Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: “Sport is not for health at all – forget about this. I ate like a normal person and gained six kilos. After that I realized: I’ll eat in the next life. Then I will also take care of my health.”

Posted on 2022-06-01 • No comments yet


Interview with ice dancer Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva. About headlines and hate, feminism and eating disorders in the figure skating, innovations in ice dance rules, as well as where to get motivation when there are no international competitions for athletes from Russia.

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source: sport24.ru dd. 5th May 2022 by Alexander Petrov, Alena Volkova

After your last interview with Egor, there was a lot of fuss due to the ambiguous headline (“I liked the program, the movements, but I don’t understand why this is Romeo and Juliet.” – said about Stepanova and Bukin free dance). Do things like this throw you off balance?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: No, no, it didn’t.

First reaction?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Just facepalm. First thought: “I didn’t say that.” And then you read what is written after the headline, and you think: “There is the opposite of the headline was said.” It is clear that all such articles are published in order to be noted on Twitter. (Laughs.) Again they said: “God, who even asks this Khudaiberdieva?” I agree with you completely. But our opinion has not changed.

We like this idea, we like this program, although we did not understand it. Moreover, an interview with Irina Vladimirovna Zhuk was recently published, where she said: “We were doing something abstract, everyone understands the image in their own way.” In fact, she explained what Egor and I talked about. But for some reason, everyone decided that if you understood in a different way or didn’t understand that it was Romeo and Juliet, it means that you don’t like the program, you consider it a bad program. But it’s not so.

So no one reads further than the headline – there is already a reason to quarrel.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: This is our problem with Egor, that we formulated this phrase this way. The wording was bad. We gave the opportunity to take these words out of context. When you read the interview, you might think that the words “it was something incomprehensible” were said in a negative way. Although, if you look and listen, Egor spoke about it, on the contrary, in a positive way.

Do you have any explanation for this amount of hate in the Russian-speaking segment of figure skating? Why do figure skating fans already seem more crazy than football fans?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Are they?

In any case, in the comments on football pages people write about figure skating fans as something that you need to reach out to.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: It’s just that the fans have cooled off a little for football. Now figure skating is the number one sport in Russia. Our team are Olympic champions in the team event. We took whole pedestal at the European Championships. All this is covered by Channel One. And in football, the results are a bit different from those that are expected.

However, I don’t agree that it is different in other countries. There are toxic people everywhere. A year ago, I checked figure skating accounts on Twitter. People from the UK can also easily hate, also people from Germany or France. That is, I can’t say that Russian fans are terrible. There are envious and evil people regardless of nationality and language. They want to throw out this unpleasant energy.

Do you care about the effect that comes from your words?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Of course. Many of our athletes are known by their words, not by their results. I still want to be known not because I called Stepanova/Bukin’s dance incomprehensible. They say that bad PR is also PR, but this is not close to me. That’s why we give less interviews.

There is an example of a skier Stepanova, who is quite successful in terms of sports, but also constantly speaks out on some topics, not always sports ones. So far you don’t want to be that active in media, right?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: My social networks before the appearance of a husband in my life – it was like …


Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Not even a lifestyle – a diary of competitions. Truth. If you look through, at some point there are photos from the competition everywhere. I didn’t share much, I don’t ask my subscribers anything, as many do. To be honest, it’s just not close to me – to build my own image, to constantly comment on something. It seems to me that people can do without my opinion.

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And what has changed with the husband?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Photos with him appeared. (Laughs.)

Also, the videos from the competitions are beautiful.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Yes, thanks to Kirill (Liza’s husband is the producer of Channel One Kirill Blagov. – ed). Now, there are beautiful videos, pictures with him, and, that’s it. And before that, I did not show my personal life. In general, I have a calm Instagram, I post something once a month, but no more.

Finish the topic of sharp interviews, do you regret the words after a short program at the Russian Nationals?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Firstly, those words were not spoken by me – you can invite Egor and ask him if he is sorry. But I think he will say that he has no regrets. I don’t regret what he said either. Well, why regret if you have already done it?

But now, when the emotions have cooled down, do you see what happened then in a different way?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Again, Egor’s words were more resonant – I was more calm. Firstly, I am much younger than Egor. This is my second senior Russian Nationals. Egor has been going to this goal longer.

But in general, whenever I go to competitions, I at least understand our current capabilities, and as a maximum I prepare myself for the worst. The worst is easier to believe, so I did not have any special hopes. I was very glad that we became the third. Yes, in the absence of the leaders of the national team, but it’s still cool.

