Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Savchenko


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Elena Vaytsekhovskaya's itnerview with Aljona Savchenko for (please click the original link for the paper's counter)

EV: The more I think of your amazing victory the harder it is to get rid of a thought: if it wasn’t for Bruno's mistake in the SP you wouldn't have skated so brilliantly in the LP.
AS: I think you are right. All that happens is for the best. If that happened - it was meant to be. I know it's easy now to talk, but after the SP I wasn't even particularly upset.

EV: am not sure I believe you.
AS: Even my husband Liam didn't when we met after the skate. He first started talking cautiously to me and then stopped in the middle of the phrase and asked `Why are you so happy?'. But I really wasn't upset - I just wanted that day to be over and be back on the ice. Of course if you want to get into the details it was a shame Bruno made that mistake - the jump was quite good.

EV: After the skate it seemed Bruno was ready to lye under the Zamboni and stay there. Under the ice.
AS: Of course he was shocked. He knew how hard we worked and... he was able to say on the ice `I doubled'

EV: And you?
AS: I said `so what. Double so double'. When we got back home we gathered the whole team and calmed Bruno as much as we could. We were saying `it's in the past. Today is done, forget it. Tomorrow is a new day and you have to jump like a tiger'. I think he indeed was calmer and got into the right state for the skate.

EV: I saw your content list for the LP with the quad throw, quad split twist. Why did you need lie?
AS: We didn't. We gave the planned content list right after the GPF in the middle of December. Back then we indeed planned integrating those elements into our programme. You have to dream of impossible, right?

EV: Are you saying you tried a quad throw jump on the ice?
AS: We started learning it a while ago, but it messed us up all the time. Either Bruno would get a back pain or my leg would hurt. After the GP I thought if we have 2 months till the Olympics why not try integrating all these elements. So we wrote the planned content as we dreamed. And then simply forgot about changing it.

EV: Why did you give up the throw 3A?
AS: When we were skating in a show I had a fall from a 2A and hurt my leg. After that we didn't do any throw jumps for a while and then tried a throw 3F, but it didn't work for me at all. We decided it's a sign to keep learning the throw 3A. And we started - with a jumping harness. I hate using it, hate the extra security. When we first started working with Alexander Koenig he spent 3 years convincing me to jump with the harness. I was against till the last moment. It's too uncomfortable- even if the coach doesn't hold me during a jump I feel as if he was and it's not my jump. But I agreed working with the harness this time understanding should I have a bad fall we'll miss a week or more of a work,
When a week before the Olympics we came to Korea I was down with a cold. Hence integrating a not quite ready element into the programme was out of question - we used what we had. The 3A - we tried it in the practices a couple of times and it didn't work. We couldn't find the right rhythm at all.

EV: I.e. it was not part of the Olympic strategy - to make the programme easier in the final?
AS: Us?! Make a programme easier?! We are not among those who look for an easier way.

EV: I know it's not something you'd do, but it's a version that was voiced. Though am quite certain when the skater tries to change the programme to an easier version everything starts falling apart.
AS: It's a fact. I recall Bruno and I came to the test skates at the beginning of the season and were ready to show the progarmmes with all the elements. But the coach said it's not needed - do just the double jumps and throws. Everything went wrong - we couldn't even land the doubles.

EV: Why did you participate the team event, taking Germany had no chance making it to the final?
AS: We wanted to try the ice and feel the atmosphere - after all Bruno had never participated the Olympics before. I, on the other hand, never participated a team event. Besides, the team interest - the 8th place gives some points. It was an interesting new experience. Though I would have the team event after the personal.

EV: Your pre-Olympic interviews drew a perfect picture: you got a great partner, a great coach, everyone understands each other, things work great. But surely during those 4 years that you and Bruno have been skating there were moments when all went wrong and nothing worked?
AS: There were such moments. We were working on the quad split twist and it didn't work. There were moments when we fou... well not really fought, but we had differences, let's put it that way. I knew how it should be done, but Bruno as a man wanted to show that he is - a man. Koenig would get us back every time. I think if it wasn't for him our pair would dissolve after a month.

