After an eventful Olympic season–which saw him swing from a 29th-place finish in Beijing all the way up to 12th place at Worlds–Roman Sadovsky is back and ready to start a new four-year cycle of competition. This past weekend at Skate America in Norwood, MA, he finished fifth in a strong men’s field. American phenom Ilia Malinin grabbed headlines–and the Skate America title–when he landed a quad Axel in the free skate. But Sadovsky also impressed the crowd and judges in Norwood, landing some quad Salchows and debuting a new long program. His next Grand Prix event is the MK John Wilson Trophy in Sheffield, England.
The day after the men’s competition, I spoke with Sadovsky to get an update on how his off-season went, the process of creating his new programs, and his progress with quad jumps.
Q: How did this competition go for you overall?
Sadovsky: It felt pretty strong. There was improvement over Nebelhorn, which was my event before this one. Some stuff was better in Nebelhorn; some was better here. I’d say overall, this was better. I’m hoping that, for Sheffield, I can fuse both together and get an even better overall performance.
Q: Tell me about your long program. At Nebelhorn, you skated your old long program to “Chasing Cars.” Here, you did something new to a remix version of Robbie Williams’s song “Angels.”
Sadovsky: Yes. Initially, I was going to skate to “Fix You” by Coldplay. It was updated in my ISU bio at some point. Then I did High Performance Camp in Canada. And no one would straight up tell me that it wasn’t an amazing program. But I could read the sense of the feedback–that people weren’t as blown away as by some of my other skates [programs]. I guess the piece didn’t pan out in the way we wanted in those four and a half minutes. So we had to make a decision going into Nebelhorn–what should we do? We decided: “Okay, for this competition, we’ll go back to an old program. And then for Skate America, we’ll do a swap.” I had already spoken to Mark [Pillay, free skate choreographer] about it. He already had a piece that he was listening to, and it was newly released, maybe three weeks old. We listened to it, and it was like, “Okay, this is going to be a better fit.” And he came out, and we quickly choreographed the program. I worked on it for two weeks. So this was a two-week-old program when I skated it, here in Norwood.
Q: How comfortable did you feel with the program at Skate America?
Sadovsky: I would say pretty comfortable. The biggest hurdle is just the cardio and getting used to doing the programs. I was doing a lot of long programs going into Nebelhorn, and even more going into this [event], after [getting] the new program. So the transition was pretty easy. It’s the small nuances that are going to need work. Hopefully those small details come out more as the season progresses.
Q: Last night was pretty incredible for an early-season competition. A really strong flight of men’s skating, including Ilia Malinin’s quad Axel. What’s your takeaway from that?
Sadovsky: I came into this expecting that to happen. I knew who the competitors were. And, with the modern day of social media, you know what everyone’s doing. [Laughs] I came here expecting what I saw. I was blown away before I came in, and I was blown away when I’m here. It’s definitely really inspiring, seeing such great skaters here. It’s funny, these youngsters are doing crazy stuff. So now we’ve got to chase after the youngsters.
Q: When we spoke at Worlds in March, you said that you were hoping to add more different types of quads to your programs this season. How is that progressing?
Sadovsky: I had a lot of progress with the quad toe loop in the summer. I was putting them into the programs, and then it started to get really weird. So I need to try and separate the jump from the program a little bit, and try to fit it in a better way. I am running two triple Axels and two quads [Salchows] right now, versus last season, when I was only doing one Axel and two quads. So we’ve stepped up the technical a little bit. In the long term, for sure, I would like to maintain what I have, and add quad toe. Definitely quad toe would be the next quad to go in.
Q: Your short program is new as well, set to “Cold” by Chris Stapleton. How did you choose that piece?
Sadovsky: We wanted a different energy. A new quadrennial, a new me. David [Wilson, short program choreographer] just had this piece sitting and waiting for someone to do. He sent it to me, and it was instant: “Yes, that’s the one.” I had no input. He just gave it to me, and I agreed with it. It just felt right. It’s got that cool bad-boy vibe, and is really different from what I’ve done in the past. So that was a really easy decision, and it was fun working with David on it. The general response has been pretty positive, so I’m happy about it.
Q: How was your summer? Any vacations?
Sadovsky: I had a really fun off-season, both on and off the ice. I went for one week [of vacation] in Mexico, and then I spent one week in Florida. I came back with Covid-19 after that, so my vacation got extended. After two and a half years of avoiding it, and doing everything I could at the Olympics to avoid it, Florida finally did me in. But that was okay. It was a good time to get it, I guess. [Laughs ruefully]
Q: What was it like getting back into training after the Olympics and Worlds?
Sadovsky: I think it was much harder going between Olympics and Worlds than the actual off-season. I definitely felt that post-Olympics blues, a couple weeks after Beijing. It’s four years of training, accumulating and going into that one moment. And then you dip down, mentally. I was able to bring it back up for Worlds, and Worlds was a really positive experience for me. So I think, luckily, because of that, my off-season was pretty stable, and I was looking forward to training and trying new stuff on the ice. That’s honestly pretty much attributable to the results at Worlds.