Alexander Petrov: Every self-respecting athlete should set ambitious goals

Posted on 2017-06-20 • No comments yet


Translation of recent interview with Alexander Petrov. About new programs, preparation for the Olympic season, new quads, school and personal life.

Sasha, I’ll start with the question, which usually ends the interview, the one about goals for the upcoming season.

– The task is to qualify for the Olympic team. I think that every self-respecting athlete should set ambitious goals. I really want this and will strive to achieve.

So how goes the preparation?

– The upcoming season is the Olympics, so I work twice harder, I would say, more actively. I have more willingness to train to get results. Last season my progress has been already visible, which is encouraging. The quad jump appeared,consistency. It is very important that doing this jump, I didn’t lose all the other elements. So we continue to work and move forward.

Can you explain what exactly you are working on?

– On the quad flip. I hope that eventually it will work out. There is such a trend now in men’s skating, that without quads it is impossible to achieve high results.

Until recently, two quads in a short program, three in the free seemed to be something unusual, but now skaters try four or five quads in one program. Is it difficult to set yourself for it mentally?

– That’s cool! On the contrary, it motivates. When you jump one quad, as it was in juniors, and everyone else skates with a simple jump content, then you do not have a motivation.  This situation itself and competition push you.

I would not say that two quads in a short and three in a free program it’s an unattainable bar for me. This season the quad toe was pretty consistent. I work on quad salchow. In general, salchow and toeloop are similar jumps, and you shouldn’t frighten yourself that salchow is something super new. As for the quad flip, I see it in the program, I know how to enter it and what speed I will have after landing. In my head I’m ready to do it. But you need to prepare and to work on all the jumps in the program. I will not say in advance whether it will turn out to show everything that was planned this season. We’ll see at the first competitions, and then with Alexei Nikolaevich we’ll decide.

Are the new programs ready, what will they be like? Some athletes say that during the Olympic season it’s better not to experiment, others believe that programs should be with a wow effect.

– I have a “hybrid opinion”: the programs should be bright and reliable so you could skate them clean. For the short program we took the music “Sabre Dance”. This is classic that will never be outdated. In addition, there haven’t been programs to this music for a long time.

Julia Lipnitskaya had.

– Yes, Julia had, but I do not remember guys who skated to it. I think the program will be interesting.

The free program is to the music of the famous tenor Enrico Caruso, we began to do it with Adam Solya at the training camp in Tartu. I really like the music and the program. But since the main task of that training camp was to get in shape and start jumping, then, after consulting with Alexei Nikolayevich, we decided to finish the program at the training camp in Courchevel. Let’s see how the work will go. Here, in Courchevel, we will be joined by other choreographers – Richard Benoit, maybe we’ll also invite someone else. I will be very happy if we keep this program and we finish it.

The famous dancer Ramil Mehdiyev (the solist of Igor Moiseyev’s ensemble) came to your training camp in Tartu. Is it difficult to work with a professional?

– It’s very interesting. For me it’s a great experience. Before Tartu, I was not familiar with Ramil, and working with him was really cool. He shows what you need to do with your arms, how to put them correctly to show a real dance with sabers not just skating to music. He sees little details, and this is important, because the overall picture is formed of such small things.

In general, working with any professional is an advantage, because it gives you the opportunity to gain new knowledge. Different choreographers mean different programs, and I like to be different. From the very childhood I had such that as soon as the music was turned on, I forgot about everything I had done before, abstracted, and started to listen, to feel the music and to move with it. It seems to me that this is my big advantage, that I am ready to change and skate something new.

Besides, work with different choreographers gives more freedom, because new skills give confidence. In general, as it seems to me, I have matured. I began to look at many things differently, to take some things easier, became more confident.

This year you have final exams at school?

– I passed them ahead of schedule. Returned from the junior world championships and a week later had the first exam.


– I graduated from school without “C”. I had exams on Russian language, mathematics and biology. Within a year I have been preparing with tutors. I had a wonderful teacher of Russian. In many ways, thanks to working with her, I wrote my essay examination well.

Now I will enter the Lesgaft Academy of Physical Education. However, I wanted to try to take exams at a law school or journalism department, but I thought that if I don not get the required scores, then I will not have time to prepare for another university, and in the Olympic season time is limited. Maybe in the future I will choose one of these professions.

Interesting? What do you like about this professions?

– At first I studied at the gymnasium, but in the middle of the 8th grade I moved to school No. 29 in St. Petersburg – the school with enhanced education in law and French language. For obvious reasons, it didn’t worked out with the French language, because the other guys studied it from the first grade. Moreover, before that, in the gymnasium, I studied German. In the new school I had to go to the English group, where were not many students. Plus extramural study due to competitions, trips. In general, in the new school I studied English, with other foreign ones did not work out as well as I would like.

We had a strict teacher of law, Good, but strict, stricter than other teachers. Therefore, I had to spend more time on this subject and, strangely enough, jurisprudence fascinated me. If I enter a law school, then in the future I would like to combine my knowledge in law with sports in order to defend the rights of athletes.

By the way, I would like to thank you to all the teachers from my school for all the knowledge that they gave me, for their help and support.

And what about journalism?

– I’m also interested in this. I read many different interviews with athletes, not just with skaters. And I would like to try to do an interview myself someday, learn how to ask questions, how to approach the interlocutor and communicate. I like to inform the readers, to tell the news. It seems to me that as a person who is engaged in sports, I see many things from within, rather than superficially, in this regard, my point of view may differ from the opinion of the journalist. I think it’s great to talk about sports and athletes in simple language.

I like to learn something new. If I am interested in something, then I can go further myself and achieve the result. For example, after the training camp in Tartu, I passed the driving test and got a driver’s license. This is also new for me. I think the ability to drive gives freedom.

Did you buy a car yourself or it was a present?

– Some of the money for the car I earned myself, and, of course, parents helped. Many thanks to them for that.

You have graduated from school, are you already a mature person now?

– I would not say that I consider myself completely grown up, but I try to make some decisions myself. In fact, the support of my parents is very important for me. I know that my mother worries about me, cheers for me when I am at competitions. I can not say that she thoroughly understands the figure skating, but for sure she cheers for me. She and my dad come to competitions. For example, they were at the Grand Prix final in Barcelona. It is important for me if they are at the stands. It’s not the same with everybody, but I really need their care and attention.

Who gives you motivation?

– My family, friends, girlfriend. She is also a skater – Katya Vysotina. At one time Katya trained with Alexei Nikolaevich, now he is in the synchro team “Paradise”. It’s pity a bit that this kind of figure skating is underestimated in our country, although synchronized skating is very popular abroad. In the next season, it is planned to hold a joint tournament with synchronized skating in Shanghai. Let’s see how the audience will like it. For some time, I’m a fan of this discipline.

Of course, it’s great when your friend understands you, understands the business you are doing. The commonality of interests draws you together. After all, there is always something to talk about.

by Olga Ermolina for


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