Harley Windsor: “After Alexandrovskaya’s death, I was broken. On social media, people wished and continue to wish death upon me and write many terrible things.”
Interview with Harley Windsor. About injury, staying to train in Russia and documentary film “Harley & Katya.”
source: sport-express dd. by 31st July 2023 by Dmitri Kuznetsov and Lina Fedorova
Lina Fedorova spoke with an Australian skater in Sochi before his departure to Toronto. Furthermore, it was announced on Saturday that Windsor found a new partner — Cho Hye-jin, and together they will represent South Korea. As Harley mentioned to Sport-Express, they are currently training in Canada, but it is not excluded that they might also come to Sochi (Russia).
How long have you been in Sochi, and what are you doing here?
Harley Windsor: I have been in Sochi since the beginning of May. I’m training in the group of Dmitri Savin and Fedor Klimov, trying to get into optimal physical shape. By the way, my journey here was quite challenging (laughs). From Sydney to Tokyo, then to Helsinki, followed by a transfer in Budapest, from there to Dubai, then to Moscow, and finally, to Sochi. You might ask, what’s the reason for all these flights? The reason was obtaining a visa. I wouldn’t have been able to get it in Australia, and moreover, the relations between our figure skating federation and yours are quite strained; no one would have helped me. In total, I spent about 6,000 dollars on flights.
When and for what reason did you decide to train in Russia, especially considering the tense situation in the world?
Harley Windsor: I returned to Russia because, firstly, the relationship and work with my previous partner Maria Chernysheva didn’t work out properly, and overall, I was going through tough times. It’s very difficult to continue skating when you have no motivation, and in my country, figure skating isn’t taken as seriously as it is in Russia… I made the decision to change my location in one day. I feel very comfortable in Sochi and fully agree with the training program that Dima and Fedya give us. I understand very well that the political situation between Russia and Ukraine is currently tense, but I decided to do what I did despite everything. So, I have no regrets about coming here.
You had an injury that still troubles you. Tell me more about it. How did it happen?
Harley Windsor: Currently, I’m recovering from an ankle fracture. I got injured during the practice of my program and had a freak fall from a jump… I had to undergo surgery, and now I have a metal plate in my ankle. Honestly, coming back to sports was challenging not only physically but also mentally. When you achieve high results and represent your national team as the top pair, you don’t have the right to make mistakes. The pressure was and continues to be quite high. Nevertheless, I understand that this is another step in my career that I had to take to become stronger.
What kind of help were you able to receive from the doctors?
Harley Windsor: On the day I got injured, as I remember, it was 8:30 in the morning. At that time, I didn’t know how serious it was… I asked the people who were at the arena to take me to the doctor because I couldn’t walk, let alone drive a car. Unfortunately, no one extended a helping hand, and I had to drive with a broken ankle, just imagine! And yes, I could only see the doctor around 5 o’clock in the evening. Even if you are dying, they won’t take you without an appointment. When I finally reached the hospital, it was already evening, and I was well aware that I had a fracture. A few days later, I underwent surgery.
To be honest, I’ve had problems with this leg for a long time, but my previous coach, Monica MacDonald, never really cared about my health issues. For her, the only thing that mattered was what happened on the ice, and outside of it, everyone lived their own life.
Tell me about the documentary film “Harley & Katya” that was made about you and your partner, Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya.
Harley Windsor: Over the course of a year, a documentary film was made about Katya and me, and it was released last December. It told the story of our journey as a pair: our achievements, victories, disappointments… I believe this film was a great idea because people don’t always understand what athletes, especially in pair skating, have to go through to achieve high results…
You mentioned that you receive negative comments every day on social media, comments that are based on the death of your former partner. When and why did all this start?
Harley Windsor: Yes, I think the main reason for the wave of negativity towards me was that after Katya’s death, people didn’t bother to investigate how and why it happened. As usual, people tend to see what they want, and in this case, especially considering how close Katya and I were, many are convinced that I had something to do with what happened, but that’s not true, of course. When it happened, I was broken.
I hoped that the documentary film would somehow improve my image in the media, but the situation only worsened. On social media, people wished and continue to wish death upon me and write many terrible things.
How would you respond to all these “armchair critics” if given the opportunity?
Harley Windsor: When I first started receiving these comments, I felt depressed and didn’t understand why I deserved such treatment, but now I know that all these “armchair critics” are broken people who are dealing with their own depression. I feel sorry for them. Now I’m solely focused on myself and my progress in sports; the rest doesn’t concern me.
Currently, you’re training with the coaching staff of Dmitri Savin and Fedor Klimov. What led to this choice of coaching team?
Harley Windsor: I have known Dima Savin for a very long time, and we have always been in touch. Even during my time in Australia, we had a conversation in which he offered me the opportunity to continue my career in his group. I immediately accepted his offer, and thanks to Savin, I had the chance to try out with various girls from Russia and beyond.
Right now, the tryouts are in Toronto, but I’m still part of Dmitri Savin’s group. Everything looks very promising, and I really hope it all works out.
How does an Australian view the city of Sochi?
Harley Windsor: Sochi is a very large city, which is undoubtedly different from Moscow, the capital where I spent a considerable amount of time. Honestly, I feel more comfortable here. The beaches, the warmth — it all reminds me of home. Plus, I believe it’s a very favorable place for training: everyone is relaxed, but at the same time, focused on achieving results. In Moscow, people are different, always rushing somewhere, chasing after something… That’s not something I connect with.
Have you had a chance to skate with anyone as part of tryouts? Many believe that you have teamed up with Karina Safina.
Harley Windsor: Yes, I did have several tryouts with different girls, but as for the situation with Karina, I would prefer not to comment on that.
Does your federation provide any support?
Harley Windsor: Everything I am doing now to continue my sports career, such as trips, accommodation, and training camps, is 100% self-funded. The Australian federation has not provided me with any support in any way since I informed them of my desire to train in Russia. Absolutely nothing.
Where do you see yourself in five years and what do you want to achieve?
Harley Windsor: That’s a difficult question. It will all depend on how my career develops. I don’t look so far ahead; right now, I’m more focused on the next three years, which will lead to the Olympic Games. If my body can handle the training load, I will be very happy about that. One thing I know for sure is that I will continue to pursue my passion for figure skating.
Related topics: Harley Windsor
“Katia came for some small adjustments. And she skates better than ever!” Brian Orser about Ekaterina Kurakova