Anna Shcherbakova: “It is impossible to go a long way smoothly, there will be ups and downs. But I want to skate long.”
Interview with Anna Shcherbakova for Cosmopolitan Russia. About preparation for competitions, friendship and competition with other girls from the group of Eteri Tutberidze and about how he spends her free time.
source: cosmo.ru dd. 16th March 2021
On YouTube, under the video of your performance at the Russian Nationals, people leave comments that they cannot stop watching it. Do you watch the videos of your performances? How do you feel at such moments? Are you drawing any conclusions?
Anna Shcherbakova: Sometimes I watch my performances on video. Not only recent competitions, but even children’s performances. However, I watched the skating from the last Russian Nationals only in the evening after the performance, to see it from the side. That day I experienced incredible emotions both on the ice and the whole evening after. But the very next morning I felt some kind of devastation, and after a couple of days, to be honest, I didn’t even want to hear about my performance. I don’t want to dwell on what has already been done.
Now when the first emotions have subsided, can you say what has changed for you after your third victory at the Russian Nationals?
Anna Shcherbakova: Of course, I am very pleased with this competition. I didn’t expect them to turn out so emotional, as I perceived them as a selection for the World Championships. I think they will remain special for me even after a long time. But, it seems to me, nothing has changed. I need to move on.
What are your goals for the future? Do you have a big sports dream?
Anna Shcherbakova: I see my future in the world of figure skating. I would not like to guess, but there is a desire to skate long. I understand that it is impossible to go a long way smoothly, there will be ups and downs. But I think my love for figure skating will help me to overcome all difficulties and enjoy the good things that will come along the way.
What did you talk about with Sasha Trusova and Kamila Valieva after your performances at the Russian Nationals? Does it happen that one of you is offended or upset when the other bypasses her in competitions?
Anna Shcherbakova: I will only talk about myself. Of course, it hurts when I lose or do not take the place that I would like. But I don’t resent an opponent, but myself. This means that something was not enough for the desired result, I should have done more. And we communicate on completely different topics, not only about figure skating.
The fact that you decided to perform despite your illness causes great respect. But this season there were other difficulties as well. Do you think that quarantine has somehow affected your shape?
Anna Shcherbakova: Of course, two months without ice made themselves felt. I always go through the recovery period for a long time. Despite the fact that I did a lot at home, the training camp in Novogorsk turned out to be very difficult.
How did you spend your period of self-isolation and how does your day usually go, apart from the lockdown?
Anna Shcherbakova: During the self-isolation, I managed to spend much more time than usual with my family. But still, most of the day was spent on what I always do: training and study. The difference is that in addition to this, I had free hours, and I tried to spend them profitably. I figured out how to diversify or improve my home workouts, filmed them, edited and posted them on Instagram. It took a long time, but I am very glad that I was not afraid to fulfill what came into my mind.
How difficult is it for you to combine study and professional sports? Have you already started preparing for your final exams?
Anna Shcherbakova: Every year it becomes harder and harder to combine. Often there is not enough time or even energy. I am very grateful to the teachers at school for the understanding, they give assignments, explain when difficulties arise. I understand that this is very important, I try to allocate time correctly in order to have time to complete assignments for all subjects. Preparation for the exams has already begun.
What are your favorite subjects at school?
Anna Shcherbakova: I like humanitarian subjects more: Russian language, literature.
How do your classmates feel about your sporting success?
Anna Shcherbakova: Unfortunately, I have no opportunity to communicate with my classmates. Most of the study takes place remotely.
Are you friends with other skaters of Eteri Tutberidze? You have joint photos on Instagram with Alena Kostornaia, Sasha Trusova and Alina Zagitova. Is there something that unites you besides sports?
Anna Shcherbakova: Still it’s figure skating that unites us. We’ve met thanks to it. I met Alina about six years ago. We are almost the same age with Alena and Sasha, so we constantly went to competitions together. We have many common interests, but we are all different.
You probably have friends who are not related to figure skating. Do you often see each other? How important is it for you to keep in touch with them?
Anna Shcherbakova: It so happened that most of my friends are somehow connected with figure skating. Everyone has a pretty tight schedule, we don’t always see each other, but thanks to the Internet we stay in touch.
How do you usually rest? What TV shows do you watch? Do you have any favorite movies and books that you would recommend everyone to read?
Anna Shcherbakova: I rarely watch movies. I love TV shows more. Favorite TV show – “Sherlock”. I watched it many times in Russian, now I watch it in English. So to speak, I combine business with pleasure. During school hours I read only textbooks and school literature. But during the vacations I am happy to discover something new for myself. Of the last books I liked – “Roadside Picnic” by the Strugatsky brothers.
Your family has several pets. Do you agree that animals help people show their best qualities? Do you have a need to take care of who is weaker or more vulnerable?
Anna Shcherbakova: Agree. I don’t just love animals, I like helping them. All our pets have character. It is especially valuable when you see their trust, feel their love. They are so sincere, sometimes you understand them better than people.
You have a lot of family photos on Instagram, especially with your sisters. Do you get along well? Mom goes with you to all the competitions, and do the sisters support?
Anna Shcherbakova: Yes, my mother not only travels with me to all competitions, but she is also present at almost all trainings, I am so accustomed and this is calmer for me this way. Previously, she could not even distinguish jumps, but over time she began to understand. Now she understands a lot about figure skating, but she doesn’t try to coach me, she just supports me. I am very grateful to her for that. Dad and sisters watch my performances like fans. They also always support me, worry when I am at competitions. They are the first who call, congratulate or comfort me.
If not for figure skating, in what area would you be able to realize yourself? Do you have a profession that you would like to master? Explain your choice.
Anna Shcherbakova: I am rather a creative person. I like trying, come up with something new. But apart from sports, I have not found yet what I would like to do as much as sports. So far, I have figure skating and I have enough time to figure out what else is interesting to me.
You travel a lot, on your social accounts there are photos from Japan and China. Did you like Asia? How close is the Eastern culture to you?
Anna Shcherbakova: From the side of an athlete, the performances in Japan and China turned out to be bright and memorable. In Japan, figure skating is one of the most popular sports, so there is a special attitude towards skaters, and performances are always a great pleasure. In China, I was only once, last year at the Grand Prix. And there I felt just incredible support from the audience, and this is always very important and pleasant. After the end of the performance, dozens of identical bears and one huge one flew onto the ice: now I have a whole collection at home that reminds me of the competitions in the Celestial Empire.
Unfortunately, trips to competitions do not allow you to learn as much about the country as you would like. If I have a free day, I try to feel the atmosphere of the city. Not only local attractions are interesting, but also everyday life. Asia has a different mentality. You can feel it even if you just walk down the street, go shopping, eat in cafes. I would like to go there not only with shows or competitions, but to spend a few days or weeks as a tourist.
What other countries would you like to visit and why?
Anna Shcherbakova: I would like to visit Canada at Niagara Falls, see Machu Picchu in Peru, walk along the Great Wall of China and see many, many other interesting places. I like to travel, feel the greatness of nature and ancient history.
What are your expectations from the upcoming World Championships? Recently it became known that it will be held without spectators. How important for you to feel the audience support during your performances?
Anna Shcherbakova: It’s an expected solution. I think this time the atmosphere will be more restrained, less festive. This season I have already competed without spectators. The support of the fans and the contact with the stands are very important.
Who do you consider your main rivals at the upcoming World Championships?
Anna Shcherbakova: A lot of strong skaters will take part in this competition. Due to the lack of international competitions this season, it is difficult to assess the shape of others. Everyone will try, first of all, to surpass himself, cope with his problems and show his maximum.
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