EV: A woman working with a man and leading always risks to find herself in a tough situation.
AS: That was the problem. It took Bruno a while to figure the woman might be right. That she can say something and it will be the right thing to do. We had many differences because of that.

EV: There is always a triangular in the pair teams: if the coach takes the side of one of the partners they will always convince the third. Or make him comply.
AS: It was completely different in our case. Alexandr Koenig is a psychologist. His profession is to gather the couples, prevent divorces. Hence he was between us all the time, understanding we must stick together. If we were drifting apart he would get us back. I think he did a great job.

EV: Did you ever regret not retiring after Sochi during these 4 years?
AS: No. Of course there were tough times when I was thinking why does it have to be so hard for me? But I never wanted to stop. Guess it's the way am used to live: if I started doing something I have to complete it. No matter how it will end. Though I always believed it will end well.

EV: It must be so hard - aiming for your goal for so long, stumble so many times when you are almost there and keep walking despite.
AS: When I was born my mom was sharing a room with a fortune teller. She told my mom `your child will be great'. I don't know whether mom believed in that herself, but she always told me `if you have a goal - reach it. No matter how hard'. I always felt that support from my parents. Hence I never gave up.

EV: Do you keep replaying the Olympic LP and the whole day in your mind?
AS: When we got the 1st starting number we were thrilled. It was the perfect starting number for us. We were so eager to be on the ice, we couldn't wait. In the morning when I woke up I had that strange feeling. You know how you sometimes wake up and understand today you'll skate clean. Of course you still have to concentrate on the elements, but that confidence is huge. I picked a phone and send a friend a message `we'll write history today'.

EV: The morning practice went fine or you didn't attend one?
AS: The practice was fine. But then the practice before the SP was fine as well, so I don't really rely on that. I never try to show all I can in the practice. Because it's not important.
When we went on the ice I realized I try to enjoy every moment on the ice. I made myself think of the skate - it's just 4 minutes and there are so many elements and they all must be clean. And yet I was looking at the audience, the rings and understood: that journey is over.

EV: But you couldn't know you had won
AS: Of course not, hence I couldn't bring myself to be too happy when the marks showed. I recall Bruno screaming and I didn't even know how to react. Yes, great marks. But there are still 3 teams to skate and they are great as well, they might have a clean skate and an even higher marks. I.e. we didn't have anything left to do but sit there, see the others skating and hope for the best. We did all we could.

EV: In the press conference Bruno said you are going to the Worlds. Was that an emotional response or indeed you plan going to Milano?
AS: We decided a while ago we'll skip the Europeans but will do the worlds.

EV: It seems like a favour to your partner who, unlike you, had never won the Worlds.
AS: It's not that. I simply love skating. When I was rewatching our Olympic skate I thought how we can improve our programmes.

EV: You are not afraid losing?
AS: I don't even think about it. Never did.

EV: What will happen the next season?
AS: I don't know. I'd keep competing.

EV: With the same partner, I hope
AS: Yes. That is unquestionable.

EV: How smoothly does your personal life combines with your career?
AS: Liam, when we got married, left his job. Previously he used to work with his father in the ski centre in Oberstdorf - he was teaching the solders to ski. When we met he first asked whether I ski.
I said sure, I do. He took me up to the mountain and there it hit me - I do ski, cross country, but not here! I had to recall at once all I have ever seen on the TV on how people do downhill. It was scary at a time, but I made it down.
It was Bruno the first to tell me Liam liked me. I would have never figured it myself - I was too busy with the practices. But I started paying attention then.

EV: Does your husband mind living your professional life 24 horus a day?
AS: He says he loves being near and helping me. If Liam kept working we wouldn't have a chance to see each other. We are together and we are happy.

