Sofia Biryukova: “My goals are always maximal”
Russia’s Sofia Biryukova will be one of participants of Finlandia Trophy 2011, which will be held this weekend in Vantaa, Finland. About this talented skater is said and written not so much as about other, more famous members of the Russian team. Nevertheless, Sofia doesn’t concede to them on quality of skating, on emotionality, expressiveness, artistry and also on the technique. She successfully has proved it, having performed very well at the last years’ Cup of Russia, where she finished in sixth place.
It is worth noting that she is very sociable with her fans, who can always ask her questions on the Formspring website.
WFS talked with Sofia about new programs, coming Finlandia Trophy and plans for the new season.
Sofia, let’s start with the traditional question of how was your preseason period.
Sofia Biryukova: In the last preseason period my coach, Viktoria Volchkova, and I gave a lot of attention to off-ice trainings for improvement of the physical form and endurance. As for the ice part of trainings, we changed the programs but a set of elements remains the same as in the previous year. We have also improved the quality of my spins and have worked hard on my skating skills improvements.
Early last month took place test skating events of the Russia’s national team. Whether you are happy with your performance in particular and with the readiness for a new season in general?
S. Biryukova: At the first test skatings my readiness was 50 % and consequently I wasn’t so happy with the result. At the next ones everything was much better. Now my readiness is much higher and I am more confident in myself, but I still have a lot of work.
Last year your short program was based on a serious and uneasy to perform music from the opera Tosca. Nevertheless, in my opinion, you have perfectly coped with an image of the given composition. What can you tell about your new short program?
S. Biryukova: This time my coach and I decided to experiment and trusted the creation of my short program to Sergei Komolov. On his recommendation, we took the music from the movie “Seven Years in Tibet”. Yes, the music style is very similar, but these are two different stories and I represent absolutely different characters – in Tosca the main character suffers, and in this story she waits with a hope.
And what about your new free skate program?
S. Biryukova: My free skate program is based on D. Puccini’s “Turandot” performed by Vanessa Mae. I had for a long time a desire to skate to this music. In the program I correspond to the story, which was created by Carlo Gozzi’s fairy-tale “Turandot”.
In this season, at the Grand Prix series, you will compete again at the Cup of Russia. It is clear that it’s always a pleasure to perform in front of your fans but at the same time for some skaters this fact also means more responsibility, which sometimes a little holds down an athlete. What do you think about it?
S. Biryukova: The venue of competitions doesn’t influence me at all. I just have to skate my programs well. Also, it is always very pleasant when you are supported by your audience.
Sofia, and how do you feel about that at the Finlandia Trophy, which starts this weekend, you are considered as one of the main favorites?
S. Biryukova: Frankly, I do not think about it. My goal is to skate clean my programs.
Looking your performances it is necessary to notice that you put very much in the emotional component of programs. What is easier to you to restore – physical or emotional strength?
S. Biryukova: For me, both physical and emotional states are connected. Usually after the competitions I have a small decline; it is associated with the fact that I give all the powers to my performances.
The competition in the Russian ladies’ single skating is growing every year. As far as I know, some of your potential rivals are also your friends in usual life. At your sight, how to separate competitive emotions and usual relations?
S. Biryukova: We have something to divide on the ice, but we don’t have anything to divide in usual life. Especially since many of the girls are very nice and pleasant to talk to.
Since last year you perform in senior skating. Do you watch the Junior Grand Prix and, if so, can you make a little prediction for the JGP Final this year?
S. Biryukova: Yes, I do. I watch mostly for the Russian athletes. It would be desirable to see as many as possible Russian juniors at the podium in Canada.
Sofia, tell us a few about your plans for this season.
S. Biryukova: My goals are always maximal (she smiles).
Interview by Vladislav Luchianov
Photo: courtesy of Sofia Biryukova
Sofia Biryukova, test skating performances – Short Program