Adian Pitkeev: I like to
hear that sound when you dig into the ice with your blade
Adian Pitkeev, 15, won the
silver medal at the ISU World Junior Figure Skating Championships
2014 in Sofia, Bulgaria
Q: You moved up from
seventh place to the podium. How do you feel about that?
A: I think that is cool.
This turned out to be a quite dramatic championship. I don’t think
that happens so often and I am basically pleased. Of course, the loop
let me down (in the short program). I should have been more focused
going into it.
Q: You were upset after
the short program, but how did you pull yourself together to skate so
well in the free skating?
A: I was really mad at
myself first of all. Therefore I had to do all my jumps as they
should be done including the loop. I was very happy when I landed it.
After that I really was in the zone, but there were just two jumps
Q: What did you think
during your performance?
A: Nothing really, I just
thought that after the loop I have to mark the success (he pumped his
Q: This was your first
World Junior Championship. What did you learn from this experience?
A: First of all that you
never should give up. That’s it basically.
Q: It was a successful
season for you.
A: Well, yes, but I didn’t
really win anything. I was second in the (Junior) Final and here. I
am pleased with it overall. The most important thing for me is to
skate clean. I am not happy with my short program (at Junior Worlds),
and I actually don’t like that program (“At Voland’s Ball”)
so much. I didn’t have time to change it during the season. It is
not that I don’t like that music, I am fine with it, but it is not
the same as the free skating (“Art on Ice”) for example. I love
to skate to it and I feel totally at ease with it.
Q: Let’s talk a bit
about your background. How did you start figure skating?
A: I was watching a video of
Alexei Yagudin’s triumphal performance and I said I want to do the
same one day. My mother took me to the ice rink half a year later,
because I was only three and a half years old when I said that. When
I was four years old I was on the ice for the first time. I didn’t
really do anything until I was ten years old (laughs).Well, it worked
for me, but I wasn’t trying too hard. Only when I was about 12
years old I started to do at least something, and with this season I
realized that I really need to do something, and this is the result.
Q: What was the key
moment for you when you realized that you can achieve something in
A: It wasn’t just that I
realized that I can achieve something, but that what I can do best
will be hard for others to learn. So I know how to do some things and
it works and I decided that I can add to this and I believe that it
will lead to a result.
Q: You were very young
when you watched the video of Yagudin, but do you remember what
attracted you to figure skating?
A: I don’t know. Just my
mother showed it to me and I wanted to do figure skating. I didn’t
want to play hockey or soccer. They wanted to put me into soccer, but
I didn’t like anything else, I got hooked on figure skating. When I
decided obviously it was just because I wanted it.
Q: What did you like
about skating when you started?
A: Actually nothing, I
wanted to leave the ice as quickly as possible, go home, play with
toys. At that age obviously I didn’t really understand what I was
Q: Why did you continue
A: I wasn’t interested in
anything else. I wasn’t interested in school. And this (skating)
didn’t really interest me either. My dad wanted to put me into
soccer when I was seven years old, but my mother said no. I heard
this only about half a year ago. My dad wanted me to play soccer, he
is a big fan.
Q: Do you have brothers
and sisters or other athletes in the family?
A: No. My father practiced
karate as far as I know for some time. When he was getting bad grades
at school, the teachers said he has to focus on studying and his
parents agreed, so he stopped training.
Q: Where did you start
skating? In the same club where you are now?
A: No. I started out in a
school closer to my home. As Eteri (Tutberidze, coach) told me she
asked my former coach if I could join her group. I was shocked when I
learned that. I thought that she got interested in me only when I
started to train in her group, but it turned out she was interested
even before that. This is how I ended up in her group and I don’t
regret it. I have been training with her for about four or five
Q: You are training in a
very strong group now with Julia Lipnitskaia and Sergei Voronov. How
do you feel in this group?
A: It is always very
motivating when such professionals are skating with you, when there
is a person skating with you that you are looking up to like Seriozha
(Sergei Voronov). I wasn’t really following skating until I was 15
years old, but I once saw Seriozha and I liked how he was skating. I
don’t always understand why he gets low scores, I just like the
way he skates.
Q: What do you like best
in figure skating?
A: The expected answer would
be jumps, but I like just the skating itself. I like it when I am
gliding on an edge and I like to hear that sound when you dig into
the ice with your blade. I enjoy skating, I also like jumps,
especially doing jumps from unusual entries. I experiment in practice
with this. Maybe one day I’ll show something. This season I sort of
grew up and pay more attention to figure skating. At the beginning of
the season Evgeni Plushenko was the authority for me, but then I
reconsidered and I understood that jumps should not be rated higher
than skating skills and spins. The jumps should not be the most
important thing, everything should come together. Maybe the jumps are
little bit better or a bit worse, but if you just jump and can’t do
anything else, you won’t get any result.
