“Medvedeva is the leader. And I will subscribe to everything she says as captain.” Anastasia Skoptsova about Channel One Cup
Anastasia Skoptsova became one of the most active members of Evgenia Medvedeva’s team at the Channel One Cup. With her skating partner, Kirill Aleshin, Anastasia showed the third result in ice dance, after which she was passionately cheering for her teammates: cried after Mark Kodratyuk’s performance, tightly holded Medvedeva’s hand during the jumps.
In an interview Anastasia told about the preparation for the event, bronze at the Russian Nationals and the Grand Prix, unreasonable hate towards Medvedeva, a space-style team number, tears, prize money and much more.
by Konstantin Lesik for sport24.ru dd. 11th February
Channel One showed the event in prime time. Did you get new followers?
Anastasia Skoptsova: By the way, not much. The Channel One doesn’t show links to our profiles (laughs). A little less than a thousand. I exceeded 10 thousand – after the Russian Nationals I had 9.5.
What can you say about your performance?
Anastasia Skoptsova: The preparation was usual. We have been skating these programs for the second season. Despite the fact that we changed them a lot, they were ready by the Russian Nationals. We just worked according to the methodology of Svetlana Lvovna (Alekseeva – ed). We approached the event well – we were ready physically and mentally. We are satisfied with the performances. Yes, I had a small mistake on a twizzle in a short dance in the finnstep section. But this is how it’s going, we know about our mistakes. We’ll work on them. I am glad that we were able to add details, nuances that are important in ice dance. Even in comparison with the Russian Nationals.
The next goal – the Russian Cup Final?
Anastasia Skoptsova: Yes. We were given a few days to rest. Now we are back on the ice and we will prepare to show a decent performance.
This season you have won two bronze medals in two major competitions – the Grand Prix stage and the Russian Nationals. Your pair is getting closer to the main starts. Can you smell the World Championships?
Anastasia Skoptsova: I don’t know (laughs). It’s probably too early to talk about this. Basically, we are quite an ambitious duo. And we’ve always been aiming high enough. We set ourselves serious tasks.
I wouldn’t say I can smell the World Championships. But I want to stand somewhere nearby. I would like us to be on the way. These medals give us the motivation to work even harder. I can say that this season we want to show something new more. We try to constantly offer and improve something. I want each new performance to be better than the previous one.
How did you learn about the Channel One Cup?
Anastasia Skoptsova: Everyone learned about this between the first and second part of the gala performances in Chelyabinsk. We were called for a photo with the officials, and Alexander Ilyich Kogan (general director of the FFKKR – ed.) said that there would be a Channel One Cup. He announced that the event will be a team one. Everyone was interested, they began to whisper: “How?”, “What is it?”
What would you compare it to?
Anastasia Skopsova: Everyone is compared to the Olympic team event. I was at the Youth Olympic Games – there we were also divided into teams: with me and Kirill there was a Chinese single skater (Li Xiangning), an American pair (Sarah Rose / Joseph Goodpaster) and our Dima Aliev. It was the only team that had two Russians. At the Channel One Cup, everyone was from our national team, and it went on for two days, not one, so here the emotions were brighter.
From the very beginning there was excitement. Some jokes based on the rivalry between the “red” and the “blue” started immediately.
You and Medvedeva are friends in life. But at the Channel One Cup, you saw her in an unusual role. What can you say about Zhenya as a captain?
Anastasia Skoptsova: For me, Zhenya is the best captain one could imagine. Yes, indeed, she is a very close friend of mine. She was so soulful about every aspect of the team event. She prepared very seriously.
Take our team number, for example. When we came to training, Zhenya already had a concept for the performance, some symbols- cloaks, helmets. We worked as a single mechanism – everything was very well coordinated. Ari Zakaryan (producer of ice shows – ed) helped to stage the number. But Medvedeva took on a lot of work and coped perfectly.
That is, preparing the number was easy?
Anastasia Skoptsova: I would say that it was very fun. First, it is clear that the names of the teams were invented before the draw – it takes time to order all the props. Zhenya came up with everything in advance, she already has some ideas for the number. And our main task was to make fun for the audience.