Now it’s the most active off-season in ice dance. Several top dance pairs split up (Shanaeva/Narizhny, Shevchenko/Eremenko, Morozov/Bagin, Ushakova/Nekrasov. — ed). How do you think why it’s happening?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: It’s simple: the Olympics are over. Most of the pairs that split up, it seems to me, were counting on the third spot. They worked for this. What a fight there was at the Russian Nationals. Returning to the fact that my reaction was a little calmer: you come and understand that you can easily be either third or fourth, or eighth. We did not go to the Russian Nationals in the status of leaders of the second echelon. Therefore, it is a great happiness for me that we won the bronze.

Perhaps some dance pairs split up because they endured, went to the goal with their partners, even if something did not go well there. And now there is time for a change. And if everything is so unsatisfactory, then it is better to split up than to end or regress with your partner.

By the way, even in an interview with several dance pairs who has split up, you can hear that in the end the relationship was so-so.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: It is very important. If you feel uncomfortable coming to training, coming home from training, you constantly think that you have a bad relationship – it’s very hard.

Another question is whether you want to get out of it. It happens that someone wants to improve relationship, but the other half is satisfied with everything. That it’s not the most important thing in his or her life at all. There are many examples of pairs who have been skating together since childhood: they pass the 18-20-year mark, and it turns out that one of them does not need anything. And the other still wants to achieve something. So you have to change your partner.

How much does it affect that there are probably a little more girls in ice dance than guys?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Not anymore. Previously, many single skaters who switched to ice dance skated without partners. I’ve been skating like this for two years. Now in groups, usualy, everyone has a pair. Either fewer girls switch to ice dance now, or there is more boys – I don’t know what is the reason.

We have a large younger group – all has pair, as far as I know. Well, maybe one girl without a partner. And before there could be six of them per group, and this lasted a long time. Some even quited with sports because they couldn’t find a partner.

But the stereotype that ice dance is easy, that it is somehow not manly, is already slowly dispelling. (Laughs) But before there was an attitude: “Ugh, are you a dancer?” Like a loser: you can’t do anything, you can’t do anything in singles or in pairs so you went to ice dance. Now the boys are really doing their best.

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That is, there is no such thing that girls endure, because they understand that it is difficult to find another partner.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: No no. Especially at this level where our dance pairs split up. I’m sure if Arina Ushakova, or Annabelle [Morozov], or Liza [Shanaeva] didn’t like something, they hardly tolerated it, because “oh, no one will take me.” These are excellent dancers – they immediately found partners for themselves, as you can see.

Betina Popova in an interview said that the specificity of figure skating is largely based on “sexism and gender inequality” and this interfered even with her ordinary life. Did you have something like that?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: It didn’t interfere. (Shows a ring on her ring finger and laughs.) Perhaps because I knew from the very beginning that I would not date partners. As far as I know, Betina had a relationship with her first partner. Maybe it had an effect. But I have never had such problems. In general, how can sexism be shown?

Just wanted to ask you.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: It’s just that I’ve been working with men for six years: partner, choreographer and coach.

Probably it refers to the pressure that they got seniority

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Well, of course, they got seniority – they are my coaches.

What about a partner? Can he pressure you with authority, because he is in charge, and you should be silent and not express your opinion?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Well if you do not say that your opinion should be taken into account, that you are equal partners in your duo, then they will not listen to you. I didn’t have such problems. Probably I had good partners. Nobody said: “I’m older, I’m in charge, and you be silent.” This, perhaps, exists at a children level, very little children.

It’s too early for sexism at that level.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Yes Yes. It’s more like being mean with each other.

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Figure skating is an aesthetic sport. How big is the percentage of objectification there? When they look at you not through the prism of your achievements, but simply because of your appearance and beautiful body.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Interesting question. If you do not think about it, life is easier.

Does it work?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Yes. I don’t think about it. Objectification… How does it show itself? That you have to be beautiful, or what?

Not always. They look at you only as a girl in a short dress with a beautiful body.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: I have never personally met people who told me something like this. On the Internet, of course, there are many bad people with deviations. But yes, the fact that you have to be beautiful is a fact. Another question is whether you want it or not. I, fortunately, want to be beautiful. I want to look the way I like it. And not the way you like it, but the way it suits me.

Fortunately, my “like” coincides with the general opinion. It is important for me not to please someone, but to feel comfortable. Maybe it was instilled in me in childhood and now I consider it the norm. But I have no problem with that, thank God.

