, until time when Ksenia started to skate. I didn’t know whether we will continue or not. I began to think what to do next if nothing will work out. Commenting on TV, study and all sorts of social events, elections to the Commission of athletes helped a lot. This helped to escape.
Have you considered some alternative options?
– I tried not to think about this much. I realized that everything can happen. I have never thought that foot pressured by the boots can delay treatment for so long. I healed my leg after fracture faster. But in this situation, a little depended on me. I decided that we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. With a successful curse of events we have to prepare, to go to the Russian Championships and perform there. If we can skate – ok, if not – I will think what’s next.
In order not to exhaust myself by thinking, I tried to do something else. I thought that if someone is interested in me, then for the first time, I can comment on the TV. My health is not iron, as it turned out, and it’s unknown for how long I will be able to stay in sport. If to continue, than we have to work for the Olympic Games. To compete at the Olympic Games is the main goal for any athlete.
Have you had any doubts about what is happening, why treatment was delayed?
– No. What for Ksenia could do it? If someone tried to express his doubts, I immediately threw them away. A similar situation was with my shoulder. I haven’t had a diagnose for a month, I went to the doctors, was examined, but no one could say anything. So I knew it could be. The only doubt was what kind of injury she has. If it hasn’t passed in six months, it may never pass, maybe it has already become chronic. This scared me the most. But when Ksenia returned from America and said that the foot is better, then appeared hope that we still can skate.
Considering all these circumstances, what did participation in the Russian Nationals mean for you?
– It was very important. When Ksenia began to skate, we hadn’t a lot of time for preparation so it was not clear whether or not we’re going to the National Championships. I do not remember whether it said it directly or just thought that if we miss Russian Nationals, whether it makes any sense to do anything further. Skipping Nationals would mean that we won’t take part in the European and World Championships, and try to get there without selection, in my opinion, isn’t fair because it would violate the principle of sport. So for me personally it was very important to perform in Chelyabinsk. No matter how. So I decided for myself: to skate somehow, with some set of elements, but to do it. For this competition we simplified the program a little, but we skated it. This is a big step.
You set a difficult goal, chose diverse programs classical and modern. How difficult was it to work with Yuri Smekalov?
– I always treated choreography seriously. I can not say that fulfilled everything what I was asked very willingly, but when I have been reminded the whole year about some mistake, I may argue, but anyway correct it, because I understand that it is necessary and start to control myself.
At first it was very hard to work with Smekalov. He immediately started to give a lot of things on the ice. I need more time to learn new things, but once I learned, I do it consistently. Just you need more time to teach me. I can’t repeat anything from the first time. And in the case with Smekalov everyone wanted everything from me at once, and it’s very annoying at first. But then I got involved, and things started to go well.
Prior working with Yuri, I was very worried and said that our free program is good, but it’s empty, transitions are not interesting. And then Smekalov came and gave so much that at first it did not fit in my head. Then our coach Vlad Zhovnirsky asked me: “Well, now it’s enough for you?” And I replied, “Just right”
Ksenia admitted that during those months that she hasn’t been skating, missed performances a lot, adrenaline, audience and started to consider many things in a different way. Do you have the same feelings?
– I have never had such state that I don’t want to skate. Regardless of fatigue, even after the Olympics, when almost without a break we started the next season.
Another thing, when you come on the ice after the break, you begin to progress quickly. We did so, when I came back after a broken leg, we quickly went up. In principle, it can be repeated this time. I hope that we’ll have enough power for this and next Olympic season. But in any case it is necessary to find other ways of motivation, not so “extreme”. Still, such breaks are very difficult to endure, and I’m not sure that I can bear it one more time. Ksenia and I had different visions of this situation. She was on treatment, has been focused on this, to some extent she could rest from figure skating. And I’m a pair skater skated alone. It’s very hard. Sometimes I just go crazy. Therefore, I began to regain all the triple jumps, learn compulsory dances.
What compulsory dances have you learnt?
-Rumba, samba, blues, Paso Doble, Quickstep and one of the waltzes. They are not very complicated if you do it with an ice dancer. Olga Orlova helped me as a partner. She works in our group as a steps coach. When training became quite boring, she was teaching me ice dance.
So now you can comment ice dance professionally?
– I need to learn some basic material and then, perhaps, I’ll be able to comment on ice dance.
Do you consider an option to try yourself as a coach?
– Previously, I always said no, I will not work as a coach, because I have an example of my mother, who has worked all her life at the ice rink. I know how difficult this profession is, what problems occur, how hard it is when your skaters leaves you. I saw that my mother is a fan of her every athlete, fully engaged in work. And looking at it, I said that I would never engage in coaching.
But over the years, attitudes are changing. And I don’t exclude such an option now. If there are interesting proposals, to work with someone, why not to consider. I hope that’s how it will be in the future, but for now we are in the present.