In training, we had fun as best we could. Sasha Samarin was very funny, he was gaining speed and then lying on the floor. It’s a pity it didn’t get in the broadcast.
Did you manage to make it fun?
Anastasia Skoptsova: Two hundred percent! We had a lot of fun. When we were rehearsing, Liza Tuktamysheva and Sasha Trusova fell on this cloak several times. We agreed to throw them under the board so that no one would fall during the performance. But I still knew that we would go at the opening and someone would fall.
Then, after Trusova fell during the performance, we joked and told her: “Sasha, you should have continued swimming!”
Social networks exploded from footage where you and Medvedeva hug and cry during Mark Kondratyuk’s performance. How did you feel at that moment?
Anastasia Skoptsova: In general, it’s hard for me to cry over someone’s program. This happens very rarely for me. It happened literally a couple of times. But I was very impressed by the energy of Mark. I was amazed how he gets pleasure from what he was doing.
This performance was very important for our team. We knew we were losing after the first day. We won in the ice dance, but still there were not enough points. And three boys from the “Red Machine” skated their programs very well.
I already had a lot of emotions during Samarin’s skating. But when Mark was skating … First of all, I like the “Swan Lake”. Secondly, it was very powerful and bewitching. Thirdly, when he was finishing, I understood that the guy was doing his best until the very last movement. I was shocked.
In general, Mark “shocked” me back in the short program. It so happened that I did not see him at the Russian Nationals. Therefore, it seemed to me that this is the case when an athlete does everything cleanly and gets to the podium due to the mistakes of others. This often happens in single skating.
But when I saw him skating the short program, I was just stunned. I remember how I ran into the locker room and began to tell everyone: “You have no idea, what I’ve seen! Mark Kondratyuk skates so well! ” Perhaps I don’t understand so much in jumping and as an ice dancer I look more at skating, steps. He was good at this.
Whose performances brought you to tears before?
Anastasia Skoptsova: I must say right away that it was only live – there is a special energy in the arena. I remember our first senior Russian Nationals, which was held in Saransk in December 2018. There I cried over the free program of Sasha Boikova and Dima Kozlovskii. It was wow!
Stasya Konstantinova’s free skating to Anna Karenina at the same Nationals evoked the same emotions. In addition, we are friends with her.
What would you change in the event if you had the opportunity?
Anastasia Skoptsova: From the organizational point of view everything was at the highest level. All conditions have been created for the athletes – accommodation, transfers. Everything is of the highest standard, as it always happens in our country.
But I would add something for ice dancers and pairs. Single skaters have a jumping competitions. And we could also do something. But I don’t quite understand how this can be implemented. Maybe some twizzles competitions, lifts or finnstep (laughs).
There were six pairs in one warm-up. Was it difficult?
Anastasia Skoptsova: Yes, it was difficult. I had to skate very carefully. It’s good that these were the 6 best duets in the country. Fortunately, all the people in our warm-up are good at orientation in space and have a good level of skating.
Moreover, everyone more or less knows each other’s programs. Crashing with Liza Khudaiberdieva, it was an accident. It so happened that we did not see each other. Six pairs – it is not easy, but overall we did it. We sat in the locker room and said to each other: “So, guys, we have to be careful. Take care of everyone! “
What are your thoughts on the dividing into teams, when the draw was replaced by a draft?
Anastasia Skoptsova: I did not fully understand how exactly we would be distributed between Zhenya and Alina. And when it was announced that Medvedeva would choose ice dancers, I was very surprised. It seemed to me that the drawing was planned.
Zhenya took Sasha and Vanya (Stepanova / Bukin – ed) first, John and Tiffany (Guireiro and Zahorski – Sport24) automatically went to Alina. At that moment, I really hoped that Medvedeva would take us.
In general, as soon as it became known who would be the captains, I immediately called Medvedeva: “Hello, Zhenya, what should I do to get into your team? Who should I call? With whom to negotiate?” Of course, we were joking. But I am very glad that I got to her. It’s important for me.
