Daria Pavliuchenko: “When I came to pair skating the coach said If you lose weight, you will stay.”
Interview with pair skater Daria Pavliuchenko. About her, her way to figure skating and pair skating. Daria also shared her experience of training in Eteri Tutberidze’s group as a single skater.
source: sport24.ru dd. 14th December 2021 by Konstantin Lesik
Dasha, describe your usual day.
Daria Pavliuchenko: I get up early, without an alarm clock. In childhood, training began early – at 8 or even 6:45 and the habit of of getting up early remained. I usually I get up around 5:45 am – 6 am. Then I have breakfast and study. Around 9-10 o’clock I go to the skating rink, there until 8 pm. At 21:30 – 22 o’clock I go to bed.
Last year I studied a lot in my free time, now too – mid-year exams have begun. From entertainment – TV shows, cooking, although I don’t eat much myself, it’s rather a desire to cook something tasty for my parents.
What about the day off?
Daria Pavliuchenko: In the morning I get up, stretch, go somewhere to drink coffee or make cheesecakes at home. I watch TV series, study a little, go for a walk – I used to like walking around shopping malls, now I don’t want to do that at all. It’s better to spend time at home with your family.
Where are you studying?
Daria Pavliuchenko: At the Russian State University of Physical Culture, sports department. This is my first year. I have been skating for many years, I have devoted a significant part of my life to this, so I would like to have a higher sports education.
From childhood I wanted to become a coach. I always thought that I would enter the Russian State University of Physical Culture, maybe in the future there will be some additional education. But at the moment I’m focused on getting a coach education.
What is the last TV show that impressed you?
Daria Pavliuchenko: Now I watch “Gossip Girl” – sometimes I watch something new, sometimes TV series of the 2000s.
Do you watch anything about figure skating?
Daria Pavliuchenko: No. Since childhood, I have been sick of films and series related to figure skating. Probably like any skater. Would it be interesting for you to watch something about journalists? You watch and think, “It doesn’t work like that!”
In any movie about a figure skating, most likely there will be minor flaws – that’s okay, you could turn a blind eye. But I also have enough of figure skating in my life. Therefore, I don’t watch such movies on purpose.
I perfectly understand that this is a movie, a work of fiction, and there may be mistakes, unrealistic moments – well that’s the author’s fantasy. But I don’t want to watch it. I’m not saying that it’s bad, on the contrary, it’s great that figure skating has so much attention: they are shooting about it, talking. As for a sport, it’s very cool, as well as for the layman. But personally, it’s hard for me to watch.
Let’s talk about the start of your career. You don’t have professional athletes in your family, do you?
Daria Pavliuchenko: No. Almost all are teachers. Mom did skiing at an amateur level – it was the school section. She loves to run, to have an active lifestyle. But there are no professional athletes in my family.
However, you are a professional athlete. Why?
Daria Pavliuchenko: I do not know! There was no such plan for me to come to the rink and become a skater. I just skated for health, there were no problems with school – my mother and grandmother tought me from the age of three. When I went to school, I already knew the multiplication table, studied according to Peterson’s textbooks.
Your mom is a primary school teacher, right?
Daria Pavliuchenko: Yes. I didn’t have a problem and task to go to school in order to gain knowledge, because I did it at home until grade 4. Therefore, I went to the skating rink, there was an opportunity to get some kind of variety. I liked skating, but there was no task of becoming a professional skater.
Why figure skating and not another sport?
Daria Pavliuchenko: Because when I was a child we drove past the rink. If it was any other sport section: artistic gymnastics, or something else, then I would have gone there.
At what point did you realize that these are no longer ordinary health activities, but a serious sport?
Daria Pavliuchenko: It happened gradually. But I was always told: “If you do something, then you must give all of yourself to it.” But there was never a task to have super-results. I even got to pair skating by accident.
Why didn’t you succeed in single skating?
Daria Pavliuchenko: I remember that girls of my age jumped all triples and 3–3 combinations, and I perfectly understood that I only have a double axel, toe loop and salchow. At that moment I just wanted to study. And I quit.
