Alexander Enbert: “There was a season when pair skating became extraordinarily dangerous. We were chasing elements and getting injured.”
Interview with Alexander Enbert. About finishing his career due to health problems, danger of pair skating, relationships between partners and skating with Evgenia Medvedeva in shows.
source: kp.ru dd. 1st Octover 2020 by Andrei Vdovin and Pavel Sadkov
You ended your career due to health problems. However you never told what those problems were. Were not ready?
Alexander Enbert: First, health is quite personal. But I had to share the reason why I’m finishing my career. I love my fans very much – whether there are many of them or few, it does not matter. And I just couldn’t finish and say: thank you everyone, I’m quitting. Because people supported, cheered, wrote me messages, gave me gifts. It was for them that I told what was the reason. I am ready to explain this to everyone – there were heart problems. Nothing serious, but big loads are simply contraindicated for me. I have not been prescribed any treatment, except not to bring my pulse to 220. No surgeries, no medication, I live a normal life. But professional sports are contraindicated for me. The doctors said: you have probably reached the point where the next step is already dangerous, we cannot allow you to take the next steps.
I really love to share what is happening in my life. But there are things that I want to keep for myself and my loved ones.
Here’s another proof that figure skating is a much more dangerous sport than is commonly thought. After all, your partner Natalia Zabijako had a serious injury – a cerebral hemorrhage, a crack in the skull, and a burst eardrum in her left ear. How did you get through this?
Alexander Enbert: There was a season when pair skating became extraordinarily dangerous. Quadruple and multi-rotational throws came, and that year, probably, more than half of the top 10 pairs in the world were injured. We were chasing the elements and getting injured.
How did you feel when you throwing your partner in the air and waiting for how it would end?
Alexander Enbert: I perfectly understand what you are talking about. Watch slow replays and pay attention to partner’s face. While the girl is in the air, all partners have such facial expression of expectation what will happen now. Even when the throw is good, we still understand that the ice is slippery. And while the girl is flying, a second turns into an eternity of waiting: how she will land. Because this is your responsibility, after all, you let her into the air. This is perhaps the most difficult thing in our discipline.
This is with a trained partner in professional sports. And when does the same thing happen in the Ice Age project? When one in a pair is non-professional, and sometimes even a beginner? Is it scary?
Alexander Enbert: This is different. I have always believed that girls-athletes in the “Ice Age” are people of particular courage. They are all very brave athletes. Because sometimes the partner is still not very confident on the skates, but they do lifts. As far as I know, there have never been any serious injuries during the Ice Age. Because Ilia and everyone else make sure that no one gets hurt, but the girls are great, they bravely do such things…The first thing they teach when you come to figure skating is to fall correctly. Still, we know a little how to do it. Even in a lift, girls know how to land carefully if something happens. So of course it is traumatic, but, viewers shouldn’t worry too much, we control everything.
All this shows, this is show business, not sport. How comfortable are you in it? Inside these rumors, intrigues? You’ve probably read all this stuff about yourself. About the alleged romance with your Ice Age partner Olga, and about the alleged meetings with Zhenya Medvedeva … How did you react to this? And how did your wife react to this?
Alexander Enbert: I can’t say that I immersed in show business. We still spend more time with my wife alone than in some parties. And about what people say, this is a side effect of not only show business, but also sports. In sports, I also constantly read a lot of stories about myself. How should I train in order to skate well, how I should perform in general, and how I need to do the elements. Already in juniors, you start to treat this calmly, because people … Well, they have the right to have express their emotions. If they need to express it, well let them express it. Yes, sometimes it hurts, but you already have immunity.
But a pair in figure skating, and in the “Ice Age” too, is more than a sports duet. It needs chemistry, a spark. One of our friends, a photographer, when he first went to shoot the competitions of pair skaters, left the arena with such huge eyes and with the words: “What are they showing – it’s sex!” But this is impossible to play?
Alexander Enbert: He is right to some extent. How do people judge figure skating? Yes, now there is a new system, the judges are counting points, add and deduct hundredths. But by and large, even they are still people, they look at us and decide whether they like it or not. And this “like” consists of chemistry. Not of physics, speed, flight altitude. But of looks, smiles, hints, interactions. And we, athletes, have two ways to go. Either you experience it all a little inside, even really fall in love a little with each other and skate about love. Or you are such a super actor in general, who acts so deeply that everyone believes and cries with happiness.
In addition to the “Ice Age” you had “Anna Karenina”. How comfortable were you in this project at all? And how comfortable were you with Evgenia Medvedeva? How good is she not as a single skater, but as a partner in pair skating?
Alexander Enbert: After the “Ice Age” it became easier for me to perceive the show. Because there we made 13 programs that are completely different emotionally, with completely different messages, with completely different artistic images. A huge experience for me! So it was comfortable to join Anna Karenina show. We worked with the same team – with Ilia Averbukh, with Elena Maslennikova. And it’s a pleasure to work with them, they perfectly tell how it should be, we are working on acting.
With Evgenia Medvedeva, it was also such a challenge. Even before we knew that we would perform in this show, Evgenia texted me: “Sasha, I would like to learn pair skating, let’s try.” I’m like, “Of course, let’s try.” We met, talked, and I asked: “Zhenya, why is it so all of a sudden?” She says: “Now is the offseason and maybe there will be some shows. I just want to understand what pair skating is and, in general, how it all happens.” And then after a while we were offered roles, and in these roles we were already as a pair.
Did it work well?
Alexander Enbert: Our number in Anna Karenina is really very difficult. It looks like two pair skaters are skating. Lifts, death spirals, spins… I am very happy with our roles. We’ve had more than 35 shows and every time the audience stood up and applauded. Many thanks to the viewers. This is the nicest thing to see at all.
Well, since we are talking about women’s single skating. There are a lot of girls who won big titles at a young age – doesn’t it blow their minds? .. It so happens that 15 years old – and already an Olympic champion. Do you feel how people are changing? And do they come back later?
Alexander Enbert: At 15 years old – the title of the Olympic champion … It’s hard to even imagine, because in pair skating they come to such titles later. It’s hard for me to imagine what is it like to get an Olympic gold medal, a state award and a school certificate in one year? And what emotions do you experience at all ?! But this, it seems to me, does not affect communication. In Russia, figure skating is at such a height that during the shows in the locker room it is hard to feel like some kind of superstar. I often say with embarrassment that I am Olympic silver medalist, because there are such people around me! All of them are gold medalists! They ask me – did you have any medals? I say – well, a bit…
That is, no one has star fever attacks?
Alexander Enbert: The environment is holding back. Because in the same “Anna Karenina” there are figure skating superstars, Olympic champions and all very nice people. They say humility adorns people. Our team turns out to be very beautiful. Just nice people and all new champions, our new superstars, who really win the hearts of millions of TV viewers, are also harmonious in this environment.
Related topics: Natalia Zabijako Alexander Enbert