Interview with Ivan Bariev
The Hague, March 2012

Q: How do you rate this season?

A: I rate this season as very good because I got really good results. Finally I wasn’t bothered by injuries. I started to do the triple Axel, finally got my Lutz and flip back and I did well at Nationals. Everywhere I presented myself very well and I think that’s a good start for the next season.

Q: What were you expectations for The Hague? How do you feel about this competition? It was very strong, wasn’t it?

A: Yeah, it’s very strong to compete with such I can say stars like Brian Joubert, Florent Amodio, who is my group mate, but he is already European Champion...that’s already a name...that’s really cool. It was great to skate with them and to try myself to compete with them. This competition is going to show how much I can do - if I am still far away from them or I already close. It is going to show what I need to work on.

Q: What do you think after the short program? How close are you?

A: After the short program I think that’s pretty good.I get some  minusses  and  I could be a little bit closer and I think that’s pretty good, that I’m not so far from them ... so I just need to work harder.

Q: What do you expect from the coming season? What do you plan?

Q: For next season I plan first to show and try out one quad for sure, in the short program already. And maybe I will have two quads in free program. My plan is to go first to the Cup of Russia as a Senior Grand Prix and to go to the European Championships. I don’t know about Worlds, but I plan to go to Europeans.

Q: Who had the ideas with these new programs and costumes? Who chose it?

A: Nikolai Morozov! He did it everything. First I had one short program... some kind of Irish music. But then we changed the short. When we were in USA we’re thinking a lot which music to take for the free program and we had a lot of music. Then we finally decided to take the Phantom of the Opera. I visited the musical in USA on Broadway. I like it so much and I try to show maximum from this.

Q: Will you keep both programs in the next season?

A: I think I’m going to change the short maybe after I after the Words. As for the free program I’m not sure. Maybe I’m going to make a few changes to the music, but maybe I’ll just keep the Phantom.

Q: Is that the kind of music which you enjoy yourself? What kind of music do you like?

A: I like to listen to everything.  You know, when I am in some kind of mood I listen for example to this music and when I am in a different mood I listen to another. So I can listen to Rock, maybe then to classical music or to Hip Hop because I like to dance. I like warming up like dancing every time.

Q: But for figure skating it is better for you to use something like it is now.

A: Yeah, now! Before I went to Nikolai I always had very fast music. In short program it was something so fast like Michael Jackson and Hip Hop mixed with Classic. Everything was some sort of dance music. Now I changed my style and everyone said that it looks good. It is now more like skating than dance.

Q: Sometimes you attended the training camp in USA. What do you like there and what do you miss over there? What are you doing besides skating?

A: In USA we worked so hard on skating skills, composition, everything....not just on jumps. We skated a lot there. Then we were doing off-ice exercises like boxing, everything to get into a good shape. Dancing...we were dancing with Broadway teachers, worked with Matana Roberts. We learned to dance with them, danced a lot ...maybe three times a week. That’s very good for the shape and for interpretation alike. When we came back to Russia we worked more on the programs and jumps. We tried to fix everything what we got from the USA.

Q: Do you like living in USA?

A: Yeah, I liked so much!  I think that New York is my city! (laughs)

Q: So you didn’t miss anything?

A: Family! I miss only family and friends.

Q: There are very well performing skaters in Russia. How do you want to compete with them? Where do you see your strong points?

A: Now everything is better with the jumps, much better than it was. So already I’m doing well with the triple Axel and I am preparing the quad. I think the quad is going to be my strong point, then my choreography and skating skills because I’m working so hard and I’m still watching skaters like Lambiel, Patrick Chan and trying to take something from them and to mix it with my own things ...create a new style of some of Florent’s style because he is also with Nikolai and of course I get the skating technique from Nikolai: But anyway I try to do my own thing. For next season I’m going to work with a new choreographer and I think that's going to be very interesting.

Q: What do you like about figure skating and what don’t you like in this sport?

A: I like everything ,because I if didn’t like it I wouldn’t skate and I wouldn’t have dedicated more than the half of my life, 15 years, to it. I like this sport so much. Maybe I just don’t like the fact that it there is not a lot of money in figure skating although it is a really great sport and really hard considering everything like technique, jumps and spins. That’s so hard, nobody can do it just like this... it is harder than tennis for example and football where you need just the speed and maybe shoots. And here (in figure skating) you need everything: coordination, a lot of that’s the only thing which I don’t like.

A: It doesn’t have that reputation, although it is really a great sport. But I think that in Russia it’s more popular than in Western Europe.

Q: You know in Russia a lot of people are not as much interested as they were before in the time of Yagudin and Plushenko. Figure skating has been taken to a higher level, but it is bad that people are not so interested in that. Not a lot of kids are skating now. For later, we have for example someone like me or the other guys that are already 20-21 years old. At best we have some guys of 16 to17 years who can skate well and then nobody after them. So we don’t see the progression of our sport in Russia.

Q: What made you to take up figure skating in the first place? How did you get involved with this sport?

A: Like all the boys I wanted to be a football player. But I was ill very often because I was maybe a little bit weak. My mum said like “let’s go to the ice and the ice is going to help you not to be sick so often”. And I skated for one week, than second ....third.... and I saw that I am not ill anymore because before I was ill every two weeks I think. I felt good and I liked this sport and so I have been skating already for 15 years since my mum said “let’s go, let’s try!” So I am already trying for 15 years (laughs)

Q: It is an expensive sport. So did your family pay for that or how is that working?

A: When you are in the National team, like the top six seniors in Russia and juniors most of time the Russian Federation pays for you... for the costumes, for travelling to other countries, for everything. But if you are not in the team of course at first you need to pay for everything, also for the coach. Then when you get results the federation pays for you and the club where you are skating. But in the beginning you need to pay a lot.

Q: There is a lot of pressure on you to do well all the time. It is difficult to get motivated and not to lose your energy, because you have all these test skates and the likes?

A: I don’t know. I just like to skate so much. I don’t care which mood or if I had injuries or I didn’t have injuries. I don’t care. I have friends who help me and my family, my mum. She’s like my second coach. She’s always with me. When Nikolai is not with me she’s going to my competitions. That helps me to be motivated for better skating.

Q: If you would have to go to an isolated island...what three things would you take with you?

A: I think that I’m taking my skates for sure. I think I’m going to leave all communication devices like the phone behind, everything like that to relax there ... I don’t know... I think maybe a pair of nice shorts.... for sunbathing (laughs). Secondly I think that I’m going to take my friends for sure and my family to be together...but without phones, without everything. So I’d take friends, family and nice clothes there.

Q: Thank you for the nice interview.