Were you sure that Medvedeva would take you?
Anastasia Skoptsova: I hoped very much. And, if you look at the results of the Russian Nationals, it is logical that we were taken third.
During the event, the teams teased each other a little, exchanging chants about the opponent. I know that Dima Aliev come up with such chants for the “red” team. Who was it from your side?
Anastasia Skoptsova: Let’s go back to how Zhenya thought over the whole concept. She already had chants thought out. But not about the opponent, but about us, for each athlete. We created a group in WhatsApp, where we texted, wrote rhymes, and shared ideas.
When I watched Zhenya and Alina’s press conference, I got the feeling that this is not a show, but a very serious competitions, where everyone really wanted to win.
Anastasia Skoptsova: Any athlete does not know how to lose anywhere. Even playing a monopoly or an ordinary dispute. I compete with everyone, constantly and in everything. Even when it’s not really a competition.
And here there were two full-fledged teams, each, as Zhenya correctly said, had its own mischievous spirit. We constantly made jokes about each other. Of course, kind ones. But still you could feel this nerve. Especially in the free program.
Did you feel like you can win?
Anastasia Skoptsova: Yes. Especially on the second day, when our boys scored 195 and 196 points. It was really a sensation. Then the pairs skated perfectly. We were confident that we had a chance.
Did you get upset about the result?
Anastasia Skoptsova: Of course, I don’t like to lose. We were all a little upset. But in a good way. After all, we skate not only for ourselves, but also for the viewer. And we always feel his support. It is a victory for us that we got the Audience Award. The warmth of the Megasport arena was felt, we heard the support of the fans.
Let’s move on to questions from fans. Who would you take to your team if there was no draw?
Anastasia Skoptsova: Myself! (Laughs.) I would keep the same single skaters for sure. Anyway, this is a difficult question. We rallied so much during these three days. Indeed, in ordinary life, we do not often meet with some guys. Now everyone is so close to me that I would’t want to change someone.
Why did you close your eyes when Mark jumps?
Anastasia Skoptsova: It’s always like this with me! I can’t watch the jumps of my close people. For example, Stasya or Zhenya. When they are in the air, I don’t know if they will land or not. This makes me very scared. I sat with my eyes closed and held Medvedeva’s hand. And by how hard she squeezed it, I understood whether the jump was successful or not.
When did she squeeze harder?
Anastasia Skoptsova: When the jump turned out. Therefore, during Mark’s performance, my arm almost broke.
Zhenya said at a press conference that you do not admit defeat. Is this your position, or was it just said on emotions?
Anastasia Skoptsova: I would not say that this is our position. Yes, we were hoping for a different result. But it turned out this way. I totally agree that Zhenya is the leader. And I will subscribe to everything she says as captain. I will always be on her side, no matter what she says.
I also want to say that certain words were taken out of context. Now I see in a lot of hate on the Internet that Zhenya allegedly offended some of the members of her team. How can people make such conclusions? A person has given himself so much to this event, to each participant! The didn’t have one single thought of speaking badly about someone.
I wish there was less hate on the Internet. Now the guys write a lot under each other’s posts. For example, the “reds” joke in the comments of the “blues”. Some fans take this too close to their hearts and start a wave of hate. It all was in a joke format. We have not fought, we are not at war, and we also advise you not to fight.
Did your team have an afterparty after the event?
Anastasia Skoptsova: To be honest: no. The “red” ones also didn’t have it. Everyone was very tired and scattered to their small companies, in which they spend their free time.
What will you spend your prize money on?
Anastasia Skoptsova: I don’t know yet when I’ll get them. And how many there will be (smiles). I didn’t even think about it. I think it will be like with the Grand Prix – the amount will be transferred on my account. Probably, the amount will be divided equally.
How long do you have to wait for money for the Grand Prix?
Anastasia Skoptsova: It’s take a while, yes. It happens even six months. But this season it was faster – two months.
What would you like to say to the fans at the end of the interview?
Anastasia Skoptsova: Thank you for the warmth that we have felt these three days. The guys from the team became dear to each other. Happiness and health to everyone!