On Russian sports channel’s Match TV’s fifth-year anniversary, 2018 Olympic gold medal winning figure skater Alina Zagitova won the award for being the most popular sportswoman, as voted by fans online.
The 18-year-old received 33.86% of votes and ended up ahead of former World Number One tennis player Maria Sharapova (23.27%) and two-time World Championship winning figure skater Evgenia Medvedeva (21.31%).
To accept the award, Zagitova appeared on the channel’s live television broadcast and answered tough questions from Dmitry Guberniev, and received support from the show’s co-presenter Sofya Tartakova.
Translation of interview to English:
Tartakova: You look so beautiful, simply incredible… Our colleague by the way, Dim.
Guberniev: Let’s take our first photo together. We have one, but Vladimir Putin is between us, and here we will be together.
So what does this mean to you? You are the most popular sportswoman in Russia.
Zagitova : Thank you very much for such an award, it is very important to me. I will thank everyone, first of all, these are the coaches who have always been with me. And I am insanely grateful to them, they continue to invest in me – I won this award together with them.
Naturally, my family supports me very much. And of course, the people who voted for me. I know how many people are rooting for me and worry. This is very important for me, this is our common reward and victory.
Guberniev: You are now our colleague with Sonya, you work brilliantly and host an ice show. What difficulties do you face?
Zagitova: It seems to me very difficult work. Since athletes are not very talkative, personally for me…
Guberniev: Well, you have to get out of the habit already.
Zagitova: Well, yes, I am now studying in order to speak well with people, I have a tutor in speech technique.
Guberniev: (Says Russian tongue twister), that’s all.
Zagitova: Well, something like that. Or (replies with a short Russian tongue twister), I had already learned a lot of tongue twisters.
Guberniev: Which ones? Let me be quiet, and you shine. Live broadcast, the whole country.
Zagitova: Come on…
Guberniev: Hosts are not shy, go ahead, Alin.
Zagitova: (Says longer Russian tongue twister).
Guberniev: Great, listen, that’s great.
Zagitova: There are so many, your broadcast will not be enough for me for how many tongue twisters I have learned. Naturally, I still face the problem of telling people… Well, I’m on the other side, not from the side of the athlete. When the athlete falls, I need to ask them questions like: are you upset?
When I was an athlete… Well, I am still an athlete, they asked me questions when I fell – and it annoyed me a lot.
Guberniev: Will you return to sports? After a brilliant television career. I am asking this annoying question.
Zagitova: Let’s see, we’ll see, we’ll see. Now the coronavirus is very difficult. A lot of competitions are canceled, many competitions are in doubt, it is a difficult situation for the whole sport.
Tartakova: You are now dressed up, with make up. Has anything changed in terms of taste in clothes? You are now not on the ice, but in the frame.
Zagitova: I am still on the ice. But of course I’m trying to bring my own flavor. But sometimes they tell me that this is exactly what I need to wear – it would be better. Naturally, I agree. Today I dressed myself.
Guberniev: I will continue to be a bad cop. When did you last see Medvedeva?
Zagitova: Eh… (turning to Tartakova) Tell me a question?
Tartakova: Do you draw support from me?
Guberniev: Well, there are forbidden topics. What shouldn’t you be asked about? The broadcast is live, I am at your feet. Like all men, the whole country.
Zagitova: I prefer to talk about myself, the people around me, my family, my life.
Guberniev: Let’s leave Evgenia alone, another question. Do you understand that while you are away, figure skating is moving ahead? And when you come back, let’s say, it will be difficult for you – do you think about that?
Zagitova: Naturally, it will be difficult. It will be difficult for everyone, not only for me. It is a sport, without this – nowhere.
Guberniev: The answer is worthy. I can imagine what is going on on social media- there is hate and bullying addressed to me, you are a goddess for many there. How do you live with it? You also have people who don’t like you very much.
Zagitova: In principle, I treat them well. Before, I paid a lot of attention, worried. Without haters, nowhere, everyone has them, you have them. But how do you feel?
Guberniev: I have a great attitude. The main thing is not to be indifferent…
Guberniev: You can ask me any questions, and you also have to get used to it. As a person with whom we will probably work together on some big project.
Zagitova: I have a great attitude towards hate, it’s like an incentive to rise even higher.
Guberniev: Passions boil in figure skating – they surely touch your soul in one way or another?
