Interview with Anastasia Galustian

TAHbKA

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Ivan Adamenko's interview with Anastasia Galustian for news.ru

Q: Last time we spoke was during the Europeans in Minsk. Almost half a year passed since then. Which competitions have you participated and how did they go?
AG: After the Europeans I competed in Israel, where I became 3rd. It was quite a boost and I was able to show that all I do is not in vain. Then I competed at the University games, which were the best competition last season, quite surprisingly. We created a new programme in about a week. May be even less. Made a new dress that tore down a day before the SP.
It was a tough journey into my season best: 64.14 in the SP and 161.89 overall. The trouble is that it was not recognized by the ISU and it's not in it's database. Why? Because the University games are not an ISU competition. When I learned that I was quite upset. I showed my best ever result and it is not counted. It didn't change a thing for me - not even the current standing. After the two programmes we left Krasnoyarsk, so I didn't have a chance to see anything. Guess for me it was easier skating there: there was no feeling of a serious event, hence no pressure.

Q: Why have you decided to change the programme a week before the University games? What happened?
AG: We worked on the Spanish themed programme before the beginning of the season -in March/April. With the choreographer, it was quite a lot of work. But in Minsk it didn't quite work for me, the same happened in Tallinn. Then in another competition I was unable to skate it clean, I made severe mistakes at the Europeans. I was failing the same jump constantly. The music and the character were not suiting me at all, I was just unable to become a Spaniard! I was unable to show what we worked on in the practices. In Israel I was approached by the Armenian Federation and offered to change something in the programme. I know it was quite a risk: it was the end of February and we didn't have a costume, a programme not even any ideas before the University games. In the end we put Lara Fabian's music on and I just went off. I loved that piece but I was trying to get away from the lyrical programmes. So we tried the Spanish theme, but that didn't work.

Q: How hard is it to prepare a new programme within a week?
AG: I was working very hard spending a lot of hours a day on the ice. Showing my best result after such a week was the best outcome. I don't know how did it happen, I was shocked, my father - the coach even more so.

Q: The torn dress shows how much you were working?
AG: The dress was really well made. Guess indeed it tore because of working too much and not because of the extra weight. Perhaps it's a sign. I never skated in that dress. When you are so nervous and then in an addition you have to worry about the costume it's almost too much

Q: Was it a hard decision performing both programmes in the same dress in Krasnoyarsk? Showing two programmes and two characters wearing the same? I think it's something to do when there is no choice.
AG: That was it. Well, my hairstyle was different. It was not really convenient, especially as I was skating with the top skaters in the last group. In the last group you are supposed to be a top and you go out there wearing the same dress. It's not the worst thing that could happen in life, but still..

Q: How did the rivals take it? Were they making fun?
AG: I guess they have noticed because I came out in the practice wearing the same dress. Guess they understood my situation. The dress is not the biggest deal really. Yes, it's a bad taste skating two programmes in the same dress, but no one commented on that. I did have a different hair style and make up.

Q: The organizers said nothing?
AG: There were questions in the social networks. The organizers asked why did it happen as well. In the end they told me to be more careful next time.

Q: Was there a penalty? In the marks?
AG: No, but think they think worse of me now.

Q: Didn't you have a chance just to go shopping there?
AG: We were living in the University games village and we simply didn't have time. Some athletes even said we were not allowed to leave the village. So I had the sport wear, shorts, tights. Nothing that would work for the programme. I thought about borrowing a dress, but there aren't many tall skaters in Krasnoyarsk. It's something I took from the rhythmic gymnastics, where the girls often switch the tights. I guess I could had tried borrowing, but am not sure it would be a good thing.

Q: What were your emotions when you realized your personal best will not be counted by the ISU?
AG: It was a shame. It haven't even crossed my mind it would not be counted - the University games are such a big sports events, so I was disappointed. Even now it's sad recalling.

Q: What were you doing after Krasnoyarsk?
AG: Was getting ready for the worlds. There wasn't that much time left. We made a new costume. I realized from the beginning of the season the competition in Japan will be tough: a long flight, the jet lag, it's a lot of pressure.

Q: But your university games result was supposed to give you a boost.
AG: Indeed it did. The skate was not bad, but I got more than 10 points penalty for the underotations. Dad and I were sitting emotionless in the K&C. We understood it would be hard - after all it's the Worlds. It was a disappointment. I needed time to let go.

Q: for many skaters the season ends after the Worlds. What were you doing next?
AG: Dealing with the injuries. I fell badly at the Europeans and hurt my back. First they were saying I have a fracture in my spine. Sleeping and walking was hard. I had to take various vitamins and shots.

