Adelina Sotnikova: ‘The victory in Kazan is one of the most important ones in my life’

The Sochi Olympic champion about her victory in Tatarstan

Adelina Sotnikova: ‘The victory in Kazan is one of the most important ones in my life’
Photo: Maxim Platonov

Olympic figure skating champion Adelina Sotnikova arrived in Kazan as a jury member of a cheerleading team competition. In an exclusive interview with Realnoe Vremya, the athlete noted the readiness of the Tatarstan capital to host the Olympics and recalled her emotions of the first victory in the country’s championships and the Olympic triumph.

“It is amazing that Mrs Vodorezova’s pupil managed to repeat her coach’s achievement”

Adelina, you won the Russian Championships in Kazan in 2009 outstripping your age-mate Yelizaveta Tuktamysheva. Can you say now what this victory meant to you?

It is one of the most important victories in my life because I became the country’s champion for the first time. In general my further fate was sealed in that competition because I didn’t know what to do next before the start, to compete or retire. But the results of the championships answered this question, my consciousness started to want to continue doing sport more, dedicating more time to it. Everything changed so much that I really felt a desire to compete internationally, participate in big European, world championships, the Olympic Games. It became my dream after the championships in Kazan.

In general my further fate was sealed in that competition because I didn’t know what to do next before the start, to compete or retire

After the victory, you and Tuktamysheva, two 12-year-old girls, looked so natural that it was hard to ask them questions about the significance of this win, their feelings and so on.

I didn’t probably understand then what competition meant, though I knew there was competition, all figure skaters would be fighting for the title of the country’s champion. But I personally came not to win but perform my programmes well, moreover, I and Liza couldn’t get tickets to competitions due to our age. And I wanted to simply pit our strength and capabilities. But when I won, I couldn’t believe it.

“The Olympics in Sochi is remembered for emotions”

You repeated the achievement of Yelena Vodorezova who then debuted at the European Championships and soon at the Olympics in 1976 in Innsbruck.

Yes, it turns out that I repeated the achievement of my coach becoming another 12-year-old girl to win the country’s championships at such a young age. Because during these years the girl perhaps should walk hand in hand with her mother due to her age. It is amazing that Mrs Vodorezova’s pupil managed to repeat her coach’s achievement. However, we didn’t compare who of us was younger on those victory days because I don’t consider such comparison correct. Mrs Vodorezova is an adult who had a brilliant sports career, dreamt of bringing up an Olympic champion, and we made this dream a reality together.

It is amazing that Mrs Vodorezova’s pupil managed to repeat her coach’s achievement

You are making me ask you a question about Sochi and the impression of the Olympics at home.

What are the 2014 Sochi Olympics remembered for? For emotions (laughing). It is impossible to even express the atmosphere of the holiday, the Olympic village where we all lived, different athletes living under one roof, talking with each other. On the other hand, it is close people and this is one small different world.

“I won’t single out favourites”

Competitors of the 2022 Games in Beijing will experience similar Olympic emotions in just six months. Could you tell us about your favourites in every figure skating event?

To be honest, I don’t have the time now to closely stay tuned for events in the figure skating world. The thing is that my attention is focused on the development of my own Sotka School figure skating school, which opened last September. I train kids myself. Also, we have a good coaching staff including Maxim Miroshkin (a 2013 bronze world junior championships medallist together with Lina Fyodorova), Olga Shishkova. I see how they work, dedicate themselves to their job, love their pupils very much, pupils understand them. Olga Kolchanova and widely known pair skater Fyodor Klimov who has now moved to the Centre for Olympic Training worked at the first stage of the school’s development. Nevertheless, I want to wish all members of our national team who will go to the Olympics luck but I won’t single out favourites.

I think it is the correct decision: there are good venues here, however, they are designed for winter sports more. In any case, the ice is certainly good here

Kazan has declared its candidacy to host the Summer Olympics in 2036. How could you comment on this initiative?

I have been in Kazan many times, and knowing its possibilities, I will say, ‘Why not?’ I think it is the correct decision: there are good venues here, however, they are designed for winter sports more. In any case, the ice is certainly good here. I could feel it competing first and then participating in a show. I think the city should certainly try to declare the candidacy. Good luck!

By Dzhaudat Abdullin. Photo: Maxim Platonov
Tatarstan