The harsh reality of Russian figure skaters
When it comes to the invasion of Ukraine, the Quebecer who has lived in Russia for more than 12 years weighs her words. The tension is palpable.
There are a lot of differences of opinion. It can obviously create conflicts, even in familiesshe just says.
If she is not worried about the safety of her family at the moment, the outbreak of this war immediately had consequences on her daily life. His way of life changed overnight.
It has an impact on supply. We already have a shortage of certain products. There was no more sugar at a certain point. There are many products that have tripled in price. Changing the oil for the car is extremely expensiveshe says.
His parents phone him every day and hope for his return to Quebec. She knows that she will always have this exit door, but for the moment, there is no question of returning.
My children are at school. And I love my job here. I don’t want to leave my husband alone either. As long as it’s safe, I don’t wanna leaveshe assures.
This war will also have had consequences on the school of figure skating that she founded with her husband, the Russian skater Alexander Volkov. The couple lost many students who have dual citizenship and therefore chose to leave the country out of fear for their safety.
Martine Dagenais works in particular with Artem Kovalev, an 18-year-old skater among the most promising hopes in the country. The war, however, thwarted the plan that had been established.
It was his year to make the world juniors. He was going there and the war was started. Unfortunately, he can’t go. And it’s sad because he is of very high caliber, he makes all his quadruples. He could have been in the top three there.
At 18, he understands everything that’s going on and it makes him nervous, she says. It is unclear whether the Russians will be accepted at the grand prizes next year. Here, young boys are forced to do military service for a year, unless you are part of the national team. But Artem had to make the jump with the national team by going to the junior worlds. We are therefore waiting to know what we will allow him to do or not.
It has become particularly difficult to keep athletes motivated. Russian athletes are plagued by uncertainty. What will happen? How long will the war last? Will they be admitted to the next Olympics?
It’s hard and it’s frustrating because these athletes have nothing to do with it, argues Martine Dagenais. They have worked all their lives for these moments. And there they find themselves wondering whether or not it’s worth continuing.
It’s like all of Russia is doped
This war is the last straw for many Russian skaters.
The country was once again plunged into the center of controversy at the last Beijing Olympics when Kamila Valieva received a positive result in a doping test taken at the end of December. The story of the ROC figure skater has gone around the world.
Obviously, in Moscow, it was the shock wave. But Martine Dagenais was far from surprised.
Students from Eteri (Tutberizde), they can’t be naturally strong like that, she says. It almost cannot be. It’s unreal. I know some are clean, so that’s why it’s hard to say they’re all into doping…
It shocks us because it puts a bad image on all Russians. A girl is taken for doping, it’s as if all of Russia is doped. I find it a shame because we are not well seenshe adds.
A new Canadian representative?
Martine Dagenais’ daughter, Alexa, is one of those talented athletes, but who has no chance of one day being part of the Russian national team. Luckily for her, she also holds Canadian citizenship.
Canada.","text":"Elle a 13 ans, alors elle est trop jeune pour être dans les grands prix cette année, mais ce sera l’année prochaine. J’ai déjà parlé avec Manon Perron et la fédération de patinage artistique. On est dans le processus en ce moment de faire la libération de la Russie pour qu’elle puisse représenter le Canada."}}”>She’s 13, so she’s too young to be in the grand prix this year, but it will be next year. I have already spoken with Manon Perron and the figure skating federation. We are currently in the process of freeing Russia so that it can represent Canada.
I wish her the chance to visit the world and compete at a high level. It is certain that I am very proudshe concludes.
Fifteen years ago, Martine Dagenais ended her career after being part of the Canadian figure skating team. And today, his daughter Alexa is very likely to take up the torch.