“After three seasons break I had problems with shape. I needed to lose weight. Running in a film is a favorite thing, almost everyday.” former Russian pair skater Jelizaveta Zukova
Interview with former Russian skating Jelizaveta Zukova who now represents Czech Republic in pair skating and her partner Martin Bidar.
source: sport-express.ru dd. 30th January 2022, by Dmitri Kuznetsov
One of the heroes of today’s training was Jelizaveta Zukova – a Czech figure skater from Yekaterinburg changed her citizenship and now skates with Martin Bidar. This is an example of a successful solution to their problems by changing the country for a Russian skater. As Liza told SE, she literally received a Czech passport not so long ago and thanks to this she went to the Olympics. She almost finished her career. But she ran in a film almost every day. She believed and went through all the bureaucratic obstacles. And here she is at the Olympics and will even perform in the team event.
Jelizaveta, have you already felt the Olympics? (I ask the skater against the backdrop of a large crowd of Japanese journalists waiting for their pair Miura/Kihara)
Jelizaveta Zukova: Of course, it is felt from the very first days, we look forward to it, enjoy the atmosphere (laughs).
Martin Bidar: But it’s hard to sleep. Due to acclimatization.
Jelizaveta Zukova: Because of the time zone. We have seven hours difference with Europe.
Europe? Wikipedia says that you train with Dmitry Savin in Sochi, on the ISU website – Vladislav Zhovnirsky.
Jelizaveta Zukova: For the last four months, the training has been in Prague with our first coach, Petr Bidar. Now, unfortunately, there was no opportunity to train with those whom you mentioned. At the same time, we dealt with my citizenship, the priority was to get me a passport, because without it I would not be able to be here. We were in the Czech Republic, but in touch with our coaches.
Is it difficult for a Russian to get a Czech passport? I think there some people who would listen to the algorithm with interest.
Jelizaveta Zukova: We started doing it in May, it turned out quite problematic, I was very nervous until the last moment. I received it on December 25th. There was very little time. My partner and my coach did this, they did everything on their own. Training was interrupted due to phone calls with the ministry. A lot of work has been done, and I’m grateful to the Czech Federation, my partner and coach that we have the opportunity to participate in the Olympics.
In Lithuania, Reed and Ambrulevicius wasn’t allowed to the Olympics, simply because of not getting citizenship. Did you have such a risk?
Jelizaveta Zukova: There was a risk of not making it on time. They didn’t say “no” categorically.
Martin Bidar: In the Czech Republic, this is very difficult. If Liza had not been an athlete, she would have been given citizenship in five to ten years.
Jelizaveta Zukova: There are some athletes who have been performing without citizenship for 10 years.
You were one of the first to switch from Russian sports citizenship, this year the outflow is directly noticeable. Is it so bad, are there no other options?
Jelizaveta Zukova: There is really huge competition in Russia, there are many young cool athletes, but they do not have the opportunity to break through, because there is someone better. I’m not saying that it’s luck, they all still make maximum efforts. That is, I’m working, trying, but … I, for example, did not have a partner. I missed three seasons after juniors. It was difficult for me to return, and when the opportunity arose, Nina Mikhailovna Moser asked: “Are you ready to skate for another country?” I said – yes, I’m ready for anything to perform! She said about the opportunity to try out with Martin for the Czech Republic, to skate in Novogorsk with the Mozer Team.
Have you lost faith in figure skating after three years?
Jelizaveta Zukova: There were no problems with motivation, the problem was with the physical shape. It’s one thing to jump and skate for half an hour, it’s another thing to skate full programs. It is unrealistic to maintain the shape in such a way without a partner to skate a free program. It was mentally difficult to return. The first events were a failure. When I was little, I don’t remember any problems with nerves. I performed every two weeks. But after the break everything was so hard!
Have you struggled with weight?
Jelizaveta Zukova: I was loosing weight, of course.
Running in a film?
Jelizaveta Zukova: Running in a film is a favorite thing, almost everyday (laughs).
Jelizaveta Zukova: Yes… We are used to it.
Martin Bidar: Sport in general is tough.
Jelizaveta Zukova: Yes, if you want to skate, then you need to run in a film.
Do you follow Russian pairs?
Jelizaveta Zukova: There are, of course, those who are more interesting … We generally follow European skating, we communicate with many. Moreover, we have a common coach with many athletes.
Is it difficult with pair skating in Europe now, no? The results of the Russians in Tallinn showed this.
Jelizaveta Zukova: Yes, the gap was big, but over the past couple of years, many pairs have improved. There were a few, but now the number of pairs has begun to grow.
Maxim Miroshkin trains two of the three pairs – maybe you cheer for one of them?
Jelizaveta Zukova: I skated with him, yes, but we stopped after his knee injury. We are not in touch right now. In general, I won’t say who I cheer for, I support everyone (smiles).
In Russia, figure skating has turned into a show, fans arrange battles in social networks. Is it better this way, but with popularity or without it at all?
Jelizaveta Zukova: There are two sides of the coin, yes. But figure skating has always been popular in Russia, especially since Sochi, the excitement began. There are people who cheers and help a lot, and there are haters who …
Martin Bidar: Not so helpful.
Jelizaveta Zukova: Yes (laughs). Everyone perceives it in their own way. Somebody write pleasant things to me, I answer, and I try to bypass the negative.
Do you have haters too?
Jelizaveta Zukova: Everyone has, I think. But no one will say it in person, and anyone can write something bad from the fake account (laughs).
Medvedeva and Zagitova and their fans also succeeded in promotion, it seems to me that there were no such things before them.
Jelizaveta Zukova: That too, yes. Girls have developed our figure skating, pairs too. But Sochi played a stronger role, I think. I’m from Yekaterinburg, so I remember that after the appearance of Yulia Lipnitskaya, a lot of children came to skating schools.
Did you skate at the same school?
Jelizaveta Zukova: Yes, in “Lokomotiv”. And I crossed paths with her for a while, but then I was very small, we did not know each other. We met when I was skating with Maxim Miroshkin. Sometimes Julia gave some advice, told stories. She is interesting.
Although she is considered to be a closed person, so she is known a little. She’s a great girl, that’s for sure.
Related topics: Jelizaveta Zukova Martin Bidar