Russian figure skating star and Team Riedell member Elena Radionova recently visited our factory here in Red Wing, MN. After traveling around the world and landing in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, she took the time to sit down with us so we could catch up with the bubbly skating champion. Below is an interview spanning subjects from competition, to school to her dog! We had a lot to talk about, so keep an eye out for Part Two of the interview.
Hi Elena! It’s been one year since you visited Riedell in Red Wing, MN. Can you tell us about how your life has changed since your visit?
Well the biggest change is I’m graduating High School! I have been waiting for exam results right now and University (College) will start next year. My studies will focus on Physical Education – Sports Science.
And how is your dog?
He is good. I wanted to bring him to the US but it is too long of a flight for him and he has an easy life at home. I really like to spend time with my dog and he cheers me up and helps with stress.
Tell us more about your plans for this trip to North America?
I have been waiting a long time for this trip because I really like visiting Minnesota. I came to be refitted for skates and to meet with Riedell. I hope to have some fun with friends and get in some business meetings while in MN.
What was your favorite memory from last season?
I’m certain that there isn’t just one but probably my most favorite memory was the day when I won the Grand Prix – Russian Cup because it was a season’s best. It made me very happy.
Is there anything that you can share with us about your plans/goals/aspirations for next season? Can you give Team Riedell any previews of 2017?
I hope to continue to improve at my sport, learn some new elements, and make a new program that challenges me to keep growing. I want to continue to develop myself and not stay in one place.
Which elements are you working on for next season?
All kinds of new jump combos—I’m still in the process of learning, so I’m not sure what will end up in my program but I will let you know as soon as the program is finished.
This year I also hope to get my driving license and drive a car, learn some English so that I don’t need a translator when I’m in the US, and get my braces off!
Last season, I was so busy and had stuff like show programs lined up right after competition and exams so I didn’t get any rest. I only took one week off. In the US, skaters keep skating right through but in Russia it is a little bit different and skaters usually take 2-3 weeks off at the end of their season. I didn’t get a chance to do that this year because of commitments. Maybe this year will be different but because I didn’t take a rest I can now focus more on my new program and choreography rather than getting back into habits and catch up.
What do you like best about your Riedell skates?
I really love that they are super comfortable to skate in. It’s very important to know that my boots really fit and Riedell Skates fit well. It doesn’t take me long to get used to them. Some other skates hurt and need to be adjusted. Thank you to Riedell for the opportunity to wear the Fusion Skates – they fit so well right away and are so comfortable.
Elena at a Minnesota Twins game.
This is a pretty important year for you – having just graduated from high school and now in the process of entering a university. How are you feeling about this transition?
I spend my days thinking about figure skating a lot. Of course, I care about my exam results and am anxiously awaiting them, but I care more about skating. I am always thinking about my new program or wanting to be on the ice. I’m just putting all of myself into my skating right now rather than worrying about University.
What are you excited for at university?
I still cannot believe its graduation because it still feels like I just entered first year. I’m excited for the new experience and studying something new. I’m excited to try a new way of more independent education.
In almost half a year you are going to turn 18 – how will you celebrate?
I am excited to celebrate my next birthday. I of course do not have any plans yet since it is so early but it will be a very important one and I hope to do something very exciting. Maybe have a nice dinner. It’s a hard time of year to have a birthday with skating training but I hope to celebrate with something fun. It is hard to do anything too large because of the time of year.
What can we find you doing in your free time between studying and training?
This year I didn’t have a lot of free time. I was always studying, going to school or skating. In my free time I had a lot of shows and other commitments too. I was just very busy and it was hard to do anything extra. I was practicing so hard and when not practicing my teachers were coming to our home to keep me caught up. Sunday was really my only rest day and I usually would try to be with friends and going out.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated when life is busy or you are stuck in a training rut?
I don’t think about being busy too much. I just understand that this is what my lifestyle is. I just know that I really love figure skating and I chose this lifestyle. I try to stay focused because this is what I love and I want to do well. My love for skating keeps me motivated.
What is your favorite on-ice exercise or skill to practice?
I really love all parts of skating. I really likes to jump, but don’t have a favorite jump. I just like to put on some really nice music and feel free at skating and express myself on ice. I feel like I’m myself on ice.
What is your least favorite on-ice exercise or skill to practice?
I get sick and I don’t like to spin for very long.
*This interview was translated to English from Russian.
Stay tuned for Part Two of our conversation with Riedell skater Elena Radionova!
In the meantime: happy skating, #TeamRiedell and #TeamEclipse!
To read more of Elena’s interview visit Part 2