Evgenia Medvedeva: “It’s time to return the flag to Russian national team. Sanctions hit the pockets of innocent athletes!”
Interview with Evgenia Medvedeva. About plans for the future, age minimum, summer Olympics 2020, sanctions for the Russian sport and favorite places in Japan.
source: sport-express.ru dd. 9th September 2021, by Dmitri Kuznetsov
Evgenia, first of all – thank you for agreeing to talk. How is your health?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Thanks, everything is fine. Now everything is much better than it was.
Recently in an interview you said that you are skipping this season and you will make further decisions after the Olympics. What can we expect?
Evgenia Medvedeva: The question already contains the answer: I will make a decision after the Olympics. Now there are many girls competing for the highest places. I’m skipping this season, but only God knows how life will turn out after the Games. But I’m not ready to give any comments now.
I remember how you said at the Russian Grand Prix that you would like to skate until you are 38 years old.
Evgenia Medvedeva: Yes, I once said that. In principle, it is possible to skate until the age of 38, but, of course, not in amateur sports, but in professional sports. In ice shows, for example. Lots of examples. For example, my colleagues in Ilia Averbukh’s show “Anna Karenina”: Yagudin, Totmianina, Marinin, Domnina, Kostomarov and others.
Talk about the age minimum has been going on for several years. You’ve already said a couple of years ago that there is no need to raise it, there are different points of view even among Russian skaters. Has anything changed in your position here? And what do you think about artistic and technical programs?
Evgenia Medvedeva: In my position on the age minimum, nothing has changed. I believe that it is not necessary to raise it, girls who have the opportunity to show ultra-c jumps should show them on the international arena. As for the discussions about the short and free skating, I, as a skater, do not participate in them. Like any athlete, I have to accept the rules silently.
There is an opinion that raising an age minimum may even help to return older skaters – you, Alina. Is this an amateurish opinion or is it justified?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Yes, in figure skating there is such a thing as mature figure skaters. But, for example, Liza Tuktamysheva refutes it. And, firstly, I do not think that Alina Zagitova is an age figure skater, she is only 19 years old. Secondly, in fact, nothing prevents any skater from returning to the sport, despite the fact that age minimum isn’t raised. It is a matter of circumstance, health and desire. Every skater has their own reasons for coming back or not coming back.
How did you feel about the return of Alena Kostornaia and Alexandra Trusova to Tutberidze?
Evgenia Medvedeva: How can I feel about this? I respect what athletes decide for themselves. This is their business. I would like to wish them not to pay attention to the media, comments on the Internet and to work more. Unfortunately, there are many spiteful critics among figure skating fans who want to spoil the psychological state of this or that skater. I want to wish girls to ignore these haters. In my opinion, our skaters are the last people to deserve hate.
You definitely had to prepare for one competition – after all, the Olympics were held in Japan, where you didn’t manage go as the ambassador of the national team. Let’s do it this way: if you could choose one sport to compete in, what would it be?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Do you mean which of the summer sports I would choose? Oh, interesting question. Probably running. Recently I have come to love running. Tofu and I (Medvedeva’s dog. – ed.) love to run in the morning. I was given a special dog leash to run together. Tofu turned out to be very athletic. I would like to try a marathon and test my strength, to be honest. Already without Tofu. I think I’m good at it.
What were the expectations from the role of the ambassador and from the 2020 Olympics itself? And is there any offense that we are performing again in neutral status?
Evgenia Medvedeva: We have developed a program for my stay in Japan. As an ambassador, I had to perform certain functions. These are mainly media activities, but they were all canceled and the meaning of my trip disappeared. But we have not stopped cooperation with the ROC and are already discussing further steps. I think that a little later I will be able to give more specifics and share our general plans.
And about the neutral flag – there can be no two opinions. In my opinion, Russian sports have suffered enough because of this situation. This is not only about the fact that athletes do not have the opportunity to sing the anthem and perform under the flag of their country. Sponsors are leaving, sports marketing suffers. This has been happening for several years now. I think it’s time to return the flag to the national team and remove all these restrictions. Personally, I would like to see not only bloggers on the covers of magazines and advertising campaigns, as it is fashionable now, but the heroes of our country who win medals and become the best in the world. It is clear that they are not doing this for the sake of money, but the situation with the flag and all these restrictions first of all hit the pockets of innocent athletes.
Did you follow Tokyo 2020, what impressed you the most?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Of course, I followed the performances of our team at the Tokyo Olympics, since I performed some of the ambassador’s duties remotely, and in general I love to cheer for our guys. In comparison with the previous summer Games, our athletes showed better results.
Why did not you manage to go?
Evgenia Medvedeva: I would not say that I did not manage to go. The trip would have taken place, but I myself decided not to go to this Olympics as an ambassador. I didn’t want to provoke conversations that non-athletes were coming. The epidemiological situation was already difficult, and there was no need for an extra risk for our team. And in any case, I would have been sitting idle. Again, all media activities were canceled.
Also in the summer you have the SailorMoon show in Japan. What are the expectations from this event?
Evgenia Medvedeva: The casting has already been completed, all the athletes know their roles, and the costumes are completely ready. At some point, we even started rehearsals. All athletes are looking forward to this event. For us, this is a new and interesting format of work.