Zagitova: I think you wanted to hurt my soul …
Zagitova: You didn’t succeed.
Guberniev: And that’s fine, you have an armor.
Zagitova: Yes, of course, I have a fortress built like this, one might say that only the elite are allowed to go there.
Guberniev: How is your popularity expressed? Throw caps into the air? Rose petals are your road to Ostankino – I saw your fans covered it today.
Zagitova: There is nothing like that, they just come to my rink to take pictures, spend time on it. Now the coronavirus, and so many people are not allowed to visit us. They stand on the street, I feel really sorry for them – now it’s cold. I am extremely pleased when they ask for a photograph.
Guberniev: Will you still talk to me after the advertisement? Or only with Sonya?
Zagitova: (Turns to Tartakova). Do you have any questions for me?
Tartakova: There are questions and a heart for you.
Zagitova: Then only with Sonya.
Zagitova: I like the live broadcast more – it’s fast. Long broadcasts are difficult for me. I like to do everything quickly, as efficiently as possible. And when they tell you to rewrite something, something else…
Tartakova: Do you have any scandals on the set? Guberniev never has scandals.
Zagitova: It sounds like sarcasm from you.
Guberniev: Everything is fine, we have a good host and not so much. Continue talking.
Zagitova: I’m not scandalous. If it is necessary to rewrite, I will, of course, rewrite. The main thing is the result.
Guberniev: Eteri Tutberidze was nominated for the best coach. And she is fighting with Stanislav Cherchesov. Do you think the odds are against the mustache of our football hope?
Zagitova: Those people did a lot for Russian sports, so… well…
Guberniev: Does Eteri have a chance to defeat Cherchesov?
Zagitova: As an athlete of her and as a person who respects her very much, I am for Eteri Georgievna.
Tartakova: What is the image of an ideal figure skating coach for you? If we take Tutberidze out of parentheses. Should it be a tough and oppressive coach or soft and feminine in nature?
Zagitova: Probably all of that together. And if it is combined, then this is Eteri Georgievna.
Guberniev: And what is your ideal man?
Zagitova: I don’t know, I didn’t think about this question.
Guberniev: Well, if on the live broadcast – what should be the ideal man? Kind, good, rich?
Tartakova: Who does not ask such questions, apparently.
Guberniev: Doesn’t look like me?
Guberniev: This is already good, uh.
Russian football coach Stanislav Cherchesov, who led the Russian National team to the quarterfinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, received the award for most popular coach (38.37% of votes). Eteri Tutberidze was second (32.11%).
Zagitova: Stanislav Salamovich, when will you come to our skating rink?
Cherchesov: What skating rink do you mean? Sokolniki – even tomorrow, it is near. And on the Ice Age…
Zagitova: Where are we skating. With Eteri Georgievna.
Cherchesov: I’ll come, no problem, I can skate. Not like you, of course, but…
Guberniev: Could you imagine yourself in pair skating with single skater Alina Zagitova? Some ice show?
Cherchesov: No, no – not worthy.
Guberniev: Alina, do you root for anyone in football? Is there a club or footballer whom you sympathize with?
Zagitova: I like hockey more.
Guberniev: Who do you root for in hockey?
Zagitova: For a beautiful game.
Guberniev: Performed by…
Zagitova: My dad.
Guberniev: Maybe Ovechkin, Malkin, someone else?
Zagitova: I know all of them, they are just legendary people.
Guberniev: What are your creative plans? Great question.
Zagitova: Tomorrow I am going to the shooting of Ice Age.
Guberniev: Does Yagudin irritate you there?
Zagitova: No, we are great together, everyone there helps me, for which I am also grateful.
Guberniev: Would you like to learn and become like Ekaterina Andreeva, like Maria Sittel?
Zagitova: Yes, of course, but they have a lot of experience, I need to learn a lot from them.
Guberniev: We do not lose hope that someday we will see you on the ice as an active athlete. Will this happen?
Guberniev: Thank you very much. When you are completely tired of show business stories, know that there is a small sports corner with good hosts. And you can continue to do something with us together too.
Did you like it a little? And then you were upset at me at first, and then it seems normal.
Zagitova: Yes, I am not offended at all.
Guberniev: That’s nice.
Zagitova: Such a heavy award, I did not expect it. Okay, I’ll go.