“Anna Pogorilaya was preparing for the Olympics, she had back problems and coach used to take it out on us. I was tired of all this toxic environment.” Speed skater Alexandra Sayutina about quitting figure skating

Posted on 2022-10-16 • No comments yet


Speed skater Alexandra Sayutina told why she quit figure skating at the age of 16 and switched to speed skating.

photo matchtv

source: matchtv.ru dd. 16th October 2022 by Veronika Gabadieva

Alexandra, I always wanted to ask why did you quit figure skating?

Alexandra Sayutina: It’s a long story. I left figure skating in the summer of 2017. It was the time when Anna Pogorilaya was preparing for the Olympics, she had back problems. She came, then she missed trainings, the coach accumulated all this emotionally, was irritated, and used to take it out on us. Our loads have risen so much that it has become impossible to bear them.

When I went to rest for a week in July, I thought that after returning it would be better, but on the contrary, everything got only worse. Someone began to fall out – someone has back problems, someone has knee problems. It was already becoming difficult to endure both mentally and physically. And that day I was making a run-throughs of the program, failed the jump and heard: “Either three more run-throughs in a row with the music, or get out of training.” By that time, the situation was such that at every training session I thought about leaving.

In general, when the coach asked this, I packed my things and left. The coach texted my mom and dad that I was so bad and I’m to blame for everything that I didn’t want to work. I was 16 years old, and the threat of telling parents no longer worked.

photo by RIA Novosti

16 years for women’s single skating is already a lot.

Alexandra Sayutina: But I was in one of my best shapes. We have already overcome the moment with the transitional age, when the weight changes and the brains at this moment already work differently. Everything started to get better, I got in shape, was quite “dry”, and now it all happened … I went, sat on the playground, thought, weighed everything, called home and told my dad: “Pick me up.” He was surprised: “But it’s only 1 p.m.”

I got into the car and told him everything. He did not put pressure on me, he said that we’ll talk in the evening. In the evening he asked if I wanted to change my coach, if I wanted to change my mind and return, just the president of the federation was supposed to come and look at Anya Pogorilaya, her readiness … They would also look at me, tell me, appreciate me. Mom also said about this: “Maybe you’ll skate for another week, at least we’ll know what to start from after this monitoring” … I said that I would not return, that I was tired of all this toxic situation.

You talked about loads, but speed skating is a huge work …

Alexandra Sayutina: But it’s a completely different sport. And morally a little easier. There are training camps, we do not sit in one place. In figure skating you are all the time on the same rink, a couple of weeks of rest, and again on the same rink …

After figure skating and all that is happening around, are you not bored in speed skating?

Alexandra Sayutina: Not yet. I’ve been doing speed skating for five years. Came at 16, it is considered late. But still, I did not come from swimming or skiing. There is a feeling of ice.

Can you compare loads? Vanya Skobrev said that one should not underestimate the workload of figure skaters even against the background of speed skaters, and he only performed in the ice show.

Alexandra Sayutina: Certainly, it shouldn’t be underestimated. It’s hard. Morally, there is constant pressure – you need to lose weight, again. They told me: you need to lose a kilogram from each leg. How can I choose where exactly does this weight are being lost?

Yes, the load is serious both moral and physical, but in figure skating, unlike speed skating, there is no such thing when it “hits your legs”, turns them off and you can fall down in the middle. In figure skating, there is work on stretching, on the vestibular apparatus. It’s not like working on a stationary bike for four hours, the load is completely different. In speed skating you have two workouts a day, in figure skating you have five, stretched over time, but not as intense.

Is the situation in speed skating calmer?

Alexandra Sayutina: At first I thought yes, but sometimes it is tense. When you become a higher class, you understand that this is a sport, that it is the same everywhere and everywhere you meet different people. There is tension, something presses on you, but in general, it’s probably calmer.


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