At only the age of 14, Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva made her senior level debut this past weekend at the second stage of the Cup of Russia series in Moscow. Even though she is not old enough to do so at international competitions, Valieva is already competing against the world’s best skaters due to the changes in the season caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Skating to the music of Olympic gold medalist Eric Radford, Valieva left many people speechless after a brilliant performance in the short program. Upon finishing the technically sound and breathtakingly artistic performance, legendary coach Tatiana Tarasova – who was commentating the event on Channel One – said, “This is not a short program, but some kind of poem.” The reigning World Junior champion received an incredible score of 85.10 points for her first program.
With so much pressure on her shoulders, Valieva delivered another high level performance in the free skate but with a few mistakes – she fell on her opening quad toe loop, again on a triple Lutz later in the program, and made an error on her final jumping sequence which should have been a combination. However, she landed a quad toe loop-double toe loop combination, completed wonderful spins, and portrayed her musicality as always. That was enough for a silver medal, less than seven points behind winner Alexandra Trusova.
After the program, Valieva spoke with Channel One about her experience as she held back tears. The English translation of the interview:
Channel One: Kamila, you are smart, I always tell you this. Do not be upset, no mistakes on the ice will ever end the people’s admiration for you and your work on the ice. (Reads positive comments from fans online). Tell me how this work turned out today and why you were so upset?
Valieva: It’s a bit of a shame because in training I almost always skate clean. I don’t normally fall on the Lutz. I start my workout by jumping the triple lutz and flip. It is unacceptable to make mistakes in masters competitions.
Channel One: It is the very beginning of the season – all the athletes are now just gaining shape, or is it even unacceptable at the beginning of the season?
Valieva: Yes, you should always skate clean.
Channel One: There are many positive points. If we talk about them, in general, about how this stage of the Cup – and the short program, and the free skate – went, what are you mainly pleased with and what have you learned from these performances?
Valieva: In the short program, I was not nervous. That’s why it is short – there are only three jumps and, let’s say, there is no need to be nervous. For the free skate, I will work more, even more than I worked before. Something just didn’t work out.
Channel One: What are the goals for the remainder of the season and what is the main motivation for you now?
Valieva: My motivation is not to make more of these ridiculous mistakes. And skate clean, with two quadruple toe loops.
Kamila Valieva’s post on Instagram and translation to English: