Khudaiberdieva and Bazin: “Being the first substitute is terrible. You are with the team, you train the same, but you worry even more, because you don’t understand: yes or no.”

Posted on 2022-04-20 • No comments yet


Interview with Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva and Egor Bazin. About not getting to the Olympics, emotional statements at the Russian Nationals and the formation of their duo.

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source: dd. 13th April 2022

Bazin – about the reason for break up of their pair with Sofia Evdokimova

Egor Bazin: When we started skating with Sonya [Evdokimova], I was 10. We skated together 14 years. We broke up due to circumstances: these were unsuccessful results at the 2019 Russian Nationals, Sonya’s injury and my desire to skate further. I love this sport, and I really wanted to continue skating, I didn’t realize myself, I didn’t want to finish. Of course, I wanted to go to the Olympics, in a long run to compete for some kind of medal, perhaps for the first place. We missed the first point, so we need to immediately go for the medal (laughs).

Elizaveta about starting skating with Egor Bazin

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Nikita Nazarov was my first partner, he took me as a very small single skater, by the hand, one might say. For me, too, there was a pain in my heart when we broke up. But so it happened.

Our pair with Nikita broke up, then I skated with Andrei for a little less than a year. We successfully gained momentum during the season – these were junior competitions, which do not have a serious meaning, but in your heart you remember your first joint competitions, the first victory over yourself as something incredible. We gained and gained momentum, but, as often happens in junior dances, the Grand Prix Final did not work out for us on the international arena, there were other goals at the Russian Nationals – we became fourth and did not go to the World Championships. And then, in fact, I got an offer from Egor and the coaching staff.

About teaming up

Egor Bazin: Oleg Sudakov, my coach, suggested teaming up with Liza. Both of us had not seen a single girl better than Liza at that time. But it didn’t fit in my head, I thought she was unlikely to agree.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: At the junior championships in Saransk, my coach told me that Oleg Sudakov would talk to me. I asked: “Why?” He said: “Well, listen to him, he wants to offer you something.” It flew out of my head, I was on emotions, distracted. Then he came up to me and said, “Come on, let’s talk.” My coach was aware, it was not a shock for him. I suppose Oleg Sudakov first phoned my coach, because I was still in the season. Throughout January, I was actively preparing for the competitions, and Egor had the Russian Nationals at the end of December.

We thought for a long time, I sat alone for a day, talked to my dad, thought how, where. It seems to me that in three or four days my dad and I went to Tolyatti.

About switching from singles to ice dance

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: When I switched to ice dance, it was a blow to my parents. Dad really wanted me, apparently, to be in the place of Alina Zagitova, to become an Olympic champion and jump to the skies. But objectively, at some point, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to do this and I should go to study, not waste time, my parents’ money. I was 12 years old then.

I remember that I came to the Russian Cup stage in Samara, motivated, all the off-season we worked with the coach, Olga Sergeevna Sapronova, I was her only skater among the candidates for masters of sports. We learned two triples with underrotation, we thought that we will fight for the top five. I became the 24th or 31st, I don’t remember. I skated the free program, sat on the stands, and then Polina Tsurskaya performed. She was already doing a combination of triple lutz- triple toe loops three with her hands up. And after Polina, another 15 people make such content. I came home and realized that I could not catch up with them, even if I wanted to, and I had to either finish or try something.

I wanted to switch to ice dance because it was the post-Olympic season after Sochi. It was a home Olympics, all people watched sports: they looked at Katya [Bobrova] with Dima [Soloviev], and they looked at Lena [Ilinykh] with Nikita [Katsalapov]. I thought how beautiful it was, really. I liked it, I told my parents, they say: “No, why. Skate at your own expense if you want.” That is, to get there – by yourself, to eat – by yourself, competitions – by yourself. A month passed, they saw that I didn’t get angry, didn’t say: “Help me, I don’t want anymore”, I like it. They saw that I come home after a workout at five o’clock and watch all the competitions: older age, the Russian junior championships, I’m interested, I watch YouTube all the time. They understood what I liked it, and, of course, helped me until I started to get a salary.

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Khudaiberdieva and Bazin on why they “can’t skate”

Egor Bazin: Liza and I tried to skate together in Togliatti (Egor native town) – well, it’s cool. And then I realized that I don’t know how to skate: it’s hard for my heart, it’s scary.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: For 15 years he skated hand in hand with one person (with Sofia Evdokimova).

Egor Bazin: Sonya and I felt each other.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: They could go in one direction, but we realized that we were going in different directions. And not only in different directions, but also in different ways. It turned out that our technique was absolutely different. We even partly benefited from the pandemic. While everyone was waiting, we kind of got used to each other and learned. Until now, sometimes, when the season ends, we just start skating and realize that we both can’t skate (laughs), everything is so uncomfortable.

