Anastasiia Gubanova: “I don’t know how much raising the age minimum will help figure skating, but it will definitely lengthen careers.”
Interview with Anastasiia Gubanova about her first European Championships where she took 7th place, representing Georgia and upcoming Olympics.
source: sport24.ru dd. 21st January 2021 by Konstantin Lesik
Anastasiia Gubanova was considered one of the most talented figure skaters of her generation in Russia. She won at junior Grand Prix events and shared the podium with Alina Zagitova in the series Final. Nastya could have been a contender to qualify for the 2018 Olympics if she had been born six months earlier. Despite the fact that now other young stars have entered the senior level, Gubanova will still go to the 2022 Games. But she will represent Georgia there, country she has been skating for since the current season.
At her first European Championships, Nastya took 7th place, having made a couple of mistakes in the free program after a clean short. Sport24 correspondent spoke with Gubanova about her transition, the plans of the Georgian team for the Olympics, everyday life, age minimum, quadruple jump, as well as communication with Kamila Valieva and Alexandra Trusova.
Anastasiia Gubanova: I still can’t believe that I had such an experience. This is a pretty serious competitions. If you look from a technical point of view, then, of course, everything could be much better. But I got a great experience!
So I give myself a B for the short program, and D for the free program, ha ha. I think it didn’t quite work out because of the psychology. So far, I don’t have much experience performing at major competitions. Perhaps this affected.
Something similar in terms of atmosphere was at the Russian Nationals and junior Grand Prix Finals. But now everything is still a level higher.
Has something changed in your life since the change of citizenship?
Anastasiia Gubanova: No. In ordinary life, everything is the same for me: training, preparing for the exams, I also give lessons to children at the rink. The only thing that has changed is that I started going to bigger competitions.
Describe an ordinary day for Anastasiia Gubanova.
Anastasiia Gubanova: I wake up around 8 in the morning and go to training. After returning from training, I usually sleep during the day. Then the second training session, after which I sometimes give skating lessons. There are half days off. In this case, I go to Lesgaft University. I plan to become a coach.
So figure skating is for entire life?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Yes. Now I train mostly kids of different ages. There are very small ones, and there are those who already learn triples. I like to share my experience.
What do you like about working with young children?
Anastasiia Gubanova: They are very cute. But children are all different. Everyone needs their own approach. And it’s a very difficult job. Now I understand my coaches. It’s a big responsibility, but I like it.
Have you already visited Georgia?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Not yet, but I really want to go there. I saw how the guys from our team went there, sent photos, videos from Tbilisi. Nice! In general, we communicate very well with the team, we have become united during this time.
You have a good team for the team event.
Anastasiia Gubanova: Certainly! We have quite strong athletes. Morisi Kvitelashvili, strong pair and ice dance duo. Well, I also can. (Smiling.)
Can Georgian team aim for a medal?
Anastasiia Gubanova: We will try. Of course, I would love that. I think we can fight for the podium. Everything is possible.
When did you decide that you need to change something?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Everything happened spontaneously. I didn’t have any thoughts about skating for another country. During the big quarantine in 2020 (a year before everyone found out about the transition), my coach Evgeni Rukavitsyn received a call and was offered this option. Of course, I was very happy and immediately agreed. After all, there is a very tough competition in Russia. And I understood that to represent Georgia was a huge chance for me.
At the time, I was just skating for fun. And that’s it. I understood that I would hardly achieve anything in Russia. But I still skated because I like it.
Skating without victories and major competition is probably not easy. After all it’s health and money.
Anastasiia Gubanova: I quit figure skating several times. But for two weeks. I haven’t skated for two weeks – and that’s it, I want to go on the ice. I couldn’t quit. You can’t stop loving figure skating.
I read that earlier you were offered to skate for Belarus.
Anastasiia Gubanova: Yes. Then I skated at CSKA with Elena Germanovna Buyanova. At that time, I was at a high level by Russian standards, I could still compete. And I understood that the time had not come to change the country yet, I wanted to skate for Russia. I did not regret this decision later – everything that is done is for the better.
What do you think now about parting with Elena Buyanova?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Apparently it’s fate. We parted normally. Somewhere they wrote bad things – it’s all not true. We just talked calmly, that’s all. Now I’m in St. Petersburg, with my family and relatives. I’m satisfied with how it all turned out in the end.
