Evgenia Medvedeva: “It is much easier to accomplish sporting feats with a child’s thinking and a child’s brain”
Interview with Evgenia Medvedeva. About summer, her role in “Anna Karenina” ice show and the main difference between big sport and show business.
source: teleprogramma-pro.turbopages.org dd. 28th July 2021, by Sergei Efimov
Zhenya, I wanted to ask you about your summer. And then I found out that you work hard, from morning to evening you have rehearsals. The ice musical “Anna Karenina” by Ilia Averbukh has been shown in Sochi since July 9, where you play Kitty. Do you like this experience?
Evgenia Medvedeva: You cannot call your favorite business as hard work! I have time to train, and get in shape before the show, and rehearse, and walk with friends, and sit outside, read a book in a cafe over a cup of tea … I enjoy the summer, which, in fact, is what I expect from Sochi. I am very comfortable playing Kitty, because she is very close to me both in temperament and in age. In general, I am very grateful to this show for such a great opportunity to learn how to skate in pairs – to be honest, I have wanted to for a long time, but didn’t have time or it was scary.
What is it like being a single skater, suddenly start skating in a pair?
Evgenia Medvedeva: With Alexander Enbert, nothing is scary! The first time, of course, it was difficult, still I devoted 18 years to skating “alone”, so to speak. And here a person is skating next to you and close! But I was very lucky with a partner. Sasha teaches me. And he’s very patient. If something doesn’t work out, he jokes all the time, encourages.
Which is harder – difficult jumps or lifts, when you are at the top, in your partner’s arms, and the ice is very far away?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Physically, jumps are probably more difficult for me. But mentally and somehow physiologically it is more difficult to do lifts, because it is absolutely new for me. I’ve been skating vertically all my career! And then they turned me over horizontally and then head down. Sometimes my vestibular apparatus does not understand what is happening. But I’ll train!
In your opinion, is Anna Karenina still a modern story?
Evgenia Medvedeva: As for family foundations, marriage, of course, everything has changed. But this is a story about feelings. I think that human feelings do not change their essence, no matter how much time has passed.
You also just have starred in The Last Axel tv-series in a role of yourself. Is this your first such experience? Did you enjoy being an actress?
Evgenia Medvedeva: In such a big scene – yes. I was originally supposed to be just a consultant for this show. And then it so happened that I starred in it. I acted as a consultant formally, more on technical issues related to jumps, sports, but no more. I didn’t go into the script, the content, it’s not my job. The experience is interesting.
The Summer Olympics starts in Tokyo on 23 July. You are adored in this country. What do you like about Japan and the Japanese people?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Japanese fans love not only me, but figure skating and all skaters in general, because we give them exactly the emotions they want to feel. Over the years, when I competed in Japan and participated in shows, I was convinced of this many times. It is important for them not only to see difficult jumps. And this distinguishes the Japanese audience from the rest very much. This is probably why all skaters appreciate the Japanese public very much. They give presents, write letters, pack it all …
This is so sweet that it is very difficult to remain indifferent. I also love Japan itself. I got there when I was 14 years old. And then a completely new world opened for me – different food, different people, housing, streets, music … Different smells, plants. Other planet! Perhaps because of my love for Japan, the Olympic Committee invited me to become the ambassador of the Russian Olympic team at the Summer Games in Tokyo. A lot connects me with Japan. For example, I am a partner of the Moscow office of the national tourism organization of Japan JNTO. I sincerely hope that when the situation with the coronavirus calms down, I will go to Japan. I really miss this country.
You studied Japanese, didn’t you?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Oh, this is far from easy! I’m at the stage when I can order something for myself in a restaurant. This is less than one percent of what is needed, but I will definitely not stay hungry.
How is your book progressing? Isn’t it too early to write a memoir at 21?
Evgenia Medvedeva: The book is still under development. I am taking some notes, but the global work has not been done yet. Yes, I’m only 21 years old, but I have a story to tell. There were a lot of all sorts of adventures, bright moments and not so bright. There will be definitely enough for a book. There were significant events in life, the details of which people do not know: what I thought, what exactly I felt, with whom I talked, who helped me, who, on the contrary, interfered in this or that situation. I hate the word “revelation” – I can be frank only with my friends. And this will be a story in the style of an interview – I sit down and tell, for example, what happened at the Olympics, how it all looked like.
