Kamila Valieva: “The events that have happened to me have made me more mature. If you can learn to find the positive in everything, life becomes better and more interesting.”
Translation of a pre-season interview with Kamila Valieva.
source: fsrussia.ru dd. 16th September 2023 by Olga Ermolina
Kamila, am I right that you didn’t have any hesitation and jumped right into the new season, worked on your programs, and were focused on sports?
Kamila Valieva: Of course. After a good rest, I started preparing for this season. We had a quite productive training camp in Novogorsk, where we worked on new programs. These are new characters that audiences have never seen me showing before.
As for the part about not hesitating… Well, there are certainly some doubts, I think every athlete experiences them, especially when things aren’t going well. But it’s more about having a bad mood rather than clear doubts.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that I approached the test skates in optimal shape. On August 16th, I had a scheduled check-up where they found a retina detachment in my eye, and the doctors recommended an emergency laser coagulation. It wasn’t anything serious, but it was better not to let it worsen to avoid consequences. So on August 18th, I had the operation, and I was advised not to bend over, spin, or jump for the next 2-3 weeks. I attended training sessions for only 30-40 minutes, just to skate around. Then, I had a repeat laser coagulation, and it wasn’t until September 4-5 that I started training normally, jumping, and spinning.
Of course, it’s difficult for me to show at the test skates what we had worked. These 2-3 weeks were about the same duration as our vacations. We tried to do everything we could with the coaches to prepare for the skates somehow. However, it’s not even 50 percent, more like 30 percent.
Actually, I would like to rewind time to prepare better, but I hope to recover my health because in our sport, as well as in life in general, health is more important.
Can you tell us about your new programs? Previously, you had more lyrical ones, classics like “Bolero.” But with your exhibition performance “Wednesday,” you showed a range of artistic possibilities, and at the end of last season, you appeared as a shaman at a show program tournament, which was absolutely new for you.
Kamila Valieva: Regarding the new programs and characters, we discussed them together with the coaches. They asked me, I made suggestions, and they also proposed ideas. I was given several options to choose from – blues, tango, something Oriental… Daniil Markovich brought the music from the movie “Black Panther.” I expressed my preference for a blues for the short program (the music is Everybody Loves an Outlaw – I See Red). I really liked the music, its rhythm; I hadn’t skated to blues before, so we started working on it. In this program, I have a very interesting starting pose by the boards, where I stand with my back to the judges. It’s quite an intriguing beginning…
And for the free program there were two options to choose from, but I was more inclined towards music with lyrics, so we took Rihanna (Lift Me Up).
Over the past year, you’ve had a very eventful life during the offseason – shows, various events related and unrelated to figure skating. However, it’s evident that you didn’t participate in these activities just for the sake of it; you were fully committed. What do you gain from these experiences?
Kamila Valieva: Emotional fulfillment. During the training process or in the offseason, you want to diversify your life in some way, even if it means performing in different cities at events unrelated to figure skating. In return, you gain experience and emotions. It’s a change of pace. Of course, discipline is essential in sports, and there should be clear goals. However, one should avoid becoming too single-minded, which can happen during the season when you’re striving for maximum preparation, sometimes pushing yourself into a corner. When you have the opportunity to perform somewhere or simply go somewhere to change your surroundings, it’s a form of relief. You come back to training the next day as a rejuvenated person, ready to absorb information. As you get older, this becomes even more important.
In a year, you will graduate from school. Have you thought about your future plans?
Kamila Valieva: Currently, I’m in the 11th grade. The ages of 17-19 are a time when you can learn anything you want. I want to try different things and see what interests me. Of course, at the moment, a significant part of my life is about sports. However, I’m open to trying out different paths, like how I would feel as an actress, for instance. Perhaps I would realize it’s not for me. I don’t know… If there only were mini-courses called “Try Life,” where you could experiment in various fields and decide where you truly want to excel. I enjoy dancing on the floor as a hobby, and I will definitely continue to develop my body because dancing is a source of inspiration for me. Or perhaps, develop some communication skills. I once wanted to become a psychologist… At this age, I want to try everything to determine my path.
Is a career in sports, particularly coaching in figure skating, automatically on your radar?
Kamila Valieva: Yes, it’s already a consideration, and I view it as a given. But a career in coaching requires full dedication, just like what Eteri Georgievna and many of our most respected coaches do. If you choose this path, you must be fully committed and devoted, not half-hearted about it.
Of course, as long as you’re actively competing, you can observe how others work, seek advice from your coach, ask for guidance from older athletes, and assist younger ones who ask for your input during training sessions. All of these experiences accumulate in your knowledge bank. However, to truly become a coach, you need not only experience but also a burning passion and a profound desire to help others.
Life is full of ups and downs; the question is how to overcome your “downs.” Do you have an answer to this?
Kamila Valieva: The events that have happened to me have made me more aware and mature. They have completely transformed my life. Kamila Valieva at 13 and Kamila Valieva at 17 are two different people. But that’s how it should be. We all change with age. And still, I started approaching certain things more maturely. Although, I think sports played a role in that. Sports instill incredible discipline. Discipline in your actions and thoughts. Sports set certain boundaries that you cannot cross, and these become your life principles. Sports is the best thing that ever happened to me. It is my life. A part of my life. When sports ends, my life will continue, and it will remain a valuable lesson for me.
I don’t know if you remember our conversation at the Beijing Olympics after the women’s single competition had ended. You were sitting in the “skating lounge,” and I approached you, struggling to find the right words, and I said that you were incredibly talented, and it’s true… You looked at me and said: “So, God sent me these trials”… I think that made you even stronger.
Kamila Valieva: Everything happens for the best. I try to adhere to this principle. Simply because it’s easier to find negativity, whereas positive moments are more challenging to uncover. And that’s something you need to learn. It greatly helps in life. If you can learn to find the positive in everything, life becomes better and more interesting.
Related topics: Kamila Valieva
“I’m sure she will never jump quads again. Because she is not training. In my opinion, she’s retired.” Tatiana Tarasova about Trusova’s quads and breakup with Kondratiuk