Samokhvalov's interview with Kurakova

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Anatoly Samokhvalov's interview with Ekaterina Kurakova for ria.ru

AS: There is a belief the Poles don't like the Russians.
EK: It's a lie! I was told that, but once I came to Poland while still representing Russia I felt the opposite. The taxi driver learned I was a Russian so he started recalling the language and was trying to talk to me. The older people in Poland had to learn Russian. A lot still remember it, even read the poetry. Now they all like the fact a Russian girl came there and learned polish language. I think the Poles disliking the Russian is a stereotype and a lie.

AS: So you learned Polish.
EK: Yes, I was quite in a linguistic shape during the summer. I would open the google translate and head to the Starbucks. After a while speaking became easy, I have no problems understanding and expressing myself. I gave interviews in Polish, even for the TV. I spent a lot of time in Poland this year because the Canadian visa issue took a while, it took almost 3 months.

AS: What do you like most there?
EK: I love Torun, the city where I live. It's a small European town with nice walks. I like people who surround me there. They are all nice and kind, support me and help me.

AS: Was there any negativity after you decided to represent a different country?
EK: There is hardly any hating. There is some, but I try not to pay attention. We all make our choices. As for negativity - I don't dwell into that, am a positive person. There is hate that I take seriously though.

AS: How come?
EK: Some will write a lot of bad things but they would point on a mistake. I will let all the hate go but I take the criticism seriously. Someone disliked I don't do many steps during the skate. I agree and it happens that Brian and I start fixing it. There is hate that motivates. Generally my instagram is full of various comments.

AS: Is the mood in Cricket club in Toronto positive?
EK: I think it is.

AS: Who creates it?
EK: We all do together. The coaches and the other athletes are all really nice. We all understand each other. We can approach the coach and not only talk about the skating, but about the life. If am worried about something I can share it with Brian. I never came to him with some depression, we mainly talk about the weather, but he once told me that his leg hurts. We than talked about the age...

AS: Are you a Russian for him?
EK: No. I represent Poland. But there is no `yo, Japanese!' or `Yo! Russian!'. Brian treats his skaters like his kids. He really cares.

AS: Who are you friends with
EK: I don't want to brag, but am sometimes a shoulder to cry on. Friends often come to me because I know how to find the kind words and hug. sometimes one would skate over and say `Katia, I'm so tired'. `Come on, pull it together! You're the best' I saw and off they go to land another 5 quads. But it's not about Hanyu. I talk to Yuzuru, but he is not a very open person. He is mainly focused in himself. We say hello, we have a small talk but we don't really get into deep conversations.

AS: Where do you like it better - in Canada or Poland?
EK: Don't know. Each has it's great sides. The Cricket club training process is highly professional. It's the best place to work. And the relationship with Brian is very warm. In Poland I have a wonderful technical specialist who helps me - Sylvia Nowak, I have many friends there and it's closer to Russia, so mom or grandmother come more often. In Canada I sometimes live alone.

AS: A lot of skaters live with their moms.
EK: I spend times alone. I call if I need an advice. I was never a troublesome child and mom and dad know that am very responsible. I am 17, but mentally I feel much older. Because of the citizenship change I had to live alone for quite a lot time since I was 15. These circumstances taught me to take care of myself. For 8 months I was waiting for the paperwork, and during that time I often trained alone. It was a tough time, many times I was completely alone. These hardships made me stronger. Now when am down I recall of those times and understand the small troubles now are nothing.

AS: Maksim Trankov said Canada is like Russia but the other way around. That we are the same, but they are nicer.
EK: I haven't really noticed that kind of difference. Canada for me are squirrels and chipmunks. There are raccoons and skunks near my place. In Moscow we only have stray cats and dogs. Here the squirrels are running around once a skunk approached me. I was shocked. I thought `well, wow'. I loved it.

AS: Many talented Russian skaters were done because of they didn't have the right nutrition skills. How about you?
EK: In that am grateful to my Russian coaches, who taught me how to keep my weight and count the calories. If I were only taught now how to eat right it would be hard. I was taught from the very young age and now there is no problem

AS: What is your favourite thing to eat and not gain weight.
EK: Am not much of an eater in general. I don't even have a favourite food. I don't enjoy eating except for chocolate. The cookies and cakes are not my thing. Chocolates are my weak point. But having a piece of chocolate before the training is a good thing - it gives you energy.

