“Judges come up after the competitions and said: “Your coaches asked to put you behind this and this pair.” frank interview with ice dancer Sofia Shevchenko

Posted on 2022-05-26 • No comments yet


Very frank and open interview with ice dancer Sofia Shevchenko whose duo with Igor Eremenko has ended partnership not so long ago.

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source: rsport dd. 23d May 2022 by Anastasia Panina

This season, the duet Sofia Shevchenko – Igor Eremenko ceased to exist. They were considered one of the most promising young pairs in Russia. A successful junior career – not a season without medals at the Grand Prix stages, two GP Finals, including a victorious one, the bronze of the Junior World Championship, a victory at the Russian Junior Nationals, own style.

How did it happen that in the middle of the Olympic season Sofia and Igor asked coaches Irina Zhuk and Alexander Svinin to pause their careers, and who initiated such a decision? Why do skaters lose their childhood dream “I want to become a champion” and how does the relationship with coaches affect this? How does an athlete feel when the judges at the competitions come up and say “we were asked to put you lower”? Where to get the moral strength for an unpleasant conversation, and why inner voice can’t be ignored? About this and much more – a sincere, full of reflection interview with Sofia Shevchenko.

What are you doing now?

Sofia Shevchenko: I study, train, choreograph programs for single skaters, and also work with the group of Ilia Averbukh and Elena Maslennikova. I was invited by Elena Maslennikova, I came to try. At first I worked with younger guys, now I help everyone. I won’t say much, I’ll just say that I’m delighted. I don’t remember the last time I went on the ice with such a desire. For me, this is the defining criterion.

With Igor we see each other every day and occasionally skate together, but not because we are preparing for competitions. We coach other guys. I have a conviction that your people will not go anywhere, and if you are destined to help each other and do something good together, this will definitely happen.

Recently we were at a training session, I come up to Igor, pushed him lightly with my shoulder and said: “Listen, at what point did you and I start training a whole group?” (laughs). Everything is changing very quickly. It worked out and it turned out great. I will say for myself that I am really happy.

When was the turning point to take such a decision?

Sofia Shevchenko: It was the Grand Prix in Japan. That competitions were significant for me. I realized that this could not go on like this and something had to change. I didn’t know what and how would happen next, but I knew for sure that I didn’t want to do it the old way. I finally realized this during the competitions. Usually they justify the whole working process, all the difficulties, and you understand why you skate. But when I left the ice, I didn’t feel at all what I felt at the competitions before. I understood – it means that I’m definitely not mistaken, and now some kind of dramatic change will begin.

In Japan, we talked with Igor. I explained the situation. I asked to take a break from training and competitions. We have always been not only sports partners, but also friends. Of course, he supported me, but for him this news was like a bolt from the blue. I didn’t know how he would react, so I didn’t speak before the competitions, I was afraid that it would affect his motivation. After all, there was such a story that we didn’t get this Grand Prix first, then we got it, and everyone was very happy. I saw how enthusiastic Igor works. I got over myself and realized that I needed to prepare and perform, no matter how much I wanted to quit everything.

How did Igor react?

Sofia Shevchenko: He was shocked by my condition and what I ask of him. Igor wanted to continue skating. He tried to persuade me to wait until the end of the season, we were supposed to perform at the Universiade and the Russian Nationals. I said: “Igor, it’s true, I can’t do this anymore and, most importantly, I don’t want to. The point of no return.”

We arrived in Moscow and immediately went to talk with the coaches. I asked the coaches the same thing – I said that I needed time. Get out of the situation, look at it from the outside, recover. The coaches said that if we leave now, we will not return. And they were right. I was in such a state that I thought: “Well, ok.”

The conversation was unpleasant, but I did not count on a pleasant one, to be honest. I’ve never returned to this rink again.

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Was it scary to leave everything?

Sofia Shevchenko: It was scary, but I was firm in my decision. I tried not to listen to anyone, because I needed to hear myself, first of all. It was difficult – to go against everything and everyone, all the rules and how it’s accepted to behave. It seemed to be the middle of the season, we just begun to enter it, plus this was the Olympic season. I had a responsibility to Igor, to the coaches… But I couldn’t. True, I am a very patient and persistent person, but all these qualities live in me when I clearly know that my goal and my path are in front of me. If I start to doubt, it fails. So I had to decide. Going to the goal because someone else needs it is not about me and not about sports. Sport is when you give yourself two hundred percent and know that it is definitely yours.