Then in general, to what extent is objectification evil? There is Liza Tuktamysheva, who rather enjoys this objectification and uses it, sometimes almost giving a striptease on ice …

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: And she loves it! Why not? She likes her body, and she does not consider it something bad and indecent to show her beauty. She is confident. Why would anyone stop her from doing this? The main thing is that you feel good. If it’s not illegal, then do whatever you want. That’s art.

Would you be ready to repeat her Toxic?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: No. This is purely my position. To undress, to be first dressed, and then undressed – this is a little too much. I would be afraid to do this. Not because of the reaction, but just because I would be uncomfortable. To dress up more provacatively, show your body – okay. But situation when I come in a jacket, and then, to the cool song Toxic, I start to undress … I’m ready to wear a top for exhibition performance. But not more.

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Liza, by the way, has quite a lot of statements about feminism in her interviews and in some posts. What do you think of it?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: What do we mean by feminism? Now I always ask again to understand what we are talking about.

It’s just interesting how a person understands it for himself.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: You see, for many people, especially men, feminists are equally man-haters. Well, there are radical feminists who really write: “I wish all men burn down.”

But this does not apply to the feminism, rather, these actions can be called radical.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Exactly. Therefore, in statements on the topic of feminism, I am very careful.

Of course, I consider it abnormal if a woman is infringed on her rights, not allowed to work, to wear something – in general, something is not allowed. Moreover, it seems to me that this is not normal regardless of gender. Why can a man be forbidden to wear something or work where he wants?

Just because, apparently, such logic.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: “Just because” is a terrible argument. And it should not work with anyone: neither women nor men. I am for equality. If equality equals feminism, then perhaps you can call me a feminist.

Do women have less rights in a figure skating than guys? Do we need feminism agenda in figure skating?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: When we have the last three Olympics champions in women’s single skating and in general total support for women’s single skaters, then it is rather necessary to protect men. This is not a normal story that our guys face a very large amount of hate because something did not work out, “let us down”.

I think it’s like football. Our fans have very high expectations. We are used to the fact that sport in Russia is a leading position in the world. It was an incredible tragedy for everyone that the Averins sisters did not become gold and silver medalists in Tokyo. Because before that, we were winning for 20 years. To my shame, I don’t know other gymnasts. Just because Russian Nationals in rhythmic gymnastics, in fact, is like the Russian Nationals in women’s single skating. Everyone is used to it.

And what kind of infringement of girls are we talking about?

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It’s rather not about competitions, but about training, relationships between partners.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: I don’t speak for the entire figure skating community, but I’ve never had a problem with it. We have a lot of female coaches, choreographers – this is a good example. If sexism was manifested, then women would not be allowed to coach – well, it seems to me.

A lot of girls in figure skating limit themselves in nutrition, starve, and in general, for the sake of the “ideal” weight, they do terrible things with themselves. Is such exhaustion the norm in figure skating?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Norm for whom? For a healthy person?

For your health.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Sport is not for health at all – forget about this phrase, please. Neither boys nor girls. Boys have damaged backs, girls have torn ligaments, everyone’s knees are hurting.

In any sport there is some kind of diet. For example, Lesha Erokhov always says that if he gains little weight, he can no longer do difficult jumps, so he is very careful about weight. For me it was a revelation, because I thought that boys can eat anything.

Another question is that figure skating is a sport that is considered to be an art. It really has a part of objectification. Therefore, here, probably, people face problems with eating disorders more often. Do I know even one girl in figure skating who honestly never gave a damn about what she eats? Probably only until 12 or 13 years old. And it’s good when this diet ends with the fact that you simply limit yourself before the competitions.

Is it hard to limit yourself?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: It’s easier to stick to a healthy diet from a very early age and not know that there are super-sweet things, something fatty, fast food. Then it is easier for you to cross the line, after which you need to limit yourself in some way. And when you already know what it is, you just eat it and don’t even think about it. Of course, it’s hard to readjust when you can’t eat 60 percent of your normal diet.

Once I gained six kilograms in two weeks. I didn’t really understand what happened. Turned out I was just trying to eat healthy. I had vegetable soup in my diet, some kind of dry meat. I ate like a normal person and gained six kilos. After I realized: I will eat in the next life, apparently. Then I will also take care of my health.

