Evgenia Medvedeva: “People aren’t in a cage or a prison. They are free to do whatever they want, as long as it is within the law. Changing citizenship is legal. In any case, who am I to judge anyone?”
Interview with Evgenia Medvedeva. About upcoming Russian Nationals, Kamila Valieva and possible change of sports citizenship by Russian skaters.
source: gazetametro.ru dd. 21st December 2022 by Dmitri Rogovitsky
The interview took place at the VDNKH open skating rink, where Evgenia was holding a master class.
Evgenia Medvedeva: My carefree childhood was spent at VDNKh, because I lived nearby. There was no skating rink yet. I remember walking here with my grandmother. Every time we went to the donut shop, we bought six powdered donuts and a carton of strawberry milk. This combination of flavors is still the most vivid memory of my childhood years. And in winter, I climbed into the fountain and swam in the snow. (Laughs.)
There are full houses at your master classes. Are people more interested in learning to skate or taking selfies with you?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Rather, the second. But I try to convince them that figure skating is cool, fun, and not scary at all. It seems like I can do it. I often ask people to put their phones away during the lesson; I want them to concentrate on the skating itself. And literally 5-10 minutes pass and everyone gets inspired, their eyes light up, something starts to work out: “Wow, wow! It turns out that it’s not so difficult!”
Tatiana Tarasova recently stated the following: “There is no football in Russia! The main sports in our country are figure skating and hockey.” Is this true?
Evgenia Medvedeva: I guess, yes. Going back a few years, figure skating wasn’t that popular. But the audience sees the victories of our figure skaters, mostly girls, in the international arena, and they also want to do this sport. Although we love football very much. In September, I went to the match “Dynamo” vs. “Zenith.” There was a full stadium, 25 thousand spectators, and everyone was shouting in unison, supporting their favorite team. In general, people watch figure skating and football for completely different purposes. In the first case, you don’t even have to understand the technique; you just want to admire the beauty, aesthetics, and complexity of the elements. “How do they even do it? How do they jump?!” And they watch football because it is exciting; there is direct rivalry between teams. Everything is clear here: the players run and kick the ball. If it rolled into the gate, great!
In the coming days, figure skating will definitely be in first place among the audience. There are so many stars among the participants of the Russian Nationals. Who do you think are the favorites to win in the women’s single skating?
Evgenia Medvedeva: The most difficult competition of the season is not even the World Championships, but the Russian Nationals, because there is the highest competition. At Worlds, for example, you have three main rivals, and here you have six. Favorites? (After a pause.) I can’t single out anyone in particular. But it would be stupid if I didn’t name Kamila Valieva. She restored the quadruple toe loop, and at the recent Russian Jumping Championship, she perfectly performed quadruple jumps. Samodelkina and Muravieva are also technically very strong, they perfectly perform ultra-c elements. In general, our girls are outstanding, and everyone deserves to stand on a pedestal.
Do you think Valieva recovered psychologically after the failure at the Beijing Olympics and the doping scandal?
Evgenia Medvedeva: A person enters a large arena, skates programs, jumps the most difficult jumps, and sees the love of the audience. I hope she’s all right. She probably hasn’t fully recovered since then. But for sure, she can withstand pressure.
Anna Shcherbakova was recognized as the “sportswoman of the year” in Russia. Do you agree with this choice?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Our girls are the best! Both Anya, Kamila, and Sasha Trusova are so different and at the same time so equally beautiful that each … You know, I hate this phrase, but if two or three gold medals could be awarded at the Olympics, I would give gold to all of them. Objectively, each of the three girls who represented our country in Beijing was worthy of the gold medal and the title of “Best Athlete of the Year.”.
Against the backdrop of the suspension of our skaters from international competitions, some are thinking about changing their citizenship. So, Diana Davis and Gleb Smolkin, according to rumors, can switch to the US team. What is your attitude toward such decisions?
Evgenia Medvedeva: People are not in a cage or a prison. They are free to do whatever they want, as long as it is within the law. Changing citizenship is legal. It all comes down to being true to your principles. I was condemned for a very long time for the fact that I trained in Canada at some point. At the same time, I still represented the Russian flag. But people didn’t care; it didn’t stop them from calling me a traitor. There are no specific cases of strong athletes, our team’s leaders, leaving the federation now. In any case, who am I to judge anyone?
Canada allowed same-sex pairs in figure skating last week. How did you take this news?
Evgenia Medvedeva: There is a very cool movie called Blades of Glory. I advise everyone to watch it. It’s pretty comical. As for Canada… How can I say it without getting stoned? (Smiles.) Each country and each person behave to the extent of their courage and looseness. People are completely different. We are used to seeing sports pairs like this: a little girl and a big man. But if such a new type of figure skating exists, then why not? I’m just wondering what will come of it. I think guys can do such cool things! So let’s just wait and see. So far, no competitions have been held in this format.
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