Anna Pogorilaya: I’m not perfect, but I can correct many of my weaknesses

Posted on 2017-04-19 • 1 comment


Translation of an interview with Anna Pogorilaya. About her programs, failure at Worlds, tough competition and photo shoots.

Anna, after the failure at the World Championships who found the most correct words for you?

– Coaches. They said: “You should go and sleep, tomorrow will be a new day.”

Perhaps you could not fall asleep?

– I managed to sleep, but I didn’t manage to forget at all about what happened. Of course, this is impossible.

And the reason of this failure is clear?

– There are a lot of them, they are different, but  I do not know which was the main. And how can I know? I can only guess, which I do not like. The main thing is that we try to get rid of these problems at trainings. This is sport, this is life everything is possible.


– I do not think so.


– I wouldn’t name my technique as a problem. According to coaches’ I was prepared very well.

Have the past season taught you something?

– The season was summed up in Helsinki, and there, at the last competition, I again came to the familiar conclusion: do not stop working.

During the season it seemed that everything was brought to normal and stabilized.

– But I didn’t have such thoughts. I will not say that I was confident.

Turns out you didn’t reach the state “I can do everything”?

– I know that I can work. I know that everything is possible, but to set myself to the fact that I’m perfect … I’m not perfect, but I can correct many of my weaknesses.

During that ill-fated performance at the World Championships it seemed that you wanted give up right there on the ice.

– No, it wasn’t like that.

But there was a sad pause.

– Pause – yes. Inhale – exhale and let’s continue.

When you finished the program you fell on the ice. Because of the lack of moral strength or resentment?

– I don’t remember already.

Next season’s programs will be no less dramatic?

– We think about it, but we can not say for sure yet. We haven’t decided on music and artistic image yet.

Couldn’t the drama both in short and free program pressure you to much?

– No, because the music itself was not exciting. Last year’s “Bolero” in the short excited me more. My main criterion – I must feel the music.

What kind of music you don’t feel?

– A lot of. I do not feel weak sounds, I love a strong voice. Music can be melodic and beautiful, but something is still will be wrong. I rejected quite a lot, there were  so mamy that I did not even remember how many and which one.

A recognized classical music by a great composer could be weak?

– I have a different perception, I do not like to take what others had. That’s why, Anna Vladimirovna (Tsareva) suggested music with vocals for the free program. Very strong voice, which almost no one heard. A win-win criterion. The killing of two birds with one stone.

I heard a melody from your short program playing by a street violinist in the underground passage at the Park of Culture.

– A lot of people know the short, but the free, especially the part which in the middle, is a rarity.

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At the end you have a requiem, with which Oksana Grishuk and Evgeni Platov triumphed at OG-1998 in Nagano.

– Yes, I know.

Tatiana Tarasova did this program. Didn’t you discuss the requiem part?

– When we were in Sochi in September, she worked on both short program and free program. And she paid special attention to this very last part. The big bet is made on this part. We have to get the audience, do something that will set us apart from the other competitors.

Tatyana Anatolyevna is famous for precise phrasing.

– In my case, she played not with phrase, but with added element. I do a spiral, then do steps near the board and there happens a music change. From the second to the third part – the final, the one that should captivate the viewers. The one where I really need to feel the accent. And there Tatyana Anatolyevna added a quite usual jump jump – not even a split, but it instantly made the transition to the final part brighter. It helps us to convey the idea of our work. In my opinion, the viewer understands us.

Transition to requiem it’s when you slowly and stately skate backward, doing steps….

– gaining speed for the spiral, yes this moment.

From the same step Grishuk and Platov started their program.

– We did not take it from them. I have never copied other people’s programs. This step is beautiful itself and very simple in execution.

You reminded me of the “Russian split jump” that Sasha Cohen did, but which has already died as a popular phenomenon? Is it too difficult?

– No, this element is not difficult at all, you can work on it. Jason Brown does it. It’s a “wow”!

But except for Jason, no one came to mind, besides, Brown does not claim for serious results.

– A new level is jumps in combination, all attention is focused on them.

What would you like add to your artistry?

