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August 16, 2021
Spirit Animal: “Probably a lion.”
Fun Fact: “I am terrified of cats, even though my family has two cats.”
“Bravery is not the absence of fear. Bravery is feeling the fear, the doubt, the insecurity and deciding that something else is more important.”
– Mark Manson
Anita was born in Odesa, Ukraine and moved to Sweden before her first birthday. She has lived with her family in different cities, including Stockholm and close to Malmö.
“The first time I stood on the ice was in Stockholm when I was three years old, but I didn’t start skating right away. Instead I started playing tennis and did that for a few years.”
Officially beginning her skating career at the age of six, Anita was also still playing tennis.
“At one point I had to choose, and I chose skating. I can’t exactly remember why, but I think there was something about the ice and the variety of things you could do and express on the ice that caught my attention. And from that moment on, I started to practice more.”
She began training at a club in Lund with two Ukrainian coaches and remained there until the age of ten, at which time her family decided to move to Gothenburg.
“In Gothenburg the training conditions were better, and if I was going to achieve my biggest dream and goal, it was necessary to change the environment and training conditions.”
Remaining in Gothenburg for approximately a year (2011-2012), Anita then switched to another club, in a smaller town a bit outside of Gothenburg, called Landvetter Skating Club, where she still trains today.
“This switch was one of the most important ones for me and my skating career, and I have a lot of great memories from these past 9 years in this club. Thanks to my coaches and everything this club offered me, I could develop and grow freely both as a skater and as a person.”
Throughout her career, Anita has won several national titles and has participated in a variety of international competitions and championships; including Europeans, Worlds, and the Olympic Games in 2018.
“[Competing at the Olympics] was a goal that I had for many years, and to achieve that goal and perform at such a high level competition was a big honour and an amazing opportunity. Even though I didn’t perform at my best and was disappointed, I am very grateful that I got to experience it and proud that I made it.”
Q: Who is someone in your life that inspires/motivates you?
“My coaches inspire me a lot, in different ways. My coach Andrea has been a huge support and inspiration for me and I really look up to her for her work ethic, courage, empathy, and willingness to help other people. My dad also inspires me a lot. He is extremely loving and supportive and always supports me in my choices and decisions.”
Q: Who was your skating ‘role-model’ when you were younger?
“I never really had a specific role model. I think that every single skater has something unique and special that you can be inspired by; whether it’s their programs, mindset or personality. But one skater that I really look up to, and always have, is Elizaveta Tuktamysheva. I really admire her for her determination, strength, and mindset. The way she keeps improving and keeps her motivation up is really inspiring.”
Q: What is your favourite element in skating?
“I have always loved to jump and my favourite jump element has probably always been double axel. But that also depends on the mood of the day and circumstances."
“Throughout the years I have also gained lots of joy just in skating and doing steps. The moment I started to like it, I also began to improve much faster.”
“Spins. They are necessary and just as important as other elements. It’s a great feeling when you manage to get a spin right that you’ve been practicing for a while. Spins are also very beautiful and that motivates me [to practice them] as well.”
Q: What is your favourite type of off-ice training?
“I have really started to enjoy strength training and going to the gym. I love to see how I keep improving at the gym; for example, lifting heavier or doing more reps, and the way it also helps me on the ice. Besides that, I also love taking dance classes, and my favourite type of dance is probably contemporary dance.”
Q: Do you do any type of visualization or meditation?
“Yes I do, but not always so consistently. I started with meditation just a year and a half ago and I really enjoy it. I use it as [a form of] recovery and it’s a great way for me to calm down my mind, especially when there’s a lot going on around and I want to find the focus again.”
“I do it a few days a week, but when I’m in the middle of the season and have a lot of competitions, I like to meditate and do some visualization every day.”
Q: Do you have any pre-competition rituals or superstitions?
“Every competition is a bit different schedule wise, but the last 4-5 hours before a performance always look pretty much the same. The day of competition I usually stay at the room and watch some feel-good TV series, like Friends, to feel comfortable. Approximately 2-3 hours before I go to the rink I eat something, either a meal or a snack to gain some energy, and then I begin fixing my makeup and hair, of course with an episode of friends in the background.”
“If I have some time over, I do some quick meditation before I head of to the rink. I am not that superstitious, but one thing I can’t go to the rink without are my headphones. They are ALWAYS with me.”
Q: Favourite type of music or song to ‘get in the zone’?