Q: I.e. ever since January your back bothered you?
AG: Yes, I was using the painkillers. I was skating with the tape at the University games. The back pain in Israel was excruciating. I would even wake up in the middle of the night. But it was really harder on my father, who had to see me suffering. Before the LP I could hardly get off the bed. I was diagnozed after the Worlds when I went to Botkin hospital. By then a lot of problems were behind me - the inflammation was gone. I was given a physio daily for a month.

Q: So you spent several months just diagnosing the problem.
AG: Yes, we did the MRT and the XRay, various tests. Perhaps if I was part of the team Armenia in the country it would be faster, but I was in Moscow and was dealing with my health myself. Now am completely recovered and landing all my triple jumps. I'll start working on the new programmes soon.

Q: When the Spanish programme didn't work out and you were injured - had you considered retiring?
AG: Duh. I also just love reading various skating forums at such times. People keep discussing Galustyan being a tall girl and why would she skate when no one supports her. I just love boosting myself with that. Then I regroup and go back to my favourite sport. I think if it wasn't for my will and sacrifice I could had stayed there on the ice in Minsk after the fall. Just lay on the ice. It was just one fall and half a year of suffering after. Ironically I skated clean after that fall.

Q: While in shock?
AG: Probably. The morning after the LP my neck and head were in pain, I was slightly nauseous. But I dismissed it - there was the closing ceremony and the after party, where you have to look your best no matter how you feel.

Q: What was your father telling you during the season? How did he overcome the ups and downs?
AG: Dad is very much in his shell, he is trying not to show the emotions, but he tells me of all my mistakes. In Krasnoyarsk when I was doing the 3/3 combo with the taped back and the painkillers I don't thin dad believed I could have a more or less clean skate and get a personal best. He was worried about me. He realized the injury was quite serious and every competition made it worse. We were hardly mending it during the season. He saw how badly I want to skate well and not miss the competitions and understood it all. I can sometimes dismiss him and do more than planned in the practice. We sometimes fight because of that, I sometimes answer when he makes a remark.

Q: But if you can get away from the coach home, you can't get away from your father...
AG: Am always asked that. Previously I would keep it quiet, now, however, we often tell each other stuff but then in the interviews we pretend all is good. We try to limit the figure skating talk at home, otherwise we'll go nuts. I love going through publics and forums and read the figure skating articles. There are a lot of talks about letting just the top 10 compete and the rest to be sent off to the shows.

Q: So in May you were resting, how did you spend your time? Did you have a sea vacation?
AG: I was studying. We didn't have enough money to have a near the sea vacation. There was also a family tragedy - we lost someone close. So we decided to skip the vacation this year.

Q: Seems a really tough season.
AG: Indeed. It was very hard for the family. Happened right after the Worlds were we were upset as it is. The lost of the beloved person made it even worse. I now start recovering from all that.

Q: Were you able to dwell in the studies?
AG: Am not a big fan of the studies, frankly. I can't keep it in one place. My schedule is full and on Tuesday and Saturdays I study till night. It's not a rest for me, so am not really recovered after the practices. I come back home and just `turn off'.

Q: How do the lecturers take your sports?
AG: I try not to talk about it. The classmates learned it, even though am not really in touch with that. Not long ago I was asked during the reexamination why didn't I come for the exam. I had to admit I participated the Worlds in Japan. They were quite surprised. Frankly, I get no discounts. Perhaps if I were studying to become a coach I would get it easier, but not here. But no, I attend my reexaminations and study hard. Unfortunately during the winter I have to skip the exams because of the competitions, hence I write the notes where I notify why I will be missing things and when.

Q: Do you have time for a personal life with such a schedule?
AG: I do have time, but it's hard to juggle it all. I don't have a strict schedule for the practices because I depend on the ice time and practice during the public skates. The studies add some stress. Usually by the end of the day am tired and annoyed. Especially if things don't work for me during the practices. After the ice time I can go to the lecture and just not speak to anyone and stare at the same point. I sometimes even forget to say hello. I really depend on figure skating. Even on my birthday I don't give it up and the end of the day was not so positive, even though it was supposed to be special. I didn't even celebrate- just had no mood. I do have my relatives' support, but I don't have much time to spend with them. Sometimes I get a chance to go out to have a coffee or something.

Q: Probably your parents make you go out themselves.
AG: No, quite the opposite, they are quite strict. Again, I can go out or for a run. Between the practices I don't really feel like communicating or looking my best - it's also important.

Q: You sound like quite a hard to be around person.
AG: Guess I am. Often my mood swings. You need time for the relationships. Many do that after retiring, once they have time.