Is the world of big sports cruel?
Evgenia Medvedeva: You know, I have been to some social events a couple of times … And I can say with 100% confidence that there is mutual respect in sports. This, I think, is the most important component of sports in general. We athletes are honest. In our world of figure skating there is no such thing as in show business, when someone approached someone and said something bad, and then said some nasty things to someone else, they made news from this, hype, and everything is super, everything is cool. Often such moves are PR and in fact no one swears with anyone.
I can hardly imagine this in sports. And I cannot say that sport is downright cruelty. Yes, Eteri Georgievna (Tutberidze) has always said that sport is voluntary violence against oneself. Perhaps, according to physical indicators, we can say that sports are cruel, because there are injuries, including mental ones, “brick walls” you need to climb through and jump over your head in order to become better and better. But cruelty, in order to destroy a person with one word or phrase, to offend him – no. And I am proud to be in this business. I respect people, they respect me, even if we are rivals. This is how it should be in life, I believe.
On the one hand, injuries, on the other, medals. How do athletes cope with all this being still children?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Probably, I will make a lot of people angry now – both young skaters and their parents … But with a child’s thinking and a child’s brain it is much easier to accomplish sporting feats. When you still do not understand that you are doing something supernatural. And when you’re an adult, your brain is like, “Oh my God, you’re jumping on frozen water! You jump and spin three or four turns in the air and land on one foot! This is not normal!” You begin to understand this little by little. And just then “brick walls” appear that need to be broken.
Do you remember how you spent your first prize money?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Everything went into the house. I spent it on repairs, household appliances, because we could not always afford it. I have never really spoken about this – I do not like it when people flaunt their difficult financial situation: “Look, we are so poor, it is so hard for us.” But there are still children in Africa who are, to put it mildly, in the much worse situation. I have never complained about this. And even more so this is the case of bygone days. My mother and grandmother made great efforts for me to do figure skating – and these are skates, blades, dresses, payment for choreography, coach.
And when I got the first prize money, I already had the realization that, probably, this is what I did all this for. It turned into my profession and it was time for me to help my family.
Has fame become a challenge for you? Sure fans are everywhere, even if you dine in a restaurant.
Evgenia Medvedeva: I refuse at such moments – I hope that people are not offended. Personal boundaries are very important to me. If I am with a full mouth, do not come up to take pictures. This also works the other way – I myself will not approach the person who eats. And when I walk down the street, with headphones or with friends – yes, please. I can easily stop, take a picture, talk.
Can you allow yourself to be frivolous at least sometimes? Eat a bucket of ice cream or a burger? Or sports mode forever?
Evgenia Medvedeva: My attitude to food is this: food is food. There is no bad, no good, there is quantity and quality. Nothing prevents me from going and eating a burger, but I will not eat it from McDonald’s, but, for example, from kobe beef. I can do whatever I want. I can be frivolous, but I don’t like to be.
You have your own brand EvgeniaMedvedeva and there was a collection of clothes called “Skate for Food”. Is the title the harsh truth of life?
Evgenia Medvedeva: This is a funny phrase that I said to Eteri Georgievna when fans threw chocolates on the ice after my performance. I joked, I didn’t even expect the sound to get on the air. As a result, we made a funny collection with this phrase. But we also have a lot of other things. For example, we recently created the Enjoy Fitness capsule hoodie collection with inspirational quotes to help girls learn to have fun even in the most challenging situations. We try to inspire them to enjoy the process, not just the result. This is a joint line with well-known motivational bloggers.
Is the current Evgenia Medvedeva different from the one who left to train in Canada?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Oh yeah! This is a completely different person. Now I can say that I am a confident and experienced, more reasonable person. Three years have passed. In three years, you can change a lot. It seems to me that even if I sat in one place, did nothing, I would still change and become a different person during this time.
What can cheer you up? After all, even the most focused and whole people have moments of sadness.
Evgenia Medvedeva: My dog and music. Popular, which now plays everywhere.
Is Evgenia Medvedeva’s heart free?
Evgenia Medvedeva: My heart is free. But I am absolutely not interested in the messages in the direct “Let’s go for a walk”. This is unacceptable to me. So I apologize in advance.
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Wow I’m really looking forward to read that book