Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva: Sport is a small war
Alina Zagitova and Evgenia Medvedeva press-conference after the Olympic short program.
Alina, you told me that you broke your arm and leg a few years ago, and your coach Eteri Tutberidze kicked you out of the group. Tell us about this one more time.
Alina: Approximately two or three years ago I got a fracture of my leg at the Spartakiada, having gone there with a fracture of my arm. These injuries were serious enough. Two or three weeks I did not practice at all, and after that Eteri Georgievna kicked me out. But in fact she wanted to kick me out before I broke it all, because I did not work well, did not understand the seriousness. In this group, no one ever forces you to work.
A question for both skaters. Most likely, one of you will win gold for Russia on Friday. Do you want to carry the flag at the closing ceremony?
Evgenia: I do not think about medals, I’m thinking about the clean skate and about being satisfied with my skating.
Alina: I agree with Zhenya, the main thing is to show my best result, to give 100%, to be satisfied with the skate, so that the judges, coaches, viewers and I are satisfied.
You train with one coach, you will have to fight for a medal with each other. What do you think about it?
Alina: I try not to pay attention to it, I only watch for myself. I have no goal to prove something to someone. The main thing is to skate clean.
Evgenia: Today was a special experience for me, no matter how I tried not to look around and focused on myself, I still learned those lessons that will allow me to improve myself in the future. There are lessons that allow you to become stronger. Probably, this is a push forward. I will try to make my absolute maximum in the free program and try to be satisfied with my skate.
Alina, how was your training camp in the Japanese Niigata?
Alina: I want to say big thank you to the organizers of these camp, they provided all the conditions for the training process. This helped to prepare for the Olympic Games and to perform a short program well.
The question to Evgenia and Alina. What is the secret of your strength and stability?
Evgenia: Every day I see how hard Alina works. We really like figure skating, our coaches gave us a chance to be here and compete.
Alina: To show result you need to love figure skating. Every day work on the same things. Every day I feel this love for figure skating, I give myself completely to the training process.
Fans in figure skating are much more global than in other sports. People are cheering for skaters, not paying attention to their nationality. Do you enjoy this support?
Alina: Before the performance I saw our flags, the words of support addressed to me. It really helped. It used to distract me very much, but now, on the contrary, it encourages me.
Evgenia: It is very important for me to feel the support of the fans, coaches, parents, all who are around. I hope, the day after tomorrow this love will help me show everything I can.
Alina, for a 15-year-old girl you are very serious. Does it come from your character or it’s your mindset?
Alina: I am really very calm, I do not show or splash emotions, I keep everything inside, this is my character.
Alina, your combination “3-3” brings you very high scores. How do these combinations turn out so easily for you?
Alina: I was very focused at all trainings, performed these jumps, I was told about mistakes, I tried to correct them. I worked, listened to coaches and skated a clean short program.
Alina, what was the turning point in your career?
Alina: When Eteri Georgievna expelled me, we already wanted to go home, to Izhevsk. And at that moment I realized that I really like figure skating, but there was nothing to be done. We came to Eteri Georgievna to say goodbye, I wanted to tell her that I was quitting figure skating, but she said: let’s try again. I was delighted, I had “butterflies in my belly”. If this hadn’t happened, I would not have come to the Olympic Games.
Where were you during the Olympics in Sochi, did you see yourself at the Olympics in Pyeongchang?
Alina: I came to Eteri Georgievna’s group in 2014, after the Olympic Games. In general, I did not think about big rise and did not think about international competitions.
Evgenia: I was 14 years old, and I remember the moment when the Russian team won the gold at the team event. I sat in the armchair and realized that I wanted to experience it myself. Many say that there is a special magic at the Olympics. I agree with this.
There are skaters in your group who already step on your toes. How is it to compete with them?
Alina: Indeed, in our group there are very strong juniors, this to some extent motivates to skate on and show good results.
Evgenia: There are girls, they make such a difficult elements that not every man can do. They make you stronger. When you see juniors who make jumps more difficult than you, you have a strange feeling because you are older and should be stronger! This motivates.
Tell us about your relationship. Will you go to a dinner together in the evening before the free program?
Alina: I said it many times, that we’re friends outside of sports. But when we at training or competition, I personally have a sense of rivalry. But this is not malicious.
Evgenia: I’ve heard so many times about the fact that Zagitova and Medvedeva are rivals on the ice, outside the ice … No, first of all we are people. We communicate, we are friends, we are girls, we can talk about anything. But when we’re on the ice – it’s a sport, a real sport. We must fight. And at every competitions I feel like at a small war. Sport is a small war. You’re alone on the ice. Yes, your friend is here, but you must compete with him.
Alina, you perform in ballet tutus. How did you come to this?
Alina: Last season, when I was a junior, Zhenya kindly lent me her dress. I think she remembers how uncomfortable it was to skate in it.
Evgenia: I also found it uncomfortable to skate in it (laughs).
Alina: But in fact at competitions you do not pay attention at this, it all the same what you wear. You only think about jumps.
by Vladimir Pesnya for rsport.ria.ru