Evgenia Medvedeva: “We have such a mentality that we compete with any problems and fight for victory”
Interview with Evgenia Medvedeva. About difficulties of the past season, health, pair skating, plans for the future and Tokyo Olympics.
source: matchtv.ru dd. 5th August, by Anastasiia Panina
Zhenya I know you are following Tokyo Olympics. What was the most amazing thing that you saw?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Yes, I try to follow closely. I keep track of the results of most competitions, in general I am interested in all sports, as much as possible with my schedule. What’s the most amazing thing? Of course, the team competition of our gymnasts. I cheered for them so much, with all my heart, and I’m happy that the guys won.
Probably I have especially warm feelings about this Olympics, because I was supposed to go to Tokyo as the Russian Olympic team ambassador. It is a pity that it did not work out. When we started this partnership with ROC in 2019 and came up with a lot of cool ideas, we could not imagine that the world would change like that.
How did you react to the news that you will not be able to support our team from Tokyo?
Evgenia Medvedeva: The decision for me, as an ambassador, not to fly to Japan was made due to the extremely difficult epidemiological situation in Tokyo and the large number of restrictions of the anti covid protocols. Caring about the health of each of us, reducing the contacts of the athletes is more important now. Japanese are great organizers, I know it firsthand. Safety is paramount for them, and I support this approach.
You spoke touchingly about Artur Dalaloyan, who competed after a terrible injury. Probably, only an athlete who himself performed on “one leg” can understand what Artur’s courage is worth.
Evgenia Medvedeva: Artur has done a heroic deed. It is unrealistic to recover in such a short time after the rupture of Achilles. I saw a photo of his leg in April, our friend showed it to me, and this was a very scary sight.
I share Artur’s emotions and am very happy about his gold in the team. I hope that he will not stop and will prepare for the World Championships in October.
I was also worried about Nikita Nagorny, we are friends and communicate well. Nikita is, of course, a phenomenal gymnast.
You have your own Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic experience. All the athletes with whom I talked recall those Games in a very different ways. Someone remembered them for the cold and wind with sand, others – for the incredible atmosphere of the Olympic village. And what about you?
Evgenia Medvedeva: You know, athletes sometimes say that the Olympics are a historical event for them. This is not an empty phrase: this is how I perceived it. I recall that time with a delight. I liked everything that surrounded me, I liked being in the Olympic village, I really liked performing there, and I felt completely comfortable, despite the wild frosts. That is, my acquaintances and friends then said that it was terribly cold in Korea, but I don’t remember that, can you imagine? I felt warm (laughs). Absolutely comfortable. I remember that Olympics with gratitude and warmth.
At the Tokyo Games, the topic of mental health was loudly discussed as Simone Biles withdrew from the team all-around after an unsuccessful jump. Can you imagine yourself in such a situation? The most important competition, the interests of a team that counts on you very much, and you refuse to compete when they have already begun.
Evgenia Medvedeva: Simone Biles is a great athlete, I would like to wish her to cope with all her problems. I would not want to comment on her situation, because I am not familiar with her. I try to follow our athletes more. But surely she had reasons to do what she did. I think that in the United States, they treated it well. I saw on the Internet that the American media justified her decision.
What would it be like with a Russian athlete or with me in a similar situation? Difficult question. To answer it, you need to figure out what happened there. The press writes different versions. From myself, I can say that we have such a mentality that we compete with any problems and fight for victory. Dalaloyan is a striking example. Or Nikita Nagorny, who passed a kidney stone before the individual competition. And Madina Taymazova? With such a terrible bruise over the eye, she fought and won a medal. The Tokyo Olympics gave us new national heroes! And in general, this heroism did not begin yesterday. Nosov with a broken arm and his bronze at the 2004 Olympics and many more examples.
As an athlete, with age and experience have you developed a more attentive and careful attitude to your health? Including psychological.
Evgenia Medvedeva: With age, you actually start to realize more what health is and how important it is for you. So, the desire to preserve it really comes.
