A few days ago, Russian news publication Express Gazette (in Russian – Экспресс газета) published an interview with figure skater Maria Sotskova about her side of the story regarding the reported disqualification for doping.
Oddly, the interview soon disappeared from the website and the the link to the article now shows a 404 Error message, “This page is not on the site.” Fortunately, some sports news websites, such as sport.ru, were able to save a copy of the skater’s conversation with the media.
The interview started with Sotskova talking about her new husband, Mikhail Omelchuk, and the second half was about her career and details regarding the doping accusation.
The original link to the interview:
The interview, translated to English:
Express Gazette (EG): Why did you leave coach Elena Buianova?
Sotskova: At some point, we stopped understanding each other. I know for sure: without Elena Germanovna I would not have made it to the Olympics. Wouldn’t have finished second in the Grand Prix Final. I am grateful to her for everything. But after the Games in Pyeongchang, something went wrong. I guess, I have matured. I was ready to enter GITIS (note – Russian Institute of Theatre Arts). This was my dream and I fulfilled it. Although many said: why do you need a university? You need to think about sports, strive for great victories. But I realized that you shouldn’t get hung up on sports. There is another life.
EG: Have you started to miss training?
Sotskova: No way! In the morning I ran to the institute, then to training, from there again to GITIS, and again to the rink. I am studying at the ballet department. The competition was five people per seat, but I entered the budget department.
EG: You lost your father last June. Did his death affect your results?
Sotskova: I think, yes. He was 46 years old. Sudden death. My dad, Roman Alexandrovich, held one of the leading positions in the Moscow Ministry of Transport. When he was gone, everything went awry. I even had health problems.
EG: Was it your father who financed your sports training?
EG: Maria, we can’t get away from talking about your big disqualification. How did it happen that you took furosemide, knowing that this substance, for weight loss, is prohibited?
Sotskova: Of course, I knew that… Furosemide was prescribed to me by doctors. I became seriously ill – I could not eat and sleep normally. I vomited. At that moment, I had already finished skating and reported this to my coach Svetlana Sokolovskaya. I made this decision after the Grand Prix stage in France in November last year. There, I performed very badly and realized that there was no point in continuing further. I left for a friend in Vladivostok and no longer trained.
EG: Did you report this to the federation? Some journalists accuse you of allegedly continuing to receive a salary there as a member of the national team.
Sotskova: It is not true. Last season I was no longer a member of the national team and did not receive a salary from the federation.
EG: But you represented our country at the Grand Prix in France…
Sotskova: I was invited there by the International Skating Union (ISU). I qualified to the Grand Prix by rating. Yes, I represented Russia at the tournament, but I was no longer officially a figure skater. I cannot be accused of wanting extra money.
EG: When doping officers raided your house, were you surprised?
Sotskova: And how! It was in March 2020. I told them that I was no longer an active athlete. Moreover, I did not hide the fact that I was taking medications, including furosemide, as prescribed by doctors. I didn’t want to get tested, but they insisted. They said they would not leave until I hand over. I got lost. I didn’t expect them to appear in my apartment. In figure skating, athletes usually announce retirement at the end of the season. That’s what I wanted. Therefore, I was in no hurry. Probably my own fault.
EG: You were accused of forging a medical certificate…
Sotskova: It’s a lie! I brought a certificate from the medical institution where I was treated. I was prescribed medication there. How could I know that this clinic does not have a license?! My case at RUSADA has not been closed yet but on the internet everyone is already talking about me. They write about 10 years of disqualification. About the fact that I set up the whole country.
EG: Who do you think leaked this information?
Sotskova: I do not know. But I really want my story not to be reflected in our athletes, in the participation of the Russian national team in the Tokyo Olympics. I don’t need dope. I have never taken it.
EG: What does your female intuition tell you: will you be severely punished or everything will be alright?
Sotskova: No, it won’t. You just need to separate when a person deliberately violates the anti-doping rules, and when accidentally.