Nikita Katsalapov: “I can react slightly impulsively, but I always apologize. I must have apologized a thousand times.”
Interview with Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov for Ok magazine.
The reigning world champions in ice dance have been skating together for seven years. This is a long enough time to get to know each other, experience triumphs and falls in order to continue synchronize perfectly on the ice and in life.
At the very beginning you were single skaters. Then both had other partners, but since 2014 you have been training and performing together. If we talk about partnership, what are the most important components you can name? What is the most important thing for relationship in a pair?
Nikita: Patience is probably the most important thing. I can say about myself that I’m very impulsive – I can go too far, and mutual understanding is important in partnership. It took me a long time to learn patience. Physically I’m stronger; if in training I can do some element right away, I want the partner to also make this movement at the same moment, in the same way, with the same power. Whether she knows how to do it or tries it for the first time, it doesn’t matter.
Is your partner patience important or yours?
Victoria: Patience of both. (Smiling.) This is the first and most important thing. And yes, you should have it twice more. When you are alone, you can re-set yourself, when you are together, you need to be able to balance. I would also add to Nikita’s words that respect for a partner is important. And the ability to compromise.
Nikita: And mutual understanding, because it is important to communicate openly, you can’t be “unfriends”. In my understanding, ideally, it cannot be that you came to a training session, worked, did not spend any emotions on each other, parted and live your own life separately. And at the same time, I’m not saying that you should live together or date, but you should have friendly, very good relationships as a pair. Otherwise, this is a short-term partnership. You should always help each other as if your partner is a member of your family, a loved one, not otherwise. In any case, the sports path is very intricate, thorny, long, everything is there: both ups and downs. A partner is 50% of your success.
Nikita: By the way, when we argue with Vika in training, I usually say this: “You are 50% of success.”
Do you argue?
Victoria: Anything can happen!
Tell me, do psychologists work with you at some point? Or are you talking to each other and you don’t need them? There are always questions when it is necessary to sit down at the negotiating table and say everything, so it does not accumulate.
Nikita: We always speak. Vika teaches me that it’s necessary to speak out right away, but try not to overdo it with emotions, like I do. (Smiles.) I have already said that I can immediately react slightly impulsively, and in the heat of the moment, I can say too much. But Vika has already learned me, she understands a lot. I do, however, always apologize. I must have apologized a thousand times. (Laughs.)
Alone, a person understands that everything depends only on him. There’s always room for support in a partnership, right? You are not robots, someone has a bad mood, feels bad. Is there an opportunity to give some slack, when it seems like you have a moment to relax because there is a strong shoulder nearby?
Victoria: Let me tell you. There was a moment when my stomach hurt like hell at the competitions, I could not straighten up. But even in these circumstances, there was no thought that I could skate worse, and Nikita would drag me. There is no such thing at all. In any case, I will do the best I can now. But at the same time, I know that Nikita feels everything, sees everything. And he won’t even show it to me, but he will take on all the power and responsibility for both of us, and he will really drag me to the end of the program, if anything. I’m sure.
Nikita: If someone hurts something (after an injury, for example), each of us shows great responsibility in this situation. But at some point – it’s always like this with us – we kind of started carefully, but then sports passion appears and we forget that there was some kind of anxiety. Even if something happened, you still skate well, because this is our task, our work. You can only skip a workout if you’re dead. (Laughs.)
It is clear that athlete spend all the energy to achieve results. Do you have time for hobbies? Can you go to karaoke together?
Nikita: Everything is very simple here: it all depends on the season. If it is summer or late spring, then you can absolutely easily get out somewhere. And starting with July, it happens rarely – we constantly in trainings. Some kind of holiday or birthday party for one of your friends is one thing. But to get together specially, to invite friends … for us it has shifted more to some kind of home gatherings with poker.
You have friends – I congratulate you!
(Laughs.) Victoria: We have many friends, but sometimes on weekends you are so tired that you just want to stay at home – tidy up, unload your head, relax, go for a massage, sauna. Make a relaxation for your body and mind. Sometimes friends are offended that we rarely see each other.
Nikita: They are always offended in fact, they write messages that they hardly see us, we are always busy.
Victoria: Sometimes I even not have enough strength to write messages. I just want to lay down and turn off.
Vika, are you serious about housework on your only day off?
Victoria: Yes. More precisely, I can sometimes call Nikita and say that I’m all in business here – I’m washing, I’m cleaning … and at the same time I’m lying on the couch. (Laughs.) The machine does the laundry, the robot vacuum cleaner also copes without me. I don’t have a dishwasher. But the rest I do myself.
And Nikita – can he do housework himself or does he need help?
Nikita: I like it when it’s clean as possible in the house. Since I live in a rented apartment, it is not very big, I even sometimes like to clean everything myself. In this sense, I am a pedant: I need everything to be in its place, neatly, I praise myself very much when everything is so.
Related topics: Victoria Sinitsina Nikita Katsalapov
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