The hardest part is losing weight. Losing weight and not getting into a pit of eating disorder is a very big luck. I wasn’t lucky – I had this, it was for many years. Of course, now I on the right path, I am trying to get out of this unpleasant place. I’m probably not ready to tell something specific yet – I don’t want to be defined as “ah, this is the skater who had it.”

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Let’s try in general terms then – it’s important to say it.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: It greatly affects your psyche, your lifestyle, just your mood – it affects everything in general. You can’t stop thinking about losing weight. It seems to me that I have been in a constant regime of losing weight since I was 12. That is, there is no such thing as “Great weight, I keep it.” No, each time you need even less – God forbid I swell a little and I will have a weighing.

You think about numbers all the time. Moreover, you have neither a goal in terms of numbers, nor a goal how you should look. You always look into the mirror, and something seems wrong to you.

What is the trigger? Do you yourself start to limit yourself very severely? Or, let’s say, is it comes from the coaches?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: I got it from my mom. For the first four years, my weight loss regime was supervised by her. Probably, at the age of eight or nine, my mother realized that I looked “not the way I should.” I had big legs, big hips. And, on top of everything else, I was not dry – that is, for example, I had cheeks at that moment. And the time comes for weighing – my mother realizes that I weigh three kilograms more than my peers, although I am a head lower. Mom thinks: that’s it, this is the end. Well, plus the coaches say: “But Glasha weighs less. What are we going to do about it?”

It should be clarified: my mother is a tall, big woman. Perhaps this was some kind of trigger for her too, that they look at her and think: “The daughter will be the same. She will be fat, why are we going to work with her? She was probably very afraid of this, partly wanted me not to suffer because of this. But there was nothing at home. No bread, no sweets. Canteen? “Here’s only 80 rubles for a certain meal, bring the check.” God forbid I ate something else. The only thing that saved me was that I periodically went to my grandmother – she fed me.

My relationship with my mother has been severely damaged because of this. I grew up and did not understand why my mother weighs me in the evening and tells me: “You should weigh like this the next day. If you don’t weigh that much, we won’t go anywhere.” And what should I do now in eight hours of sleep? Run and ride a bike while sleeping? Therefore, now I always ask parents to be wary when something like this happens.

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Do you often meet such parents?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: A mother from our younger group has recently approached me with a question: “Liza, I think that Nastya (another name, of course) is somehow fat. What to do?” I look, and the girl is 11 years old, and she is very thin. Not like I was at nine years old, so plump. But she touches this girl by the thighs and says: “It seems to me that this is too much.” And I think to myself: “I’d better cut off your thigh.” The anger took over. I restrained myself, I just said not to pressure the child: “If there are any questions in terms of nutrition, the coach will tell you about it.”

But this has always happened. They ask you: “How much do you weigh now?” You tell a number. “Your partner weighs so many kilograms more than you, but we see that it’s hard for him. Let’s send him to gym, and we’ll ask you to lose a kilogram.”

Well, that’s still a graceful option.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Yes, but the partner almost never reaches the gym. “He, poor, is in training now. We don’t want him to break down and not come tomorrow.” And if I don’t come tomorrow because I haven’t eaten today, nobody cares.

You must not lose your head and understand if you are really ready to live like this – when keeping weight is your job? Are you ready to ruin your health in order to skate?

Have you asked yourself this question?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: You know, when you are 12-13 years old, you even feel some kind of guilt for the partner. When I first switched to ice dance, I realized that the load here is much less than in single skating, where every day there is general physical training, running, jumping, strength exercises. And while I was skating without a partner, I studied, in fact, with a choreography on the floor, general physical training once or twice a week, naturally, I gained a couple of kilos from my usual weight. I am 12, I weigh 36 or 37 kg. And then there’s the weighing. Mass weighing of meat, that’s what I call it.

After they hang out a sheet in the locker room, who needs to lose weight. Everyone comes in and everyone watches. “Mm, Khudaiberdieva, wow, well, yes, it would be nice for her to lose weight.” It’s like a sheet of shame. And no one even told you personally how many kilograms you need to lose. Just a piece of paper, where it is written for whom there will be another weighing. And why is it needed? It is logical, to control how much a person will weigh in a week.

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Do I understand correctly that this is not about the place where you are currently training?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Of course, I have changed many schools.

My coach Maria Valerievna told me that she went through a lot of things. Therefore, we had the maximum tolerance. She always weighed behind a closed door, invited to her one at a time.