– Simply more polishing. Every gesture I want to make even softer, even it’s already good. If the gesture is sharp, I want it to be sharper. There must be a “point” in the element. Arms and feet should be synchronised, moves should be finished and you need to feel it. Like the emotions on the face. All my choreographers Misha Ge, Kolya Morozov and Viktor Adoniev advise me in this.

Morozov is deeply engaged in ice dance, how often did you work with him this season?

– He invited me somehow to Novogorsk, but I could not come, but we met at the Russian Championship. I hope Kolya is happy with what I’m showing on the ice. He said “Well done”, but we have not analyzed my performances in details yet.

Maxim Kovtun told me that for the last year’s performance Peter Tchernyshev advised him to learn facial expressions on the on the example of Mikhail Baryshnikov.

– This season I understand both my artistic images, after all I skate tango again, which I love and dance since childhood.

Have the feelings changed?

– Very much. I grow up, my views change, I discover a lot. What is tango in childhood? Coach choreographed and you skate it. Just moves. As I grew up, I began to invest myself into a dance. After all everyone imagines it in his own way. The tango of 2014, with which I first flew to the World Championships, is incomparable with the dance of 2017.

Is it a symbol of a strong woman?

– Yes, but this woman is me. I still skate like with a partner. I took lessons, to have a feeling of man in dance, and then went on the ice alone, but my arms, back, body, legs move in such a tact, like the man is next to me. Once I saw a dancer performing a tango. He was half dressed like a man, half like a woman. He danced as like in pair, but in fact – with himself. It was very beautiful and very interesting. You look – one, but you realize that it’s a pair.

But it’s still unusual?

– I have been on the ice for so many years that I feel ok alone on it, even with the feeling of a virtual partner. I worked a lot with Misha Ge, who knows how to do hands in tango, and this formed a whole image. I really liked (Alexander) Zhulin with his partner in the same tango, but they had a restrained one. The ideal tango for me it’s like in movie “Scent of a woman” But there it is also restrained. Passion, but to a certain point. I keep this “point” in the program for some time but then everything goes beyond. Tango in hip-hop, but without hip-hop moves. This is primarily a tango, but a little bit beyond it. Even more passion and energy, which I give to the public and the judges. Well, you saw the end of the program. It’s interesting for me when something classical have the note of freedom. I prefer casual style in clothes, but I adore classics, because I know: it suits me.

Isn’t tango conveyed better on stage or ice when passions run high in personal life?

– Absolutely not. There were no passions in childhood for example.

But there should be some worries?

– There are always some worries, let it be worries, for example, when I forgot to feed the cat. Sometimes I worry about my brother when he has exams. I have a father, a mother … But sporting worries do not intersect with family. My brother understands perfectly that I am engaged in figure skating, and doesn’t interfere in this sphere. He does chemistry, and I do not bother him either. Thank God, he does not put experiments at home. We know well that we do not understand each other, but we worry for each other.

Does tango affect your life posture?

– I don’t become more daring. I’m one on thice, different at physical trainings and also different in life. I do not want to hurt anyone because of my sport. I’ve never been spineless, but I’m working on myself not to be insolent. I’m not any like that with my frieneds, and of course not with my family. I can take it out on my brother but only as a joke.

Is Russian Nationals strongly “refreshing” when with 215 points you don’t get on the podium.

– Refreshing?

At first you had two competitors, then five, now – ten.

– Well all 18 are competitors, after all, all skate clean. So what’s the point for me to worry?

Don’t you have a feeling that representing some other country you would be in the top?

– I’m already in the top.

In the very-very top?

– What’s the point to represent a country with no competition? My rivals are pushing me forward.

Alina Zagitova, who won the silver at the National Championship being 14 years old, did she push you strongly?

– No. I do not care.

Then who?

– The situation in general. The fact that competitors are simply exists.

When young girls come, it’s easier for them to coordinate.

– That is the problem. While they are all small, it’s easy for them. But then puberty comes – and that’s all, different sorts of things will begin.

Seemed your have grown up steadily.

