Elena Radionova Gears Up for Senior Debut

Tatjana Flade
Elena Radionova

Russian prodigy Elena Radionova is getting ready for her senior level debut at Nebelhorn Trophy in Oberstdorf, Germany (Sep. 25-28). The Muscovite dominated at the junior level last season, winning every competition she entered including the World Junior Championships; the Junior Grand Prix Final, and skated into second at Russian nationals at the senior level.

“I am preparing to be able to present my programs well and to show what I’ve worked on this summer. I want to be in top shape for the Grand Prix,” said Radionova who has been assigned to Skate America and NHK Trophy.

Radionova has consistently landed triple Lutz-triple toe combinations in practice and, more just for fun, attempts triple Salchow-triple toe-triple toe combinations. “I‘m getting back into shape. I started to grow and obviously I have to cope with that,” she explained. “Inna Germanovna (Goncharenko, her coach) and my mother are helping me a lot with this. And so I am going through all this quite easily.”

For the new season, Radionova has two programs that are very different to each other. Her short program, set to the soundtrack of the “Anna Karenina” movie, is soft and lyrical while her long is to a selection of Latin music, which is upbeat and fun. Both programs, crafted by Ilia Averbukh and Elena Maslennikova, are well suited for the young skater and also show off her musicality.

“I live through music. When I am sad, I switch on some music and I feel better right away,” she said. “I love to dance. I like to skate my programs with music. I can work on elements without music, but I enjoy skating to music.

“At the end of the program, when the footwork comes, I just want to dance. In the short program, I want to show all the emotions and the passion and in the free skating I want to bring across the cheerfulness,” the 14-year-old said.

Over the summer Radionova worked on all aspects of her skating. “I want to improve everything, to do the jumps nicer, to glide in a nicer way, to show my programs better, to express this dance, and the concepts of the programs that Ilia and Elena did for me. These are great programs and I want to do them better and perfect them,” she explained.

Radionova knows that many people have high expectations of her and are looking to see how she will fare against the top ladies at the senior level this season. But the cheerful teenager said that she doesn’t feel any pressure even after the stellar season she had.

“I don’t think that I am such a great athlete that won a lot. I just won the smallest one, Junior Worlds,” Radionova said. "In reality, there are competitions that are much more serious and more difficult. I don’t feel any pressure yet. I just think I have to work harder and more, because there is no limit to perfection.”

Radionova has that rare ability to impress with the big jumps and beautiful spins, but she also shares her joy of skating. “When I was younger I didn’t realize that I loved figure skating, but now I understand that I can’t live without it,” she said with a smile. “I was on vacation and I got bored because I had nothing to do. I wanted to be on the ice, glide, to do something. I feel drawn to the ice like by a magnet.”