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From energy lawyer to power skater
Moscow associate Olga tells us about her passion for ice skating

“You need to be brave and able to take the falls, get up and keep going.”

Figure skating—it may seem like the ultimate illustration of grace, but it’s not for the faint-hearted. Just ask Moscow associate Olga Klyzhenko.

“Figure skating requires physical fitness, but the most important thing is balance, coordination and being attentive to your body and senses. It’s also important to have a professional coach—not necessarily to make you better, but to make sure you don’t get badly injured! Finally, I’d suggest starting young, because you’ll have less far to fall. I’m 1.8m, so when I do make a mistake, it often hurts.”

A love affair that started with Olympic gold

Olga first fell in love with figure skating in 1998 during the Winter Olympics when, at age 13, she watched the Russian team win gold in Nagano, Japan. She says: “I think many young people would watch figure skating and marvel at the skill of the skaters, the beauty of the dances and just how pretty the dresses are!”

Taking the next step 

“Like any young person growing up in Russia, ice skating on lakes in the winter is something you do from an early age, so I dreamed of figure skating myself someday.”

After a few years of watching the sport from afar, in 2008 Olga discovered a figure skating club in Moscow where she was tutored by a professional coach. “I had no family at the time,” she says. “I had plenty of spare time so started to go to the club two or three times a week.”

“Over the months, the exercises got more and more complex. We added new elements and, though I will never be able to do triple jumps like the professionals, I did learn one- and two-rotation jumps and other common moves.”

The first international trophy

Olga began competing in Russian events and was due to accompany her friends to France for the European Championship for Adults as a spectator before they encouraged her to take part herself.

She says: “The event is open to all skill levels, so I worked with my coach on a two-minute routine, got myself a dress and took part.” Judges at the event score on technical skill and artistic merit and, though Olga didn’t top the leader board on technique, she excelled on artistic merit and came in first, winning her class and a trophy.

She says: “It totally took me by surprise, so much so that we didn’t bother to video the routine. But winning and competing was a fantastic experience.”

Beating injuries to carry on

Olga has taken a break from skating in the past few years—she recently returned to work from maternity leave during which she moved to Cyprus for eight months.
Now back in Moscow, she hopes to return to competition in the future.

She says: “I took my first tentative steps back onto the ice in the last few months, and I have to admit it was hard trying to regain fitness. “I took a bad fall in June and went to the doctor suffering from a concussion. When I told him I got the injury from skating in June he thought I must have been imagining it, so kept on asking me. I had to explain that it was on an indoor rink, but he still took a bit of convincing!”

The odd injury won’t deter Olga, though, and she still loves the sport: “There are so many things about figure skating that I love, but it’s also a really fascinating community, and it is a great way to meet people from different walks of life. Most of my friends work in the legal industry and, while that’s great, it’s also nice to socialize with different people who share a common love of figure skating.”

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