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August 30, 2021
Hometown: Moscow, Russia
Favouite Colour: Yellow
Currently training in Balashikha, Moscow region, Maria's skating journee began at the age of five.
"As a child, I was very ill, so my mother sent me to ballet on ice to strengthen my immune system. When applying for documents, my Grandmother came to the ice ballet school and enrolled me in professional sports instead. Therefore, in addition to immunity, I began to harden my nerve cells."
A singles skater until the age of thirteen, Maria notes that she was often very stubborn and had a resilient personality when it came to training.
"I did not listen to the coaches and parents who told me, from the age of seven, that I needed to try ice dance because of my plasticity and flexibility. I couldn't do jumps in three turns, no matter how much I practiced but in group, I always had my leg raised very high and it was difficult to retrain."
"Therefore, at the age of thirteen, after an unsuccessful training session, where I rode all the ice on my ass and did not land a single jump, I agreed to try out with a partner in ice dance to spite everyone."
"When I agreed, I didn't think that I would like it or that I would stay. For three years, I skated for the Russian national team with Alexander Vaskovich. We trained with Ekaterina Rubleva and Ivan Shefer. Later our paths diverged and [we both began training with different groups]. "
"The world of figure skating is small, and that's how we ended up with one coach - Denis Samokhin and again began training in the same group again, but this time with different partners."
"I am very glad that we have managed to maintain good relations between each other. We are friends and I sincerely wish for him to achieve his goals! For me, this is also an important aspect of sport – no matter what happens, you still need to respect others' choices and never wish poorly for someone."
"After Alexander, my life changed a lot, because I moved to a new group, to a new partner, Georgy Revia, to a new federation (Georgia) and since 2017, a new dance duo has appeared - Maria Kazakova & Georgy Reviya. "
During the 2019/20 season the team aceived a victory at the Junior Grand Prix Final, Silver at the Junior World Championships, and 14th place at the European Championship.
"That season, my partner and I practiced competitions both at the senior and junior level. It was a very busy season because we skated three completely different programs and there was twice as much work to do as usual."
"I would like to note that the competition and the relationship of rivals to each other are very different for juniors and seniors. After the junior events, when we attended the European Championships, I was very surprised at how much respect the athletes had for each other. Their conscious attitude to the sport and other athletes inspired me to work harder."
"After all, many Athletes at the junior level begin to 'fight like dogs', completely forgetting about their love for their work and respect for their peers."
"I understand perfectly well that this is a sport, and 'going over heads' is normal, but when you get to senior competition, there is no such attitude. Everyone does their job and focuses on themselves, not about the results of others."
"There have been various difficulties since. We missed the 2020/21 season and did not perform, but now that everything is getting better, I really want to break into the new season and show what I have not experienced for so long, what we have trained."
Q: Who is someone in your life that inspires or motivates you?
"I am motivated and inspired by my mother. She is a strong and wise woman who has been through a lot."
"I really appreciate it and I am grateful to her, that in the most difficult moments, she helps me cope with fears and doubts. She helps me get back on track and continue doing what I love."
"Therefore, I am constantly amazed at her 'sober' mind and ability to get out of any situation!"
Q: Who was your skating ‘role-model’ when you were younger?
"Ekaterina Gordeeva. An incredible woman who survived loss, but remained faithful to her favorite business. After the death of her partner, she came out with a solo number on one of the shows and performed it with such emotion that I will always remember."
"I still admire the strength of this woman's spirit."
Q: What is your favourite element in skating?
"I love to skate step sections and one foot step sections. I get great pleasure from the sound of deep ribs, from high speed, and from clean long arcs."
"In the last year, I have practiced a lot [of skills] without a partner - riding alone. After such training, I felt the result - when you just get pleasure from the fact that you can roll hard without the help of a partner; being self-sufficient."
Twizzles. - [This is definitely becoming a theme amoungst our #ChampionsLeague!]