EV: Does he do all the house work?
AS: I clean and do the laundry. Well.. laundry. Put stuff into the washing machine. But I always clean myself because the men can't do it right. At least it's not right for me. But Liam cooks and he does it great. When we first moved in together my eating habits, let's say, changed. Previously I only ate chocolate. I didn't like anything else.

EV: How can you skate on chocolate only?
AS: Don't know, worked for me. But Liam convinced me I have to eat healthy. I got quite used to it now.

EV: Do you have any plans with your husband for the future?
AS: Of course. We really want to have kids. Two. Preferably at once. Twins. Girls.

EV: Why girls?
AS: I spent my whole life with the men around. Brothers, partners, coaches- all men. I never had a sister or a girlfriend I could play with. I was trying to turn my little brother into such a girl, but it didn't work,

EV: Where will your home be?
AS: We haven't thought of it yet. The life was all about the Olympics. It's such a distant plans that will slowly start happening now.

EV: Where do you keep your medals.
AS: In a box. Once I have a home there will be a place for the medals. Am not giving them away. I think the medals are very personal. I can give away the costume or the skates. But the medal is special.

EV: If you had to move into a deserted island and could only take 3 medals with you - would you take the Olympic ones?
AS: No, the bronze medals I wouldn't carry. Only the current one would go. The rest I'd turn into one and that piece of metal would keep it all - the memories, the hard work, the pain and the happiness.

EV: If you had a chance to meet your destiny, what would you ask her?
AS: Why, you idiot, are so hard on me. On one hand I have my story, for which am grateful. Because it made me stronger. People who didn't believe in me gave me more power. It was thanks to them I wanted to prove they are wrong.

EV: I always thought you are quite a piece of work and can't really expect the others to like you. And yet, when you won the Games you made the whole world happy. You made even men cry. It was quite a surprise.
AS: Am not an easy person to deal with on the ice. But that's the way it should be. Yes, life made me hard. But think I'm hard on myself, not on the others. The soft people shouldn't be in the sports. I know many think am not talkative, perhaps even mean, but it's not true. But yes, am mean on the ice.

EV: What is left in figure skating you haven't done yet and would like to?
AS: All that was written in that planned content. I would love to skate our Olympic programme with the quad throw, quad throws. I'll calm down then. Though the coach already told Bruno and I the most important thing in the sport is to stop at the right moment.

EV: Do you feel your age? That you are much older than anyone skating with you or your partner?
AS: Not at all. Take the Olympic village- there are girls who are 17 or 20. And we are equal. The most important is the inner feeling, how old you feel. Besides, many things I do on the ice now I couldn't do when I was 18.

EV: Did you ever cry after losing?
AS: Of course. Why doesn't cry?

EV: Many, I think, think you never cry.
AS: Well, am catching up now. I've been crying for 3 days and I can't stop. I don't even bother with the make up - it's useless. Every message, every entry to facebook or messenger end with tears. I cry when I see Bruno and my skate. I rewatched it 25 times if not more.

EV: Don't you feel empty inside? You were going to that goal for so many years and it seems there is nowhere to go on.
AS: I'll have new goals. So it's quite the opposite: am full of the ideas I can make true. We'll see.

EV: Let me as you a stupid question. Do you think there is a chance you'll have another Olympics?
AS: Yes.


Let the skating begin
Maybe she'll opt to have those twin girls between now and 2022. I expect she's still riding the emotional high. She's very goal oriented and one gosl has been the focus since she was a child. It takes awhile to refocus your entire life. If she continues to compete, i'm good. If she decides to quit, i'm good.


Well-Known Member
Wonderful interview! Thank you for the translation.

The one thing I find interesting is the planned program content. Meaghan Duhamel said they had to fill out a new one when they got to the Olympics. She laughed and she said she had no idea why S/M put down all those quads as everyone knew they wouldn't be doing them. (Duhamel clearly thinks very highly of Savchenko though. And thought for sure she'd be trying for another Olympics.)

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