AS: Another Orser's skater - Medvedeva gone almost vegan, mainly for the sake of the shape.
EK: It wouldn't work for me. I don't like too many things. Say, the only meat I can eat is chicken and turkey. I don't like pork or cow meat or fish, I can't even smell the sea food. I get nauseous. If I tried chewing port or cow meat I would almost throw up.

AS: Well, that's convenient.
EK: For the sport.

AS: Are you in touch with Medvedeva?
EK: Yes. I think we are friends in a way. We are in really good terms and support each other.

AS: In Russia the crowd either loves or hates her.
EK: Every athlete has their supporters and haters. Any instagram includes comments that go both ways.

AS: Do you think Evgenia will achieve some kind of success that she'll be able to say `I did it'?
EK: She already can. She is a great athlete and her achievements are great. She is two times world/european/GPF champion and two times Olympic medalist. All the stuff that she won... She is so cool not only in her medals but as an athlete. The way she trains, her life approach -she is a personality. I look up to her.

AS: Is it possible to be competitive without the quad jumps? Not even now, but in a while from now?
EK: I think so. Because figure skating is not only the jumps, but the spins, the steps and the 2nd mark. It's important not to think of the quads only, but yes, if you have quads it's easier. But we all make mistakes and if you skate your programme clean, with the good tripples and the complicated combos, showing the character, you can get to the higher places.

AS: Do you feel coming to the Europeans you depend on those with the 3A or the quads?
EK: No, I never think of the placement. I went to my recent challenge - the `Warsaw cup' and didn't dare to win it because Brady Tennell was there. But I skated clean, and it worked

AS: Your 3lz3loop ia really nice.
EK: Thank you. Yes, it improved and became more consistent. If I land it well it costs almost as much as a quad. I also do a 3lz-eurler-3f

AS What are your goals?
EK: The highest ones. I will fight till the end and reach my goals and my dreams.

AS: What is the dream.
EK: It's my own. I don't want to share it, but it's both about the sports and about life.

AS: Usually it's about the Olympics.
EK: Not only in my case.

AS: When Trusova was little she was saying she wants to win the Olympics.
EK: We all do. But my stress is not on winning something, but showing what I can do. And prove am a good athlete. I will prove it.

AS: I heard if an athlete from Estonia ends in top 8 all are happy. What are the expectations from you in Poland?
EK: There is no pressure and I never heard anyone saying `you must!'

AS: When you were offered to represent Poland what were you told?
EK: It all started with the ex president of PFSF seeing me in the home championship, and liking me. We took each other's numbers and when representing another country question arose we picked Poland. When I came there I was greeted with `You're back!'. They were happy to see me as a Pole.

AS: Who is the Russian skater you like the most?
EK: Quite a question.

AS: Why? A lot of skaters say `I like Carolina Kostner'
EK: I like Carolina Kostner. Think almost all Russian skaters have something I can learn from. I try to take something form them. But I never try to copycat. Sasha Trusova has her incredible jumps and when you look at her you see how she motivates herself and tries to land those quads.

AS: When Zhulin saw Trusova landing the 4lz for the first time he admitted `I thought it was a 3lz, it was so easily executed'. What did you feel when you first saw Trusova land a 4lz?
EK: When she did I was landing my 4s in Russia, just that it didn't matter. I didn't take it as a shock content, I was working myself and made some not bad attempts.

AS: Where is your 4sal now?
EK: Am still working on it, but it's not consistent. We changed the technique a little bit.

AS: It will be harder to land it when you are older.
EK: I think I'm so tiny that there will be no problem. With years it will be harder to make myself work on the quad. But I never thought `here I am, 17, and am old'. It's a new thing that you can retire at the age of 17. I don't think I should. For me the said Kostner is much more of a role model, because she competed at the age of 31. 3!!!!1!!!!. It's something to look up to. I want to have a long career and it's one of the reason I changed my citizenship. I want to be remembered in figure skating.
 

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