One pair of skates a season is not enough-Vaitsekhovskaya's interview with Sotnikova The world junior champion career started weirdly: before she was eligible to skate juniors she was already 3 times Russian champion leaving all the senior skaters behind. Moscow GP even is especially important: it will decide whether she is to participate the Grand Prix Final for the first time in her life. She debuted in the GP last year. Then she was unable to make it to the top 6 remaining the first substitute. The interview took place right after the Skate America, where Sotnikova became 3rd. EV: Last year many said you grew so much and partially lost the control over your body... AS: Actually I didn't even realize how much taller I became - just didn't measure. I felt I was taller, but it didn't bother me in the practices. EV: Not at all? AS: No. Even if I gain 2kg it will be visible, but I won't feel it during the jump. I don't know why. EV: I witnessed many times how much fun you have skating at the practices. Yet during the competition the fist thing visible is the huge responsibility and concentration, while the fun is kept behind. What crosses your mind in such moments? AS: I tell myself I should do all I can. To show the judges I can skate well. EV: Are you terribly upset when something goes wrong? AS: Well.. yes. After the SP I'm trying not to think of anything since there is still the LP to skate, but if something goes wrong in the LP it's a shame. I know I can land all my jumps and combinations through the sleep. EV: Do you like the hard jumps? AS: Yes. I started learning them quite early, tried my first flip-loop at the age of 12. Landed it in a Russian Cup. EV: I.e. your first 3/3 combination was flip-loop rather than toeloop-toeloop? AS: I don't really remember. I think I tried the toeloop/toeloop as well. Probably when I was 11 or so in the nationals. Liza Tuktamysheva and I both jumped it. But your question was about the hard jumps EV: Your rivalry with Tuktamysheva was quite important from the beginning. Some even saw the Pluschenko/Yagudin parallels. Is Liza a special competitor for you? AS: All the girls in Russia are quite good now. Even the juniors. They all can land complicated combinations and all skate well. So you can't really think of one competitor only and not mind the others. I never write anyone off. EV: But it was Liza who was named the main olympic hope. Did you mind? AS: A bit. I don't like such PR in general. Sometimes you'r better avoid the internet: all the stars and hopes... I like it when it's calm. EV: Do you remember when you joined TSKA club? AS: I remember coming to Buyanova's group for the first time. I skated in Goncharenko's group in TSKA at first.. In Birulevo I went to the same kindergarten with her son. Inna Germanovna (Goncharenko) knew I was skating and told my parents they should take me to TSKA to show to better coaches. I was quite unhappy about it at first. EV: Why? AS: I didn't know what the real sports was. In Birulevo we were just playing. We would do small shows, would compete in groups. It was fun, there were many friends and the thought that all that would be gone was upsetting. EV: How did things develop? AS: When Elena Germanonva (Vodorezova) agreed to take a look she asked whether I can jump a 2A. I never landed this jump in Birulevo really. But suddenly I landed. Underotated, on two feet, but I landed. Then I jumped a 3S and somehow landed it as well. Everyone were shocked, but not as much as I was. After that I skated for another year or so in Goncharenko's group, Vodorezova wanted me to become a bit better. Then all the girls were moved to another group and I remained - with the boys. EV: Did you feel a difference? AS: Sure. All the boys were older than me and skated much more powerfully. It was scary sharing the ice with them - some would skate in their full speed near me and I had a feeling they'll kill me. Once Andrey Griazev crashed into me. I tried not to go much away from the borders - was afraid. But then I got used. EV: If I recall correctly that's the time when Mao Asada was training in TSKA? AS: I remember that time really well. The World Championship took place in Moscow. Irina Slutskaya took part there as well and Mao for some reason was preparing in TSKA. I remember her changing in our changing room and me with some other girls gained the courage to approach and ask for an authograph. When we gathered there and opened the door we saw Mao looking at us bewildered - there were so many of us and we all wanted something from her. When she was practicing we all came to watch. We were watching her warming up, jumping, how Tarasova was working with her. It was such a pleasure. EV: What did you feel some years later when you trained on the same ice with Asada? AS: That was great as well. I wanted to repeat what she was doing all the time. EV: I remember being surprised when Mao said she needs to break 2 pairs of boots each season. One is not enough because of the amount of jumps she is doing. AS: It's not enough for me either. I'm breaking now the 2nd pair. I'm just afraid I might not finish the season on one pair. When you land complicated jumps a certain part of the boot gets most of the pressure. With the time the boot breaks and doesn't hold the foot anymore. I know some start jumping the day they change the boots. I can't. My feet hurt from the boot I'm not used to. And if you get blisters you cant skate at all. I never had one, but I use special stickers when I first start breaking the boots. EV:I'm trying to understand what motivated you, a child, to come for the whole day from Birulevo to TSKA and practically live on the ice. AS: I just really love skating. I liked the group, liked the coach. I didn't even think about the distance from home to the rink. I just went, and that was it. When we lived in Birulevo my mom took me to the practices, more seldom it was dad in his car when he was free. EV: But now you live near the rink? AS: Just my mom and I . Father stayed in Birulevo with the sister and the cat, but he visits us often. The cat would tear everything, so we can't take her to the work flat. We'd have to pay for the ruined furniture and we don't have such money. EV: Figure skating is an expensive sport. Did you ever think of the sacrifices your parents made? AS: Of course. It was always expensive- the skates, the costumes. Father made enough so I could train and have normal cloths. But I realize that they had to save money for some things. I think they sacrificed quite a lot. I'd love to thank them for all they have done for me and keep doing. My parents always supported me, and so did my sister. EV: Would you ever prefer them to buy you a toy rather than skates or costume? AS: I got enough toys. After the competitions. I remember wanting to skate better. I know I'd get a present. It was a game. EV: Do you like watching yourself skating on the TV? AS: No, but I always do. EV: Why don't you like it? AS: I don't know. Guess because I always look for mistakes and there are always mistakes. EV: Do you care what do you wear when skating? AS: Not particularly. But I like overalls less. I think they don't suit me. Though in real life I rarely wear dresses. Guess I have to pick things that would make me look thinner. EV: You? Thinner? Or like all the girls you look in the mirror and think you must loose some weight? AS: Well.. sometimes. I realize there is no weight to loose but there are too many muscles. I'm not really thin anyway.