Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov: “We can say that the season has just begun for us”
Interview with Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov. The guys told how this season developed for them, explained why they decided to return to the old free dance and commented on whether the unusual conditions of the World Championships would affect the skaters’ performances.
source: fsrussia.ru dd. 19th March by Olga Ermolina
This season, due to injuries and illnesses, you did not have many competitions, nevertheless, you managed to qualify for the upcoming World Championships. Surely, you had to “turn on” everything – experience, motivation, everything that is possible …
Nikita Katsalapov: That’s right. This season has been tough for us. We had fear that we were losing a lot of time, but we could not do anything about it, except to heal the injuries that came out, all the diseases … But this is life. This did not happen on purpose and, fortunately, now everything is back to normal.
Victoria Sinitsina: At the very beginning of the season I had a problem with my knee, and I could not combine preparation for the competitions and treatment. It was useless. But I pull myself together and performed at the first competitions, but I was able to skate only a rhythm dance, because the pain was strong, I could not stand it, although I am a very patient person.
After those competitions, I took up treatment, every day I went to exercise therapy, procedures, trained my knee muscles, and finished doing it just a couple of weeks ago. Everything is fine now. Good that I took it right and calmly.
All this time Nikita and I continued to train, but I didn’t train at full strength, with the usual load. And during this period Nikita helped me a lot, he supported me: “Vika, everything is fine, come on, come on, do it slowly.”
And when things seemed to get better, suddenly you got covid. You even was taken to the hospital. Was it all that serious?
Victoria Sinitsina: I got very sick. It was very bad. High temperature, with all the consequences. At first I thought it would pass, I’ll lie in bed at home and will get well. But when I realized that everything was much more serious, I called Nikita, Alexander Vyacheslavovich (Zhulin – ed.). They immediately said: “Call an ambulance,” because my hands were already shaking, I was shaking so … It was very scary: alone at home, I understood that I was losing control. God forbid, and no one will help.
For the first time in my life I got to the hospital. I spent six days there. Then I spent two weeks at home, recovering.
Was it hard to get back on the ice after an illness? Skaters who had covid said that in the first trainings it was difficult even to glide, not to mention trying elements; there was a fear that you couldn’t do anything.
Victoria Sinitsina: I was not afraid of that. But I had strong dizziness when I was spinning. My head began to spin, my legs were trembling a little. But after 2-3 weeks it passed.
At the beginning of the season, you showed a new, in some ways innovative for you, free program to the music of Michael Jackson. But you had little competitions, so it was logical to bring back the old, well prepared program in order to minimize the risks at the World Championships. Am I thinking right?
Nikita Katsalapov: Because of the covid, we had a rather long break. A week in the hospital, before the hospital Vika was ill for a long time and then another 21 days of “quarantine – recovery” – it is a lot. We did not have time to prepare, although everyone expected from us: whether we can or we cannot, whether we prepare or not. But we we realistic about the situation and understood that it was absolutely impossible to go on the ice. With this new virus there is a lot of incomprehensible and some complications, consequences can arise at any moment. When you are choking, you don’t feel your body, you don’t understand what will happen next, this greatly complicates the preparation. So it was clear that with such a state we would not be able to prepare the new program in the remaining time the way it should be.
Yes, we showed it in the first half of the season, but it was still very rough. And in the end, we realized: we need to return to the previous free program, this will be the only right decision. We talked with the “chief”, and Alexander Zhulin also believed that our “Dvorak” is a complete piece, and in comparison with the new program it is much more advantageous. The conversation was very short. We immediately agreed, because the coach’s arguments were serious and undeniable. And on the same day, we started to recall and prepare the old program. Strategically, it was the right decision.
Did it take long to restore the old program?
Nikita Katsalapov: As Tatiana Anatolievna Tarasova says: for the program to shine, you need to skate kilometers in training. Of course, over the past season, we studied our free program to the smallest detail. We understood where it was harder, where we could breathe, that is, the program was “calculated”. And it only remained to give it the desired look, and it was difficult, but it is always difficult to work hard. At the same time, it was pleasant to work on it again.
How do you assess your readiness for the World Championships?
Nikita Katsalapov: We were gradually gaining shape, doing all this under the medical supervision. We prepared well enough for the Russian Cup Final, although not without problems. We rested for a couple of days after the Final, then we got back on the ice and all week we trained hard. Firstly, we were not tired during the Final. Because we can say that the season has just begun for us. Secondly, we felt good. We began to work with the load, and everything went well. We went to St. Petersburg to take part in Alexei Nikolaevich Mishin’s show and then trained hard at home.
Have you heard that some people are against the World Championships to be held, they say it is dangerous, and the athletes are forced to go there. What do you think?
Nikita Katsalapov: On the one hand, the fears are understandable. On the other hand, if there is such an opportunity to compete at the World Championships, and many guys have already undergone covid, and there will be strict quarantine measures on the arena in Stockholm, why be afraid? Vika and I love performing very much. Yes, I understand that in this situation it’s not even about the love of competition. But I think, since they give permission and we qualified there, then we will go with pleasure and will work as if nothing had happened. The main thing is to follow all the rules.
Will it be difficult to perform without the audience?
Nikita Katsalapov: No idea. No one has ever competed at Worlds without the audience. Hard to tell. But the most important thing for us is to be physically ready. After all, we’ve faced different conditions at competitions besides pandemic. Remember the schedule for the World Championships in Saitama? When you had to get up at 4 am, go to practice and stay at the rink all day … Different conditions. But when you are ready, you are ready for anything. Moreover, this is the World Championship. More responsible competitions. You can’t stop thinking about it.
I don’t know how the absence of spectators will affect. After the performance they always ask you “How was the audience?” And I always say “The audience helps” but now … But I don’t want to bother with it. Be that as it may. Of course, it would have been easier to skate with the audience.
Related topics: Victoria Sinitsina Nikita Katsalapov
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