Q: Well, take Liza Tuktamysheva- she balances the relationship and the good results on the ice.
AG: She trains in the same group with her boyfriend, they live together. I think it must be hard seeing the person 24 hours a day. I even have a hard time doing it with my parents: it seems they are too much in my life: on the ice and home. I love and respect them endlessly, but sometimes I just don't have a mood and then you get down on anyone who is around you. You realize that you are wrong, but it's just the tiredness talks.

Q: You have two months of the offseason ahead of you. What will you do?
AG: Since I am not working in the shows this year, decided to give it up - I will begin the season preparations earlier. I spent a month considering a show in the UK but decided to stay in Moscow. I will be polishing the programmes. I already have the SP, so will be working on the LP. I want to be in the top shape because the season is expected to be really hard - the competition in the ladies field is huge.

Q: Are you afraid working too much might cause the old injuries to come back?
AG: Everyone has some health troubles, we just don't put it on display. It's a professional athletes thing. I really want to participate the Olympics. I was the substitute in Korea and I just really want to feel the grand competition and show some decent result. It's the 2nd time for me. I was already out of the Worlds, being the sub. It was hard and painful.

Q: What is the goal after the Olympics? Will you continue or retire?
AG: A good question, but there are more than 2 years before the Olympics - anything can happen, life is unpredictable. When I first started representing Armenia I haven't even thought of the Olympics. After the 4 years cycle it seemed I will be able to make it. then I would have retired. If I participated the Games in Korea I would be done. My relatives knew it. But I haven't.

Q: Was the situation now similar to Korea?
AG: Now it not only depends on me, but the federation. Will they be interested in my skating, the finances, will my health allow me to skate. I love skating but I know how hard and demanding it is. Besides the figure skating becomes younger. It's cool and great, but in my times it was different, and there were no 14-15y.o who were competing with us. It was enough to land the clean 3 jumps, no more. Now even with a clean skate and a 3/3 combo you might find yourself on the bottom of the list. I made a mistake at the Worlds and underotated. And that's it, I saw those 38 names of the participants above me.

Q: Can you imagine being 30 and on the ice- like Kostner?
AG: It depends on the timing and the federation really. I would love to skate for as long as possible and be on the top.. I don't know what will happen now. You know what, no, I can't imagine myself competing at the age of 30. Especially taking how young the sport becomes. What's the point competing with the little girls? Killing myself? Besides, I'm a tall girl, so it's harder for me. A lot of girls retire now figuring that out. Many of them are my age.

Q: When people your age retire is it a sign to start thinking of the future?
AG: It's hard to watch, unfortunately. Of course I wasn't friends with many, but you see them in the competitions here and there. Polina Tsurskaya is gone, someone more. You come to a competition and only see the new faces. I can't tell I envy the girls who are shorter. But I have to work harder to be on a certain level.

Q: Do you feel old in figure skating? Especially as the girls your age retire?
AG: I do yes. Ashley Wagner herself said that she feels old in figure skating. She is just 28! But I don't really feel my age. I recall being 15 and competing at the seniors level. Of course there are a lot of talks about holding the girls for several years more in the juniors. But we decided differently. The guys, by the way, usually stay for longer in the juniors - after all they are allowed to compete there till the age of 20-21. I sometimes feel am the oldest, but I don't feel old. Yes, I would love to learn a 3A, to land some clean jumps, despite many telling it's too late and it might be too dangerous. Some tell me I should switch to ice dance, but then add that at the age of 20 am a bit old for that.
 

hanca

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I think someone needs to tell her that junior eligibility is till 19 and not 20 or 21. Only pair and dancer males can stay until 21, but they are not her competitors.
 

Tinami Amori

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Messages
17,341
Q: for many skaters the season ends after the Worlds. What were you doing next?
AG: Dealing with the injuries. I fell badly at the Europeans and hurt my back. First they were saying I have a fracture in my spine. Sleeping and walking was hard. I had to take various vitamins and shots.

Q: I.e. ever since January your back bothered you?
AG: Yes, I was using the painkillers. I was skating with the tape at the University games. The back pain in Israel was excruciating. I would even wake up in the middle of the night. But it was really harder on my father, who had to see me suffering. Before the LP I could hardly get off the bed. I was diagnozed after the Worlds when I went to Botkin hospital. By then a lot of problems were behind me - the inflammation was gone. I was given a physio daily for a month.

Q: Are you afraid working too much might cause the old injuries to come back?
AG: Everyone has some health troubles, we just don't put it on display. It's a professional athletes thing.
Coached by her own mother and father....... :rofl::rofl::rofl:
 

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