“Just because I want to go to the international stage, compete, meet the expectations of parents, that they didn’t spend 12 years of their and my life on this in vain.” Sofia Samodelkina on changing citizenship

Posted on 2024-04-14 • 6 comments


Translation of Sofia Samodelkina’s comments about her transition to the Kazakhstan national team.

original source: Okko Sport

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Figure skater Sofia Samodelkina spoke about her transition to the Kazakhstan national team in the interview with Okko Sport. Here’s a translation of her comments.

Q: In August 2023 news came out that Sofia Samodelkina had changed her citizenship. Please, tell us how it happen, because there is frankly little information from you as the first source. How did everything happen, why did you come to this, when did you realize that you needed to change everything so drastically?

Sofia Samodelkina: It all started with a conversation with my mom and dad. Dad asked the question: What are you going to do next? And I had a very difficult season. All the conversation I had a lump in my throat, tears, a tense state, even though they were talking to me calmly.

I really didn’t understand what to do next. I din’t want anything at all – I just wanted to lie in bed, play on my phone, read books, watch TV series. He said to me, “What are your options? We’ll listen to everything. Change the coach?” – “No, I don’t want to change the coach, I’m satisfied with everything.”

Do you want to perform for another country? At first I said “No” – the position of a small child. Then I said, “What are the advantages in this?” And they – well, you will be able to compete on the international stage If successful, you might win such and such competitions. This isn’t a quick question, if you are OK with it – let’s think about it.

In the end, I agreed. There was no talk about which country. There was just a question, and I gave an answer. The off-season passed. There were many options, mom suggested trying Kazakhstan, as she is a native of this country. I say – I don’t see any downsides. I love this country, have been there many times, won Denis Ten’s memorial.

When mother told me about Kazakhstan and something started there, I went to Svetlana Vladimirovna [Sokolovskaya]. I said that I want to try. By that time, I had already made up my mind, I wanted to perform for another country.

Just because I want to go to the international stage, compete, meet the expectations of parents, that they didn’t spend 12 years of their and my life on this in vain. I’ve been doing this for 12 years, got so many injuries which, most likely, will still affect my health. Just quit everything? No, I don’t want that.

And now it comes to mid-April. From mid-April to the end of May we had all the freedom – do whatever you want.

My mother and I had a conversation, and she said, “We need to get Kazakh citizenship to make it easier afterwards. If you plan on a further sporting life, would like to go to the Olympics, we need citizenship.”

You need a residence permit at least, and to get it, you need to stay in Kazakhstan from forty days to an unknown time. I said ok, let’s go. I thought for a long time, understood that this is a big step.

We arrived, rented an apartment there, moved in. We started to find out everything. Collected all the documents, submitted, did all these things. After about 15 days, I started to run, ran all over Astana. And I started to jump, jumped on a small volleyball court.

And we got a residence permit – yes, hooray! Having received a residence permit, we could calmly go back to Russia. Two training camps are held – Kislovodsk and Armenia.

But even before that, we were called and told: your passports are ready. We bought the tickets, arrived the same night, and got our passports. We’re happy that it was not in vain that we spent 50 days in one room…

Two camps are held. We contacted Kazakhstan, and we were told that in theory you could participate in this season. At Denis Ten’s memorial – even if out of competition. Well, even if I participate out of competition – that’s not bad.

It turned out that they told me that I will not perform at this competitions. But at the championships of Kazakhstan, I can perform as a citizen of the country, for sure.

At this period of time it happened that we parted with Sokolovskaya. I didn’t expect to be kicked out of the group. But it happened. Life does not end there.

Svetlana Vladimirovna says, that’s it. I was on the verge, almost crying. And I don’t want to cry in front of anyone. They kicked me out, it’s offensive, but I don’t want to show that I’m crying. The door closes, and I’m in tears. I immediately text Sasha [Trusova]. I recorded ten circles (video messages in Telegram – ed.) for her, all tearful. Sasha called me, calmed me down.

I was in disbelief about what to do next. I found myself nowhere again, in no group. But I have a Kazakh passport, I am with Kazakh citizenship, and there is a plan for a further career.

Then I started to pack things. I don’t even believe in it myself, I spent 12 years of my life in CSKA, this is my native place, in my heart. And here, I’m packing things, – Samodelkina told the podcast “What’s up in the mix?” on Okko.

Sofia Samodelkina also explained why she did not participate in the Kazakhstan National Championships.

Sofia Samodelkina: There were two weeks left before the Nationals, everything seemed well-prepared – a short program with a triple axel, two triple axels in the free skate. The content was very serious. Two axels in the free skate plus my signature three jump combinations at the end.

A week left. I’m in good shape, I send video recordings of my skates. I ask – tell me whether I’m performing, in or out of competition? And they’re not answering. They simply don’t answer – not me, not my mother, not my father.

Two days are left, and I still believe, although mentally I understand that it seems like I’m not performing. But suddenly they might message me on that day – it worked out, fly out. The championship takes place… And I’m like: it’s a pity. But I’m not upset, I think: if not this season, then the next one.

Q: What are the immediate goals and competitions at which we will be able to see you? From May 2024 you already have the absolute right to perform on the international stage.

Sofia Samodelkina: I hope for the best. So far, I don’t have any exact information, everything is at the level of negotiations,” – Samodelkina said on Okko Podcast “What’s up in the mix?”.


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6 Responses to ““Just because I want to go to the international stage, compete, meet the expectations of parents, that they didn’t spend 12 years of their and my life on this in vain.” Sofia Samodelkina on changing citizenship”

  1. Carol dyas says:

    I have always prided myself in understanding there are actually 3 sides to every coin when most people see only 2.
    After reading this I realize I was narrow minded in believing all skaters from my country who didn’t make the team as total lovers for representing another country. I had not thought about how they might feel after investing time money and even health and not making the team. So now I see her point of view. And I also see the 3rd side of the coin. Everytime a skater moves to another country so they have a better chance of skating they also destroy some other young skaters dream. There is a young woman in this country who has worked equally as hard and risked their health and spent as much money who might lose their chance to compete. I wish this young girl well even though I see her as selfish.

  2. Ramona TP says:

    Why can’t she compete in international competitions or the Olympics from within her own country? This article doesn’t answer the basic questions in journalism.

  3. Galaxiana says:

    I can’t imagine how hard it must be for a young athlete like Sofia to have to leave her coach, friends, and homeland, just to be able to compete “normally”. She has amazing courage to do this! I’ll be rooting for her!

  4. No war says:

    Crossing fingers for Sofia. She seems to be nice, honest and hardworking. Surprised by harsh treatment from Sokolovskaya.. Have previously got impression that Sokolovskaya was a bit ‘patriotism – brainwashed’;)

    • FS Gossips says:

      I guess Sokolovskaya simply couldn’t continue training an athlete who is no longer Russian citizen at the state skating rink. It’s not a private rink / skating academy where everyone who pays can train. There should be some kind of agreements with the federation and also payment from Kazakh federation. But Sofia is not yet a member of Kazakh federation, I think that’s the reason.

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