"I used to be unstable in this element and my partner didn't like it very much. He had two options for getting out of the situation - either to accept it or to help me and train me."
"For his mental health – so that he wouldn't get upset when something didn't work out for me – he helped me with twizzles and made me do them with variations like putting my hands behind my back, twisting them like a helicopter, and closing my eyes."
"Thanks to leaving my comfort zone, I became more confident in this element!"
"Thanks to Gosha for this!"
Q: What is your favourite type of off-ice training?
"I really like to dance. It helps me to distract myself, as well as to liberate myself."
"I am also very calmed by the pool. My zodiac sign is cancer, so I feel like a mermaid in the water. Water calms me, relaxes me, and helps me to set the right priorities and think about my goals."
"I love swimming [because it helps me to] think a lot, dream a lot, and just concentrate on tasks. I think this activity can also be attributed to a type of meditation. Because it helps me to find a clean mind and stop dwelling on failures."
Q: Do you do any other type of visualization or meditation?
"I always visualize all of my programs in my head to convince myself that I have done all of the elements perferctly and repeatedly. A quick scroll through the programs in my head helps me collect all of the key points and to focus on what is the most important."
"Three weeks prior to competitions, I also start practicing breathing exercises that help me to recover from exertion, as well as clear my mind."
Q: Do you have any pre-competition rituals or superstitions?
"I must definitely put the right skate on and then the left one. Then I lace up the skates on the contrary - first the left, then the right. I also set myself up for competitions with rock music. Such a small, cute girl with AC/DC headphones."
"And of course, the longest and most uplifting ritual for me is preparing myself for the event-make-up and hairstyle. I allocate two hours for [my process] – starting with a shower and ending with the last touches of hairspray. All of this takes place under the music that plays from the speaker."
Q: You're at an event, on the ice, waiting for your music to begin… what are you thinking?
"I try not to think, but just do everything that I have trained for preparing for the competition. When I get into the first pose , it is important for me to have a clear mind to do everything that I can."
Q: Did you ever endure some type of adversity in your career?
"There are difficulties in the life of every athlete. The older the athlete, the more difficulties there is to overcome."
"[Personally], in elementary school I missed some lessons at school due to day training, but I kept the status of an excellent student. My classmates talked about it and bullied me. Of course, like any child, it was unpleasant for me, but I could not find a common language with them. Therefore, I am insanely [grateful to have skating] since childhood, where I [could always focus focus], give my best 100%, and go into my 'own world'; where I did not pay attention to the opinions of my peers."
"Therefore, I want to inspire everyone who was once called names or bullied for their favorite business, to not listen to anyone who doubts you! While others are talking about you - you take it and do it! Just go ahead and don't stop. If they are trying to lead you astray, [always remember that] you are on the right road. Only you make decisions about who to be and what to do!"
Q: Have you learned any life lessons from skating?
"It taught me to count only on myself. As sad as it may sound, figure skating confronts children with betrayal, deception, profit, hypocrisy, humiliation, and contempt from an early age."
"Having gone through this, I can say with confidence that I have learned to make decisions regarding my life by myself. Every step that I take, takes place with a great awareness of why I am doing this, for what purpose, trust – but check."
"Many people start communicating with you after [you have acheived] some success. They begin to make friends for the sake of profit and PR. Sports hardens the character and helps [you to] not to pay attention to the opinions of others."
"Sport [also helps to develop qualities such as] endurance, strength – both physical and mental, perseverance, patience – when you can't perform an element for a long time and [then eventually acheive it], and much more."
"Sport also obliges you to monitor your health and teaches you to eat right! Thanks to sports, I have [been able to incorporate many healthy] habits even [during] vacation, from which I [actually] get pleasure such as, getting up early, jogging, performing physical activities, and eating healthy food."
"Sport teaches you to enjoy the little things."
Q: What is it that you love most about skating?
