Anastasiia Gubanova: “I came to life at these European Championships. This victory is like a second breath for me.”
Interview with 2023 European champion Anastasiia Gubanova.
source: olympics.com dd. 2 February 2023 by Tatjana Flade
You are the European champion. Have you already realized it?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Not yet. I can’t even imagine how it happened. I think that when I rest, I will calm down, and then I will realize what happened.
Based on the results of the season, it was clear that you were claiming a medal at the European Championships. How did you survive the competitions?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I tried to be calm and not think about anything; just go on the ice with a cool head and do my job. Of course, it didn’t work out to be calm in the free program; I was nervous, but I coped, and I’m happy with it. There were no thoughts in my head that I should take some place. My only thought was that I should skate clean. The coach and friends helped me calm down. The coach said the right words.
Evgeni Rukavitsin did not come to the championship; the choreographer Valentin Molotov was with you. Have you been in touch with Evgeni Rukavitsin?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Yes, of course. We discussed all the details.
What did he say after?
Anastasiia Gubanova: He congratulated me and talked about the shortcomings in the program because I didn’t skate perfectly. But he is very happy and proud.
When you made a mistake on the flip, what was your thought?
Anastasiia Gubanova: A thousand thoughts rushed through my head in a second. In training, I never worked out a backup plan; I did not do a combination with the second flip. At the Grand Prix stage in Finland, I also thought that since I didn’t do it in training, I shouldn’t do it in the program. But here it was such a competition that I understood that I needed to pull myself together and do it.
What new things did you learn about yourself at this championship?
Anastasiia Gubanova: That I can do more than I think.
You seem very calm, even quiet.
Anastasiia Gubanova: At first glance, yes. But close people know that I am cheerful, the soul of the company. From the outside, I seem to be a fragile girl, but I have a huge core inside.
You have come a long and difficult path. You performed brightly in juniors, but then difficulties began. If you were now writing a letter to Nastya from the Junior Grand Prix Final season, what would you write to her?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I would write to her: “Never give up. Even when you do not have physical and moral strength, this is not the end; you need to rise and move on. There is a way out of any situation.”
If we recall your career, you competed in the Junior Grand Prix Final but did not advance to the Junior Worlds and were unable to compete at the international level for several years. How did you manage to not give up or quit?
Anastasiia Gubanova: It was hard mentally; I wanted to quit. But it’s hard to put an end to everything, and I wanted to skate. And then, one might say, a miracle happened: Georgia resurrected me.
When you were invited to represent Georgia on the eve of last season, what changed?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Huge motivation appeared; I had even more desire to skate, and I began to treat training differently, more responsibly. That is, I understood what kind of tasks were before me, and I needed to work even harder. I began to enjoy everything more.
You took part in the Olympic Games. The Olympics are, of course, the dream of every athlete. Tell us about your impressions.
Anastasiia Gubanova: Actually, a lot happened there. First of all, I really liked the Olympic village. We were all together there, and I felt that our Georgian team is just one big family. This feeling helped a lot in the future. For example, the support was very felt at the team event. True, there was an incident at the team event. A couple of days before the performance, already there, in Beijing, the hook on my boot began to fall off. The coach and I hoped that he would last until the end of competitions, but after the warm-up, I go out, start unlacing the boots, and the hook flies out. Thank God, I was the fourth to go in the warm-up. At that moment, when the hook fell off, my beloved girls, Karina Safina and Masha Kazakova, who were also on the Georgian team, were with me. And they helped a lot. They immediately ran after Evgeni Rukavitsin, he made a hole in the boot. Boots were all in his blood; he cut himself.
I quickly threaded the lace into this hole, laced up the boot, wrapped it with 100 layers of tape, wiped off the blood, and ran onto the ice. I go out: well, it is the Olympics, after all, and there was so much stress on top of that. But, thank God, I managed not to think about it. But there is something to remember.
Of course, since childhood, I’ve had a dream to get to the Olympic Games. However, these competitions did not make me the most nervous. It seems to be a competition of such a level, but when you understand that you have been going to this all your life, what’s the point of worrying. Here, you just need to enjoy your skating.
The Olympic Games differed from other competitions because they had a very warm atmosphere. I have never felt like this at any competitions. All athletes support each other. It’s insanely uplifting.
There is often a lot of negativity on social media. How do you feel about all this?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I don’t take it seriously. This is other people’s opinion. I do my best, and what people think is none of my business.
This season, in the short program, you tell the story of a resilient girl who goes through difficulties. How does it resonate with your story?
Anastasiia Gubanova: In this program, you can see the story of my life. At the end of the program, I have a sigh, and I also came to life at these European Championships. This victory is like a second wind for me.
As for the free program, you said before the season that you dreamed of skating to Indian music.
Anastasiia Gubanova: When I was little and saw the movie Slumdog Millionaire, I liked this music. Let’s say, this music was lying in a box. And then I remembered about it. The coaches weren’t sure it would suit me. We started to train Indian movements, and then Valentin Molotov choreographed me a program.
How does winning the European Championships motivate you for the future?
Anastasiia Gubanova: It gave me confidence in myself.
What inspires you in life?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I love to sing. When I listen to music, sing, or write songs myself, it can be said that it regenerates me.
Do you have plans for the future?
Anastasiia Gubanova: For sure, I will skate until the next Olympics, and then we’ll see.
You say that you really like Georgia.
Anastasiia Gubanova: Yes, it’s a very beautiful country with very tasty cuisine, and it can be dangerous (laughs), but not for me. In my teenage years, I was on diets; now I eat whatever I want.
Next is the preparation for the Worlds in Japan, right?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Yes, I will rest for a couple of days and start preparing for the World Championships. I have never been to Japan and really look forward to going there. I’m very interested.
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