Evgenia Medvedeva: “People tell me, ‘You are an Olympic champion to us,’ and I think, I’m not an Olympic champion! It devalues the opponent’s victory and shows pity towards me.”
Evgenia Medvedeva about a documentary film about her.
Evgenia Medvedeva shared her impressions of a documentary film about her.
Today, the premiere of the film “Medvedeva vs. Medvedeva” took place in Moscow.
Evgenia Medvedeva: When I found out that a documentary film was being made about me, what did I feel? At that moment, when they started gathering material for this film, I was focused on my career, on sports, so you might see in some shots that I didn’t want to say anything.
My focus was on going out on the ice, training, being filmed, and it was difficult for me because I wanted to train rather than be filmed.
I can’t say that I felt anything special. I was thinking about training, about what would happen to me in figure skating in the future. The film was shot over several years, and since 2019, I have changed a lot.
The filming ended quite recently, and through the shots, you will be able to see how my character changed, how much I have changed as a person.
Evgenia Medvedeva explained why the film about her is titled “Medvedeva vs. Medvedeva.”
Evgenia Medvedeva: Actually, the idea to name the film that way came very simply because on one of the filming days, I said that my only competitor is myself. During that period, it was important for me to focus solely on myself, to embrace selfishness and concentrate only on my own progress.
In high-level sports, there are many competitors, very strong and serious ones who are constantly improving day by day. At certain moments, during periods of weakness, this scared me, so I made the decision to look only at myself. My only opponent is Medvedeva.
I look at myself in the mirror, and I need to become better. In order to bring joy to myself, to all of you, to my coaches, and to my family on the international stage, I need to surpass my current self. That’s why it’s ‘Medvedeva vs. Medvedeva.’
Was it difficult to let the camera into my life? Yes. It’s not just different from dealing with the press, it’s even different from having a regular conversation with people because you realize that you’re saying things that you might never consciously say on camera, but it’s all being recorded. No matter how much you want to openly talk about your experiences, you understand that there’s a camera in front of you.
You speak, and it’s scary because it will be published, and you don’t know how people will react. It’s probably purely a sports thing: what about reputation! What if I say now what I really felt? What if I say that I felt bad? What will people think?
And it’s a constant tension, a slight anxiety, but you overcome it. This film is about your feelings. Where else, if not here, can you talk about yourself?
About Tutberidze, trainings and injuries
The figure skater touched upon the topic of her acquaintance with Eteri Tutberidze, under whose guidance the training sessions lasted for three to three and a half hours. “I had to work two to three times more effectively than the girls who had good flexibility or those who could effortlessly rotate a triple jump,” Medvedeva recalls. “I changed quickly, grew rapidly, and learned a lot. I learned what it means to work, what it means to have high demands of oneself, what it means to compete seriously.”
She also expressed her opinion on the harshness of sports. “I often notice mothers who dress their daughters in pink tutus while they themselves wear expensive clothes. And you look at the child, and she can’t do anything. You have to work, not just focus on how adorable they are. You can’t coddle your child— sport is sport, it’s a tough thing, like it or not.”
Medvedeva’s mother revealed that the most important achievement in the early stages of her daughter’s career was winning the Junior Grand Prix bronze in Japan because she competed there with a severe injury, “It was her right hip, and every take-off in a jump involved her right leg. Her hip couldn’t bear the pain, so they wrapped it with wide elastic bandages. Zhenechka’s bones were crumbling from constant jumps; they turned into flour. It was very difficult—she would cry all the time, but she gritted her teeth and growled, ‘I will go, I will go.’ They suggested that she withdraw, as she could barely walk, but no, she still went to compete.”
Injuries continued to haunt the figure skater during the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. “Three fractures in the spine, three little pieces broke off the vertebrae. That’s how I found out that at the Olympics in PyeongChang, not only was my leg broken, but also my spine. But no matter how life beat me down, I will get up and keep going,” Medvedeva said in the film.
“Injuries hindered me greatly, the period of injuries is very challenging in one’s career, but they made me stronger,” she emphasized.
Evgenia Medvedeva also talked about the reasons for leaving Eteri Tutberidze.
At the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, Medvedeva won silver in the individual event, while Alina Zagitova took the gold. After the Games, Medvedeva switched to coach Brian Orser.
Evgenia Medvedeva: It’s better for everyone. First and foremost, for me. Because being in that atmosphere that formed after the Olympics… Everyone was saying, “Aah! If there were two gold medals, girls, you did great. It’s a shame you didn’t win.” For two weeks, three weeks, it kept bothering me constantly. I would come to the rink, and it would start again: “Evgenia, we feel so sorry for you. You’re still an Olympic champion to us.” It was impossible to hear. I would stand there and say, “No, guys, I’m not an Olympic champion. You can say it as much as you want. Two silvers, where are they?” Why are you saying this? It diminishes the value of my opponent and imposes undesired pity on me. Their attempts to appease me by saying “You are a champion to us” deeply affected me emotionally. Of course, it’s not the only reason. But it’s one of the vivid episodes that influenced my decision.
About releasing an autobiography
Evgenia Medvedeva: I have had the idea for a long time to capture everything on paper and write a book. Not just as memoirs, like ‘I woke up and went to practice.’ I wanted to create a narrative that is artistic and tells the story of my life.
But for now, I am not ready for it. The main chapter of my life, which I would like to include in the book, has not yet concluded.
I went through a reboot after the Olympic Games. I tried not to focus on the competition among my rivals. I set goals for myself and created the Medvedeva I want to see and compete with.
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