Mariah Bell: “Quads are great and to be at a high level you definitely need them. But this is not all figure skating.”
Interview with Mariah Bell for Russian media.
source: sport-express.ru dd. 1st February 2022 by Dmitri Kuznetsov
Mariah Bell started her training today at the secondary ice arena. She skated a free program, fell from a triple salchow, but she did the rest of the jumps clean, including combinations 3 + 2 + 2 and 3 + 2. Whether this means that she will skate in the team event is unknown, but quite likely.
The main thing is that few people in figure skating can compare with Masha Kolokolchikova, as Russian fans called her, in terms of the frequency of her smile and her positive (no matter how dangerous this word may sound during the COVID-19 Olympics) attitude to work. For this, she is loved in Russia – especially after Channel One in one of the videos confused her with Alina Zagitova’s sister.
Mariah, Zagitova’s fans asked me to say hello to you. Do you remember that you are her sister, according to the Russians?
Mariah Bell: Oh yeah! (Laughs.)
She came here. Maybe you can take a family photo?
Mariah Bell: (Laughs.) Yes, why not? We can. It would be cool to take a picture with her!
How is your training?
Mariah Bell: Well, great, I’m satisfied. My first day here, so I’m generally happy.
And all these “bubbles”, tests do not affect you?
Mariah Bell: Oh no, on the contrary, these measures make me feel safer, so I feel good here. The Olympic Village has a cool vibe, there are logos everywhere… I absolutely feel the spirit of the Olympics.
If you skated a free program during training with a music, does this mean that you will perform it in a team event?
Mariah Bell: Oh, they haven’t decided yet, so I really don’t know. This will be decided by the federation.
But are you ready to perform both programs?
Mariah Bell: Yes. Considering that I will compete here in the individual competitions, I obviously train intensively. In general, yes.
Russia vs USA – for many of us this is a big event, a confrontation. Do you perceive it that way?
Mariah Bell: As a confrontation – no, as a big event – yes. I think I need to compete with myself. It’s true! If I just do my very best, it will pay off. If I think about this confrontation, worry about other people, maybe I won’t succeed. Russian figure skaters are amazing. But I want to focus on what I do. I feel more comfortable this way. This is not boxing, where they hit each other with their fists, we just want to show our best here.
Don’t you think that figure skating is losing popularity because of this? Because of an approach that denies rivalry? And MMA is growing.
Mariah Bell: We have many kinds of sports. American football, hockey, basketball. And they are getting more and more popular. I don’t think that it is due the approach. Americans are truly in love with all these sports, and it’s hard to find many countries where there are so many sports and everyone is involved in them. This is the key thing.
Do you follow Russian figure skaters? Maybe you have favorites?
Mariah Bell: Everyone I met was a pleasure to compete with. I respect them very much as people and as athletes. I love Alina Zagitova very much, we performed together on the show, and she is very nice. I’m a big fan of Tuktamysheva, we are all friends and get along well, chatting sometimes. After the US Nationals, Elizaveta and Sofia Samodurova congratulated me.
You do not compete with anyone, but still now, in order to win, you need quads. Are you planning to make them?
Mariah Bell: Honestly, I will do my best. Quadruples are great and to be at a high level now you definitely need them. But this is not all figure skating. Right now I’m not doing quads, which means I will collect points wherever possible, besides this. But I definitely have a very strong coach in terms of technique (Rafael Arutyunyan. – ed), so who knows? Let’s see!
Figure skating turns into figure jumping, don’t you think so?
Mariah Bell: Maybe. But I think the sport is just progressing. It’s cool to be part of this new wave of figure skating where you see girls doing quads.
If the sport is progressing, should we allow quads in the short program?
Mariah Bell: Of course, it’s not for me to decide. I’m not sure…
Imagine that you are the president of the ISU.
Mariah Bell: I think the quads in the free program are enough for the current moment. But in general it would be cool to see them in a short program. If men can do them, why can’t women? So I don’t know, I don’t know (laughs).
How is your dog?
Mariah Bell: Oh, she’s doing great. I have a German Shepherd, she is already 10 months old. And she’s just amazing!
She needs to make friends with Zagitova’s Akita Inu.
Mariah Bell: Oh yes, I know about her dog! They should become good friends!
In general, everybody ask you here Zagitova or Medvedeva, but let better ask you this: do you notice that figure skating is somehow tougher in Russia?
Mariah Bell: It’s definitely not like in the USA. I don’t live in Russia, but in America, but when I came to the Grand Prix in Sochi this year, I felt how popular figure skating is in your country! You just feel the energy around this sport, which is breathtaking. But I did not feel any serious rigidity, conflict.
Did you like Russia? Now there are some political difficulties between our countries …
Mariah Bell: Yes, I understand. I like it! I just really love to travel. The rest is none of my business, is it? So I just wanted to go, I like to see other skaters, we are good friends. For me, the opportunity to travel the world is one of the reasons I love figure skating, it’s great to be on the ice during these trips.
Thanks for these words. That’s probably why you have so many fans in Russia. I wanted to wish you something good, but turns out the only thing I wish you is silver in the team event.
Mariah Bell: (Laughs.) I don’t know how it will turn out. Let’s see who else will be there. But I think everyone will be fine! And hello to all Russian fans!
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