Egor Bazin: It may look fine, but in my head it doesn’t feel right. Sometimes it seems that you are going very slowly, crawling.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: It’s a fight. The feeling that you will fall apart and be torn in different directions.

About skating with a girlfriend

Egor Bazin: All my life I held the hand of one person, and then I had to held another. I did not have any feelings, it was just a restructuring of my life, nothing more. It was hard to skate with Sonya. I basically yelled, swored, then apologized in prder to work. At some point, it all came together, it was hard for her. There are living examples of those who do this, who succeed, the main thing is attitude, mutual understanding.

About the return to last year’s program

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: We were afraid to return to last year’s program, but everything coincided: in “Othello and Desdemona” we were uncomfortable, and there was a lot of criticism.

Egor Bazin: We thought that after such a program we also need something with a story, so we called professionals. We worked on the floor and it was probably our mistake. It didn’t work out, we had to do adjust it for our sport. It turned out heavy, and we wanted some kind of lightness. When we returned the “oldies”, we decided to redo it, changed 60 percent. It became so easy, we exhaled and with this program went on a tour of three competitions.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: It so happened that there was a pandemic season and there were no international competitions, except for the home stage of the Grand Prix. International judges have not seen this program live. And during the season, we didn’t really feel it. We decided to change the costumes, refine them, and it seems to me that the program began to shine.

About “Romeo and Juliet” program by Stepanova and Bukin

Egor Bazin: What I saw in their free dance this year is that they tried to make some kind of modern with their arms. For them it was new, they skated something not clear. I saw a new arm dance style from them.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: I liked the program, the movements, but I didn’t understand and still don’t understand why it was Romeo and Juliet. There is also such a music – you do not immediately understand. Cool program, the guys skated cool and show new moves for themselves. As an athlete, you immediately see that they tried hard, worked hard. But I still did not fully understand this program, because it is abstract, but with a reference to Romeo and Juliet.

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About goals for the Olympic season

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: At the beginning of the season, in the summer we made a plan for the competitions, but we decided that we would not think about the Olympics. There were a lot of pairs, and we were not leaders at all, in the second part of the national team. In order not to upset ourselves, we decided not to think that we would definitely get there. We thought that we would work and if we get there, great. If we don’t get there, then we just have to do our maximum, try our best.

About anger at the Russian Nationals

Egor Bazin: At the Russian Nationals, after a short dance, there was anger, despite the fact that we skated well. Then someone started to make mistakes, we started to climb higher, we were very happy that we became the third, but this is considering that Nikita did not skate. It all came together: we were glad that we were third, but then the understanding came that that was it. And why? And then came the anger. That’s all. And then we decided that we need to skate and train further.

About being the first substitutes

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: It was terrible. In fact, you are the first substitute – you are with them, you train as much, you worry even more, because you don’t understand: yes, yes, no, no.

Only recently I had anger, in March, because I was upset that we had improved both dances very much – we did a lot, improved a lot in January-February. I was very offended that we skated well but did not show what we had prepared.

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About emotional words at the Russian Nationals

Egor Bazin: Probably I should have done it a little more thoughtfully, more correctly. To express your thought more correctly, so that God forbid offend someone, to express a clear position. Although I said it: “We skate to get to the Olympic Games, live our whole lives for this.” Perhaps this was enough, and people would understand everything. I had to say a little differently, to build my sentences, thoughts. I went to the mixed zone, they did not have time to ask questions, I just said that no questions needed, I would say it myself. I thought to do this even after the short program, but it was even worse there.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Our message was that we are not offended by anyone and we do not blame anyone, which is the most important thing. People thought we were blaming other athletes – no. I said this at a press conference, I realized that we need to voice it out, that we cannot blame people who skate the same way like we do. And people thought that this was said about Diana and Gleb. Of course it wasn’t. On the day of the show, I saw Diana and Gleb, we talked. I told Diana, she said: “I understand that you would not blame me for anything.”

Egor Bazin: I approached Gleb and said: “This is definitely not about you, don’t be angry at me, sport is sport.” He said, “Yes, of course.” He’s a good, decent person.

In general, it’s very bad, I don’t like that we always make such things. I don’t like it when a pair became known for such statements. I don’t want there to be a lot of noise. I want people to talk about us and to love us for our skating. I want to be remembered for skating and our good attitude towards everyone. I want everyone to love us. It won’t happen, but I want everyone to like us.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: As a rule, many fans start to hate you after what you said. And they will no longer look at your skating.

About what they would like to wish for themselves for next season?

Egor Bazin: Care-discipline, patience, to direct our strength and energy only to work. Don’t get distracted by other thoughts. Do not think about things that we cannot influence. Just work on ourself with our great team.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: The most important and the most difficult thing is not to waste energy on what you cannot do.

Egor Bazin: Don’t think about it, it doesn’t concern us. Do your work.


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