Ice Network

Strong support system key to Pitkeev's success

Russian trains alongside Lipnitskaia, got choreography from Zoueva
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Adian Pitkeev has found the training conditions in the United States superior to those in his home Russia. -Getty Images

The talk surrounding Russian figure skating the last few years has almost exclusively centered around the current crop of young, talented and successful ladies. And while that is understandable and well deserved, it has made it difficult for skaters from other disciplines to distinguish themselves.

Adian Pitkeev, who shares the ice with former world silver medalist and European champion Julia Lipnitskaia, is well aware of the obstacles he faces. Yet the student of Eteri Tutberidze is doing everything he can to carve out his own niche, one that he hopes will be every bit as memorable as that of his renowned teammate.

Last season, Pitkeev made his debut in the Grand Prix Series, where he finished sixth at both Skate America and Trophée Éric Bompard. After taking the bronze at the Russian championships, he finished seventh at his first European championships and wrapped up his season with a fifth-place finish at the world junior championships.

This offseason, the skater and his coach visited Canton, Michigan, where the young Russian worked with Marina Zoueva on the choreography for his new programs.

Icenetwork talked with Pitkeev about his trip to the U.S., his impressions of last season, his thoughts on his main rivals and his goals for the coming year.

Icenetwork: You recently returned from the United States, where you worked on your new programs with Marina Zoueva. Can you share your impressions of your collaboration with her, and on the trip in general?

Pitkeev: I have only exceptionally positive impressions. First, the ice rink there is in a very good location, near the hotel and close to shops and restaurants. The ice arena itself is also very good. But I want to note the main thing: a wonderful atmosphere on the ice. We got a very warm welcome from Marina and her team.

Icenetwork: What are some differences between how the training process and the creation of programs are approached in Russia and the U.S.?

Pitkeev: The main difference is that we paid money for the ice and worked there without any additional limits. For example, we paid for, say, five hours of ice time and all that time was completely at our disposal. It is good because in Russia I can spend only 1.5-2 hours choreographing a new program, while in America I could work on the ice all the day, taking breaks at any time. It's impossible to do the same in Russia.

Icenetwork: Tell us about some improvements you've made to your skating this offseason.

Pitkeev: I find it difficult to evaluate myself. I think that is best left to the audience, judges and coaches. А person who is not involved in an activity can better observe and judge what is going on.

Icenetwork: How are you getting ready for the new season? Do you plan to take part in some B-class events before the beginning of the major competitions?

Pitkeev: My preparation is going very well. At the beginning, I had some problems with my knee, but now everything is good and I'm working hard, as always. Together with my coaches, I have decided to take part in as many events as I can in order to develop the level of my performances. I really hope that it will bring (positive) results.

Icenetwork: Last season, you successfully debuted at the senior level, taking seventh place at your first European championships. What does that result mean to you?

Pitkeev: To be honest, I was not happy with that result. Because of my illness (after the Russian championships, Pitkeev got the flu and sinusitis), I could not prepare well for my first European championships. I know that if I skated at least like at the Russian nationals, I would have been higher in the standings. However, I hope to improve this result in the coming season.

Icenetwork: At junior worlds in Tallinn, Estonia, you did very well in the short program but the free skate didn't turn out so well. In your opinion, what determines the consistency of your performances and how do you intend to improve this aspect of your skating?

Pitkeev: My consistency depends on how well I'm landing my jumps. In Tallinn, everything went more or less smoothly in the training sessions, and prior to my free skate, I did everything just fine, including triple axel and quad. I do not know what happened during the performance, but, apparently, it was necessary. I think sometimes such failures are necessary for athletes.

Icenetwork: What do you think about your main rivals on the national stage, Maxim Kovtun and Sergei Voronov?

Pitkeev: Maxim improves his skating every year. His performances are powerful, and this is especially noticeable when you watch them while in the arena. Sergei also improves. Unfortunately, not everything turned well for him at worlds in Shanghai (where he finished 13th), but every day I see how hard he works, and it is very motivating and pushes me.

Actually, I am lucky to work alongside Sergei. He is a very nice person who always is supportive in the difficult moments. We have a good, friendly relationship based on mutual support. I hope that we both will show everything we have in the new season.

Icenetwork: Your coach, Eteri Tutberidze, says that you are the type of athlete that is always focused only on yourself. How do you manage to ignore the results of your rivals, the emotions of the fans, etc?

Pitkeev: Well, I have to manage it. Although, in recent times, I look more often at the results of my rivals, sometimes even minutes before my own performance. The main thing, though, is to do everything I'm capable of in the moment, and then let the judges decide the rest.

Icenetwork: Can you tell us about your new programs?

Pitkeev: I prefer not to talk about them at the moment. I want to tell about them on the ice, during my first performance. I can only say that I really like both my new short and long programs.

Icenetwork: In the Grand Prix Series this season, you will compete at Skate America and the Rostelecom Cup. Are you satisfied with your assignments? What are your goals for these events?

Pitkeev: I'm very happy with my assignments. I'm already used to America, and I like it a lot. I hope to show clean skating there, and then we'll see. … And, of course, I'm very happy that I finally got an opportunity to compete at an international event in my home country. Actually, I dreamed about it. There, I also hope to show decent performances.

Icenetwork: Tell us about your expectations for the new season and what would you like to achieve.

Pitkeev: I really want to become stronger in all aspects of skating. I want to become more consistent, more expressive, more emotional and, of course, I want the audience to like me.