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Russian-born French ice dancer Galyavieva hails ‘freedom’ of adopted nation, dubs birthplace ‘harsh’ country of ‘wonderful people’

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French national champion Adelina Galyavieva, who switched citizenship when she began competing for her new nation seven years ago, has outlined the cultural differences between countries and said she is not “attached” to anywhere.

The 24-year-old ice dancing queen was born in Kazan, only to continue her skating career in France in 2014, moving to Lyon to partner Laurent Abecassis and take part in her first competition the following year.

A World Team Trophy competitor who has danced to songs including ‘Thriller’ by Michael Jackson and ‘Oh, Pretty Woman’ by Roy Orbison, Galyavieva still calls the Russian city her hometown but has a home in Milan.

“I have often moved but now my home is still Italy,” she told Realnoe Vremya.

“At the same time, I cannot say that I am attached to any place. Due to my age, I easily adapt to the events taking place in my life. I associate Italy with pasta and twisted dolce. Italians know how to enjoy life, its colors – they are very emotional.

“Russia is harshness. But this severity hides a very rich culture and wonderful, intelligent, hardworking, sympathetic people.”

Galyavieva found a new partner in Louis Thauron in 2018, with whom she became French champion earlier this year.

The pair train in Moscow, coached by Russia’s Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Volkov, although the onset of the pandemic saw them stay at Thauron’s home in Paris.

Galyavieva has followed in French president Emmanuel Macron’s footsteps by studying at the Institute for Policy Studies, and wants to take an international role without moving into politics after her sporting career has finished.

“France is red wine and cheese,” she said. “The French know a lot about life: they do everything with taste, with elegance, they are very freedom-loving.

“They even have a motto that sounds like ‘freedom, equality, brotherhood’ [‘liberte, egalite, fraternite’]. And the word ‘freedom’ resonates with me the most.”

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