Adelina Sotnikova interview: "I'm strong and I'll show yet what I'm capable of"
15-year-old Adelina Sotnikova won the bronze medal at the World Junior Figure Skating Championships in Minsk. After the championships, she told R-Sport agency correspondent Andrey Simonenko about the difficulties of the current season, impressions of the Youth Olympic Games in Innsbruck, and shared her opinion on the penalty shots saving technique in hockey.
- Adelina, congratulations on the bronze medal, although I think you as an ambitious skater had hoped for more at this Junior World Championship. What impression did your performance in Minsk leave you with?
- I am happy with the way I skated my free program. I think I overcame myself, and although I missed the loop, almost all the other elements were okay. I'm glad that was able to get myself under control, went for the difficult elements and made them. I'm glad that I was able to risk and to perform my task. There was also a problem that the competition ended in the evening, and to perform so late in the evening sometimes is difficult for me. But I coped with that. So overall impression is positive.
- You came to Minsk as a reigning world champion. Was it a principal goal for you to defend your title?
- No, I was more worried about my skating. Frankly, I didn't think about the title. The whole year in general was, one might say, strange. And at these competitions, my goal was to prove that I still can skate well.
- What was strange, by the way? Wasn't it that you felt that you could skate well, but it just wasn't coming through?
- Maybe that's what it was. I know 100 percent that I can do the elements that I couldn't get done in the season's performances, I can do them so well. But in competition there is just some block - and I cannot do anything with myself. So here, in Minsk, I've proven mostly to myself - here they are, I have these combinations. (Triple) Lutz — (triple) loop, double Axel — (triple) toe loop... And that I am strong and I will yet show everyone what I'm capable of.
- After the Youth Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck and before the Junior World Championships you did not skate in competitions for nearly one month and a half. How did the time go? Have you been working all the time or have you managed to have some rest after the difficult first part of the season?
- Let me remember ... After the free program at the Olympics, three or four days, before the Games closed, I rested, did not skate at all. So that was all my vacation. We're were just ... well, I would say, we were just walking around doing nothing (laughs). It was funny because there were a lot of good, funny moments. Then I came to Moscow and the next day I was at the evening practice. So I slowly began to work.
- What is the general impression left by the Olympics? Again, I have no doubt that in terms of sports you feel dissatisfied - after all, it wasn't a gold medal...
- Well, the more to strive for. I don't worry, I hope everything will work out in the future. One learns from mistakes, and in this regard, I have everything to come yet. But there is a lot of impressions of the Olympic games themselves. We lived in a Russian house, four floors to the whole team — there were so many people on the team. All residential floors were divided into apartments. In each there were three rooms and a large hall. In the room there was a bed, bedside table, wardrobe - and nothing else. Well, bathroom, of course, but no TV, nothing. We came thinking: what a luxurious suite we're going to have. And when we arrived, we entered into the room, we saw it all - and thought, what the... (laughs) Everyone was shocked. But then, of course, we understood that it was great that there was no TV or anything else. Because everyone started talking to each other, and it was cool. We met people from other sports, have found new friends. And this kind of communication is certainly a lot better than sitting and watching TV. There was a wi-fi zone, sometimes we went there to talk with our parents. And in other times we were just chatting with each other.
- I'll try to guess - you were probably more interested in watching hockey than anyhing else?
- You're right (laughs). In fact, I wanted to see a lot of things, but we went only to hockey games, just because there were two rinks next to each other - one for figure skating and one for hockey. And we knew what bus to take, where to go, everything was close. So we went , cheering for our team, of course. And we've missed all the other sports, unfortunately. Although we wanted very much to go up to the mountains and watch. But it didn't happen. We were upset, of course - came to Innsbruck, and haven't seen the mountains. But we've had good time cheering for the hockey players.
- Hockey players are funny guys?
- Yes, very funny — very nice and kind guys. We've made friends with many of them, and now we talk through the Internet. We rooted for them so much that I even wanted to go on the ice and score a goal myself (laughs).
- You with your level of skating probably could teach them a trick or two...
- Oh, the last game with Finns was so emotional... Our team was leading 1-0 and then in the last period, a minute left to play, the Finns leveled the score. We were going to celebrate the victory already, and then such a shock. We were all upset, of course, but it was not over yet — the shootout started. A Finn was the first to score. We were all flustered, started screaming at the goalkeeper - why did you come out of the gate? Of course, you get a puck if you leave the gates empty! Our player went to shoot. Finn stands still, not leaving the gates. Of course, he did not score, the Finnish goalkeeper was huge, with his stick, shields completely blocked the gates! Our player couldn't get around him. We were thinking - okay, maybe our goalkeeper now wouldn't get out of the gates at least. And he's out of the gates again! What is this! Well, in the end, we lost, we were all upset, but we developed our own technique of saving the shots. And we told the hockey players about it...
- And they probably answered: mind your loops?
- Well, almost (laughs).
- Back to figure skating, did you have a feeling at the beginning of the season that it was going to be so difficult?
- I did, to be honest ... I started to skate senior, and the unsuccessful Grand Prix in China has knocked me down. I do not know why it happened. I tried to calm myself - do not despair, you must work, and everything will be okay. Skating at senior competitions, of course, is a completely different experience. Now, at the World Championships, I wasn't nervous at all - it's a junior competition, everything here is familiar to me.
- Adelina, whenever I ask, you're never nervous. Maybe it's wrong? How do you skate without adrenaline!
- Well, adrenaline must be, of course. I'll try to explain ... In China, I was just afraid. I was really nervous. Here (points), in my soul, I was very uneasy. In Moscow, at my second Grand Prix, I was calm. But I made mistakes again. Probably because I went on the ice with a hot head instead of cold. Then I had a competition in Zagreb. It was like skating in practice to me. I haven't had much competiton there. But, nevertheless, I went to skate as if in practice — and failed the short program. Then I realized that perhaps, I need to be at least a little excited rather than skating calm. I was skating like a tank, really, and then... Well. Then there were the Russian Nationals in Saransk.
- You won there...
- Yes. But, despite winning, I was not completely staisfied with my skating at the Russian Nationals - because I didn't skate well in the free. Then there were the Olympics, and now Minsk... In general, I didn't felt anywhere as bad as at the Grand Prix in China. But why I still wasn't able to make it work, I do not yet understand. I will analyze myself, and I'm sure that this season's experience will help me in the future.