Deniss Vasiljevs: “I progress step by step, and therefore, I don’t believe that the only thing needed in sports is victory. I need to fulfill myself because I do it because I like it.”
Translation of the interview with Deniss Vasiljevs.
original source: jauns.lv dd. 10th January 2024
Here’s a translation of Deniss Vasiljevs’ comments made in an interview to the “Sporta Avīze” magazine and posted on jauns.lv.
“I started with a very strict discipline imposed by the Russian training system. Later, I enjoyed it and, at the same time, broke myself with the freedom that inspires me to be myself. Then, working with Mr. Urmanov (Russian specialist Alexei Urmanov), I somehow balanced it. And now I shape myself, choosing how to grow and develop.” emphasizes Vasiljevs in the interview.
As for his work with Stephane Lambiel, Deniss said, “What unites us is our great love for figure skating. We see it not only from a technical standpoint but also as an art. When I trained in Paris, it was like freedom because I didn’t like the Russian influence I had experienced before – you had to do what they said, and there was no room for your own initiative. A table was set for me. They really like to set up good ‘tables’ in Russia. But I see myself as a tree that will keep growing and changing.”
“I think a lot depends on training. I work a lot and hard at trainings. When you’ve mastered what’s necessary, it’s easier to perform under any circumstances. Why did I start this season completely unprepared, but [at the Latvian Championship] in Riga, I already showed a pretty good program? Because I began building my ‘bank account’ with well-executed transitions from jump to jump. Now more work has been done, and that helps. It’s been prepared throughout my career. That’s why this year, I significantly changed my program with a view to the future, when it will include all quad jumps jumps I want. I now execute some jumps later, for example, in the short program, I perform the triple axel in the second part when it’s most challenging. I also started the second half of the free program with the same triple axel, which may not be necessary, but I already see what’s expected in the future. What has changed? I perceive the time until the Olympics as one long season. My plan is more extensive, and that’s my greatest value,” Vasiljevs shared in a lengthy conversation, but adds that he doesn’t like that so much attention is given to athletic results in sports.
“I think that’s a problem. If you look at the best, you’ll always be negative about yourself. I see what I do and whether I’ve been better today than yesterday. It provides inspiration, it’s like fuel to keep moving forward, not burn out from negativity. I progress step by step, and therefore, I don’t believe that the only thing needed in sports is victory. I need to fulfill myself because I do it because I like it. I fully devote myself to what I love, and it gives me opportunities to challenge myself. Otherwise, it might turn out that if I don’t win, everything I’ve done for over 20 years becomes meaningless. Figure skating has raised me, changed my views on the world, provided a wonderful lifestyle that is actually healthier than many think. I’m grateful for that. I’m grateful for the path that has already been taken and the path that lies ahead of me,” says the athlete.
As for upcoming European Championships in Kaunas, Deniss said, “I am sure that fans will come. In my opinion, one of the most interesting aspects for both fans and athletes is the journey and the opportunity to explore new places. What we see on television is only a small part of what it means to follow sports. The more people enjoy the world outside their country, the broader their perception of it will become.”
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