Interview with Daria Panenkova, who left Eteri Tutberidze’s group this offseason and now coached by Anna Pogorilaya’s ex-coach Anna Tsareva.
by Andrei Simonenko for rsport.ria.ru
Daria, how much do you worry about the fact that you used to do almost everything on the ice, but now you have to fight with mistakes?
– I’m very worried about becoming unstable. Honestly, I don’t understand what will happen next, how everything will turn out.
Is it growing up or are there other reasons?
– Those two seasons I skated in other boots, with other blades, and this season, when I began to try those skates, I rubbed my feet a lot. I couldn’t use them and decided to switch to another brand with lightweight blades. But they turned out to be too soft for me. And, as many have already seen, I have to wrap them with tape to hold my leg. Still, I got used to hard skates. And after this such wobbling began!
And also my weight this season is unstable. First a big plus, then an even greater minus. It changes quicker than I can get used to it. Probably, this is the main cause of my inconsistency.
Often, when skaters grow up, they go on a diet and think with nostalgia of those times when they could eat everything they wanted. Do you now also have to limit yourself in food?
– I always had a weight problem, I have never been thin. Even when I was little. But then I eat everything and jumped easily. Now I understand that in order to jump, not to fall, I need to keep my weight. Now I allow myself not much. And if I allowed then quickly to the treadmill, to spend there what I have eaten.
“Don’t allow much” means salads or only breakfast and then a light diet?
– Even when I was on a diet, I didn’t put myself into the framework that I need to eat by schedule. When I wasn’t on a diet, I ate, for example, salad and rice with chicken, and when I had to loose extra calories, I ate only salad. Before I had porridge and an apple for breakfast, now something one. So I have never canceled meal, just ate less.
One of my friends, when she was on a diet, hung a piece of paper on the fridge with the words “Do not open”.
– I don’t have such, I’m rarely at home and almost never enter the kitchen (laughs).
How did you get to figure skating? Just like everyone else, parents brought to the rink?
– I had health problems, the doctors advised swimming or figure skating. There was a skating rink just two minutes from our house, and my mother decided to try to go with me on public skating.
We went out, they gave me a penguin. I skated a circle with it, said that I didn’t need it, went without it and fell. Mom was horrified, tried to get me up, but I said: “I’ll do it!” and ran on, fell, got up, ran, fell, got up … Mom realized that I liked all this and sing me to the group.
View this post on Instagram
Знаю этот сезон складывается не так гладко, как хотелось бы. Смена тренера, месяц без тренировок,старые травмы и многое другое. Я не расстраиваясь иду дальше к цели и я ещё докажу что могу чисто исполнять свои элементы, мне ещё не 30 лет, есть время все исправить и справиться с собой и своими нервами. У многих именно в 15-17 лет наступает такой период, когда мы превращаемся в девушек. Многие это понимают, а многие говорят что уже ничего эта спортсменка не добьётся.Это надо просто спокойно пережить.Спасибо всем моим фанатам, тренерам, родителям что находятся рядом в это непростое время.❤️ I know this season is emerging not as smooth as we would like. Change of coach, a month without training, old injuries and much more. Without getting upset, I go further to the goal and I will prove that I can purely fulfill my elements, I am not yet 30 years old, I have time to correct everything and cope with myself and my nerves. For many, it is at the age of 15-17 that such a period comes when we turn into girls. Many people understand this, and many say that this athletes will not achieve anything. It should just be relieved. Thank you to all my fans, coaches, parents that are nearby in this difficult time.❤️
A post shared by Daria Panenkova (@darya__panenkova) on
When did figure skating stop being a hobby and become life?
– Probably, it happened when I came to Eteri Tutberidze’s group. I realized that here we come to work, not just to skate and have fun. Since then, I treat figure skating exactly like this – I come to work.
So since childhood you don’t fear to fall?
– I have never afraid to fall. But literally from the time when the weight changes began, I began to be afraid to jump in principle. That is, I go to the ice and don’t understand how I wasn’t afraid of this before. Now in training it often happens that I go on a jump and just miss it. This means that I have a fear of jumping. The fear, that I will jump and something bad will happen, haunts me all the time. I’m trying to overcome it.
