Vladimir Litvintsev: “As for athletes I look up to, first of all, Patrick Chan. And the second is Nathan Chen. At the moment he is the best for me!”
Interview with Vladimir Litvintsev. About upcoming Olympics and his idols in figure skating.
source: moscow-baku.ru dd. 19th January 2021 by Anna Nemolyakina
20-year-old figure skater Vladimir Litvintsev will be the flag bearer for the Azerbaijan national team at the 2022 Olympic Games ceremony in Beijing. In addition, Litvintsev will be one of two athletes representing Azerbaijan in Beijing. On the eve of important competitions, the Moscow-Baku correspondent talked with Vladimir and found out how he got into the national team, his forecasts for the Olympics and fans from the “Land of Fire”.
You will become the flag bearer of Azerbaijan at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony, are you nervous?
Vladimir Litvintsev: I found it out quite recently and, honestly, it was a surprise to me. I cannot but note that I was very pleased, moreover, it is a great honor for me. It’s very honorable for any athlete to carry the flag of his country.
At the recent European Championships, you took eighth place. Are you satisfied with the performances and the result?
Vladimir Litvintsev: At the moment, 8th place at the European Championships is the maximum, because there is an injury. I had a goal – to enter the top ten, I coped with this task. In addition, there was a difficult period associated with some health problems before the championships. Unfortunately, the injury still bothers me, but at the moment I can train productively, preparing for the competitions in Beijing.
Less than a month is left before the Olympics. How do you approach these competitions?
Vladimir Litvintsev: Schedule, as it should be, is Olympic. (Smiling.) I spend most of my time training and skating. My day starts early. At 8 am I already do physical therapy, I do special exercises that help to cope with injuries. I need to strengthen the muscular core. Then I train in the gym, then a little rest, and then I do jumps, first in the gym, then I go on the ice. And everything repeats after a short break. I aslo work on choreography. Now my days are practically the same. I devote all my time to training.
Who are your main rivals, athletes from which countries?
Vladimir Litvintsev: All the skaters who competed at the last European Championships in Tallinn are strong athletes. These are not only Russian figure skaters, but also athletes from Italy and Latvia. In my opinion, all those who entered the top 10 are strong contenders. However, even if I cleanly skate my entire program, I won’t be able to get ahead, for example, the Russians, I lose in the technical part, as I said, it’s all because of injury.
Do you communicate with competitors off the ice?
Vladimir Litvintsev: Yes, of course, we support each other. All the guys are my friends, the spirit of competition is present, but we are all friends.
Do you have a favorite athlete you look up to?
Vladimir Litvintsev: I have my favorites. First of all, the Canadian single skater, Olympic champion Patrick Chan. And the second is an American athlete – Nathan Chen. He competes at the Beijing Olympics, we will compete with him. (Smiling.) At the moment he is the best for me! Maybe we’ll compete with Nathan, not necessarily in Beijing, maybe in the future. I look forward to another Olympics!
In 2018, you started skating for Azerbaijan. Who suggested skating for the “Land of Fire”?
Vladimir Litvintsev: I did not immediately accept the offer. Fuad Guliyev, at that time vice-president of the Azerbaijan Winter Sports Federation, came to Moscow, they looked at me, then negotiations were held. It took about 2 months for all the “technical” moments, and only after that I accepted the proposal of the Azerbaijani side. By the way, I remember the first time I visited Azerbaijan. Of course, the trip was of a business nature, related to paperwork and so on, but despite this, I remembered some moments that surprised me very much. In Baku, I was amazed by the cleanliness of the streets, good roads and climate. I would not refuse to spend more time in Azerbaijan.
Is it more responsible to skate for Azerbaijan?
Vladimir Litvintsev: I would say that it is responsible to represent any country. I do not divide countries, and I try not to think about it, it prevents me from concentrating on the result. But any athlete wants to show a good result for the country he represents.
Do you feel support from Azerbaijan fans of figure skating?
Vladimir Litvintsev: Fans from Azerbaijan regularly write to me on social networks with wishes a good skate! Basically, people write very nice words, wishing victory. I appreciate such support and attention from figure skating fans.
Good luck at the Olympics!
Vladimir Litvintsev: Thanks! I will do my best!
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