Kamila Valieva: “Don’t idealize the Olympic Games. For an athlete, this is certainly a career goal, but not a lifetime goal.”
Interview with Kamila Valieva for Peopletalk.
source: peopletalk.ru dd. 13th April 2022 by Anastasiia Pavlova; photos by Slava Novikov
How did you get into the sport and what did you start from?
Kamila Valieva: It seems to me that my mother immediately realized that I would be an athlete. She saw it in me and was not mistaken. From the age of three, I have been engaged in choreography, rhythmic gymnastics and figure skating. After some time, I chose figureskating – I really liked spinning on the ice (at that age I didn’t have any deep thoughts, only feelings).
I can’t say that I had a “special” childhood, quite the same as ordinary children and teenagers: studying at school and doing what I love.
Only when I came to the group to Eteri Georgievna Tutberidze, I realized that figure skating is not just a hobby, it means a lot in my life.
When you start doing something for the first time, it is always difficult, but then a person gets used to it. I got used to daily training too, and when I don’t train for at least a couple of days, I start to miss the loads, the ice.
I do not understand why it is believed that athletes do not have free time.
Yes, we spend a lot of time in training, yes, we study at the same time, but there is still time for myself – even if it is not much, but I manage to meet friends, go to the theater and cinema, museums, and modern dance classes. And, of course, I am an ordinary person who has days of laziness, when I allow myself to sleep longer, to eat something not entirely healthy. The hardest part is injuries. You can’t get used to them, you can’t avoid them. They make you angry. Because you have to be treated, sometimes you skate through the pain, they break the usual rhythm of work, you start to get upset because some elements don’t work out, that you do not have time to prepare for the competitions.
My journey is just beginning. So much more can and should be done! I think that the most interesting is ahead.
What was the last Olympics like for you?
Kamila Valieva: Don’t idealize the Olympic Games. For an athlete, this is certainly a career goal, but not a lifetime goal.
Sports life ends sooner or later, so the Games should be treated more calmly.
What has figure skating taught you?
Kamila Valieva: Never give up. Sport builds character, and also teaches you to feel beautiful on the ice and in life. Much features formed in me thanks to figure skating helps in everyday life.
If we talk about you not as an athlete, but as a person: what are you like?
Kamila Valieva: Cheerful, inquisitive, purposeful, responsible, cheerful.
I am a teenager – that says it all.
I can be bold, stubborn, insecure. But I understand that these are difficulties of growing up, and I try to cope with it. In fact, I am a sociable, cheerful, active and, of course, a romantic girl. On the ice, the coaches see me in lyrical artistic images. Probably they work for me. But I really want to be different in programs: a hooligan, funny, daring, bold.
How do you combine big sport and studies?
Kamila Valieva: Not without difficulties. Now there are more opportunities for education, I try to study with teachers online every day.
Before entering university, I still need to finish the ninth, and then the eleventh grade. There is still a lot of time ahead, for now I think that I will enter the Institute of Physical Education, coaching is a good profession. And taking into account my interest in psychology and sports, I can try to become a sports psychologist.
Have you already thought what you will do after the end of your sports career?
Kamila Valieva: While I don’t want to think about it. Most likely, it will be close to figure skating or next to it: ice shows, modern dances.
Do you have a lot of friends?
Kamila Valieva: There should not be many of them, then there will be time for communication even in the busiest schedule. I talk on the phone with my friend Eva Uvarova, sometimes she comes to support me at competitions, in Moscow we also find time for meetings.
Were there moments when you wanted to quit?
Kamila Valieva: I think everyone has had this, it’s normal and it passes if you really like what you do.
What helps you cope with mental stress?
Kamila Valieva: Everything is simple. I don’t have time to “hang out” on social networks for hours, and if there is something important and interesting, then my mother will definitely let me read it.
Of course, I am not in a complete vacuum and sometimes I see the negative.
Firstly, I try not to take it to heart, secondly, I mean that everyone has their own opinion and the right to express it, thirdly, I am always ready to think about rational and constructive negativity, fourthly, I understand that I can’t please everyone. This is fine.
I am not afraid to publish posts, as before, but I think more about what exactly I want to share with my followers. You know, there are a lot of comments, it’s impossible to read everything – my mother does this. I don’t answer direct messages.
How do you feel about your popularity? Does it interfere?
Kamila Valieva: Success does not affect how I perceive and see myself. I try to remain modest and polite, but I have also become more courageous in expressing my opinion. So far, popularity does not interfere in everyday life, on the contrary, it helps to survive difficult times.
What have you learned from your failures, mistakes, defeats?
Kamila Valieva: I try to treat them philosophically.
It’s great, of course, to win all the time, and every athlete strives for this.
And failures make you stop, think and understand what was not enough for you to win, so that you can start working on problems.
April 26, you will be 16 years old. What are your expectations and plans for the new stage?
Kamila Valieva: I don’t want to guess. But I believe that everything will be fine!
What advice would you give yourself from five years ago?
Kamila Valieva: Go ahead and do not be afraid – everything will work out.
What are your priorities now, where are your forces and energy directed?
Kamila Valieva: All energy and forces are directed to figure skating and everything connected with it. And part of the energy goes to study.
Are there things that you, looking back, regret: in sports, life?
Kamila Valieva: I didn’t do anything to regret.
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