It’s a translation of some parts of the interview with Maria Sotskova. Here’s the link to the original interview in Russia on Rsport.ru.
Rafael Arutyunyan, with whom you trained this summer in the United States, announced the problem of frequent change of leaders in senior women’s figure skating, where every two years new faces are in the lead. But the same thing you experience at the junior level, when at age 13 won the Grand-prix Final, but then everything didn’t become easier but on the contrary – more complicated.
Maria: It’s true. Leaders are constantly new. The only thing that depresses me – that I am not among them. When I was thirteen it was technically easier to win, it was easier to skate and jump. The body was smaller, the height shorter. Perhaps, on thirty centimeters. In this age you also didn’t feel the moral pressure. I went to the Grand-prix Final, not knowing anything, and just went out and showed everything I was capable of ..
For the first time you always don’t think a lot. That was my first junior season, the first trip to Japan, and victory. A year later I went specifically to confirm the title, but didn’t even make into the top three, that hurted me greatly. I fell in And the judges will rank.
Previously, it was clearer. My childhood was different from my youth because back then if I skate clean, i will certainly place above everyone on pedestal, and now even the best performances don’t guarantee a victory. This year I won two stages of Grand-prix, that gave me confidence. To Barcelona I was going ready to win. I did everything I could, just the today possible maximum. But the result – second place with a decent gap from the winner.
Maria: Polina (Tsurskaya) was even more fresh, she has a very strong program, beautiful and interesting. She also skates it on the high speed, and her jumps are higher. And I’m working on it.
Two years – and it’s your turn for leadership at senior level?
Maria: I will try, of course, I would like, finally, to become a leader and to take first places. Sometimes I win but mostly I finish second, and it doesn’t satisfy me. I performed well at senior Russian National Championships, losing to the more experienced girls with stronger components but even on junior level, I didn’t reached the maximum.
You’re 15 and your height is 170 cm …
Maria: I don’t think I will be taller. Well, maybe on a couple of centimeters. I don’t fear it. If I was able to adapt to this growth, why I can’t adapt to further to “+10cm”?
Maria: It’s possible, why not?
If you keep such high level with such growth you will be an unique on ice.
Maria: I hope that I won’t be so tall. When you grow up, you have to re-assemble to cope with the body. However, this happens after the summer holidays, but a week of training – and everything is normal.
This season your short program is to Black magic woman. The name speaks for itself. Tsurskaya has similar trends. Girly things are not competitive anymore?
Maria: We are growing. I think in the age of 15 people have grown. Not a “Cipollino” to skate, right? Therefore, we try to select those images to look like young women at least on ice, not like the girls with bows. Like it or not, but our rivals are not just seem to be young women, they look this way. We still don’t look like that, but if we have a program for children, then it’ll be simply ridiculous. My Black magic woman it’s not the image of a mature woman, it emphasizes: I grew up, I ready to compete with seniors and my program isn’t worse than theirs, my PCS can’t be lower. And I have to be evaluated respectively.
Like a challenge
Maria: Not such a challenge but a desire to look decent on the background of favorites. We can compete with them and can even beat them. And the childrens program will receive childrens PCS.
Are you tired of childhood?
Maria: I didn’t have it as such where I could be just a little girl. I have always been on training, where don’t make allowances for age. Coaches asked as from adults, demanded adult thinking and everything also must be adult.
Sometimes you want to be comforted?
Maria: Sometimes, but I have a mother for this. The coach shouldn’t be like that.
Experienced people say that skaters often “kill” each other at the pre-competition training sessions by demonstration of confidence.
Maria: At the thirty-minute trainings we are trying to show clean skating and jumping, and not primarily to the competitors but to the judges, so that they can ticked off: this skater do all of the elements, and if he will make them during the competition, it’s not by accident.
Does it affects you when Tsurskaya at the beginning of the performance does the combination “3-3-2“?
Maria: I quite aware what Polina is capable of. So, at competition it’s not like she came and do everything and everybody is surprised and wondered “where did she get it”. We all know who does what and how many points will get. Again, approximately. Competition…
Evgenia Medvedeva during a training session at Grand-prix in Moscow jumped combination “3-3-3″ with the first flip. Do you have something that you haven’t showed at competition?
