Anna Shcherbakova: “Eteri Tutberidze is not that kind of a coach with whom you train just for pleasure, you need to work.”
Interview with Anna Shcherbakova about her path in figure skating and plans for the future.
source: snob.ru dd. 15th November 2022
How did you started doing figure skating?
Anna Shcherbakova: I got on the ice at the age of three and a half, it happened thanks to my sister, who saw the children skating in the yard and asked our parents to take her to the rink. You could say I was brought to the skating rink as a company. And since the age difference between us is small – less than two years – we started to skate in the same group. I trained with older guys and constantly “reached out” for them. There was no special atitude in training because of my age, so in something I was even ahead of my peers. I often won medals, gifts, of course, I really liked it.
My first program was a bit theatrical – Pink Panther. I remember my thoughts during this program: “Do not forget to look at the judges, smile, make all movements clearly and beautifully.” In general, there were no worries about jumps and other complex elements. For me, one of the main components of the performance then and later was artistry.
At what point did it become clear that figure skating for you is not only something you like to do, but also a profession?
Anna Shcherbakova: My parents never put pressure on me and did not demand any results, the main thing for them was that I liked it. A couple of times they asked if I would like to make a choice in favor of studying, but I answered that I really love figure skating and do not plan to finish. When mom and dad realized that I was serious, they decided to bring me to Eteri Georgievna Tutberidze – she worked at the same rink where I trained. As children, we looked out of the locker room to see how Eteri Georgievna’s group was training.
When I joined her group, I was nine years old. The first year was spent on adaptation, there was not much progress. But a year later, a real breakthrough happened. I did the main thing that was required of me – I jumped all the triple jumps. Probably, then I realized that sport is serious and for a long time. Here you need to understand that Eteri Georgievna is not that kind of coach with whom you train just for fun and pleasure, you need to work. Eteri Georgievna, Daniil Markovich Gleikhengauz and Sergei Viktorovich Dudakov devote themselves to the training process to the maximum and demand the same in return. When there is a mutual return, there is a result.
It is often said about figure skating that it is “the sport of parents”. Do you agree with this?
Anna Shcherbakova: The fact that I managed to achieve certain results in sports is a great merit of my parents. Training began at six in the morning, we had to get up at four. For a child, such a regimen is not something terrible: you can go to bed at seven and wake up early, but for an adult, as I now understand, this is very difficult. I have two sisters, and how my mother managed to do everything is a mystery to me. It is also important to say about moral support. Competing, I always know that all my relatives watch my performance, worry and cheer for me (except for my mother – she is so worried that she can’t even watch). And no matter what happens, they will always support me.
One of the main competitions that all fans of figure skating remember is the Russian Nationals in December 2020, where you gave a clean skate and took gold.
Anna Shcherbakova: A lot of time has passed – when I remember this competition, I no longer feel vivid emotions. But there is an awareness that it was one of the most significant skates in my life. I am insanely proud of those skates: one after another, the girls went on the ice, who fought for medals, and gave the cleanes skating. I’m glad I succeeded as well.
For a good performance, two factors must “coincide”: the first is ability to work, diligence and polishing the elements to perfection in training, the second is self-control and the ability to focuse at the right time. Fortunately or unfortunately, medals are not given in training, so it is very important to give your maximum at the competitions.
Can we say that after the Games your life has changed dramatically?
Anna Shcherbakova: I think yes. I can say this: the Olympics is the main competition in the life of an athlete, therefore, regardless of the result, life is divided into “before” and “after”.
If we talk about the most vivid memories from the Games, then this is certainly the end of the free program, the realization that everything that was planned turned out, and the award ceremony. I would also point out the entire period of preparation for the Games, we flew to Beijing quite early and trained for a long time under the close attention of judges and journalists.
What exactly has changed since returning from Beijing?
Anna Shcherbakova: I started to try myself in other fields. I’m trying to understand what I’m interested in and experiment. The biggest project now is Ice Age. Filming can be from morning to evening for several days in a row, plus everything that I do there is new for me: I had to learn how to work with the “ear”. I am learning to work in front of the camera, to be confident, to articulate thoughts clearly, and not just chatter memorized text. For the first time in my life, I don’t answer questions, but ask them myself.
I’m a fairly close person, it’s hard for me to make new acquaintances. “Ice Age” teaches to be more liberated. I think that even if I choose a non-public profession in the future, the skills that I get here will be useful to me.
Do sports career and experience of competition help at the shooting?
Anna Shcherbakova: In fact, it’s one thing to be confident on the ice, another thing in everyday life. On the ice, I feel at ease, like a professional, I know what and how to do. Outside the rink, a lot of things are new to me.
Is figure skating a life or a part of it, albeit a significant one?
Anna Shcherbakova: Now I can say without a doubt that figure skating is my life. But I don’t know how I will answer in 20 years.
In several interviews, you said that Olympic gold was not your childhood dream.
Anna Shcherbakova: The point is not that I never dreamed of becoming an Olympic champion. Rather, it seemed to me something unattainable. It turns out that I overfulfilled my own plans. It’s really so. As a child, I did not look far. I set myself more realistic goals: to win the championship among my age, to learn a new jump. So gradually, step by step, I reached what I had not even dreamed of.
Related topics: Anna Shcherbakova
Alexander Gorshkov, the president of the Russian Figure Skating Federation, passed away at the age of 77