Evgenia Medvedeva appointed 'ambassador' for Team Russia at Tokyo 2020

The PyeongChang 2018 Olympic silver medallist will attend the Tokyo Games with the team.

Olympic silver medallist Evgenia Medvedeva has been named an 'ambassador' for Team Russia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) president Stanislav Pozdnyakov made the announcement at a press conference on Tuesday in Moscow.

The country had been prevented from competing under its own flag at PyeongChang 2018, where Medvedeva won silver as an 'Olympic Athlete from Russia'.

"As you remember in the end of February [2018], the Russian Olympic Team was fully restored and can now compete in Tokyo 2020 under a Russian flag," Pozdnyakov said.

"Evgenia is one of the reasons why this happened. She attended a few meetings and played an important role.

"You cannot not notice diplomatic efforts that Evgenia has shown. For us it seems to be a reasonable decision to choose Evgenia as our official Tokyo 2020 ambassador. The main role of the Ambassador of the Olympic team is to support and be with the team."

ROC Media Relations Officer Konstantin Vybornov added: "Evgenia stood in front of IOC at the meeting using her diplomatic skills. Speaking about athlete courage, this was it. She took a huge responsibility. Performing in front of a lot of people in a crisis situation is a huge responsibility."

It will be a change from the skater's normal off-season activities.

"It's a little unusual to me," the 19-year-old admitted. "I am very happy that I will be able to feel an atmosphere of Olympic Games. It’s an honor to be with the team, to support our athletes, who will represent the flag of our country.

"I have a lot of friends among Russian gymnasts and my main role would be to be with the Russian Olympic team," she added.

How about installing a skating rink in Tokyo next year?

"Our group just returned from Tokyo. It might be a little problematic to do this in Russia House with the temperatures above 40 degrees," Pozdnyakov said.

Exclusive: Medvedeva on new season, quads, and Tokyo 2020

Exclusive: Medvedeva on new season, quads, and Tokyo 2020

"I feel at home in Canada"

Medvedeva trained under famed coach Eteri Tutberidze alongside PyeongChang champion and Russian teammate Alina Zagitova, but moved to Canada to train under Brian Orser and Tracy Wilson before the start of last season.

But her first season training at the Cricket Club in Toronto was mixed, as the 19-year-old missed out on the Grand Prix Final after a disappointing result at the last event in Grenoble, France.

After the end of last season, which the teenager finished with a bronze medal at the World Championships in Saitama, Medvedeva told Meryl Davis on the Olympic Channel Podcast that she was aiming to add quad jumps to her routine.

"I feel like at home in Canada. I am used to people that surround me, I am used to Brian and Tracy," she said today.

"My English is basic, but of course they understand what I feel. They know how to encourage me. We feel like a sports family. In this way, I saw as I am at home.

"But I still have a feeling that I am in a long term business trip. My whole family, friends are based in Russia. I really miss Russia very much but I know that Canada is better for me work wise."

Looking ahead to the new season

However, Medvedeva says her attempts to add a quad to her routine are going slowly.

"I can't say I can skate the quad Salchow cleanly," she admitted. "We cannot say how much time it should take. It’s true, I tried quad Salchow at the Japanese show.

"I can’t promise anything. It’s figure skating, a very dangerous type of sport but I am surrounded by the right people and I am sure we can conquer the quad Salchow one day."

Speaking about her free skate for the new season, which is set to the soundtrack from Memoirs of a Geisha, the Russian said: "It's the program of my dreams.

"I was mentally preparing myself for two years. I always listened to this music in my headphones. But before this season I had a feeling that I wasn’t ready yet.

"The program is really thought through. I didn’t have this in my career before. When I showed it to Brian, he said: 'This is the best free skate program you had so far.' This has really encouraged me."

Japan 'special' for skaters

Medvedeva will get to spend more time in Japan as part of her new role, which she is looking forward to.

"Japan is an amazing country, I can speak on behalf of all skaters: it's a very special country.

"We love going there and giving a lot of positive energy to a Japanese audience. Being in Tokyo first of all means I can be with my team, I can support them.

"I hope I can pass a little bit of my energy to them and I will try to pass a part of my soul in this event. I know how Japanese people know all kinds of sports. I am sure this Olympics will happen in a very positive environment."

And the 2017 world champion says her role will not interfere with her sporting career.

"I am happy I will be there, it’s a unique opportunity. For me to make such decision was not difficult.

"I weighed everything. We discussed many times if it will influence my training. I am still an active athlete and this event will not influence my work."

Training partner and good friend Jason Brown speaks Japanese, and Medvedeva revealed that she is learning the language.

"I didn’t want to raise this subject but I am actively learning Japanese language.

"I don’t want to give example but I will speak openly about it when I have at least basic conversational level. I study Japanese with a teacher, with the book. It’s going to happen."

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