Anna Shcherbakova: “I think not a single athlete needs direct support from each other; it is perceived as a kind of pity from a competitor.”
Interview with Anna Shcherbakova for Voice magazine.
Anna Shcherbakova and Alina Zagitova shot and interviewed together. This part will be about Anna.
Was it easy for you to work together today?
Anna Shcherbakova: We have a very good relationship with Alina. We have known each other for seven years, but we have become especially close lately. We began to communicate more and meet outside of training. In sports, I never saw Alina as a competitor because of the age difference. When 14-year-old me first competed in the Russian Nationals and entered senior competitions, Alina was already a star, an Olympic champion. Of course, there is a huge competition in figure skating, but it is competition that makes us move forward: everyone wants to be the best. This is not about envy and anger, but about motivation.
In that case, do you support each other during competitions?
Anna Shcherbakova: I think not a single athlete needs direct support; it is perceived as a kind of pity from a competitor. It is more important for us that we walk this path side by side and know its price.
Tell us what Anna Shcherbakova is like in life.
Anna Shcherbakova: I am a restrained person; impulsive actions are not characteristic of me. Funny fact: all my concentration goes into figure skating, so in everyday life I can be distracted—I constantly lose or forget something.
Do you often feel sad, and is it easy to make you laugh?
Anna Shcherbakova: I’m often sad, but not for long. I am prone to self-digging, and sometimes my own conclusions can upset me, but I try not to dwell on this. In general, my mood often changes, but, as a rule, it is imperceptible to those around me because I experience these changes inside. And my family and pets can always cheer me up.
The athlete’s schedule is literally scheduled by the minute. Are you able to find time for yourself?
Anna Shcherbakova: I am one of those people who sometimes needs to be alone. Without it, I become irritable, so sometimes I need solitude, peace, and quiet.
What does your ideal day off look like?
Anna Shcherbakova: If we are talking about a day off in the middle of a difficult work process, when, for example, we are preparing for competitions, then I don’t think about anything other than sports, and I devote my free day to recovering before the upcoming workout. When the big competitions are over, I prefer outdoor activities with friends: there is so much energy accumulated that I spit it out flying on a trapeze, riding a wakeboard, or skydiving.
Your success in figure skating has made you a celebrity. How do you feel about your popularity?
Anna Shcherbakova: Such great love and support pleases and motivates to move forward. But there is also the other side of the coin. Sometimes I feel insecure.
Looking back, have you ever regretted choosing the profession of an athlete?
Anna Shcherbakova: Initially, figure skating was just a pleasant hobby, and then the moment came when I realized that it was serious and for a long time. I never had the desire to quit big sports. Well, I don’t consider fleeting impulses after difficult seasons; as I previously stated, I don’t make decisions in the heat of the moment.
For every second teenager, the transitional period was marked by rebellion. How do athletes deal with this?
Anna Shcherbakova: There is a feeling that my teenage rebellion has shifted and is just starting now. I am a disciplined sportsman, but during the post-Olympic vacations, I felt that sometimes I wanted to go along with my desires, to say no in some moments. For example, I no longer follow a schedule as closely as before and may wake up later than usual. I don’t always strictly follow my diet, as I used to.
I had an absolutely happy childhood. Until the age of ten, I perceived figure skating as a game that I succeeded in. Parents also did not try to raise a champion; they treated sports evenly, and put school and rest at the forefront. For example, all the girls in the group had one month of summer vacation, and I had all three. I spent a lot of time with friends and family; hence, I have a lot of warm memories.
What can’t you imagine your morning without?
Anna Shcherbakova: The main thing is not to be in a hurry. Even if I have to get up very early, it is important for me not to rush, otherwise I will be absent-minded.
The best way to deal with a bad mood is…
Anna Shcherbakova: Focus on work.
What was the last movie you watched that you both cried and laughed at?
Anna Shcherbakova: I don’t know what the movie should be like so that it would make me cry (the last time this happened, probably, in distant childhood). I don’t really like comedies either; it’s hard for me to sit still; it’s like I’m just wasting time. But I like psychological thrillers and detective stories to keep me in constant tension while watching. So, for example, my favorite series is Sherlock.
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