Alena Kostornaia: I don’t like being called an angel. I’m not an angel, this is not my story!
Interview with Alena Kostornaia. About World Championships cancelation and training during self-isolation.
by Veronika Sovetova and Vladislav Zhukov for tass.ru dd. 15th April 2020
Alena, how is long-term self-isolation going? Muscles don’t hurt?
– We haven’t had such before. I think, like everyone else, when I get back to the ice, I’ll probably learn to skate anew. Because such a break is unusual for us. But we will have to deal with it somehow.
How long have you been sitting without ice?
– From the day they said that sports schools and everything else are being closed, from that very day we are not skating. It turns out, since March 20.
How did you react to the news about the break in trainings?
– We were told that it’d be just for a week and that’s all, so we did not attach much importance to this. Then for another week, then for another and we realized that it was all dragging on.
Are you missing ice?
– Sure. This is part of my life, and here it suddenly disappears. So you don’t understand what to do at all.
How can skaters survive such a shock, moreover after the cancellation of the Worlds Championships?
– Probably, this should be taken for granted. Perhaps it is good that we were not taken to the Worlds, because there would be an even greater risk of getting sick. Well ok, we would have become infected, but we are children, we will recover, but Sasha (Trusova – ed), for example, has a grandmother. She will come home and immediately infect her. This is a question of safety. Why should someone be at risk because skaters decide that they need it? Like we need that more than the rest! It’s like with those people who went to barbecue.
What happened to you when you realized that the World Championships would not take place?
– I did not realize what happened. At one point, we go on the ice and I realize that we don’t do run-throughs, we don’t do a lot of other things. And after that I somehow got used to this thought. But at first I was not fully aware. The day we were supposed to fly, Tuesday, if I’m not mistaken, is probably the saddest day in our life. We know that a long flight that we have been waiting for is about to be, a new country, everything is different. This is exactly why we love to travel. And here we understand that nothing of this will happen, and it was so difficult to put up with it that we just wanted to scream: “Please let us out! It’s so unfair!”
From whom did you hear about this?
– On Sunday, I saw the news that they will decide. I came home, said to my mother: “Probably we are not going.” And she told: “Have you lost your mind? Even if everyone dies out, you will go.” The next morning, the Internet was full of news that the World Championships has been canceled.
Have you talked with coaches about this situation?
– I immediately wrote to Daniil Markovich (Gleikhengauz): “Are we not going?” He said no. And somehow it was no longer discussed. We joked that in my case some kind of crap is happening exactly with the World Championships (laughs). I had one junior “worlds”, withdrew from the second one, and now no one could go there.
How prepared were you for the Championships?
– I can’t say that I was in super wow shape. It was average, working shape. As for injuries, they happen to all athletes, this is inevitable. It’s useless to cancel everything each time in order to heal, because you start jumping and it’s all over again. So, if something hurts, then it is better to be treated along with trainings without missing anything.
When someone says that something hurts, Eteri Georgievna gathers us all together and says: “Raise your hands, who don’t feel any pain.”
At the European Championships you said that you have grown up. That is, right in the course of the season, you had to cope with the issue that could knock out other athletes for the whole season and even made someone to part with the sport. How did this fight go? Are you adapting to the changes?
– Of course, while we are sitting, everyone will grow, change. Even if we keep ourselves on the most severe diets, shackle ourselves in some chains so as not to grow, we are still children, and of course, when we train, there is a certain load on the spine and everything else that does not allow us to grow. And now, without this loads, it’s like a long summer vacation. We will work with it.
How do you keep fit now? After all, it’s not really possible to jump in the apartment.
– I have two workouts a day. I start the first one with running, I have a treadmill at home. Then I go to the makeshift gym, which is a “disassembled” room. There I jump on the “steppes”, on a skipping rope, do axels – it turns out two and a half revolutions, it does not work out to do more. All sorts of tours, flips, lutzes, loops – everything that does not take up much space.
I start the second training with a ballet barre. Further, individual exercises for the feet, plus we already have a tradition of using pointe shoes. Then – a little cardio training, plus to cool down I do stretching.
Amazing independence for such a young age.
– This is normal. My brother is a football player, he is also training, and he’s not even 12 years old. Our mother also keeping fit. So we’re all training.
Is self-isolation difficult psychologically?
– Yes. It is very difficult, I’m not used to stay at home so much. Last year, when I was treating an injury, I spent a month at home, and then: “Thank God, ice!”
Do you also study?
– Now there is time. The school has provided a site, we are studying online. There is one more site with tests. Now we are sitting at home, so there is a very good chance to improve those subjects that were not very good before.
Neurosurgery. In one of the videos there was a book on your desk…
– This is the book of the famous neurosurgeon Henry Marsh. He is an incredible person. I am reading it now, remembering the main points. I really like in this book that each chapter is dedicated to individual diseases. And they are described in detail, for example, cut this part, took out a certain clip, clamped it, pinched it. Everything is so realistic and written in an understandable language! I also have the second part.
That is, everything is already serious?
– Yes, I’ll take exams next year. And I’m not going to retreat. This road suddenly opened up for me and I am very grateful that I had such a chance.
Your fans launched a challenge in the VKontakte group – they offer music for the programs, and you, perhaps, will use.
– Of course, the coaches and I will choose the programs, see if it suits me or not, how I look on ice. Maybe some idea, some piece will be needed. People suggest what, in their opinion, will be good, but the athlete and the coach still have the last word. In my case, if I like something, then: “Eteri Georgievna, Daniil Markovich, please, please!” (Laughs) And I do not think that they will refuse. Because it’s good when you are skating the program with joy.
Over the past couple of years, you are one of the few skaters in Chrystalny who skated her favorite character. I’m talking about your free program. They even said that you insisted on Bella Swan character, the heroine of the movie “Twilight”. How do coaches reacted?
– This image is me. That is, when they put me “Angel”, I knew what I needed to show. But when I skated Bella – it was already my “I”, and here it is difficult to change something. Therefore, the idea was not only mine, this thought came to Eteri Georgievna, it was inspired by the way I sometimes behave, my certain actions and deeds.
Ideas never come out of the blue. When a coach watches an athlete for a long time, he tries to put his internal theme. That’s why programs always look alive. And yes, I really don’t like being called an angel. Because I’m not an angel, this is not my story! (Laughs)
What about next season’s programs? Are there any ideas?
– Now I don’t even know. It will be a complete surprise for me when they turn on the music and say: “This is yours.” But I already sent some ideas to Daniil Markovich. I don’t know if he will like it or not.
Many experts call you ideal for the current judicial system. Amazing gliding, high technical complexity. Do these conversations somehow help you or?
– It interferes when you’re called ideal. Nobody is perfect, and I am even more so. Probably, there were not as many complaints to anyone as to me. And they wasn’t for nothing, I really understand that somewhere I really fail a lot. You won’t get bored with me (laughs). Therefore, this ideality is really just an image.
Now nothing is known about the next season. There is no calendar, no clarity on the World Championships. It bothers everyone. What happens to athletes?
– We’ll rest and start over. We always rest a little more than three weeks. If you rest for two weeks, you recover faster. If three – slower. And all that is greater is the same as three. You just forget something and now you are looking for it again. At one point, we had a joke about “I fight to find myself.” So we will do it.
Doesn’t the word “anew” scare?
– Each time, going on the ice, we start all over again. So it’s ok, we’ll break through. We are not alone, the whole world is in the same situation.
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