What happened after that conversation?

Sofia Shevchenko: Igor continued to train. We initially discussed that the option of some shows is possible, because this is not a sport at all. In mid-December, Igor texted me that Ilia Averbukh and Elena Maslennikova want to take us to the show. We rehearsed for three weeks, performed for a week. I really enjoyed it, wonderful experience. We skated a New Year’s fairy tale and, indeed, it was like a fairy tale for us.

Was there still a chance that after a pause you would return?

Sofia Shevchenko: I don’t think that I would return to the same group, but if I returned to another, I would skate only with Igor. I was offered other options, partners texted me, but I said no. After all, I didn’t leave because Igor and I broke up as a duet. Everything was great with us. As a pair we had big plans together. I left because I felt like I wanted to try a different path myself. Igor wanted to skate, I know, he tried out with different girls, but, apparently, it did not work out.

In addition to my situation, I also saw the situation in general in the ice dance national team and in the world. I felt that something good was unlikely to come out. What happened in the end? The Universiade, for which we were supposed to prepare, was cancelled. The Russian Nationals was held with intrigues and scandals. Who was going to the Olympics, who was not going … Honestly, I looked at all this and was glad that I was not a part of it. Otherwise, being there, I would be very worried.

Already after our New Year’s shows, Igor and I were offered to move to another group. He said he saw no prospects there. Plus, by the spring, the whole situation in the world happened, and at the Olympics it was already clear what was happening. Now the majority of Russian athletes are in a difficult situation – you need to find motivation somewhere. We found ourselves in good positions in coaching at the right time.

Have you analyzed what exactly broke down in you, that the goal has ceased to shine for you? It certainly didn’t happen in one day.

Sofia Shevchenko: No, of course not in one day. This is a balanced decision. For several months I have been responsibly wrote out all the consequences, pros and cons of the situation. I came to the conclusion that there will be more pros from my decision, no matter how difficult it is to part with people, to say what you think and act as you feel.

I have been involved in sports for 16 years. My goal could not fall apart in one moment, disappear. All athletes have failures, everyone become stronger thanks to them, this is a constant fight and overcoming. And this is normal, but only when it is your dream and it shines for you. You are ready to do anything for it.

I just wondered if this was really my dream and if I was ready to do anything to make it come true. And I answered myself “no”. It became clear, it wasn’t motivation that was gone, the goal was gone. Outlook on life has changed. Maybe I grown up. The childhood dream of “I want to be a champion, I want gold,” like in the TV commercial, has faded. You grow up and start to look at things more realistically, you set priorities. And I set them. And then I just took the time to understand if I could live without sports. During this pause, life went well like if everything fell into its place.

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Did the pandemic, the difficulties associated with it, the lack of competitions for everyone in general and for you and Igor personally affect the fact that the goal was lost?

Sofia Shevchenko: Of course, it did. It is many things that slowly accumulate, accumulate … At first it is easy to close your eyes to many of them, but each time it becomes more and more difficult. I’ve just never been in blinders, and besides sports, there have always been many things in my life. Athletes spend only five percent of their time behind the board, and, by the way, there is a whole life outside the rink.

The situation was also complicated by the fact that my views did not coincide with the coaches, people with whom I spent all my time and went to a big goal. After the free program at the Grand Prix in Japan, we had the traditional analysis with Irina Vladimirovna (Zhuk), and after it I realized that’s it: I no longer skate at the “Mechta arena” (the name of the rink where Sophia trained – ed.). Not because someone is bad, not because I am angry or offended, but because we see the future path differently. I am very grateful for everything that Irina Vladimirovna, Alexander Vasilievich and the whole team have done for me. They helped me become who I am. And I really like this girl. (laughs)

You said “the views do not coincide with the coaches.” Views on sports or in general?

Sofia Shevchenko: We talked mainly on sports topics, but also in general. Moments important for me were often omitted. I’m not saying that it’s wrong, it just constantly made me wonder if I was at the right place. Whether it’s a right path because people who lead me to my goal have completely different values ​​and views. How will we work? We are different in everything, from the most minimal things – opinions about the hairstyle that I need to do for competitions, to global things – how to work and where we are striving.

It seemed to me that senior athletes decide themselves what hairstyle to do for the competitions. Or do coaches still have a strong influence on this?

Sofia Shevchenko: They influence.

At the level of recommendations or directives?

