Alena Kostornaia and Georgi Kunitsa: “I want to prove that I’m not a one-time athlete. I want to have the last word: No, I can be a unique athlete who will achieve what they want in any discipline.”
Interview with Alena Kostornaia and Georgi Kunitsa. About the desire to prove themselves, experience in different coaching groups and relationships.
source: Alla Shishkina’s youtube channel
Alena Kostornaia talked about her desire to prove to critics that she is not a “one-time athlete.”
In January, it became known that the figure skater was switching to pair skating. Her partner became Georgi Kunitsa.
One coach tells you, ‘Leave,’ and the other hints at it too. How did you deal with that, and what were your thoughts to not give up?
Gerogi Kunitsa: I simply knew what I was striving for. Well, I have a motivation to prove myself.
Overall, did you have the motivation to prove something?
Alena Kostornaia: Yes.
Let’s take turns—who wants to prove what to whom?
Alena Kostornaia: In my understanding, to prove, first of all, to myself that I am not a one-time athlete. That I can achieve success here, there, and everywhere. And, of course, to the people who poured garbage on me, saying, ‘You’re such-and-such, lazy, not an athlete,’ and so on. To the people on the internet and the phone ‘experts’, some of whom reacted badly to my transition, change of discipline. Well, that’s it…
Perhaps, I want to have the last word: no, I can be a unique athlete who will achieve what they want in any discipline. In any endeavor. At the moment, it’s figure skating.
Gerogi Kunitsa: I want to prove that I am not one of the hundreds or thousands of athletes who were of decent level when they skated in juniors. That I can achieve something greater, reach the highest heights. And to some coaches, and to some former partners… Who either skated with me or decided not to skate.
Georgi Kunitsa also talked about why he left Tamara Moskvina’s group.
If we go back to Moskvina, she is one of the gentlest coaches. So why did you leave her too?
Georgi Kunitsa: I didn’t leave. I was told that I didn’t have a partner, and they couldn’t keep me to spend time on training me with new girls. Because they already have two top pairs, and the club doesn’t have such a task. It’s like a private club there, with lots of ice, great conditions. And they told me, ‘We’ve given you everything we could. All we can advise is to go back to Moscow. We don’t have a girl for you.’
Did you exchange glances and laugh when I mentioned Moskvina’s gentleness?
Alena Kostornaia: There are no gentle coaches. They may seem like daisies on the outside, but things are not so simple. In general, there’s no such thing as a non-strict coach. They can be understanding, but they can still give you a hard time.
Georgi Kunitsa: Tamara Nikolaevna shows her strictness in a different way. She doesn’t shout, but she can say things that…
Alena Kostornaia: It won’t be very pleasant.
George Kunitsa: You’ll sink even lower than if she just yelled at you. And she loves to bring up various examples from life.
Do you remember any?
Georgi Kunitsa: I remember, but I’m not sure if it’s suitable for airing.
Alena Kostornaia: Tell the example about the sparrow.
Georgi Kunitsa: That’s Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin’s story.
Alena Kostornaia: What’s the difference? They’re from the same opera. I think Tamara Nikolaevna sometimes says the same thing.
Georgi Kunitsa: There are two stories. One was about a pair doing a certain element, doing the same thing, and it wasn’t working out, they kept falling. Moskvina called everyone over and said, ‘Why are you doing the same thing? You’re banging your head against the wall like a woodpecker.’ And she turned to the boards and started banging her head against it.
Alena Kostornaia: With all her might!
How doesn’t she care about her head? You started saying ‘doing the same thing,’ in synchronized swimming, Tatiana Nikolaevna Pokrovskaya always says, ‘You did it, did it, and screwed it.'”
Georgi Kunitsa: The second story is about ‘getting tired of it.’ Matvei Vetlugin told how Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin gave him an example. Matvei made it to the Russian Grand Prix Final as the last participant. Alexei Nikolaevich presented it with this story. A sparrow is flying in the winter, it’s cold, and the poor thing is shivering, thinking, ‘I’m going to die now.’
And then, bam, it’s dark, warm, nice, he warmed up. A cow’s dung fell on him from above, and he’s sitting in the cow dung. He says, ‘Well, I’m warmed up now, I’ll stick my nose out, and off I go.’ That’s how Mishin told Matvei, ‘You made it there, so sit in your cow dung and enjoy.’
About relationships and kids
What would you choose: a long, happy life together without titles or part ways, but with an Olympic medal?
Georgi Kunitsa: You have some provocative and incorrect questions.
Alena Kostornaia: Well, first of all, to get an Olympic medal we need to be allowed to compete. We’re still sort of on quarantine.
I don’t have an eternal goal of winning an Olympic medal. I’m not chasing after it. Maybe we’ll have ten gold medals from World Championships.
I thought you would say, ’10 children.’
Alena Kostornaia: Ew.
What do you mean, ‘ew’?
Alena Kostornaia: I don’t like children.
That’s for now.
Alena Kostornaia: Everyone tells me the same thing. My mom has the same story. My mom doesn’t like children.
And here I am sitting in front of her daughter.
Alena Kostornaia: She says, ‘I didn’t really like you at first. You grew up – and I liked you.’ And I’m like, ‘Thanks.’ I have a friend, also named Alena, who shows me, ‘Look, I have nephews’ or something. I say, ‘Show me kittens, that melts my heart more. Puppies, rabbits, anything.’
I look at Gosha (Short of Georgi – ed.) and see that he has completely different thoughts.
Alena Kostornaia: And he loves children.
Georgi Kunitsa: I do, yes. Alena not only doesn’t love them, I think she’s scared of them. Because when I first handed her my little sister…
Alena Kostornaia: I panicked! What am I supposed to do with this?
Gosha, how long have you been interested in Alena? It must have been before you became a pair, right?
Georgi Kunitsa: I wouldn’t say it was before. Alena has always been beautiful and wonderful, but when we skated together (in Eteri Tutberidze’s group), there weren’t even such thoughts. We were still kids, there were no thoughts about personal life.
Well, you probably must have thought, ‘Wow, what a beautiful girl.’
Georgi Kunitsa: I did think that. But that doesn’t mean I was interested. I don’t fall for beauty alone.
Georgi Kunitsa: Well, it’s not just about beauty, but about what kind of person she is to be around.
Alena Kostornaia: Yes, I’m wonderful, thank you.
So, what made her won your heart?
Georgi Kunitsa: Well… We’re all a little crazy. So we found each other, I think.
So she’s the crazy one?
Georgi Kunitsa: No, she just has a sense of humor, she’s fun, always joking about something. I want to tell a story about what caught my attention. We had a rehearsal, we came home tired… We didn’t live together, it was just late, and I walked her to her apartment.
Alena Kostornaia: We lived next to each other.
Georgi Kunitsa: Alena asked, ‘You probably want to eat, right?’ And she cooked potato dumplings.
Alena is very caring like that, she always prepares something for me.
Alena Kostornaia: Yes, that’s me.
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