– I had to work very hard for it to seem so. A centimeter of height and already something is not right. Plus a year and it’s already harder, two years – more! Therefore, we have to adapt the technique to make it possible to jump with changes in the body. And you have to think and plan more. Now I don’t grow up in height any more, if from 14 to 16-17 I was growing up physically, then after 16 I’m growing up mentally. How the child thinks – to go on the ice and do everything quickly. All you need to do, it’s to do what your coach says. And now you understand that you represent a country, that the audience applaud for a reason. And this requires additional efforts to keep the balance.

Do you have enough coaching staff to make progress?

– I work not only with Anna Vladimirovna, but also with Artem Punin, and with Mikhail Panarin on physical trainings, on acting with Margarita Bugaeva, on choreography with Maria Alexandrovna Borisova. I have a whole team of specialists.

So there’s no questions about change of coach?

– No.

Earlier you said that there is almost no difference in points between the combinations “lutz – loop” and “lutz-toe loop”, but has the situation changed with current serious level competition?

– The two points that separate these elements, in fact, have a great importance, but I will not say that “lutz – loop” is difficult. If you work on it, it will be even easier than “lutz-toe loop”. This is a conversation from the same series: you jump with an arm over the head or without it. Everyone is trying to do lutz or flip, choreographically stretching his arm overhead, and this, in the end, it becomes uninteresting. Although it’s beautiful and brings some +GOE.

Serafima Sakhanovich told that it’s more convinient for her to jump with arms overhead.

– See, and I don’t see any sense in this.

Alexei Mishin focus on the difficulty and power of the jump. They Wait the awakening of Elizaveta’s triple axel …

– He is the master in this field. I also want everything, but gradually. I tried the axel in three and a half turns, however, landed it half-turned. The worst thing about it is an entry. You wrap yourself in it and do not know in what kind of abyss you’ll fly away. It’s like jumping with a parachute and you think: will it open up or not? Plus one revolution is a new feeling, unfamiliar. Where to open? Where to close? .. But now is not the time to think much about that.

Who is your idol in figure skating?

– Carolina Kostner, I like her skating skills.

To mention Costner it’s a win-win option.

– But why? She has worked for a very long time to achieve such a skating, but the thing is, you can’t do everything on ice just by working hard.

What you can’t do?

– There’s nothing impossible for me.

What are you dream of?

– Spread eagle.

I’ve read about it.

– Coaches work on my program, someone says: “Let’s put some cool thing here”. “A spread eagle!” – someone says immediately. “She can’t …”, answers the one who knows me very well. And there comes silence.

I noticed your photo in Instagram with the signature “I’m swimming into my dream”.

– I wrote it before going to bed. I dive into a real water in a real long dress in real figure skates. I could agree only on such photo shoot during thes season. After all, usually such activities take away a lot of energy, but I did not refuse to dive under the water in skates. The biggest problem was to find some skates you won’t afraid to spoil. I found someone else’s, a bit broken. I wore a dress and dived. Eyes saw only blue tiles, it was warm. I did not want to get out. Interesting that the skates then dried up and became like new ones.

You love photo shoots, but never fold your lips according to the trend.

– Like a duck? Although I have a fully right to do this, given the features of my lips. I like natural images, I’m pro natural beauty. On the photo, it’s important to pose to look aesthetically pleasing, but you need to feel relaxed.

Evgenia Medvedeva created her own line of sportswear. Do you have any similar ideas?

– Now I do not have an exact idea about the future. I think that if you start some business, you need to treat it scrupulously, know all the details in order to be able to do something unusual. I’ve thought a lot about what I want to do, but after figure skating. Starting from cooking, finishing with design. I like to sew something to my jeans and experiment in the kitchen. Just not before the competition and so that nothing on the stove burn or explode.

by Anatoli Samokvalov for


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One response to “Anna Pogorilaya: I’m not perfect, but I can correct many of my weaknesses”

  1. AJ says:

    She is a Russian girl, she knows how to cheat.

    it’s been two years since she fell in groups of three at the end of these championships.
    Sure, it’s the only way she’s found to tumble dry
    in ranking.

    Sport bets.

    At 17, it was time for her to think about getting rich.
    It’s almost the end.

    She must have a great bank account now
    (may be in Switzerland).

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