“Oh, I don’t really know. I have a lot of songs that I listen to and it always changes, but if I want to get in the zone I’d probably listen to some kind of rap or rock.”
Q: You’re at an event, on the ice, in your starting position, waiting for your music to start… what are you thinking?
“I remind myself to breath and relax. I tell myself that “you can do this”.”
Q: Did you ever endure some type of adversity in your career?
“Yes, of course. I have been through a lot of struggles throughout my career; including different injuries, mental health issues, financial problems, as well as stress. Especially when I hit puberty and my body and mind began to change, I suffered more injuries and started struggling with my mental health. At that time, I didn’t totally understand and realize that I was struggling; I kept pushing [myself] the same way as before and by the end of 2019 I could feel that I wasn’t myself anymore.”
“I started to put a lot of extra pressure on myself and I couldn’t enjoy skating as much as I used to. I was skating just for the medals and the results and so I often lost my motivation and fell into a state where everything felt hard. During this time, I was often sad and anxious, struggled a lot with my body image and started to restrict my food intake in a way that wasn’t healthy for me. By the end of summer 2020 I was feeling at my lowest and I came to the point where I understood that something wasn’t right and had to change. I started to work more on my mental health, both on the ice and off the ice.”
“It was important for me to regain [my] joy for skating again and build up the self-esteem that I had lost. I eventually started to learn more about how the brain and body responds in different situations and how to embrace my flaws instead of judging myself. I understood that “it is ok to not always be ok”, that all feelings and emotions are valid, and that it’s important to be aware of them. Today, I still struggle with my mental health from time to time, and everyday isn’t easy, but I am happy to have good people around me that can help and support me.”
Q: What is one major life lesson that you’ve learned from skating?
“Through skating I’ve learned the importance of patience, determination, resilience and goal setting. One of the most important things I’ve learned, is the significance of my mental health and well-being, both in sports and life in general. That you don’t have to sacrifice or destroy your mental health to reach [your] goals, and that everything takes time. There are no quick fixes or short time solutions if you want to achieve something. Therefore, it’s important to develop patience and always try to look at things from a bigger perspective.”
Q: Do you have any advice for young and aspiring skaters?
“Enjoy the training and the hours that you spend in the rink. A lot of skaters spend a lot of time on the ice and it’s important to remember that no result and no podium is worth it, if you don’t enjoy the path towards your goal. It’s not always easy and there will be difficult challenges and times, but learning from your mistakes and looking forward will take you far. And also, focus on yourself and don’t copy others. Of course you can take inspiration from others, but listen to yourself and your needs because no skater is the same.”
Q: What is it that you love most about skating?
“Probably the fact that there is a big variety of elements, and the combination of athletics and art. The whole process of making a new program, choosing your own music, designing new costumes and performing it all in front of an audience is pretty unique compared to other sports and I really love that.”
Q: What’s your favourite skating memory?
“The [World Championships] in Japan in 2019 was an amazing experience. It was really cool to watch local skaters such as Yuzuru Hanyu and Rika Kihira [skate] live in Japan. There was also some time left for sight-seeing around Tokyo with friends, and visiting different places in the city.”
Q: What is your ultimate goal with skating?
“[It] has always been the Olympics, especially before I went there. After the Olympics my focused changed a little bit. I still wanted to compete at high level competitions, achieve high results and skate at my absolute best, but I also started to put more attention to how I was feeling while skating. For me my mental health became more important and I wanted to regain the joy I felt for skating and focus more on my mental health rather than just the results. I noticed that if I wasn’t feeling good, I also couldn’t perform the way that I wanted to; that was a realization that shifted my perspective a bit.”
Q: If skating didn’t exist and you could be anything else in the world what would it be?
“I would probably keep playing tennis or I would do gymnastics."
Even though she doesn’t really have any major hobbies outside of skating, Anita does enjoy cooking and trying new food.
“I like to try out new things, but I never really seem to stick to them for a long while.”
Anita just graduated from school this past summer, and is now planning to continue for education in university.
“In the near future, my goal is to get into med school and become a surgeon. I also aspire to have a family, maybe move abroad and live a happy and fulfilled life.”
One day, she would also love to visit Canada and the US as well as vacation in places such as Bali and the Maldives.
Lastly, what does it mean to you to have a #ChampionshipMindset?
“To keep pushing forward through the difficult times and moments, and never settle. It means having the ability to focus on the things that matter, staying consistent in your work, and developing a growth mindset that will allow you to grow and improve no matter the circumstances.”