Mariah Bell: “I know only the good words in Russian”

Mariah Bell
Photo by Maria Kateshova

The 2019 Rostelecom Cup will be the fifth event of the 2019–20 ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating. It will be held at Megasport Sport Palace in Moscow, Russia from November 15 to 17.

The 2016 Skate America silver medalist, the 2019 Internationaux de France bronze medalist, the 2019 CS Nebelhorn Trophy gold medalist, and two-time U.S. national bronze medalist (2017, 2019), Mariah Bell, is among the competing skaters.

She shared her memories from her performance in Moscow two years ago, mentioned  which feature of Megasport stands she remembered the most, and also demonstrated her knowledge of the Russian language.

This year, you started the season really strong, winning the gold medal in Oberstdorf and taking the third place in France. How do you feel about it?


I feel really good, I’m so happy with it. I’ve been working really hard, I reevaluated my training and I’m excited that it’s really paid off. Obviously, I have a lot of room to grow. But yeah, I’m really proud of it.

Your programs this season are very different from each other; Britney Spears in the short program and “Hallelujah” in the long program. Would you please tell us about them?


My short program  is very different for me, but I’m excited to explore that. I want to see what I can bring out in myself in that character. It’s not really in my wheelhouse, but I want to expand my horizons as an artist. So that’s the short, and then the long is really like me. I really feel the music, and I can stay controlled and calm throughout the program.

Your Grand Prix assignments this year are France and Russia. You competed in Moscow two years ago. How did you like that experience (audience, atmosphere, organization in general)?


It was awesome. I know the arena and I just love it. The seats are all different colors, so it’s really fun, and when we were in there for practice, it kind of made it feel like there were already people in there. The crowd was awesome, it was completely packed. It was really fun. Also, I was really excited that it snowed. We don’t get any of that in California.

Your coach, Rafael, is from Russia. Does he use any Russian phrases when you train with him?


Yeah. A lot. I think some things I might not want to know (laughs). So it’s maybe better if he’s speaking Russian to me sometimes. I know “davai” is “go”, “khorosho” is “good job”, “molodets” is “well done”. So I know the good ones, I just keep the good ones (smiles).

Do you have any specific goals for this Grand Prix series?


I started really strong and I just want to continue to build. My ultimate goal, the same as last year, is to be national champion. But above that, get back on the world team and skate strongly there again.

Ludmila ORLOVA