I thought that these results are enough. I was already in the fifth grade – it’s time to think about what to do in life.
And you left for 8 months …
Daria Pavliuchenko: It was just October – November. Before leaving, I came for a try-out to Eteri Georgievna (Tutberidze). I saw how the girls were skating and realized that I hadn’t been working on maximum all this time. And I left to study.
Did Eteri Georgievna offer to switch to pairs?
Daria Pavliuchenko: Many people offered me to switch to pair skating, including her.
Why did you go to Khrustalny?
Daria Pavliuchenko: It was very interesting for me how everything goes there, how they skate there. It was the year when Zhenya Medvedeva moved to seniors. I always liked how great she skated. I wanted to skate the same way. And to skate like Zhenya, you need to try with Eteri Georgievna. And so I came.
And in the end you became disappointed with your career?
Daria Pavliuchenko: There was no disappointment, I just realized that the way I worked before was three times less than what is needed in order to achieve results.
How long did the try-out last?
Daria Pavliuchenko: 2-3 weeks.
How successful was it?
Daria Pavliuchenko: I was taken on a probation, but it so happened that I quitted.
After these two or three weeks?
Daria Pavliuchenko: It was not a consequence. I had thought about this (ending my career) before, it was just an option to try again. This is a very difficult topic, I can’t even say now why it happened so. It just happened in my life that I quitted.
What are your impressions of the training?
Daria Pavliuchenko: You need to work very hard – this is the most important thing. At the same time, I cannot say that someone there pressed hard on you or swore. You just come and understand that all people work. There is such an atmosphere that you simply cannot help but work, you just understand it yourself: some kind of energy fills you from within. There is such an atmosphere that you want to work.
But you have returned to figure skating …
Daria Pavliuchenko: Ha-ha, there was such a situation … I had a lot of homework on a particular day, from Monday to Tuesday. I understood that I simply would not have time to do it physically, and I had the following logic: I’ll go to the skating rink for a try-out, it just one day, and by Wednesday or Thursday everyone will forget about homework, I’ll be given new one and no one will ask the old one. So I got into pair skating.
And it was Denis. Do you remember the first meeting with him?
Daria Pavliuchenko: He just met me at the bus, and we went to the rink together. I thought it would be fun to skate with someone, not alone. The only thing that I remember that I was really chubby then.
Denis said that you have lost 10 kg in a month.
Daria Pavliuchenko: Yes. Firstly, I felt a little uncomfortable, and secondly, the coach said If you lose weight, you will stay. I went up to Sergei Vladimirovich and asked what I need to do, he said: “lose weight.” I myself understood that I needed to do this. When heavy loads and proper nutrition returned – I immediately lost 10 kilograms.
Was it difficult to lose weight?
Daria Pavliuchenko: When there is a goal, it’s not difficult. There is nothing special about eating right. There was no suffering. And even now it’s enough for me what I eat. I’m ok.
Denis is 3.5 years older than you. Did you feel the difference in age at the beginning of work?
Daria Pavliuchenko: Denis was also a schoolboy then: he was 16-17, and I was 13. We come here to work first of all, we had no task to become best friends. We came and worked.
Has Denis changed a lot since then?
Daria Pavliuchenko: He has matured, but I can’t say that he has changed a lot. Strong changes will be noticed by a person who hasn’t communicated with him for a long time, and I grow and develop like him, we constantly see each other – it is difficult to say how much I have changed. Probably, he began to approach some things more consciously, it is difficult to single out something specific.
Why are the features you appreciate your partner for?
Daria Pavliuchenko: Firstly, he is very patient, especially when I’m too emotional. Secondly, he is very smart and very talented. One attempt is enough for him, when the coach says: he will think and immediately do what is needed. I don’t have that.
Denis said that you cry a lot in training. Why?