Q: What don’t you like
in the sport?
A: I like everything more or
less, there is nothing I don’t really like. Well, maybe the forward
cross-overs (I don’t like so much). Sometimes they make us doing
cross-overs in circles and this I don’t like, but it happens very
rarely. It is tiring.
Q: What are your goals in
A: I think everybody has the
same goal – to become Olympic Champion one day. I don’t like to
look too far ahead, I just think you have to do your job and the
judges will put you into one place. You are not giving yourself a
Q: How was it for you to
watch the Olympic Games in Sochi?
A: I was very surprised,
because at the Olympic Games many strong skaters unfortunately did
not show a good, clean performance. I respect Denis Ten a lot for
being able to pull himself together after the short program. Maybe he
didn’t have the most difficult content, but he skated absolutely
Q: He did a quad, though.
A: (smiles) Yes, but others
do three or two quads, but they weren’t able to pull it off. For
Denis, the jumps and the skating skills and spins are on one level.
Q: I remember seeing
Denis for the first time when he competed in his first Junior Worlds
in 2007. He did not reach the final, but it was still obvious that he
is very talented.
A: Actually often skaters,
especially the men, can’t win in juniors, but they become
successful later. Alexei Urmanov I think didn’t win Junior Worlds
and still became Olympic Champion. And Patrick Chan didn’t win
Junior Worlds. I don’t want to say that if you won Junior Worlds
this is the end of your career (laughs). I just want to say that
winning Junior Worlds is not the most important thing in life. I
think this is just one step in your development.
Q: What is your character
A: I think you can better
judge my character from the outside. I am actually a funny person.
Q: Funny? You seem always
A: (laughs) I am just shy
around strangers. But when I am with my friends, I am opening up. I
only trust my very good friends. I trust them in the sense that if I
am maybe saying something not right nobody will know about it or if I
do something silly they won’t tell anybody.
Q: You are doing
A: I might scream very
loudly. I might do a lot of things actually.
Q: Really? You seem so
timid and quiet.
A: I was educated that way.
In public, you have to be quiet and talk only when you are addressed.
But sometimes I let myself go, but only with friends. When I am with
my friends, I am in a good mood. I am actually always in a good mood.
When I am with my friends, I relax and I have fun.
Q: Are your parents very
A: My dad is quite strict.
My mom is sometimes strict. The parents are always right, or maybe
not always. (smiles)
Q: You said you don’t
like to go to school, but you are still in school, aren’t you?
A: Yes, I am going to school
and I have to pass some exams. I was shocked that just before Junior
Worlds my algebra teacher told me that school has to be my main focus
in life now and that I should push figure skating aside in order to
concentrate on school and attend classes. I manage only to go to one
or two classes. I leave the house at 8 in the morning and I come back
at 10 at night. I just don’t have time for school.
Q: The three Russian
girls that were in the press conference at Junior Worlds said that
they are home schooled, but you attend regular school?
A: My parents are for some
reason against home schooling. They say it is difficult. I don’t
know, I haven’t tried it yet.
Q: What is your favorite
subject in school or isn’t there any?
A: When I am studying
something, for example algebra, I do it well. But my schedule is so
that I can’t attend algebra or geometry and all these subjects that
I could learn. I only attend the ones that I don’t like at all. I
don’t like physics, it is not interesting for me. I like geography,
but I don’t get there often. I get to attend chemistry, which I
don’t like. Russian is easy for me. I don’t know the rules at
all, but my grammar is correct as far as I know. When I am writing
something in social networks I basically don’t make mistakes. I am
always writing correctly and I don’t have any problems with that.
Q: If you were sent to an
isolated island and could take three things, what would you take?
A: I don’t know! That is a
very difficult question. Mhm. I think no matter what I take I
wouldn’t get away from it, so it wouldn’t make a difference.
Q: What do you enjoy to
do in your spare time?
A: When my friends have time
to go out, I always try to go with them. When it doesn’t work, I
have to do something for school. Sometimes the second half of the day
is free, but my friends don’t have time so I have to sit at home
and it bores me to hang around like that. My friends are other
skaters from the rink.
Q: Where do you like to
go for vacation?
A: Wherever it is nice. I
prefer the sea, although I don’t like swimming in the sea. I only
swim in the swimming pool. I am choking on saltwater all the time,
not because I can’t swim properly, I can swim, but when I learned
swimming I did not breathe in the right way and got water in my mouth
all the time. Therefore I just can’t swim in saltwater. And also it
is usually quite dirty, that turns me off as well. I can’t swim in
Q: Thank you for the
interview and all the best for the future!
Interview by Tatjana Flade