A correspondent at the end of the Russian Grand Prix series in figure skating talks about the chances of winning gold at the Russian Championship for Evgeni Plushenko's student – 17-year-old Sofia Muravyova.
Sofia Muravyova’s performance in the Russian Grand Prix series made people talk about her as a contender for a medal at the upcoming national championship. There is a possibility that she will win gold – Sofia herself was close to ideal at the stage in Kazan, and none of her competitors showed impeccable stability at two starts in a row. We don’t yet have such plus-starters as Anna Shcherbakova. There are no untouchables like Kamila Valieva with her cosmic components, which, as practice has shown, are also subject to denomination. There is no one with the complexity of Alexandra Trusova. And even the current champion Sofia Akatieva is not there – she is recovering from a serious injury.
Everyone else is both motivated and vulnerable. They are burdened with remarkable talent, ambitions and at the same time do not have titles that would be worthy of them. The Russian Championship is the only hearty dish that our federation puts on the hunger games table in the absence of the European and World Championships.
Sophia, of course, really wants this gold. Even if she doesn’t visualize it directly, she doesn’t pin a paper circle colored with a yellow marker on a cork board with the title “Dreams and Goals of Sofia Muravyova.” Only in her last mixed zone, the skater emphasized several times that failure at the second stage was bitter and offensive, but “probably it’s not as important for me as the Russian Championship.”
Based on her level, Muravyova could really qualify for the highest places. It is perfectly equipped technically, has no gaps in gliding and non-jumping elements, is artistic and flexible. A person’s imagination wants to cling to something familiar, so Sophia can be described as follows: she’s kind of like Caroline Costner, but more shrill. Like Alena Kostornaya, but more humble. Like Gabriela Papadakis, but she is responsible for everything herself, without the shoulder of her ideal partner.
She's not as fashionable as others, but she's true to herself. She wears “mother’s” dresses, shows programs that could be described as “intellectual cinema,” strives to speak beautifully and is captivating with her spontaneity. To some, she seems a little out of this world, to others – the embodiment of mystery and femininity. The closest known heroine in terms of all these qualities and external similarity is the subtle and unusual sorceress girl Luna Lovegood from the book about Harry Potter.
Luna, by the way, turned from a minor character in the finale, if not into one one of the main ones, then plays a very important role. Sofya Muravyova is now closer to this than ever.
The impression of Sofia Muravyova’s skating is enhanced by her emotions after the skate. Perhaps because a strong contrast is visible – Costner's adult presentation and very childish (without a bad meaning) reactions to mistakes. It’s like a triple axel. Sonya jumps not only face forward, but also with her soul outward. Crushed ice from under a tooth after an unsuccessful landing is like salt in a wound. Therefore, in two days of competition – three Axels with errors, one extra triple Lutz and two tears.
In her career, she went through an interesting experience – she had an internship with Eteri Tutberidze and was not accepted into the group. The reasons for the refusal were then given to her, but Sophia herself did not want to make them public. You can understand it – just open your vulnerable spot to the eyes of others, and everyone will hit there – rivals, spectators, even journalists.
She seemed to have let go of this situation a long time ago, and besides, she turned out to be in demand elsewhere – she has been training with Evgeni Plushenko for several years and does not complain about mutual understanding. But Sofia, firstly, is a perfectionist, like most Russian singles skaters. Her credo is pure hire or life. Secondly, the voice of such an authoritative coach as Tutberidze cannot help but sound intrusively and offensively in the head of an excellent student at those moments when she most needs self-confidence.
In general, Muravyova has something to prove to others and herself. As if there is pain inside that simply needs to be anointed with healing gold or other noble metal. She clearly feels that she is ready to be a real leader, and not just “one of.” That is why he so willingly and gratefully accepts attention and applause when he wins unconditionally, as was the case in Kazan. She gives journalists soft hearts, which, like her dresses, were sewn by her mother. She glows and is ready to be frank – an expensive price to pay these days.
But when Sophia makes a mistake, it seems as if it becomes difficult for her to fight further. This is understandable – perfection has already been lost, and nothing else excites the perfectionist. And after the rental, a rhetorical question-lamentation – “why with me?”
No, Sonya, not only with you. Every figure skater has fallen from a triple Axel at some point, but not everyone can do it. Everyone sometimes makes mistakes with content, performs unacceptable elements, overdoes the timing and loses their medal by pennies of points. One ride is not equal to a lifetime, one mistake does not cancel many years of work and dedication. Do not devalue your individuality with perfection – it, unlike individuality, is not alive and does not glow.
The Russian Championship is such a start where it is impossible to resist without rope nerves and a willingness to gnaw out the ice centimeter by centimeter on the way to pedestal, even if thrown far back by a mistake on the first costly jump. So in the next three weeks, it makes sense for Sophia’s coaches to focus not only on the axel, full skates and adjusting the fastener of the dress – this time she came undone in the free program. Believing in yourself and the willingness to deviate from the ideals of perfectionism right during the performance is what can really help Sofya Muravyova win the title.