Tell where are you and how are you?
Diana: I am in Latvia, I am still alive, but there are some troubles and that’s why I can’t continue skating for now. An injury, which I had a year ago. I fell from quadruple jump and got injured.
I: It was before the Olympics?
Diana: Yes, it was before the Olympics, at summer. I tore the ligaments, didn’t skate for a month, then came back [to the ice]. and everything was okay, everything healed up, my ligaments were okay. And I fall again. And in this time the tendons were injured. I went to the doctor in Latvia, every month before the Olympics I had blockade, sometimes even two times per month, because the pain was incredible. And at the Olympics I was skating on willpower only. It hurts very much, I had pac of pain reliever and took about three pills per day, in other way I couldn’t even practice. It was hard.
I: Did you have a surgery? Or you will have it?
D: In April I will have pre-examination. The surgery is assigned at May, but the doctor said they need to examine everything again in April.
I: So maybe surgery won’t be needed, right?
D: Probably… But it’s unclear for now. It’s difficult.
I: Okay. So when we can expect you to be back on ice?
D: Next season. I hope to take part in some competition before Nationals, and go to Nationals. I do not remember how long keeps the scores for Europeans, maybe two years, so in this case I could go straight to Nationals without other competition. And then if it would be allowed - go to Europeans.
I: And what do you do all this time [off ice]?
D: I am studying. I have to finish 12 grade. Exams and everything.
I: And except studying how do you keep in shape?
D: Except studying I skate a little bit, when I have time, when I have the opportunity, when I have no students. Because I am coaching some kids in Ozolnieki and in Inbox ? help when they asked me to replace coaches… I do choreography in Inbox too… And if I have time I go to the ice. I don’t do jumps, I can’t - it hurts. I only try to do double ones or twice and that’s all. I do mostly spin. And I have improved spins actually, that’s good, because I had real troubles with spins. But now I have learned new spins. This make me really happy. I skate, try to feel legs, to make work my knees, to be soft…
I: Do you have some certain tasks from Stephane〔Lambiel〕?
D: Yes, something we already do, something I invent myself to feel skates, sometimes I make it difficult so I can really feel how to push myself, to work with legs. So, in the future I want to be able to show not simple skating, but at the highest level. Figure skating is not only about jumps and waving hands, but it also choreography and spins, and you have to show that you can glide and jump too, in a complex. And now I try to work with this, to have everything together and not only jumps or only choreography. In the end of last season, after Olympics I realized that I had good jumps, but… And well I improved my gliding and spins, but there is still a lot of work. So, I will do my best.
First thing on the ice always is a warm up [roll out]: we do steps, coaches invent unusual steps for us to make us think really hard, to make us fall… There is interesting situation when you do all steps, and everything is okay, and you start to relax, to think: “Now I can do this, everything is perfect”, and in the end fell on your face. And all coaches stand on the board like: “We knew it will be that way”. In the moment when you became boldness, you lose your head and start to fall all the time, that’s why you should always be concentrate on the ice.
Besides practices we all are studying. The school is important. After you retire you should be able to go somewhere, to go to university, And even when we are still skating we go to university… We are thinking about USA, about LSPA [Latvian Sport Academy]. So between practices we all are studying, I took lessons with tutors all the time.
I: And where you want to go after school?
D: Me with my parents was thinking a lot. I was thinking about Latvia, because I want to be a coach, so I could go to LSPA. And I also was thinking about USA, because I have enough grades to go somewhere… But everything will depend on my skating career. If everything will be okay I stay in Latvia and get education here. Because if I will go to USA university I have to live in USA, and I can’t afford it, because my coach is in Switzerland.
I: In the last season you start to learn quadruple jumps. How successful it was before you got injured?
D: Before I got injured… It was interesting. I said to my coaches that I tried quadruples in Saint Petersburg and I can try it here. And they like: cool, come on, surprise us! So, I started, I did triple first, I did it higher to keep myself, and then I said that I am ready and I will do quadruple. And the first one I underrotate at half. I didn’t do quadruples for year at that moment, and coaches was like: wow! maybe you will do full rotated to the end of month. We started to practice it slowly. It was closer and closer, there was quarter sometimes and one day I just go to the ice, do warm up, do triple salchow, go to the quad and just do it. And all coaches was like: wow! how?!
And when we was laughing ones, one coach told like: maybe you will do quad earlier than Deniss? And I was like: no way! I am a girl, it will be long…
But I did it, I believed in myself, and I said: let’s do another one! I started to do it and fall with so strange angle and my old injury was there again. After that I didn’t try quadruple again. After Olympics I didn’t skate two months, and when I was back, we with coaches decided that it’s time to try again, to surprise everybody. Why not if I can. And there was something close [to quad], but the fear was stronger. So was hard to concentrate and I didn’t reach clean quad. I said that I’d better will do triples, will heal up…
I: When you get better will you fight with this fear again?
D: Fear is always there. In any case. And I already know from my experience how it is when you come back after injury. I had injury when I was at junior level. I injured my leg, I sprained it, and six months was off ice. And when I came back, I have to be ready to Junior World in a month. And it was terrible, because when you didn’t skate six month and you need to restore everything in a month you and your coach should be a magician. But some way I did manage it. But every time when I started to do a jump, I was so afraid! What if I fell? What if something goes wrong? And when you have such doubts, even small ones, you can’t jump. Only when you let it go, and go to jump calm and concentrate, you will do it. But in the beginning there always is a fear and you go through it.
I: How long it was back then until you get rid of the fear?
D: I get rid of the fear after I did well. So, it was two or three practices when I did butterflies, single jumps. And then I was like: just do it already! And that’s it. The most important in our sport is let your thoughts go. Don’t think. When you start to think you start to do wrong and can’t fix it. When you just go for jump and think only how to do it better it’s easier. And the best way is thinking about the school in this moment.
I: I was always wondering when sometimes some jump is wrong and skater add another one or change it. You cannot let your thoughts go, you need to decide.
D: Well, let’s imagine: the first jump was wrong, for example it was a combination. You should forget about it, to say to yourself that it doesn’t matter. Imagine it didn’t happen. And you go and do next. Many of skaters don’t change the program, because it’s dangerous. But if it was a combination and you didn’t do that, you add this combination to the other jump. For example, I have lutz-toe loop the first and the next is flip, and I did just lutz, so I try to add toe loop to the flip.
I: When you do something like this is it better or no?
D: Frankly speaking, sometimes yes, sometimes no. If the competition is really important, you start to drive yourself mad. That happened to me at Europeans last year. When I did double lutz, I understand that I should do flip-toe loop after that, and I started to think, started to worry, to fear, and it couldn’t manage it, I fell down from flip and didn’t another jump. Somebody can let the situation go, somebody can’t. Sometimes I am absolutely cold-blooded, sometimes I start to drive myself mad and think: “Oh my god! Oh my god! What should I do?”. And when you start to think like this everything goes wrong. So, it’s difficult… Everything is in your head.
I: Let’s try to do some prognosis to the future. So, if in May you solve all problems with your health, so in summer you will do exams, and when you start to practice?
D: I have my English exam at March, then at the end of May and at June. So, I’ll be free at June already. But even if I have surgery after that a month, I won’t be able to do anything. So, all my time till middle of June I will spend in studying, and then I will start to recover, to go to the ice… It depends on Stephane and how he will plan all recovery process for me. I will do as he will say.