Due to the pandemic, many of your plans and projects were canceled last summer – for example, shows in Japan. Was it difficult to accept the new reality? Roughly speaking, to sit at home waiting, being unable to change anything. Still athletes are people of action, accustomed to rely on their own strengths.
Evgenia Medvedeva: Yes, it was difficult. But everyone were on an equal footing – the pandemic demanded extreme decisions and self-discipline from people. And the show Prism on ice, where I play the main role of the anime character Sailor Moon, has not been canceled. It just postponed to the summer of 2022. This is definitely a smart decision given the pandemic. It would be wrong to do such a large-scale international show, timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the cult cartoon, with restrictions.
I am proud to have the opportunity to play this role. Sailor Moon is very popular in Japan, so to some extent, being on this show is a dream come true. I just have to wait a little more.
Imagine that tomorrow all borders on the planet will be opened and you have a vacation. Where would you go?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Will it be banal if I answer Japan? (Laughs) I haven’t been there for over a year and, I confess, I miss it very much. As soon as there are no restrictions and the world is back to normal, I would like to go there.
My love for Japan turned into a collaboration with JNTO (Japan national tourism organization – ed), with whom we held the J-Fest in Moscow at the end of last year. There I talked about my love for Japanese culture and answered questions from the festival participants. I hope there will be many such events in Russia, and not only in the online format.
By the way, with my mother and grandmother we are now making a Japanese garden at home. Since it is difficult to get to Japan, we decided to make Japan in our yard (smiles). In Japan, almost every temple has gardens and this inspired me to create my own.
Let’s imagine that you and a close friend are in Japan, and he has not been there before. Where will you take him, what will you show, what will you suggest to try from the local cuisine?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Okay, if my close friend has never been to Japan before, then… first I would just take him outside. First, I would show the simplest – buildings, roads, crossroads, parks, subway – everything is completely different, new, unlike anything in the world. There, at every step, you have to pick your jaw off the floor (laughs).
Naturally, we would eat sushi or sashimi for dinner. Of the more original dishes, I would advise him uni – sea urchins, in Japan they are the most delicious. In Nagano, a certain kind of apples are grown – red, very tasty – you can find them only there.
If we went to Kobe, this is a city on the coast, we would definitely try meat there. It is prepared like a barbecue on an open fire. Moreover, in the presence of a chef in special restaurants called yakiniku.
We would also go to Kyoto. It’s has incredible old city! Both beautiful and tasty. Awesome place. Well, and the spectacle, which is difficult to find words to describe, is Mount Fuji. The great old volcano, the landscape of unreal beauty, and the mountain itself – it is not for nothing that it is a symbol of Japan.
In general, a week would not be enough for my friend and me (laughs).
Are there any things that unite Japan and Russia?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Perhaps my answer will surprise you, but there is a huge layer of music that unites our countries. A lot of Russian hits, starting from the 70s to the 90s, were covered by Japanese bands. It’s very interesting to listen to, so unusual. Recently I’ve heard songs of the DDT and Kino bands, songs of Alla Pugacheva and others sung this way. We and the Japanese are definitely united by our love for our music.
It seems that fashion has become a big part your life. Did the interest came by itself or did something influence you?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Yes, there is more fashion in my life now. Probably because I’ve slightly expanded my views on life outside of sports. Trainings and competitions took up almost all of my time. Now it has become a little easier, I began to notice things that I had not paid attention to before, even if it concerns fashionable clothes and good shoes. Well, and as a true girl, I immediately wanted to try on all the most beautiful things (laughs). In general, I became interested and it fascinates me very much.
What is your favorite look?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Dress and shoes – here many girls will support me. That is, of course, I have to wear a lot of sportswear, and in summer these are shorts, T-shirts, leggings, sweatshirts, caps, sneakers and so on, but at any suitable moment I try to change into a dress and shoes.
How to look stylish? Advice from Evgenia Medvedeva.
Evgenia Medvedeva: It seems to me that style is a very relative concept. Each person understands it based on his inner beliefs, values and even way of life. So to look stylish, just be yourself. Experiment if you like it, dye your hair whatever color you want. Do not be afraid of anything! Be yourself!
