Anastasiia Gubanova: “Everyone knows that there is physical abuse in figure skating. Of course, I saw it.”
Interview with Anastasiia Gubanova.
source: Sport-express dd. 27 March 2023 by Dmitri Kuznetsov
Nastya, how are you? After the free program, it seems that it was not very good.
Anastasiia Gubanova: Already better, I slept, walked around Tokyo, and went shopping. I’m going to Uniqlo.
Right after the performance, you talked about fatigue. Is there a burnout, or is it a big word?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Well, yes, it is more mental than physical fatigue. It was a very emotional season; after the European Championships, I was exhausted. I left all my emotions and strength there. Of course, the preparation for the Worlds was harder. I was as focused as usual, but fatigue made itself felt.
How did you spend your time after the European Championships? Was there a feeling that you had achieved something big and there was no point in pulling yourself together for a feat again?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I felt that everything had not been in vain. There is a title; it is for life. But I didn’t realize it right away; I realized it only after a week or two. When I came back from Europe, I rested for a couple of days and celebrated with my family and friends. And then … returned to training.
How difficult is it for you to catch a second wind, and if you switch, then to what? You write poetry, but maybe something else?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Well, just take a walk in the evening when it gets dark, when there are no trainings or a bad mood. I listen to music, get distracted, and it helps. I switch right away, so I’m fresh the next day.
What kind of poetry would you use to describe the past World Championships?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I won’t name a specific poem, but it’s something about fighting with yourself. I had a struggle to even get there.
This is not the first World Championship for you, but Japan is the mecca of figure skating; the arena holds more than 17,000 people. How does it feel?
Anastasiia Gubanova: There was also a large arena at the Olympics, but there weren’t many spectators there. This is the first time I have had such a huge and full arena. But it gives me such strength and energy! In Japan, absolutely everyone is very warmly welcomed; it’s nice to feel such an attitude.
Can you say that you are treated with caution because of your Russian origin?
Anastasiia Gubanova: No, everything is absolutely calm; there is no special or different attitude. All the guys are from different countries; we all communicate; we are friends. If you are talking about judges, then everything is fair. I was scored the way I skated (laughs).
Judging by the news, the return of the Russians is getting closer. Opinions in the world of figure skating vary: Evan Bates says that everything is good even without Russians; Kaori Sakamoto says that she looks forward to a competition. What do you think?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Nothing will change because of my opinion. It will be as it will. I never think about who I’m competing with, and I compete with myself. I would be glad…
To see the Russians again at the competitions?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Yes, sure! Anyway, I live in Russia, and we are friends.
But this will have an impact on your results.
Anastasiia Gubanova: Of course it will. But then there will be a fight, and it will be even more interesting.
You must have heard how, after the European Championships, they said: “Nastya would not have won if we had been at the European Championships.”
Anastasiia Gubanova: Yes, sure.
But not everyone remembers that you joined the Georgian national team for a reason—after all, they didn’t really count on you in Russia.
Anastasiia Gubanova: It was before the quarantine, I was offered to skate for another country. I understood that this was a chance to perform in a big arena and immediately agreed. There is very strong competition in Russia, and I understood that with my content I had no chance.
Will we see you in Russian shows? Because there was an incomprehensible story with the “In Love with Figure Skating” show …
Anastasiia Gubanova: No, most likely, no, unfortunately. I hope that they will invite me to some international shows.
Didn’t they even invite you to the Russian ones?
Anastasiia Gubanova: They did, but unfortunately, it did not work out there. I was also invited to the other shows. But in this situation… (pause)
Okay, I get the hint.
It’s scary to say it, but you’re 20 years old, which is a decent age for a women’s singles. Well, and you yourself said that “health is not the same.”
Anastasiia Gubanova: Yes (laughs).
Is this the result of injuries? I hope you don’t have any pain now.
Anastasiia Gubanova: Ridiculous question. There is not a single skater who does not have pain at the age of 20.
Then why are you doing this?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Because we love it. It is our life.
Anastasiia Gubanova: A note of masochism is also present (laughs).
But did you jump through pain at this Worlds?
Anastasiia Gubanova: No, it’s not that bad. Yes, there are injuries, but they are tolerable. To performe through pain – I didn’t have that.
Do you want to continue? Is there a goal to repeat the path of Tuktamysheva?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I will skate till the 2026 Olympics for sure. And then I’ll see and think.
I myself have recently competed in a figure skating event and realized how tough it is to deal with weight and other nuances. Are you on a diet right now?
Anastasiia Gubanova: At the age of 14-18, when there was a transitional age, I lost weight, limited myself very much, and still gained weight; nothing helped. As soon as this age is over, I no longer deny myself anything. I can eat whatever I want, and it doesn’t affect my weight. I can eat a bun or chocolate with a coach next to me. They understand that I have already grown up, and if we noticed that I was gaining weight, then, of course, there would be a different attitude. And since I eat normally and my weight is in order, what are the problems here? If you don’t eat, you won’t have the energy to train. This is the wrong approach.
Another important problem. When I trained and went to different rinks, I saw how adults behaved with children—both coaches and parents. Did you have liberal parents or a more strict upbringing?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I have very kind parents. Of course, when I was skating, my mother stood with a fist on the board, so to speak (laughs), could say something. But I understood that this was for the sake of my further success; even though I was little, I understood this. But there has never been anything violent.
Never seen or heard of such physical abuse?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Of course I saw it. And everyone knows that there are such cases in figure skating. But that didn’t happen to me.
Why do we have this; is it a mentality? Can we ever get over this?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Of course, this is wrong. Everything must be solved in a conversation, discussion. It just doesn’t always work with children. You can probably raise your voice at them so that they understand and respect. But it is better to never start physical abuse; this is my opinion. And how it will turn out in the future, I do not know.
You also said that in children’s skating, you had a lot of intrigues, almost pouring glass into your skates.
Anastasiia Gubanova: In childhood, yes, there were such cases. But, of course, everything comes from the parents.
Describe yourself in three words.
Anastasiia Gubanova: Tenderness, creativity, character.
How do you set yourself up to the performance?
Anastasia Gubanova: It’s better for me not to get closed in myself. I always chat with everyone before the start, I look who is sitting in the stands, and I can wave. I have to be open with everyone; it helps to distract.
What is your first memory of figure skating?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I don’t remember the first time. I remember how I was taught to fall on my side when I was very young. It’s the only thing I remember (laughs).
Are there any ideas for new programs, and do you take part in the choreography?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Yes, sometimes I try to suggest something to the coaches when we work on new programs, sometimes it happens by accident. I made some movement and “Oh, I’ll keep it.” There are no ideas about music yet, but I really want a fun short program.
Zagitova or Medvedeva?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Gubanova! (Laughs.)
Russia or Georgia?
Anastasiia Gubanova: World peace.
What do you want to do after your career ends?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Oh, I have a lot of plans. Of course, they are still beyond real. I want to make music, it’s like a hobby. Perhaps coach. Create my own sportswear company. And maybe open my own school; but this is already dreams.
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