Maria: Of course, on our ice we do loop-loop and “3-3-3″ (loop–toe loop–toe loop, or all toe loops, or double axel and toe loops). This happens when the training is almost over and there are still forces to jump. But we don’t show it before the start. I tried triple axel only on the floor, but by the end of this season I would like to learn it on the ice.
Sotnikova admitted that in her 19 years, she feels old compared to Radionova and Medvedeva. When you look at 13-year-old Alisa Fedichkina …
Maria:…………I feel older, but not old. How in 15 you can feel that way! I haven’t yet moved into the senior skating completely. I even can say that I’m not good enough yet. There is still a little to improve.
Do you remember the first competition you watched consciously?
Maria: Cup of Russia. I don’t remember what year it was, with my parents we have been going to this competition every time. The atmosphere of the ice arena impressed me more than watching on TV. Earlier at this Grand-prix I just enjoyed the programs, and now I’m studying intros into the jumps, spins. Try to pick something for myself. And since childhood I remember that I have cheered for ours. It was no matter who and how skated – the main thing is ours first.
I have been watching figure skating for not so long but I can’t cheer just for ours. Looking at Carolina Kostner in Sochi and her attitude to the others, I can’t cheer against her.
Maria: It’s bad to cheer against someone. But when we go to the Gran-prix, we go as a team. There is such an atmosphere that you skated and the next day you go to cheer for our athletes. I do that. We’re all friends.
Who among Russian skaters makes you nervous most?
Maria: I’ve always been very worried for the ice dancers, because they all my friends, and they have such a tough competition.
Can you imagine yourself in ice dance?
Maria: When I suddenly became tall, I was thinking about it. If I fail in singles, I can go to the dance. But I keep this idea in a closed box and not going to open it yet.
I’ve heard from someone that all girls dream to skate with Andrew Poje.
Maria: I’m not one of those.
Then Yuri Vlasenko?
Maria: No (laughs).
So, with whom you imagined youself?
Maria: With no one in particular, but of course it would be the person who skating well. Otherwise, it will be impossible to stand the competition in today’s Russian junior ice dances. You know, I hope I won’t have to think about it at all!
Looking at the more experienced rivals, whom you can highlight? For example, in spins?
Maria: I like Julia’s (Lipnitskaia) spins with speed and stretch. Sima has excellent spins at high speed. She is not as flexible as Julia, but Julia’s has it from nature and need only to maintain it.
The first figure skating element which name I learned was bilman.
Maria: Lena Radionova is a specialist in it. Her bilman is like a beautiful tulip.
And Tuktamysheva has an etalon jumps?
Maria: Yes, I really like her triple lutz. It‘s incredible. I would like to jump it like her. Tsurskaya has high jumps but in rotation during the jump Lisa probably have no equals.
Rafael Arutyunyan is more Russian or American coach?
Maria: Russian, in spite of being there for a long time. American coaches are different, they train but don’t put pressure on children. Failure – don’t worry, enjoy. Our coach first of all, see in you not a child but an athlete. They are settled for the result and set children for the result from an early age.
Believed in you from the beginning?
Maria: When came I was three years old and there were a lot of children like me. Then they all dropped out somewhere, besides me. Svetlana Panova immediately paid attention to me, and then we went to the first competition and I made it very well. In my opinion, for the coach it was a defining moment. The jumps was only singles but with them and with other elements coped only I. I growth gradually.
Maria: No, my career is stable, and the situations when you feel bad happens with everyone: when you feel that there is absolutely nothing works on ice, everything is bad, and the rivals are strong. At such moments, it comes an idea: you need to study but because of that figure skating there is no time. “Or maybe it’s time to finish? And maybe it’s time for a serious life. Anyway, you will grow up, figure skating will be over and what will be after?” It happened to me. And then comes the stability and you didn’t even hesitate, you go to the rink to cut the ice. There you should either give everything to become someone, or send it all to hell and do something different.