Japan remains unknown and mysterious country for the Russian, for someone, probably, the story of the absence of a peace treaty is important. You are one of the main promoters of Japanese culture in Russia. Can you tell us why it is worth going there?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Japan, of course, is a mysterious country, but in recent years it has been opening up for foreigners, including Russian tourists. Tourism to Japan is becomes more popular, so more and more compatriots discover it, get acquainted with its versatility and are amazed at its culture. First of all it worth going there for impressions. They know about my love for this country in Japan. And therefore, we began close cooperation with the National Tourism Organization of Japan JNTO, together we held the J-Fest in an online format at the end of last year. I sincerely believe that soon we will work in an offline format in order to popularize this country. Believe me, there is a lot to see there.
Where would you advise a tourist who has never been to Japan to go first?
Evgenia Medvedeva: For those who are traveling to Japan for the first time, I advise you to visit ancient cities, for example, Kyoto or Kanazawa. If you have time, be sure to stop by Tokyo. It is one of the largest, noisiest and most beautiful megacities in the world.
In Kyoto and Kanazawa, you will experience ethnic Japan. There you can visit buildings, nature, preserved for hundreds of years. The city of Kanazawa is popular for its gold leaf. There you can buy a variety of souvenirs, items and even food using gold leaf. By food, I mean ice cream covered with the thinnest leaf of edible gold.
Walking through the streets of Kyoto, you can, if you are very lucky, meet a real acting geisha. Unfortunately, there are very few of them left. For example, in the 1920s there were more than 80 thousand geishas throughout the country, but today their number does not exceed a thousand throughout the country. Of these, in Kyoto, about three hundred.
There is another city that has left a deep mark on my heart. It is the Olympic city of Nagano, which hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. I was there only once. The city delighted me with its silence, measured pace of life and very, very tasty apples.
And, of course, another Olympic city. Well-known Tokyo. If you want to have some fun this city is for you. I don’t have to explain anything here. As soon as you get to Tokyo, you will immediately understand what you need to do. And yes, be sure to visit the largest crossroads in the world at Shibuya. A very interesting and unusual place.
Wow, you’re so into the stuff. Let’s pick three of your favorite places in Japan then.
Evgenia Medvedeva: There are a lot of them, it’s easier to name the cities. And I have already mentioned them: Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanazawa. But more specifically, temples and parks are my favorite places. If I find myself in Japan during the cherry blossom season, I always try to find places where the cherry blossom grows near the water – near a lake, a river.
Before the Olympics, there was a lot of talk about a song that could replace our anthem. There was a favorite – “Katyusha”. Do you like this option or Tchaikovsky is better? Maybe you have your candidate? Maybe we should keep Tchaikovsky?
Evgenia Medvedeva: My opinion is unambiguous: neither Katyusha, nor Tchaikovsky, no matter how brilliant a composer he is, will replace the Russian anthem. Athletes compete for their country, which has an anthem and a flag. I don’t really understand how you can intentionally replace the Russian anthem with music by Tchaikovsky. Although, again, his music is really amazing.
You are one of the few figure skaters and even athletes in Russia who have lived abroad for a long time, speaks out on various topics – in a word, feels free. Have you ever been limited or have you limited yourself – they say, don’t talk about this topic, don’t touch? I’m not talking about figure skating, but in general.
Evgenia Medvedeva: I am sure that everyone has a taboo, some forbidden or unpleasant topics that I would not like to talk about and answer questions. And even in Western liberated society, everything is individual, especially in personal and professional topics. And this is absolutely normal in my opinion.
What question would you like to answer, but you have never been asked in your impressive career?
Evgenia Medvedeva: To be honest, the question stumped, because during the numerous interviews, it seems to me, I was asked absolutely about everything. I can’t even remember what they didn’t ask. Maybe it’s for the best.
I remember that after one of the articles you trolled the journalists as they tear your broadcast with Florent Amodio into quotes. Do you have any general complaints about people who cover figure skating? Maybe even about modern journalism?
Evgenia Medvedeva: There are no complaints about the journalists themselves. People do their job, and everyone strives to do it well. Journalists have their own tasks, those who answer them have their own. It cannot be said that we are on different banks, but there are journalists who ask tactless questions. True, it happens rare.
I am usually amazed at the headlines. I understand that this is click-bate, but sometimes they write something terrifying over the text that came out of a good interview, where both the questions and the answers were said with good intentions. That is, the title does not correspond to either the topic of the interview or the interview itself. But that’s what people see first. As a result, the Internet is filled with some scary headlines, and some users do not even try to understand the essence of the topic and figure it out.
Finally, a few questions that I have seen on various forums, and I would like to ask you. Are there any apps you can’t live without?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Yes, we now literally live inside phones, so I believe that it is impossible to live without instant messengers. They are needed to communicate with loved ones, friends, on business, and so on.
There is a common phrase, that you need to try everything in life. Are there things you will never try?
Evgenia Medvedeva: I will definitely never try drugs. I won’t jump with a parachute because it’s scary. I looked at Alexander Enbert after bungee jumping and realized that I wouldn’t do this either, because I don’t want to.
You often post something about your dog. Is it true that pets are like owners?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Yes, I really love my dogs, I often post about them, show people how beautiful they are. Are we alike? I don’t know, you should say.
You said that someday you will write a biography. I have never seen you advise the top 3 favorite books. Well, or some books that will serve as an example.
Evgenia Medvedeva: Someday I will write an autobiography, a lot of material has already been collected. And I will not name the top books yet. It seems to me that I have not read enough yet to compose the top 3 books from Evgenia Medvedeva. From the last reading I can say that I liked the book by Paulo Coelho “The Alchemist”. I’ve read a lot of books this summer, but I would have noted this book. But his “Diary of a Magician” I did not really like. I also really liked the Jenny Colgan series of books. My favorite is the Chocolate Shop in Paris.
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