Team captain last year, Elvira Matveeva skated with Team Paradise for six years. After the World Championships this spring, she decided to stop her career to focus on other activities related to synchro skating. Interview.
How did you start synchro skating?
It happened very unexpectedly. When I was 13, I decided that I wouldn’t skate anymore because I didn’t have results in single skating. And I don’t like jumps. But I loved skating in general. Junior synchronized skating had just resumed at our skating school. I tried skating with the junior team, and it became the biggest part of my life. I remember my first French Cup as a junior in 2012. I saw the strongest senior teams: Unique, Marigold, IceUnity, and others. After that, I fell in love with synchro.
Do you remember the first training with Team Paradise?
Yes, sure. It was tryouts. I was very nervous because I didn’t know that I could try that year. My junior coach and choreographer (Tatiana Shikirun and Sergey Shtykov) said that I should try, and I believed them.
And then, you became the captain of Team Paradise?
Yes, just one year, although my first interview as assistant captain was in Colorado. It was the coaches’ decision. I’ve grown with Team Paradise. Over the years, my teammates and I have made it all the way from placing in the top 6 to consistently winning titles year in, year out. I am a confident, calm and ambitious person.
Could you explain to us your experience as a team captain?
It was a good experience. I learned to be more empathic and responsible. I felt that my teammates trusted me. I think these are the main things.
What was the best moment for you with Team Paradise?
The best moment was the bronze medal in Canada (2015 Worlds). All our parents, friends and close people were crying of happiness and we, of course. I want to say big thanks to the girls who have skated on the team during these years. Another very nice thing happened this year. Synchrophoto magazine put a picture of me on the cover of their magazine. I was very pleased! Thanks!
And… the worst moments?
All the worst moments are related to teammates’ and my own injuries.
Why did you choose to quit skating this spring?
I've been skating at the highest level for a long time now. So I've decided to move on to the next challenge. I really love synchro skating and I want it to become my long-term career.
What are now your goals?
To help aspiring teams reach the next level and gain coaching experience in the future.
What do you think about the development of synchro in Russia?
Unfortunately, people don't know much about synchronized skating in our country. I have a funny story about this. Once we were walking with some of my teammates after practice (it was training camp), and a woman asked us what kind of sport we played. We said we were synchronized figure skaters, and she asked how we could hear music underwater (she thought about synchronized swimming). We do have very strong juniors teams that may grow into strong senior teams in the future. I hope with time more people learn about the synchro world on ice!
What is your opinion about the development of synchro in general?
I know that a lot of people are waiting for jumps from us because it is exciting for them. But others want to see more synchro moves. I like to see synchro moves and interesting transitions because the other skating disciplines can't use such things.
Thanks to the people who develop our sport, especially those who are involved in promoting the sport! Big thanks for your news, information, and amazing photos!