Posted on 2023-03-17 • 1 comment
Natalia Bestemyanova summed up the season in figure skating, shared her opinion on Kamila Valieva, Anna Shcherbakova and Alexandra Trusova, also spoke about prospects for Russian athletes to be back on international arena.
source: kp.ru by Denis Akinin
When we were suspended from international competitions, the main question was, “Will we survive?” Can we say now that our competitions are a good alternative to international ones?
Natalia Bestemyanova: I have been a longtime figure skating fan. When these Grand Prix stages started, I began to love the new figure skating. I do not really agree with the new rules, but I follow, love, and adore the skaters. And for me, it is much more interesting to watch our competitions than the international ones without us. Our figure skating is much stronger.
Do you see that the state has begun to pay much more attention to the development of figure skating and sports in general over the past year or two?
Natalia Bestemyanova: Today, figure skating is the number one sport in our country. For the first time in the history of our sport, we are ahead of hockey and football. And this is absolutely the right policy and the right decision that our sport should be supported. Indeed, the support is enormous. This is right.
Why is figure skating so popular now?
Natalia Bestemyanova: Well, it started with ice shows. “Dancing on Ice” was at the peak of its popularity. The numbers were huge. The first season was wildly popular. Then all the skates in Moscow were sold out. From young to old, everyone wanted to learn how to skate. This was the first push for popularity, and the second was the rivalry between Zagitova and Medvedeva.
Can we sum up the results of the season?
Natalia Bestemyanova: The main result is that the athletes kept their motivation. The most dangerous thing when we are not able to compete internationally is that people can relax. By the way our athletes are performing now, competing with each other and learning new elements, it is clear that they are in full “combat readiness”.
Who became the best male and female figure skaters of this season?
Natalia Bestemyanova: Valieva turned out to be the most consistent. At the Russian Nationals and in the Grand Prix Final, she was second. Although the skating was not the best, she managed to keep her quad jumps through growing up and psychological difficulties… These are the best quads I have ever seen. In men, Gumennik. The skater should not only perform the most difficult elements but also be charismatic. Petr has both. He turned from a little boy into a handsome man who makes the most complex elements and programs.
Valieva has continuously placed second. What’s wrong?
Natalia Bestemyanova: Uncertainty. She does not understand whether there will be a disqualification or not. If so, she will not be able to perform for four years. Yes, she will continue to perform at our domestic competitions. But will she stay motivated?
Do you see how she got stronger psychologically?
Natalia Bestemyanova: Certainly. She was very depressed at the Olympics. This did not allow her to skate a free program. Just a sad and creepy story. Today she smiles, easily perceiving her losses. This is her great merit as a person who was able to overcome her psychological trauma.
Will the rivalry between Petrosyan and Akatieva grow into something similar to what Zagitova and Medvedeva had?
Natalia Bestemyanova: They cannot be compared. The age minimum for international competitions has been raised. Akatieva will be able to compete in seniors only in four years. Petrosyan, if tomorrow we are allowed to compete internationally, will compete in seniors next year. Adeliia, of course, is more charismatic. But Sofia grows up, and her movements become very plastic. In team competitions, she skated simply divinely.
What is happening with Shcherbakova and Trusova? Will we see them again at their peak?
Natalia Bestemyanova: Shcherbakova underwent surgery and is now getting in shape. I’ve seen a few short videos of her skating; she’s in great shape. Will she return to her peak? I don’t know if she wants to compete. She won everything she could.
Trusova has not yet passed the period of growing up. There are problems with being overweight; there are problems after switching to another coach; there are a lot of psychological difficulties. But she has some motivation. She didn’t get what she wanted. Alexandra will definitely come back.
Will Ivan Bukin return? Maybe you have some information?
Natalia Bestemyanova: We really hope that Ivan and Sasha Stepanova will return to the sport and perform. That’s all I know. But he announced that he was returning. And I know for sure that he is very motivated and really wants to come back.
Speaking of returns, the International Olympic Committee is discussing our possible participation in the 2024 Olympics. Do you believe that we will be allowed?
Natalia Bestemyanova: I believe! Everything can change very quickly. There are almost a year and a half before them. I really believe that everything can turn in our direction.
And if they offer to compete in a neutral status?
Natalia Bestemyanova: I think we should go. I was in Pyeongchang 2018, where we were called the “Neutral Team”. But there was not a single person in the arena who did not understand that these were Russian athletes. With or without a flag, everyone knows that the Russians are performing. We have to go and show how cool we are. Every athlete must do their job well. Everything else is politics. Do everything you can, and then the country will be proud of you.
The national Olympic committees of Western countries want to boycott the Olympic Games. Is this also politics?
Natalia Bestemyanova: Definitely. Canadian skaters wrote that they are categorically against our admission. But the Virtue-Moir pair trained for many years with a Russian coach. They carry the school of Soviet figure skating. And these people say that Russian athletes should not be allowed? How can you do it? It looks like they’ve been zombified.
Related topics: Alexandra Stepanova Ivan Bukin, Alexandra Trusova, Anna Shcherbakova, Kamila Valieva, Natalia Bestemianova, Tessa Virtue Scott Moir