– If I do five jumps, the fear disappears. But if I fall from one of these jumps, the fear doesn’t go away, it stays for this particular jump. I don’t want to fall again. Although I had never been afraid to jump or fall. Even when such a thought occurred to me, I thought: “Well, I will fall, nothing bad will happen, everyone falls.” And now, honestly, I don’t know what is happening.
Have you thought to work with a psychologist?
– I have. But let’s see what we will do now.
Your programs have such a melodramatic theme. Are this feelings close to you?
– Yes, I really like such programs, I can perform them well and I like them. I can express such feelings better than fun. For me, a fun program is not a close theme. Although, maybe someday I will try a new artistic image.
Have you taken acting lessons?
– We worked on acting skills with my former coach, but in general I just feel which emotions I need to show, it goes from the heart.
You had a very memorable program to the song Ne Me Quitte Pas, where you made a very adult gesture – smeared your lipstick. Did you really want to seem older at 14?
– Coaches told me “Dasha, you will do this,” so I did. That’s all. I don’t think I wanted to seem older. But now I really want to grow up so that this period of bad competition is over and everything becomes normal.
You left Tutberidze before this season. Why?
-I had reason. It was morally, psychologically difficult. It was my initiative.
Did it take long to get used to the new coach Anna Tsareva?
– We were familiar with Anna Vladimirovna for a long time, so when I came to her group, I knew who she was. And at once everything went well for us.
Your second senior Grand Prix, where you had to skate with an ankle injury, is behind. What’s next?
– I need to consult with the doctor. But I think there’s nothing serious. I will heal at home for a couple of days, and on Sunday we will fly to a competition in Austria. And then, maybe, I will go to competitions in Estonia. Next are the Russian Nationals.
What result at the Russian Nationals will suit you?
– Probably the first five. Of course, I don’t know how everything will be, the rivals are very strong, they train a lot, all have complex programs. You can’t win with jumps alone, you need to have “three in one” – spins, skating skills and jumps. So far I don’t have any special skating skills. But I will try to take the place as high as possible.
When you see how girls jump quads, do you think “How to compete with them?”
– Once I tried a quad Salchow. But this is definitely not my way. I don’t skate at such a high speed, which is necessary for the quadruple jump. And when I see them jumping quads … If I’m already afraid of triples, how are they not afraid of quads? I really hope that when I grow up, the fear of jumping will disappear.
So, it’s necessary to grow artistically.
– I can express the program well, but I don’t have skating skills. I would really like to skate like Wakaba Higuchi. She is also not a skinny girl, but she skates at great speed and has very good skating skills. This is what I want to achieve. Speed, eyes at the judges and the audience and not to be too focus on jumps. Sometimes, I underperform in choreography. That’s why programs don’t look 100%.
During the program you really look at the ice almost always. There is something mysterious about it, but perhaps it is because of concentration?
– This is my childhood habit. When I look to the ice, I think about something. And this is very bad to think about something during the performance. Because when I don’t think about anything, I look at the judges.
What are you thinking about?
– In the free program in Finland I skated and thought: “I need to do a second lutz-toe loop combination by all means!” And therefore I did the whole step sequence looking down to the ice. In the short program, going on the double axel I said myself: “At the bracket you need to look at the judges.” And I did not look. And when I was already jumping the axel I thought: “Why, why didn’t I look at the judges? Damn, I forgot everything again!”
Do you try to fix it somehow?
– Of course, we work with coaches, they tell me not to look down to the ice. Hopefully we’ll fix it. Because strong skaters do not look down to the ice at all.
What did you dream of as a child and what do you dream of now?
– When I was 10 years old, I told myself that I wanted to go to competitions where I would be alone on the ice in front of the full arena, and everyone would look at me. I trained and achieved this. Now my goal is to become a world champion. Of course, I would also like to win Olympic gold, but, frankly, I don’t have confidence that I can do it. But I believe I can become a world champion.
But what about “Think big, be big”?
– The world champion is also a very worthy title. It seems to me that the world champion and the Olympic champion are quite equal. The best win these titles. Yes, I’m not the best in Russia yet, but I will do everything to become one.