Sofia Shevchenko: (pause) What is the difficulty of working with senior athletes? I am now working with juniors and I understand that I cannot communicate with them the way I do with those who skate in the second sports category. These are adults, individuals, you need to reckon with them and talk to them. At some point, I realized that Igor and I had matured, but we communicate with coaches in the same way as we communicated with children.

I don’t know, maybe the coaches were afraid that we would cross some line, maybe they were afraid of losing authority. But there was no absolute trust and unity. They simply could not get together and talk like adults. Igor and I, for our part, have always been ready for this.

Did you have the feeling that the lack of dialogue happened not because of reluctance of the coaches, but let say, because of lack of time and a matter of priorities? Ice dance is such a complicated thing with its own unspoken rules, there is a first number in the group, senior guys who coaches have been betting on for many years, and you, the younger pairs, are sort of a bit of a leftover.

Sofia Shevchenko: That there is a first pair, this is understandable. All junior pairs build their own path behind it and understand that until this pair leaves, the path will not be open to them.

We always had 3-4 very strong pairs in the group. Starting from the Dima Mikhailov, Nastya with Grisha (Shpilevaya – Smirnov). And it never happened that only the first pair skated well. Coaches have always raised a whole generation, and it seemed to me that they understand: Sasha and Vanya (Stepanova – Bukin) will someday leave, and this generation will come forward. In general, I do not think that we did not have a dialogue because of this. But if we started talking about these things out loud, the workflow would be disrupted.

Because there’s nothing you can do about it? The unspoken rules of ice dance – queue, hierarchy, the long building of the image so that the duo is known and scored right. If you start talking about it, anarchy will begin, probably, or you will just have to change the coach.

Sofia Shevchenko: I don’t blame anyone, I’m very grateful to everyone, I don’t get angry at anyone – what happened, happened. The question is not that there is a first pair – Sasha and Vanya. We have never competed with them. We accepted it, respected the guys, understood that this was the face of our group. We saw how hard they work and were very supportive. We absolutely agreed that more attention is being paid to them. The time they spent with the coaches is a huge milestone that we have not passed yet. And they deserve that time and attention.

The question is that there were pairs with whom we competed on an equal footing. We were not ready to constantly get under them just because it was profitable. Because this is a reserve for the future for other pairs. Several times, of course, you can endure it and you need to go through it, everyone goes through it. But over several years, the situation starts to press, and you generally cease to understand where your place really is. We are not small and understood what was happening, but they could never openly tell us: “Guys, now we are leading the first pair, and you should be patient. You have such a role for now. Then we will take care of you. Now you need to stand here, in the future there are plans for you. You deserve medals, and you lose not because you’re awful.”

But just because such are the rules of the game?

Sofia Shevchenko: Yes. We used to come to competitions and with clean skates we found ourselves behind pairs who skated with mistakes. Afterwards, we were almost always told: “It’s your own fault. Not good enough.” At some point, you really start to believe in it. You come to the competitions uptight, because you don’t understand where you will find yourself. But we always tried to do everything that depended on us and win, first of all, over ourselves.

However, when you come to competitions with such an attitude, the eyes do not burn so much. Then the coaches ask: “What’s the matter? Why don’t you fly on the ice and win everyone with your confidence?”

I guess, confidence is nowhere to come from.

Sofia Shevchenko: Yes, especially when you not only lose to everyone, but also hear “say thank you for placing you here.” This kills motivation.

It may seem that the coaches tried to motivate us this way, but in my example it did not work. I just lost faith in myself. I came to competitions and thought that we really were the worst.

With the audience loving you.

Sofia Shevchenko: When the fans asked us questions about places and scores, we stood, nodded and smiled politely. What else to do?

Then the judges came up after the competitions and said: “Your coaches asked to put you behind this and this pair.” And you have a complete dissonance in your head. You think: “Why am I skating in this group, if this happens?”

Okay, so be it, if we are a team and then compensate for all this. But when the judges tell you that…

I can’t imagine.

Sofia Shevchenko: Can you imagine where the motivation goes? There is a queue ice dance and this is somewhat understandable. It’s not about the queue. The only question is why it is impossible to talk about it honestly and openly.

It turns out that we, on the one hand, promote the image that we are a family and support each other. On the other hand, we do not even talk about such moments. For some, this may be a working scheme, but this approach was not close to me.

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You have a lot of courage, since you have raised this topic openly.

