Alina Zagitova: “Losing sometimes is much more emotional than winning. For me, the defeat at the 2018 Worlds was a huge blow to my psychological state. But it’s also an important experience.”
Interview with Alina Zagitova.
source: U Magazine
How did you get into the sport, where did you start?
Alina Zagitova: I have a very athletic family and I feel like I was meant to do sports. My dad is a hockey player, and since I’m a girl, my parents decided to engage me in a sport that is also associated with ice – figure skating.
Who saw that you have data for figure skating?
Alina Zagitova: First of all, my parents, and then the coach. For the most part, of course, parents who said: “You will succeed, because you have all the data to be successful in figure skating.”
To become a good athlete, you need natural data and great perseverance. Is the ability to win a talent?
Alina Zagitova: I am inclined to believe that first of all it is work, patience and only then talent. It all happens together. Of course, certain abilities are important, but when the coach says, “Alina has a sense of pose” (this is when you raise your hand, and it gets up exactly as it should, the coach does not need to correct), I know that this is because I worked a lot in native Izhevsk at the beginning of my career.
What qualities have been brought up in you by daily training?
Alina Zagitova: Hard work, perseverance, the desire not to give up. And a sense of rivalry – at first I didn’t know what it was (laughs) and seemed to be competing with myself. Later, when serious competitions began, the fight for third, second, first place, then understanding came. Well, sport is a discipline in the first place. I will say this: discipline is the most important thing in sports, and this is what sports taught me (laughs).
What are the top three qualities of a true champion in your opinion?
Alina Zagitova: Difficult question, by the way. There are a lot of qualities that can be listed until tomorrow morning, but the most important are desire, love for what you are doing, and patience. And also aiming for leadership, initiative and perseverance.
The ability to win and the ability to lose are equally important – is it so?
Alina Zagitova: Quite right. And losing sometimes turns out to be much more emotional than winning. For me, the defeat at the World Championships after the 2018 Olympics was a huge blow to my psychological state. But it is also an important experience. After losing, if you work on your mistakes, you can win again, which is confirmed by my victory at the World Figure Skating Championships in 2019. And I want to express my deep gratitude to my coaches, Eteri Georgievna Tutberidze and the entire coaching staff – they helped me a lot mentally and physically.
How do you overcome defeats and what helps you cope with the moral burden?
Alina Zagitova: Here, probably, no advice will help, it takes time. For me, defeat is always at first anger, disappointment, devastation, many questions to myself – why is it so, what happened. And then analytics, analysis of mistakes – and new competitions. Over time, the negative is forgotten, the main thing is to take into account this experience and correct the mistakes.
What do you do in the last minutes before going on the ice before an important competition? Do you have any signs, superstitions?
Alina Zagitova: I used to have a lot of superstitions, but then I realized that they do not work, they only drive a person into a dead end and generally take a lot of strength. So, I am now completely unsuperstitious. I can get up with my right foot, and with my left foot (laughs) … Before going on the ice, I just repeat the program in my mind. I just “think with my feet”, and that’s it.
How would you describe yourself as a person? If we talk about you not as an athlete, but simply as a girl. What are you like? What do you love, what do you dream about?
Alina Zagitova: I myself still can not understand this. I think that other people will speak better for me if you ask them, because it is more visible from the outside. I love a lot of things. I like to improve in different directions, to try something new. I love to cook. I also dream about many things, but I don’t like to talk about it, otherwise my dreams are devastated somehow.
How do you manage to combine training, performances/tours, journalism and studies at the university?
Alina Zagitova: This is all correct time management. My mother, for example, keeps schedules of my events so that they do not overlap. I just follow the plan and keep my schedule in mind.
In sports, you have won all possible titles, and what are your priorities now, where are your strengths and energies directed? How do you determine which goal to follow?
Alina Zagitova: Well, you just need to understand what you like, work in this direction and remember that when you achieve some goal, people will definitely appear on your way to help you. And, of course, work, work and more work. Determining what you like is probably the most difficult thing. Figure skating, of course, was an important goal for me, but then the inevitable question arose – in which direction to move on. I thought a lot about what I like, what I want to achieve, and I seem to have found my direction. I want to dedicate myself to TV projects related to sports – this is my current goal. And I believe that in order to achieve a global goal, the strategy of intermediate goals is best suited. You achieve something at a certain stage and move on, and then more and more until you get to the main thing.
How do you feel as a journalist and commentator? Do you think you made the right career choice?
Alina Zagitova: I feel good, although a little shy for obvious reasons. I’ve been not that long in this business, and I have little experience. But I am very glad that Channel One invited me to host the Ice Age. For me, this is the first project as a host and thanks to this experience I learned a lot of nuances that I will use in my future work.
What do you like more: performing on the ice, commentating or being the host of the show, like in Ice Age? Which role reveals your personal qualities best?
Alina Zagitova: I love figure skating unconditionally, and it always comes first for me. The role of the TV host is in second place, also for obvious reasons. And every thing I do reveals me differently, whether it’s cooking or boxing, which I recently started doing. I’m starting to notice something new in myself, which is great because it means that I’m developing as a person and my body is developing at the same time.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how much a perfectionist are you?
Alina Zagitova: I won’t say ten, more like nine. Nothing is perfect, but I always strive for it.
Would you like to become a movie actress?
Alina Zagitova: In fact, I thought about it, and I received a couple of offers. Unfortunately, I did not like the plot, so I refused these roles. But if they offer me a cool role that suits me, and I like the plot, I will gladly agree.
How do you recover after difficult competitions and performances?
Alina Zagitova: I lie in bed and watch some series. I can also have something tasty – meat or fish. Lie down and don’t get up.
What do you do to keep yourself in shape? Do you have to limit yourself in food?
Alina Zagitova: Before, yes, it happened, but, growing up, I realized that diets have a bad effect on the body. I came to the conclusion that it is better to eat little and when you want. I used to eat everything, mostly sweets, but now I just realized that it’s better to eat a piece of meat or fish, and it will be much healthier than a chocolate bar.
Tell us about your beauty routine, what do you do to take care of yourself on a regular basis?
Alina Zagitova: First of all, cleansing and moisturizing, because I have dry skin; so those are two basic things, it’s especially important to do this in the evening.
Which star do you consider your idol?
Alina Zagitova: I’m a person who doesn’t remember names (laughs), basically I try to believe in myself and follow what I want. But I have said more than once and I will repeat that my idol is Alina Kabaeva. My parents named me after her, she competed in the year of my birth.
What makes you happy?
Alina Zagitova: There are many answers to this question. I can say that I am happy that I breathe, I can see and hear. And let it sound like a banality, but I’m happy that I’m doing what I love, my family is healthy and I can make them happier. That I am healthy and can please the audience, the fans with my skating. This is what really makes me happy.
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Alina Kabayeva was a sports fenomen of her time. Perfectly understandable why you got your name after her. May heaven bless you and protect you, Alina, so you don’t end up like her.