Of course, you need to watch your weight. You cannot say, “I will eat whatever I want. Accept me for who I am.” If you have chosen a sport, then you must match what your partner is capable of. Even if my partner pumps up to the size of Zachary Donoghue and grows another 20 centimeters, he will not be able to lift me if I am fattened by another 30 kilograms. But I can. (Laughs.) And okay, partner, it was hard for me to skate when I gained weight – I was just dying. Legs became slow, knees hurt immediately.

But mass humiliation, when they shout at you or say that you didn’t succeed in the competitions because of the extra 700 grams, it’s terrible. This, thank God, didn’t happen with me. But in the two years that I visited almost all schools in Moscow, I saw enough of such treatment of older girls (17-18 years old). I thought: “Fuck, this is waiting for me. Well, okay, I’ll skate without a partner a little bit more”.

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ISU has published new rules for ice dance. One of the most talked about is the assisted jump. What do you say?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Firstly, it’s just a choreo element. It doesn’t necessary to be performed. Secondly, this is not a quadruple salchow or even a double salchow. Because in ice dance you simply have no right to be in the air for more than one and a half turns. You can jump a single loop, roughly speaking, some kind of combination.

It is not yet very clear whether you should touch your partner in the air or not. Because, in fact, throw is also an assisted jump. You cannot jump alone – either your partner lifts you, or you lift your partner, or somehow in turn. Therefore, it is not clear whether it is possible to make a throw. It is difficult to make it on dance skates, because there is no toe picks, you can easily fall. In general, we will look at the season – innovations are often not clear at the beginning.

When you found out that the pattern was removed from the rhythm dance, what was your first thought?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: First I exhaled, because rumba is a rather complicated dance, very edgy. We taught it for about three weeks. We were preparing because there were already rumors that there would be a rumba. The first reaction is to exhale, because that would be the keypoint anyway. But then – you don’t understand. How then does rhythm dance differ from free dance? The fact that I don’t touch my partner in twizzles?

Ice dancing is already a super-subjective sport. A pattern part in a rhythm dance is what makes it possible to distinguish a good pair from one that is slightly worse. Because there is a scheme of how it should look, the depth of the edges, the accuracy of the edges, the exact execution and timimg. The difficulty of performing compulsory dances is that all people are different, everyone has a different working leg, but everyone has the same steps. And you must show the skill, show this dance exactly as it is drawn or told at the ISU seminar.

The pattern has criteria for bonuses: speed, musicality, edge, silence. And the choreo element is, in fact, a matter of taste: someone likes it if I stand and do only the choreography with my hands, but someone doesn’t like it. Someone will like that I am making a cart wheel, and someone will say that it is too acrobatic.

Previously, in the partial step sequence, five steps had to be completed clean for each partner to reach the fourth level. A total of 10 steps. And now you need to make a clean four, that is, two for each partner. More than cut in half. Plus, you can choose any step for yourself that is convenient for you.

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In the end, you adjust the rules for yourself.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Yes, it’s a free dance. You do what is more convenient for you. Although, maybe it will somehow develop the choreography, we’ll see.

In the previous season, ISU chose a strange combination of music for the compulsory part and the general theme. Combining blues and street dance is almost impossible.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Same as performing a blues pattern in the style of a street dance. The blues is rolling, calm, feline, soft. How to combine – it is not clear. You make some soft steps and after – you have discoordination.

After all, many people said us: why did we take disco to the rhythm dance, this is not a street dance. But during staging there was information that there would be a choice: either hip-hop or disco. Hip-hop is very hard for me, I have never danced it. I say, “Let’s better shake our hips.” Moreover, disco music is a thrill for us. And then I had to change to street dance, it was difficult.

Now the rules say that at least two styles of music must be used. Will it be the same mess as last season?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: No, because rumba, cha-cha, salsa, bachata, samba – they are all very similar. If you listen to the top hits of Latin countries, the difference in styles will not hurt your ear. There will be no feeling that you are skating two different programs.

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What is it like to skate now, when it is not clear how long the suspension from international competitions will last?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: You can’t stop thinking about it, of course. But from the fact that you will reflect on this, you will not be allowed. Therefore, instead of sitting and thinking: “What to do?”, It is better just to work. In any case, I will skate this Olympic cycle. Why should I now think about whether it will be Russian events or international level. In any case, even if it is the Channel One Cup or the Cup of Russia, everyone will watch the competitions, will see the programs.

My task is not to become an Olympic champion and win all the titles. Of course, everyone dreams about it, but it seems to me that it is much cooler to be remembered for something. Bring something new and to be remembered as a dancer. Petrova and Tikhonov were not Olympic champions, but everyone remembers them, because it was a pair that showed incredible technique.