Sofia Shevchenko: I did not tell the coaches this openly. I was ready to be honest, if they are interested in why everything is so. But then we started talking, and I just sat there and nodded. I felt that they were angry at me, it was resentment. They had their own opinion on my account and, indeed, there were many screw-ups on my part at that moment, but what I feel and why everything is developing in this way now, they were not interested. I probably wouldn’t be able to explain.

In sports, no one really cares how you feel. You have a goal – go for it. If this goal burned in me the way it burned for many years, I would do everything to achieve it without asking too many questions. But as soon as the goal fades, you feel completely at a loss. You ask questions: am I there or not, what do I deserve and what do I not deserve? These thoughts are so distracting from the training process, which must go without hesitation, with full concentration and dedication, in order to achieve something, that you are no longer enough for training.

Didn’t you have a desire to grab Igor and rush with him anywhere? Fans love to send everyone abroad – Zueva, Shpilband, Lauzons. It is clear that this is a lot of money, and writing about it is much easier than actually doing it. But would you like to try a different coaching team, a different format of work?

Sofia Shevchenko: Of course, there was such a desire. But this has always been interpreted not as development, but as a betrayal. And, being a part of this system, you have to accept it.

Who interpreted it this way, you or the coaches?

Sofia Shevchenko: In our group it has always been like this: if you leave, this is a betrayal.

But serfdom was abolished in 1861. A person has one career.

Sofia Shevchenko: I would say that a person has one life, and many things that are accepted in big sports do not take into account that an athlete is a living person, not a robot, he also has bad days. Sport is a part of life that will end someday, and if you “kill” yourself in this part of life … it is unlikely that something will develop further. Some never recover.

If you are a coach who has been leading an athlete since childhood, you are responsible for him. His fate is in your hands. If he wants to move on, well, let him go. And if you don’t let go, it turns out that it doesn’t matter to you whether he becomes a champion. It is important for you that he does not become a champion with someone else.

So well said.

Sofia Shevchenko: In our situation, of course, it turned out that I was bad. But I’ve never been good for coaches, to be honest (laughs). What can I say. Igor is an amazing athlete. Probably, they wanted to keep him and find him another girl. But when I said about the pause, the coaches didn’t even think about trying to keep us together. Like, if you want to leave – leave.

Perhaps I will have a great coaching career and I will know the pain of losing students, but I still believe that human values should prevail over sporting ones. If an athlete wants to go further, let him go, even if it hurts you. Do not break his fate: what if this is a great talent! A very large number of athletes do not reach the level that they could have shown, because they faced such. Igor and I, perhaps, could have also achieved a lot in big sports.

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Sonya, where do you have so much strength and ability to separate the wheat from the chaff? Did you work with a psychologist, did you discuss the situation with your parents?

Sofia Shevchenko: We had a sports psychologist Zhanna Simak. She knew what was going on for me, I shared a lot with her, but not everything, because the psychologist is in contact with the coaches. A sports psychologist should deal with issues related to sports, and ambitions, values, suffering about injustice – it’s better to keep all this behind the board.

Zhanna supported me in the sense that, of course, she had to do everything to keep me. This is the job of a sports psychologist. But since she is a very good person, she honestly said: we don’t touch on these topics, because if we develop them and go into therapy, you will leave the sport. Because big sport is not a healthy psychological environment, and none of the experts consider it healthy.

I am grateful to Zhanna for the fact that she saw a personality in me and did not try to keep me.

How did your parents react to the decision to take a break in the middle of the season?

Sofia Shevchenko: My mom found out about it when I was in the process of making a decision. Preparing for Grand Prix in Japan was difficult because we missed a lot of training, I was sick. At some point, I confessed to my mother that this might be my last competitions, if I even gather myself to get there. Mom insisted that I go through this path. I say I can’t take it anymore. She says there are a week and a half left. You will give up it all now, and then you will regret it. And I’m really glad I didn’t quit then.

She thought it was temporary?

Sofia Shevchenko: Yes, the coaches also took it that way. And when later I told my mother how things really were, she, of course, supported me. She had a conversation with the coaches after our conversation with them. She took my side, strongly stood up for me, and I am very grateful to her for this.

Now, already being a coach myself, I often see that parents put pressure on their children. The coach says “you are mediocrity”, and the parents add “you are mediocrity”. It makes me so sad. Why don’t you support your children? These are your children first of all, not athletes!

My mother always supported me, but I came to her already with ready-made decisions. She raised me from childhood in such a way that this is my life, and I will have to think with my own head. This is probably why I have such a feature that I feel very clearly where there will be success and where not. Which way is mine and which is not. Intuition.

