Meryl Davis: The path to Sochi 2014 is more important to me than the Olympic victory
Meryl Davis came to the Grand Prix Final in Turin as a journalist. Andrei Simonenko asked the famous athlete to share her opinion about current situation in ice dance, and also asked her whether she misses competitions.
by Andrei Simonenko for rsport.ria.ru dd December 17th, 2019
Meryl, looking at the results of the Grand Prix Final, there is such an impression that anything can change in ice dance, except for one thing – the French Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron seem invincible. Do you agree with this?
– At some point, this may also change, but for now, I think, they are definitely competing in their own league. In today’s dances, there are many talented athletes with different styles, with different advantages, but still there is a gap between Gabriella and Guillaume and everyone else.
Can you explain what gives French dancers such an advantage?
– The quality of their skating is incredibly high. They look so light on the ice that you can forget how difficult are the things they do. You forget about the program, about time, about elements, you just enjoy their movements. They are great masters in many components, but it is the unsurpassed quality of skating what makes them great.
They remain invincible, even if they make mistakes, as in the rhythm dance at the Grand Prix Final.
– And I agree with that. Of course, it all depends on the mistake, that what the scoring system is for. Great dancers may not win on a bad day, but here the mistake wasn’t so serious to loose a lot of points.
American pairs Madison Chock / Evan Bates and Madison Hubbell / Zachary Donohue took second and third places in Turin, and everyone noted the serious progress of Chock and Bates.
– I think the last two seasons Madison and Evan skate with new self-confidence, with new enthusiasm. They are well prepared, their movements are polished, skating is clean. After the rhythm dance, I told them – this was your best performance of all that I’ve seen. And I saw a lot of them, we trained together. It’s so great to see them blooming and becoming more and more masterful.
Do you think this season they have a chance to catch up with Papadakis and Сizeron?
– I think it is possible, but it will be very difficult. In general, I think that changes between these three duets who took places on the podium at the Grand Prix Final are possible, but Gabriella and Guillaume are currently the best.
Russian pairs Alexandra Stepanova / Ivan Bukin and Victoria Sinitsina / Nikita Katsalapov took fourth and sixth places in Turin, and many experts did not understand their scores, they got too low levels.
– As for Victoria and Nikita, I did not see their rhythm dance, but the free program was performed very beautifully. I think that they have made a great progress, I was very pleased to see them on the podium last season (World Championships). I know that they work hard. Both have achieved great success with previous partners, and becoming a duo with a new partner always takes time. In their case, it seems to me that the transition process has already passed, and they perform very cool and confident. Victoria looks very strong, Nikita is a great skater.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see the programs of Stepanova and Bukin at this competitions, I was busy with work.
In Russia, fans still recall a pair of Nikita Katsalapov and Elena Ilinykh, who stood with you on the podium in Sochi. How do you think, if they were skating together, could they fight the French for a place in the top?
– I think yes. It was a very talented and efficient pair. But I don’t know all the details of the story of their break up, so it’s hard for me to comment on this topic. In general, I think that all duets who performed in the Grand Prix Final have the opportunity to grow, progress and compete with leaders. But now, as I said, Gabriella and Guillaume are the best.
Many skaters who become coaches or journalists come to the competitions and say: we would like to be on the ice now. Do you have the same feeling?
– I love figure skating, that’s a fact. But I am grateful to fate for how our career ended. Charlie and I did not finish because of an injury or something like that, we just decided that the time was right. We are happy that we left sport as the winners of the Olympic Games in Sochi. So I don’t come to the competitions with the thought that I would like to be on the ice, I’m happy that I can perform a lot in the shows.
Don’t you miss the competitive adrenaline?
– The main thing I miss is the feeling when you are in a perfect shape. We came to the competition with the feeling that we are the best, that we are incredibly comfortable on the ice, that we confidently control every movement. I have never had such level of readiness, not only physical, but in complex, since our performance at the Olympics. And I miss that feeling.
Do you often recall the golden moments of Sochi 2014?
– You know, it took me a while to realize everything that happened to me both after the victory at the Olympics and before it. On the way to the Olympic victory, it always seemed to me that this moment of triumph would be the most significant. But after I experienced this moment, when it became a thing of the past, I realized that the main thing for me was the path itself. Of course, the victory in Sochi is a special moment in my life, but it was only a moment. It ended when we left the pedestal. And Charlie’s and my entire career was the whole life that led us to this moment. On the way to this moment there were first, second, third, and tenth places, there were hard training days at the rink – there was a difficult process in which my family supported me, helped me to strive for a dream. And this process is the most important thing in my life what I recall.