Russia’s Channel One (Первый канал) posted a video on YouTube of behind the scenes shots from figure skating’s Cup of Russia in Syzran. The 19-minute long footage follows two-time Russian National Champion, 16-year-old Anna Shcherbakova during the first stage of the season.
The video includes clips of Shcherbakova practicing in the mornings of the competition, going through her warm-ups, and then the highlights of the programs. It also includes interviews with the biggest star in Syzran last weekend.
Below is a translation to English for non-Russian speakers of Shcherbakova’s answers to questions in Channel One’s video:
Question: Did you have any thoughts to keep Perfume for one more season?
Shcherbakova: I really liked my previous short program. I enjoyed skating it. By the end of the season I felt a lot of progress – it seemed that I felt it and conveyed the image better. But I still wanted to put on a new program. Perhaps the final performance of “Perfume” was not enough that season but we must move on and try something different, new images.
I like the new program from the point of view of both music and image. I think I can feel it. From the very beginning, when I heard the music, it immediately touched the soul. I think I already feel it well.
Question: Do you have a feeling that you are different on the ice now?
Shcherbakova: I try to work on it. This in itself, of course, happens and I try to pay more attention so every gesture; every movement is meaningful, so that it looks beautiful. We need to think about it, and not just skate as it goes.
I like it, it seems to me that it is so much more interesting for the audience to watch you, and it is more interesting to skate when you approach it more meaningfully.
Question: What has changed in the free program after the test skates?
Shcherbakova: I never had an option in my head to skate without quads at all. Because even if the training is unsuccessful and the quad does not work out, the first jump in the program is an old sensation, in the memory, you can still remember and do everything. One quadruple is the minimum now.
We left the jumps, steps – such technical moments that you can put on any music. But the style of music is a little different – moving, more open, you have to skate to the end. And the movements became different – they changed hand positions in some places, so that it was different. They did it so that it was not the same as I skated the first time – there was more sadness, and now everything is on display, everything from the soul. And from this even more soul shows.
Question: How to change the program in three training days?
Shcherbakova: This was hard. We tried to skate a lot of the second half separately. I will not make excuses but perhaps because of this I started to stumble a little in the second half. There were some ridiculous mistakes, I tried to make it all look good to the music.
Question: Do you feel like a superstar?
Shcherbakova: Probably not a star because we compete a lot with girls who have been in this sport much longer than me, who have achieved more, performed at major tournaments. Among them, I feel in my place.
And in Syzran I was incredibly pleased how the audience welcomed me, large posters. It gives an incentive to show them the maximum that I can, to perform in the same way as I would perform at major international competitions.
Question: What is your motivation now?
Shcherbakova: I am trying to get everything back that I had last season as soon as possible. I try to work on skating, on choreography, because this is not my last season. There is an incentive to work for next year or still hope that there will be a selections, there will be the main events of the season – the World Championship.
It was obvious to me that I did not come to Syzran for a place and not for points but to perform. Because I have clear goals in terms of what kind of performance I want to see from myself at the start, and I try to fulfill this goal.
Question: Is it difficult or interesting to grow up?
Shcherbakova: Both difficult and interesting. Probably more interesting. Of course, you have to overdo yourself, especially in training. What people don’t see in competitions is that it is often hard to overcome yourself in training but you always have to do it. And the coaches help with this.
It is always very interesting, and I like to show something new, especially to reveal something new in programs.