Did our federation let you go to Georgia without any problems?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Released immediately. In this regard, I was lucky. (Laughs.) Of course, there were worries about this. But everything worked out well.
Were you not afraid that you might be criticized for the transfer?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Hate is also a PR. I’m calm about all this. Somewhere I make it as a joke, somewhere I don’t pay attention. For figure skating, criticism is normal, everyone faces it. I do everything for myself. And I switched to another country because I wanted to. What others say is their business, it doesn’t really concern me.
By the way, after my transfer, nothing like this happened. Everyone took it well. I’m talking, rather, in general, about other points. There are a lot of people who support me, it’s all very nice and gives a lot of strength. I really appreciate it.
Do you train together with Dima Aliev and Makar Ignatov?
Anastasiia Gubanova: We all skate together in a very friendly atmosphere. I like to work together with the guys – the boys are older, it’s cool to look at them, follow them, take something for yourself.
What I like about Dima is his humanity, sincerity, communication. He is a very deep person. If you talk to him, then all worries immediately fly away.
Makar is cheerful, the soul of the team. We have a friendly team.
Did you cheer for the guys at the Russian Nationals?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I managed to come only for a short program. I watched the free program online. I was more nervous about them than for myself. And when the guys do not succeed, it really hurts.
Why didn’t it work out?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I don’t know what’s in the guys’ minds. I will say this: they were ready. The guys worked hard. But it was the selection for the Olympics, so maybe it’s a matter of psychology. Or maybe not.
At the end of 2020, you said that raising the age minimum would make the fight more fair. Has your opinion changed since then?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Basically, it hasn’t changed. I understand that it has always been like this – the little ones grow up, the adults leave. But I’m still for raising the age minimum.
What age is optimal for you? 16? 17? 18?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I think seniors should be after 18. Everything is already completely different at this age. This is more conscious, more mature skating. It’s not even about some jumps, although it is clear that with age it’s more difficult to jump. It’s more about being aware of what you’re doing.
When a girl grows up, becomes more mature, it’s a completely different feeling. I don’t know how much this will help figure skating, but it will definitely lengthen careers.
Will your career be long?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I definitely plan to skate until the next Olympics.
To fight for medals, you need ultra-c jumps…
Anastasiia Gubanova: I worked on them. both when I was in Moscow, and when I moved to Evgeni Vladimirovich in St.Petersburg. I can do it – I have a fairly high jump. The coach sees the potential, so everything is possible. The closest is a quadruple toe loop. After all the competitions this season, I will work on it.
Isn’t it traumatic?
Anastasiia Gubanova: So what to do? (Smiling.) To win and be in the top, you need to complicate the programs. And I want to prove to myself that I can do it.
So in the future you plan to fight for medals at competitions like the European Championships?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Certainly. It is clear that first of all I do all this for myself, I enjoy it. But I also want results.
Didn’t you get the feeling at the competitions in Tallinn that the Russian skaters and everyone else are two different leagues?
Anastasiia Gubanova: Well no. Any girl, if she works hard, performs one or more quads in the free program, if she has a high rating and represent her country at such competitions for many years, then why not? You can compete.
But the same PCS score often depends on the flag.
Anastasiia Gubanova: Yes I understand this. But that’s for now. Rating is important, of course. And I’m just starting to skate for Georgia. And when I compete for many years, prove to myself and others that I skate beautifully, that I can, then the components will grow.
You don’t get many points right away. It’s all earned over the years.
Did you manage to watch the Russian trio at this European Championships – Kamila Valieva, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova?
Anastasiia Gubanova: I know all these girls since childhood, I remember them when they were little. Sasha and Kamila are very good girls in life. It is very pleasant to communicate with them. I don’t know Anya that well, but I can say for sure that she is a fighter who can pull herself together. This is a plus start. This quality is worth a lot.
Sasha is just a monster. (Laughs) It’s something incredible. I believe that it was she who started this whole quad race and continues to do so. This is very valuable. Kamila is just cosmic, very beautiful programs, jumps on three kilometers. (Laughs.) Well done!
Ekaterina Ryabova: “Ultra-c jumps are necessary if you want to fight for medals. I understand that I won’t be able to learn any. But I can skate clean and enjoy it, which I try to do.”