It’s the same in ice dance, if they remember you, if you can develop yourself later, it’s as cool as becoming a world champion or winning the Olympics. Therefore, no, thoughts do not press.

For some time, the Russian figure skating will “marinate in its own juice”. Will tts high level allow further development, or will it inevitably lead to a certain degradation anyway?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: It seems to me that progress would stop if we couldn’t watch the competitions or didn’t know what was going on in the rest of the world: who jumped or choreographed something new. But everyone has access to this: from skaters with coaches to the federation and judges.

Our figure skating will definitely not degrade. Women already compete with each other – the main fight at the Russian Nationals. Pairs, in fact, too – well, plus the Chinese.

What about ice dance?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Well yes, there is danger here. To date, the Montreal school is considered the standard. And you need to compete with them in order to understand (again, ice dance is super-subjective) whether you are better or worse. But we will have so many new dance pairs this season and this cycle that for now we would have to figure it out among ourselves, and then think about how to form some kind of leaders. Why I say some – because there is no exact information yet whether Vika and Nikita continue or not. They talk about it, but how it will turn out in reality is still unknown.

Our first two dance pairs Sinitsina/Katsalapov and Stepanova/Bukin are among the world’s ice dancing elite. If they, God blesses, do not retire, we will know where we are reaching. It is very important. Otherwise, we will remain in our …

In a paddling pool.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Yes exactly. If we stay in our paddling pool, then the pair that makes it to the top will already be considered “wow”. But if it is impossible to compete in the international arena, it will not be clear whether it is really “wow” or not. Therefore, we really need those whom we can focus on and with whom we can compete within Russia.

But, answering the question: no, I do not think that figure skating will degrade. I don’t know what needs to happen for a figure skating to stop being a top sport in Russia.

If we talk about how to arrange our domestic season, what would you like to see?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: It would be interesting if it looked like in the covid season: the stages of the Russian Cup, the final of the Russian Cup, the Channel One Cup, the National Championships. Hold a Cup of Tatiana Anatolyevna Tarasova. Another event, let’s say. You don’t need 20 of them. I had a period when we skated three competitions in a row – we just came home, changed our suitcases and moved on. It was very hard.

The main thing is to have competition in all events. And not so that we come to the event, where we are the only ones declared. Maybe, I don’t know, to oblige to participate in the stages.

So it was during the covid season.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Yes. It was also interesting to watch the Cup stage in Syzran, when we, Morozov / Bagin and Shevchenko / Eremenko, arrived there immediately after the test skates. We were nervous, but it was cool.

When there is competition, when you perform with pairs of your level or higher, it’s cool. Plus, let there be a little more guys from the regions. How can beginner dancers from the regions develop if they do not understand who they should follow? If there is a normal number of participants, if these are really interesting competitions, then we will not get out of the rut. And as soon as we are allowed to compete at international competitions, we will not give up our positions.

By the way, do you think it’s better for world ice dances if Papadakis/Cizeron retire now and let others develop? Or are they so cool that let the hegemons stay?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: The wording is not good – let the others develop.

It means to let the other win something serious.

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: So just overskate them and you will win! No? This means that these are such masters and you can’t yet – there is room to develop. Yes, there is a tendency in ice dance that your titles start to work for you, for sure. But that doesn’t mean others can’t oame closer.

Here, Vika [Sinitsina] and Nikita [Katsalapov] after a very chaotic Olympic season in Pyeongchang sharply “shot” and took the silver of the World Championships next year. Bypassed Americans, the Canadian duo. And perhaps the fact that they have improved so much inspired Gabriella and Guillaume to choreograph a brilliant program “Findme” with a mix of music and lyrics – they realized that the competition has intensified.

Everyone wants to be the first. But let’s imagine a parallel reality, where all the top dancers of the planet retire, new ones appear, and in the most wonderful way, the Khudaiberdieva / Bazin win something. I, most likely, will relax, I will think: “I already have everything, a master of my craft.” Why should I look for something new, if what I have is already enough? This will lead to the degradation of the sport segment.

When there are brilliant pairs who are worth reaching out for, this is development. And not when the leaders change according to the type “position get – position relived, position get – position relived”.

Final. Tessa [Virtue] and Scott [Moir] or Gabriella and Guillaume?

Elizaveta Khudaiberdieva: Tessa and Scott. Although this does not negate the fact that Gabriella and Guillaume are geniuses.


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