"I like to meet athletes who enjoy every minute spent on the ice. I love to look at the spark in their eyes [because this] inspires me very much. Usually, such athletes bring something new to the sport, which is [a unique characteristic for them]. These can be new elements, new variations, new [technique], and new [visuals] that did not exist before."
"Therefore, I strive to be one of these athletes. I want to inspire people!"
Q: What is your ultimate goal with skating?
"I want to be remembered!"
"I want to be unusual, bright, and strange in a good way. I want people to recognize me as a fanatic of my business. I want to be remembered for my uniqueness and individuality."
"I want to prove to myself that everyone deserves to be on the podium at important competitions. It doesn't matter who you are or what country you represent; if you work tirelessly and do everything to achieve maximum results, you will succeed."
Q: If skating didn’t exist and you could be anything else in the world what would it be?
"I would connect my life with dancing, ballet, or with gymnastics. For me, dance is the soul; Any movement is a word. This is the way I like to "say" something."
"Every artist, be it a photographer, an artist, a dancer, a figure skater, a gymnast, a director, a singer/speaker has their own way of 'oratory'. They all tell their story, share their experience or shout about important things with their work. My way is movement; it's a dance. Therefore, I try to convey my feelings through the sensations of movements."
Q: What is something funny or unique that most people don’t know about you?
"I'm a crazy kid at heart! I have been wearing multi-colored socks for a long time and have never worn the same ones. I really like ball games - football, volleyball, pionerball, but I can't be friends with the ball - it constantly aims at my face."
"I love cartoons. And soft toys! Yes, yes, now you understand why there is a crazy child in the heart of me."
Q: What's your spirit animal?
"I am so different that it seems to me that several spiritual animals have accumulated in me."
A sly fox – who wants something
The cat from the cartoon Shrek with big eyes – when I beg for something sweet from someone
A tigress – when I am determined to achieve a result… I become serious and go ahead
A loud elephant – when it is necessary to pass silently, unnoticed and not disturb anyone
A funny bunny – when I prepare a surprise for someone. I constantly jump and impatiently want to tell everything.
"…So it all depends on the mood haha."
Q: Do you have any hobbies outside of skating?
"I really like to try new things! I love activity and madness!"
"I played guitar for a long time and [have attended hip-hop and jazz funk dance classes]."
"I really like to drive, travel, and break off somewhere in the country for a couple of days."
"I also like to ride bicycles and an electric scooter – but I can't "make friends"with it."
"I really like to read and study. Therefore, I try to attend lectures in the library near my house, and take new books. As a child, my dad told me a lot of historical facts on walks, so now, since I rarely see him, I miss it."
Currently studying at two institutes simultaneously, Maria is a third-year student at the sports university of RSUPESY&T where she is studying to become a coach and is a sophomore at GITIS University, where she is studying to become a choreographer under the guidance of E. A. Tchaikovsky.
"I [would also] really like to study psychology and perhaps I will plunge into this field in the future. For now, my plans are to link my life with figure skating even after my career ends."
"My dream is to become a creator of programs for athletes around the world. I have crazy fantasies and a lot of ideas that I want to implement!"
"I also [connect] with children very quickly, so I really want to share my experience in the future with the younger generation of figure skaters!"
Q: Where's one place you would love to visit one day?
"America. I've never been there, but I'm madly dreaming of being there!"
"As a child, my friends flew there and told exciting stories from the bright Disneyland and noisy New York. For me it was like pictures from the movies; as if everything was made up."
"My mother and I could not financially pull a two-week vacation in America. Therefore, this childhood dream has remained. I really want to realize it in the future - to fly with my mother to America."
Lastly, What does it mean to you to have a #ChampionshipMindset?
"Set crazy goals for yourself and go to them no matter what! While others are talking - you take it and do it! You just go ahead and don't stop. If people gossip or try to lead you astray – [remember that] you are on the right road. If you work tirelessly and do everything to achieve maximum results - you will succeed."
"Just remember that only you make decisions about who to be and what to do!"