"Perfectionist" Zagitova considered return to competition this season

Olympic champion reveals in RBC interview that she thought about returning during the season, and says she wants to visit space

By ZK Goh

Olympic figure skating champion Alina Zagitova, who has been on a competitive sabbatical since December 2019, says she thought about returning to the ice this season.

In an interview with Russian business media outlet RBC, the 18-year-old revealed she still follows competitions and watches them "in fragments, if I have time."

Zagitova, who last competed at the 2019/20 Grand Prix Final and has since focused on hosting a figure skating reality television competition called Ice Age, said she sometimes finds herself wondering how things might be if she was competing.

"I sometimes put myself in the shoes of a person who goes out skating. I remember my feelings," she said. "It's very difficult, I need to overrule myself."

Asked if she had had the desire to return, she responded yes – apparently without hesitation, before adding after a pause: "A lot.

"There are some nuances (stopping her from returning), but there are also moments that inspire (her to return). So we'll wait and see what happens."

In the interview, she also spoke of her future plans – including potentially going into space.

Journalism exams

A self-described "perfectionist", Zagitova said she took her role as captain of the "Red Machine" team at the Channel One Figure Skating Cup seriously.

"My task was to create a warm and at the same time energetic atmosphere around our team.

"Basically, I did all this for the team, to make them calmer, more confident; there was less stress."

Zagitova, who is studying journalism at university, also spoke of her life away from figure skating.

The student recently finished her exams, and spoke about receiving special treatment – although not from her teachers.

"To be honest, I thought that I would be treated differently, let's put it this way. On the other hand, I like that I am just as common a person for them as everyone else.

"There are such moments (where she is treated differently). I go somewhere in a mask, there is one attitude towards me; I take it off and everything is different. I personally don't like it.

"It seems to me that all people should be treated equally well."

Flying into space?

While Zagitova may not be returning competitively to the ice for now, perhaps one day we will see her rink-side – or even in outer space.

"Maybe I will try as a coach in the future, or become a journalist," she said when asked of her plans following her studies.

"I don't like to think about the distant future. Maybe I want to fly into space – by the way, I really have such a thought in my head."

For now, she will continue working on her commitments and on developing herself – and not let her critics get to her.

"Figure skating is generally very widely and massively discussed now," she said of receiving criticism for her role on Ice Age.

"Someone admires it, they criticise - this is normal.

"For myself, I am always looking for self-development and I know what I need to work on."