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When you teamed up with Igor, did you also feel that this was “your way”?

Sofia Shevchenko: Igor and I were initially teamed up so that he would not forget how to skate in pair, because his partner left him. And so that I could “improved” a little, because I came from single skating.

When Igor stepped on the ice and we skated the first circle together, I looked at him and told myself that this would be my partner. No one expected that I would grow to some level, that we could be teamed up, but I felt that this was my man.

And as the years passed after the Grand Prix in Japan, I also understood that Igor was my man and fate would bring us together anyway. And here we are. A few months later, we meet every day in training.

At what point did you start coaching?

Sofia Shevchenko: After the show, they started to gradually involve me in coaching. To put something, to work with athletes. In many ways, this happened thanks to the show, because we skated in a team where there were coaches with their groups. I just needed practice. And yet, during the show, I clearly realized that I actually really like figure skating. It’s just that the situation I have been in professional sports for the past few years has led to the fact that I forgot about this love.

The months flew by very quickly. I choreographed programs, was engaged in gliding, Igor was doing something of his own.

In early April, Ari Zakarian invited us to a show in Japan, but due to circumstances it did not work out. Then Igor and I phoned and talked. Igor said that he also began to coach. And then, a few days later, an interview with Irina Zhuk and Alexander Svinin suddenly came out that I ended my career and went to study, and Igor continues to skate in a group and is looking for a new partner. I was surprised because I myself did not announce that I had finished skating and went to study. That is, for me, this question was probably still open. Igor just recently has also described the situation differently to me.

I called Igor again and asked if he had discussed this interview with the coaches. He replied that he did not, and, apparently, it all happened spontaneously. Well, I think it’s okay. They probably just dotted the I.

And a few days later an interview was published that Igor Eremenko was working in the group of Ilia Averbukh and Elena Maslennikova, that he had ended his career. It was closer to what Igor told me. I didn’t worry about what was happening, I tried not to waste my nerves on anything. Let go of the situation.

What are the happiest moments from sports that you remember after a while?

Sofia Shevchenko: I remember two things. Junior Grand Prix Final in Vancouver. When we first found out that we won it, and we have a difference of one hundredth. There were three Russian duets on the podium. Three Russian flags were raised. We all shouted the anthem. It was so powerful! Despite the fact that we all went close in competition, there was such unity. Canada, three Russian flags, incredible feelings.

The second moment was at the World Junior Championships in Zagreb, when we finished the free skate. It was already very emotional, I put my soul into it, Igor too. Contemporary choreography. There are no boundaries in modern dance, and everyone lives what is in his soul. We finished the dance, final pose, and I start to sob. Indescribable feelings.

When I watch the Olympics and see how people cry there, I can roughly imagine what kind of emotions they hace. You just gave everything and you are so happy that it happened with you and you are here. I no longer cared what place we would take, where we would be. Plus, against the background of physical fatigue, a very strong euphoria. Probably, for the sake of such emotions it is worth skating. They are bigger than medals.

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It seems to me that many people hesitate for years to end their careers because they can stop having this euphoric state.

Sofia Shevchenko: That’s why I so wanted to get to that Grand Prix in Japan. Japan is a country where figure skating is loved. You find yourself on a holiday, in a fairy tale. I thought that if I feel absolute indifference there, it definitely means that everything is going wrong with me. And this is not a matter of temporary overcoming and a difficult stage. This means that either we change everything drastically, or we end it all.

And so I came to the competitions in Japan, and I have no emotions. Absolutely. I’ve never been so wasted. And if there are no medals, no emotions, then why are we all here?

What does an athlete do when he suddenly gets a lot of free time during a break in his career? Sleep, walk all day?

Sofia Shevchenko: Sleep enough is for sure. I have had sleep problems for the last year and a half in sports. That is, with heavy loads, I could not fall asleep, I slept for 3-5 hours. I was constantly nervous, I was shaking. Probably, it was also a call that I was going the wrong way, I needed to listen to myself, listen to my body.

The first time I slept twenty hours a day. I could fall asleep and not wake up at all. Such a shock and healing state at the same time, which I needed for a long time. I could fall asleep standing or sitting. This lasted for three weeks. Later I flew away from Russia. It was necessary to switch, plus I had some things to do abroad. All in all, it helped me too.

Did you watch the Russian Nationals, the Olympics? Did you manage to let go everything by that time?

