Overcome adversity: how I won my first competition.
Ksenia’s diary, May 2023
Yesterday I won a Russian adult figure skating competition in pre-bronze free skate 1. Of course, I’m happy, but I also noticed, how easy it is for me to be proud of others, like my skating buddies, but so hard to be equally proud of myself. Maybe it’s the influence of this cruel sport that I chose: everything must look effortless and be perfect from the ends of your hair to the sparkling bead on your laces? When I found out that I scored first, my knee-jerk thoughts were: “I simply got lucky today”, “My main rivals had moved from pre-bronze to bronze, so it was hard not to win”, etc. Not to mention the bitterness with which my inner critic is scolding me for that soft knee on the spiral, uncentered spin and oh, that jump of faith that I swopped for a waltzy (“Oh, loop jump, why are you so cruel to me?”) All of that crap instead of acknowledging, that I did well and I deserved this!
Honestly, this was the first season that I started competing, in December. The same time I moved to the UK, leaving behind my great coach, my skating group and access to 6 ice arenas in St. Petersburg. In the UK, literally every day has been a battle for ice — finding a suitable session, a coach who’s okay to work with an adult skater and a Russian. For months I was trying to craft a schedule of routines to help me to at least not lose the skills, that I’d acquired in St.Petersburg.
I enjoyed my first adult skating camp experience in April and was happy to notice, that I’m starting to skate stronger and learn new elements. But then— out of the blue — I had a nastiest fall, spraining my right ankle… It happened 6 weeks ago and I was devastated. By that time I’d already applied for the main competition in St.Peter’s at the end of May, where I was planning to go for my vacation.
I didn’t realise or didn’t want to realise , how bad it was and was expecting to be okay in a couple of weeks. But — I spent the first week jumping around the flat on my left leg and walking on crutches. I was able to walk straight, with a limb, but without the crutches, by mid of the 2nd week, but stairs had been a challenge. Week 3 — I put my skates on and made myself go out on ice, where I spent the whole session basic stroking forwards along the rink — it was that scary and painful. When my coach saw me limping towards the rink (wearing the skates), she didn’t believe I could skate.
My balance in spirals and spins (both on the injured leg) started to come back 2 weeks ago, bit by bit, working through the pain and controlling every move. Jumps became a lottery game.
Why all this torture? That’s easy to answer: it is love, love for figure skating on ice and, in my case, as well, a therapy. I am learning to skate not for the scores, but for pleasure, the feeling of flying and with respect and curiosity to my journey in this sport. I like the person I’m becoming too.
I’m starting to come to absolute peace with the fact that it doesn’t matter much, if no one appreciated or noticed my soul, revealing itself on the ice at the competition yesterday; what’s important is that I didn’t chicken out, give up or fall, and only I actually know, what it was worth.
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