Daria Pavliuchenko: I’m a very emotional person. You cannot take me with you on a scouting mission – I will show everything that I think with my one glance. I don’t even know how to lie – when I start to lie, I start laughing. You can immediately see everything in my eyes, especially if I don’t like something – everything is written on my face. I don’t even need to say anything. If I come in a bad mood, it can be seen from a kilometer away.
It’s good when a person is straightforward, isn’t it?
Daria Pavliuchenko: I’m not that straightforward – just very emotional. Maybe I’m not like that on ice, but in real life …
In training, it happens that I start to get upset because I want it to work out. But I try to work on it, it’s just one of those qualities that I need to improve in myself.
What are your main differences?
Daria Pavliuchenko: I’m probably a more punctual person. Denis can adapt to the situation, but I like things to be exactly planned. I’m more of a perfectionist.
What word would you choose to describe your relationship? Friends? Partners? Colleagues?
Daria Pavliuchenko: People who overcome a lot of things together. Probably close partners, but colleagues – I don’t like this word. In some sense, we are friends.
At the beginning of the interview, you said that you want to work as a coach. Why?
Daria Pavliuchenko: Firstly, everyone in my family are teachers, and secondly, I really love small children. It is difficult to speak in more depth, I have not worked yet, have never tried it. But I like to explain something to very young people who are just getting up on the ice – I would like to be such a coach.
So you want to work with small kids?
Daria Pavliuchenko: Yes.
And how long do you want to stay in sports?
Daria Pavliuchenko: I haven’t thought about it. Skate while I can. I don’t have a certain age in mind for retirement.
Before asking a few questions from fans at the end of the interview, I would like to know if you feel the increased attention to yourself?
Daria Pavliuchenko: There is no much attention, but I feel support from the audience, it’s very nice.
Do you Google yourself, read the news?
Daria Pavliuchenko: No.
Haven’t you ever go to Google and enter “Daria Pavliuchenko”?
Daria Pavliuchenko: No! I rarely even watch our performances. Just for myself a couple of times. I just watched the performance, and then we continue to work. Of course, when they write me comments under the photos or in direct, I read everything, I answer. I’m very pleased.
Questions from the fans
Are you planning to put triple lutz into programs?
Daria Pavliuchenko: Denis jumps it well, and I’m trying to master it. There is a cool phrase: “When the jump is counted on the protocol, then it’s done.” I can’t say how long it will take. But it’s possible.
How did you react to the news that your rivals Sasha Boikova and Dima Kozlovskii will also have a program to Swan Lake?
Daria Pavliuchenko: We have a different vision, different choreography. It happens that there are different performances for the same music, different dances even on the floor, different ballet performances.
What can you say about Betina Popova as a specialist?
Daria Pavliuchenko: I like working with her. She is a very creative person, she has a lot of ideas, she generates them quickly. She has her own vision, it’s great.
Do you need time to rest from your partner after hours of work together?
Daria Pavliuchenko: There is no such feeling of fatigue, but we always spend our leisure time separately.
Do you consider interviews to be your professional duty or does the athlete owe nothing to anyone and each interview should be at your discretion?
Daria Pavliuchenko: I don’t think it’s my duty, but if a person wants to talk to me, I’ll gladly do it.
What do you have the same with Alena Kostornaia? Is she your best friend?
Daria Pavliuchenko: We are similar in some things, in some we different. It’s very cool to spend time with Alena, because she always jokes, it’s fun with her. I am always worried about Alena and cheer for her. The main thing is that she is happy and that everything works out for her, that everything that she wanted is realized. And I will support her in any situation. I do not like the expression “best friend”, she is just very close to me.
What three programs will you show to a non-figure skating person to impress him?
Daria Pavliuchenko: I would not limit myself to three. I would start showing all my favorite performances. I would show Alena Savchenko and Bruno Massot, as well as Alena’s program “The Pink Panther” when she was skating with Robin Szolkowy. Of the girls … I don’t even know – I would start with Alena, will show Carolina Kostner, especially her Bolero. As a child, I just adored this program.