Sofia Shevchenko: The Russian Nationals – no, because then I still could not let it go. At that time, only a month and a half had passed, and I abstracted from figure skating as much as possible, closed social networks, communicated only with my friends who were not connected with figure skating. I could not perceive everything related to sports.

By the Olympics it was already easier. And I understood that this was a huge event. Plus, and my activities and studies are connected with figure skating. The Olympics is an event not to be missed. Of course, I was rooting for Russian athletes. I was worried about Sasha and Vanya, but I couldn’t watch them … the emotions and memories associated with our group were still fresh. But I watched the legendary live broadcast of the womens’ free program. It knocked everyone out hard, and me, of course, too.

Sasha’s pain, Kamila’s drama, the inability to share one medal. Why did it knock you out?

Sofia Shevchenko: Any athlete needs to be aware of whether he is ready to go for it. We all aim at conquering the highest peaks, and there is no other way. In fact, this is a great broadcast, because the women’s free skating in Beijing is the true face of big sport. Here he is in his truest form. Every athlete goes through pain, through difficulties, through injustice, through overcoming and victories. If you want to plunge into it – please. Not ready – don’t. The atmosphere at the Olympics and the emotions of girls experiencing a state when they had one goal in their lives, and now there is none, also influenced my decision to end my career. I remember how Zhenya (Medvedeva) cried at the Olympics. How Yulia (Lipnitskaia) cried. Lots of examples. Being out of sports at that time for several months, not in this race for emotions, I looked at the girls in Beijing and thought – I don’t want that.

If one of the athletes is now going through the same crisis of dreams, confidence, doubts the expediency of continuing to move forward, what would you say to him?

Sofia Shevchenko: Stop and listen to yourself. Both life and sport are an endless framework, what you can and what you can’t do. In fact, there are no concepts of “right” and “wrong”, there is no negative experience. Whoever expects anything from you, this is your life, you have only one life. You have to live it the way you want. The choice in favor of yourself is difficult, but it will lead to success. Even if you don’t see an alternative yet, but you already understand that you don’t want to live the way you live now, you need to change something. And don’t be afraid of it. People are afraid of losing a little, although in fact, having risked once, they only gain more. Perhaps it would be appropriate to say that desperate times call for desperate actions. No one can decide for you where you want to go in life.

Would you change anything in your career if you could?

Sofia Shevchenko: Never, no. I’ve thought about this a lot. Only after a while you can turn back and understand – oh, that’s why I needed all this for! Then you felt bad, hurt, you were indignant, and then you realized that this, in fact, was the best thing that happened to you. These feelings expand our range. Probably most people in sports think that I made a mistake, that this is a tragedy for me.

I specifically announced about my retirment, when I have already felt that I was not sorry and realized that I had done everything right. This is my road. It goes just the way I want it. Sports made me strong. This is a step into adulthood – after sports, nothing is scary, thanks to it I have my own view on many things.

By the way, I am very pleased that everyone who wrote “it’s a pity that you finished”, while adding that they respect my choice. I also thought at that moment what the right environment I have gathered over the years. I don’t need crowds of people to follow me. I need those who will see me as a person in the first place. I am very grateful to the fans, and I hope that they will love our students.

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At the end of the interview, Sonya asked for the floor to thank.

Sofia Shevchenko: I would also like to thank people whom I have never thanked in an interview. Thanks to my mother – she invested a lot in me both as an athlete and as a person. Thank you very much to all my family and friends. Sport occupies a person completely, and everyone who is connected with you accepts and supports your beliefs and lifestyle.

Thanks to the coaches who accompanied me from the first exit on the ice. Irina Borisovna Strakhova, Marina Leonidovna Selitskaya, Irina Vadimovna Shcherbakova – they instilled in me a love for figure skating and self-confidence. Thanks to the teachers who were outside the sport – as I said, a lot depends on the head, and they greatly influenced my discipline and values. Thanks to the artists who draw sketches for the costumes and those who helped us create these costumes – it was some kind of magical process.

Thank you very much to Svetlana Petrovna Kandyba on behalf of all the athletes whom she helped. There are many of them. Thanks to Elena Stanislavovna (Maslennikova) and Ilia Izyaslavich (Averbukh) for the opportunity and trust. They are amazing creative people with whom I want to move on.

And, of course, thanks to Igor. For the fact that he appeared in my life and stays in it until now. He became my family, we went through a lot and, I hope, we will go even more. Thanks to his wonderful family – I saw only support from them. They are real people with a capital letter.


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