Mark Kondratiuk: “Short program in the team event – it was incredibly scary. I understood that the kind of medal it would be, in fact, depended on me.”
Mark Kondratiuk about Olympic team event, Olympics, new programs and plans for the future.
Mark Kondratiuk: I talked with many athletes, almost all of them go to the same goal: at least to get to the Olympic Games, as a maximum to the Olympic medal. I did not go to this, it has never been my dream. I have been going to the Olympics for a year, when I became third at the Russian Nationals and skated well at the Channel One Cup. Then I realized that it was real and that became my goal. Before that Russian Nationals, I thought that if I skate well, then maybe I will get to Milan.
When I felt that I got to the Olympics, I had mixed emotions. Of course, I was glad, but at the same time it was hard for me to realize that I was going, and not someone else, as if I was taking someone else’s place. I have been skating with Sasha Samarin on the same ice for 8 years, I saw him all the time before my eyes and aspired to his level. And now I win the Russian Nationals, and I understand that I got to the Olympics, but Sasha did not. And like I didn’t deserve it.
For three weeks this moment has tormented me, but then I won the European Championships and realized that, probably, I still deserved it.
Before the Olympics, I experienced an emotional swing. Every day ups and downs. At first it seemed that testing for covid was the worst thing that could happen. I woke up every morning with the thought that this might be my last day. It got to a point of paranoia. But I was tested the day before the team event, I understand that I’d finish at least a short program, and even if the test was positive, there would be a medal. Then it was already calmer to be tested.
Short program in the team event – it was incredibly scary. I don’t want it to sound pathetic, but I understood that the kind of medal it would be, in fact, depended on me. And so I go to the starting pose, in the short program, and I’m really scared. And the jumps weren’t beautiful, but I did them. It doesn’t matter how: crooked, with small mistakes, but landed. And I was just happy that I did it. It was very nervous, but I’m happy that I managed not to let the team down.
After the short program, I was already calm. We skated early, I returned to the hotel at two o’clock and just walked with the guys, talked. At that moment it was still easy, calm.
There is no feeling that you have won. I do not know why. There are dances, pairs, and even before Kamila we are Olympic champions. But there is no such feeling, nothing has changed. No joy, no tears. It’s hard to explain. You are standing on the ice, on some kind of platform, with a panda in your hands, and you understand that what you have been going for your entire career is at this moment. And you don’t realize it. You understand with your head that this is the moment to which you have been going all your life, but at the same time you think that this cannot be. It’s just the same day, the same minute as any other.
I remember better that minute when I skated my free program. That’s what I remember clearly. Just from the last strengths you are giving some emotions. And in 10 seconds I’m like: that’s it, now I’ll fall to my knees like at Europeans. And I do it and just “Yes, I did it!”
About new programs and plans for the future
Mark Kondratiuk: We haven’t started on the free program yet, that is, we don’t even have specific ideas for music. They started to work on a short one a little, but there are also other music options. In principle, I would not say anything, because it seems to me that keeping the intrigue to the very end is cool, so that the audience was waiting, why to reveal all the cards. But for now I really don’t know.
I want to skate for four more years, skate what I want, skate with pleasure and hang out in February 2026 in Italy.
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