You have lived in Canada for over two years. What do you remember most about this time? What did Zhenya the athlete and Zhenya, an adult, learn there?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Two years is like such a serious period, but basically all my time in Canada was occupied by intense training and learning English. Despite the fact that I arrived there already with some knowledge of the language, I had to work on it seriously. It was necessary to merge into the spoken language – oh, it was difficult even psychologically.
I also saw a different society there, freer, more peaceful. I have become more tolerant to any manifestation of cultural and social diversity. But in general, you know, the Olympics gave me a lot, so I came to Canada already taught (smiles). Overall, I can say that Canada is a great place. But nevertheless Russian people are closer to me. This is my mentality, and I realized that I feel more comfortable in Russia.
Do you miss Toronto? Do you keep in touch with Brian Orser, Tracy Wilson, with any of the skaters in that group?
Evgenia Medvedeva: I don’t miss Toronto, because I love Moscow very much. Rather, I miss people – these are my coaches, choreographers and athletes from our group. I miss our friends, whom we found there and with whom we still keep in touch. Of course, Brian and Tracy text me all the time, we communicate.
This summer you skate in the Anna Karenina ice show in Sochi. Did your serious experience of working together with Alexander Enbert help you to look at pair skating differently? Single skaters usually do not really understand it, because they are used to answering only for themselves.
Evgenia Medvedeva: Yes, Anna Karenina is a serious experience for me. Moreover, I perform both solo and pair numbers with Alexander Enbert. Sasha is a very good partner and a wonderful person. Thanks to him, I quickly mastered the basics of pair skating. Much turns out, much is difficult. I admit that over time we will learn some more complex elements than those that have already been learned.
Of course, it took a long time for me as a single skater to get used to it. At first, Sasha and I were like two horses who go in different directions – each with its own riding style. Sasha explains that everything must be done synchronously. This is gained with experience – singles are really accustomed to being responsible for themselves, work individually.
I can say that I am glad that this cool positive experience has appeared in my career.
What was the scariest pair element for you?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Throw. Any throw – flip, loop, salchow … It doesn’t matter which one. But I hope we will be able to overcome this barrier and at least learn some double throw (by the time this interview was published, Zhenya has posted a video with a double throw – ed).
How are your relations with Eteri Tutberidze developing after returning to “Khrustalny”?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Everything is good. We have a good relationship with Eteri Georgievna. Complete understanding. She understands me, how hard the last season was, and knows the whole situation in which I found myself. I am very grateful to her.
You are probably already tired of this question, but I cannot help but ask. Can your fans hope to see you in competitions?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Obviously, I’m skipping this season. Last season was hard for me due to health problems, so we decided to skip this one. We will build plans for a sports career at the end of 2021.
Now you look like a person who has understood what harmony is and is quite happy. Share your understanding of happiness?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Much has changed in my life, in many ways I have grown. My understanding of happiness? I like to be alone. The more time a day I can afford to be alone with myself, the more harmonious and happy I become.
We will select people from figure skating for different roles. With whom would Evgenia Medvedeva want to go on reconnaissance?
Evgenia Medvedeva: Among the skaters? Well, I wouldn’t consider any of my colleagues. I would definitely go on reconnaissance with my doctor.
Open a charitable foundation?
Evgenia Medvedeva: With Jason Brown.
Agree to come to the party in the same crazy hats?
Evgenia Medvedeva: With Nastya Skoptsova and Stasya Konstantinova.
Save the world from evil?
Evgenia Medvedeva: To save the world from evil, we would go with Kaitlyn Weaver.
Open a coffee shop?
Evgenia Medvedeva: We will open the coffee shop with Alena Kostornaia.
Jump with a parachute?
Evgenia Medvedeva: With Sasha Trusova – she is fearless.
Throw a pajama party?
Evgenia Medvedeva: I would invite all the figure skaters I know to a pajama party. We all, you know, love to have a good rest and party (smiles).
Related topics: Evgenia Medvedeva
Sergei Rozanov and Benoit Richaud: “The way figure skating is done in Russia is an example for the whole world”