Faces of Synchro
1 athlete, 2 ISU teams, 4 programs
Since the age of 11, Angelina Shapovalova lives far from her parents to skate in Crystal Ice. She's now the captain for the Junior and Senior teams. (Credits: Ice Galaxy Photography - 2020)
The pandemic of Covid-19 transforms our daily lives, limiting us in many ways. However, it can’t stop us from online-communication and virtual travels. Let’s mentally go to Russia and talk to Angelina Shapovalova, the team captain of Crystal Ice Junior and Crystal Ice Senior.
Angelina Shapovalova: My story in Crystal Ice began a long time ago, back in 2012. My mom suggested that I try out for the team, and I agreed. I started skating in Crystal Ice when I was 11 years old. I was just a kid. My parents lived in another town, so I couldn't see them very often. I really missed them. My coaches - Badyaeva Olga Nikolaevna and Kobazeva Daria Andreyevna - became my second parents. They not only trained me but also educated me. They taught me so much and, as they often say, they made "a man of me".
Over the last 2 seasons, you and several other athletes have been skating both for the Senior and Junior division. How is the training process organized?
Undoubtedly, it is difficult to skate in two teams at the same time. Physical training and moral stress are doubled. The number the athletes, who skate for both teams, evolves during the season. For example, at the beginning of the season 2019-2020, there were three, but at the competition in Sheffield (Steel City Trophy), 7 girls finally skated 4 programs. The thing is that our coaches often shuffle the team, and we have learned how to quickly adapt to these changes. The experience that we get while skating for two teams is priceless. Thanks to this, we have more ice practices, and also more respect for the other teammates. Besides, we also get 4 different and cool programs and none of them have time to get boring by the end of the season.
Of course, sometimes there are some difficulties with starting order, for example, when the Junior team skates in the last group and the Seniors have to perform in the first one. When this happens, you have to clean your mind, completely change the image and mood in a very short time and start all over again. Oh, and of course, you also have to change your makeup and hair.
Which performance do you find easier to skate, the first or the second program?
This may be really personal, but for me, the junior short program is the most exciting feeling, because it makes the mood. If we skate the first performance lightly and clean, we can start the second one in a better way. Nevertheless, if I was asked to skate the next season in one team or in two teams, I would not hesitate! I would even choose to skate in three teams (if it would be possible).
One day our choreographer Sergei Komolov and I promised each other that he shall become one day the coach of the World Champions. We shall bring this goal to life. If not, it would seem that we failed. The WJSSC 2020 in Nottingham was my last Junior Worlds. However, recently, the age restrictions were changed for Juniors in synchro due to the coronavirus. And I was like: “Well, ISU, it sounds like a challenge”. So, both teams are looking forward to the new season. We can’t wait to go back to training. The junior team should raise the bar and don’t stop developing. For the senior team, the main goal is to qualify for the Worlds.
In terms of the pandemic, how do you continue to train and keep in shape?
Unfortunately, at the moment we can’t train together, either on the floor nor on the ice, of course. Therefore, every day we keep our physical condition at home, doing exercises and stretching. We pay attention to what we eat so that the ice doesn’t break under us when the pandemic will be over. We miss each other and our coaches. We also miss training so much, but now it is extremely important to keep calm, not to cause panic and to support loved ones.
It’s a good question... As everybody knows, victories are never easy, they are not gifts, they must be earned with hard work. During the season it seems to you that you work at maximum and it is simply impossible to do more. Only after defeating you start understanding that you haven’t worked enough. It’s especially palpable when you’re about to win. Unfortunately, the senior team has a lack of ice practices and I think that it could have affected the result we got.
What makes Crystal Ice different?
I think that our team is special in everything. We have unique coaches, thanks to who we are not only good athletes, but also one big Crystal Ice family. We often take the most daring images for our programs. Our choreographer Sergey Komolov and our coaching staff come up with something new and unusual every year. We do not adhere to any particular style. Our team is distinguished by expression and vivid images. We are not shy to show all the emotions to the audience and surprise with our unpredictability. I can also mention that during the season we can change programs like socks. Our coaches confidently go for it and we completely trust them in everything.