Alexander Enbert: “I like watching The International”

Alexander Enbert, silver medalist in the team event of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang and bronze medalist of the world championships (with Natalya Zabiyako) told us what computer games figure skaters prefer and confirmed that he would be keen to prove himself in phygital hockey, especially in the company of his favorite players from the football club “Zenit” and predicted a bright future to esports and phygital sport.

— Alexander, what do you make of phygital format in sport?

— Honestly speaking, I really like it a lot. I believe many athletes and just simple people enjoy going in for sport. For example, we like to play football, volleyball, etc. And again, when practicing in a training camp, we loved to play some computer games. Therefore, whatever unites it all is paramount and, most importantly, useful. It will make it possible to better communicate with the youngsters, to develop them and move them forward.

— So, games are popular with figure skaters?

— We play (computer) games not only for fun, we even participated in some tournaments. It seems to me the tournament was organized by Moscow Federation of Esports with athletes from different sports disciplines participating. And there was also a team of figure skaters competing in the CS:GO. It was really fun to participate and interact with other athletes, to socialize and on top of that to compete in something new. Of course, it would be better if the competition included Dota2. We have more people playing it.

— By the way, the Games of Future program does have such as discipline…

— … Terrific! If Dota2 will be included in the Games program, I am the first in line. By the way, I’m also dying to play hockey. It would seem that figure skating is close enough to ice hockey, and yet I’ve never tried it. But then when I was a child, I loved to play the NHL game on my console. So, it would be great to take it up all at once. Because I somehow mastered the game console, plus I can skate, too, so there won’t be any problems. I would surely participate in it without even thinking twice.

— Who are the famous athletes you would like to play with?

— For sure not with hockey players. I would like to play with Kerzhakov! Just because I am from St. Petersburg and I am a fan of “Zenit”. Or with Arshavin. These are the two legends I would like to play with.

— You have just fathered a daughter. How would you react if she were to tell you that she wants to take up esports?

— You know, I’d be glad if my daughter could find an occupation to her liking – something she would enjoy as much as I enjoy figure skating. It if it is going to be esports, I’ll be happy. Figure skating, science, whatever… If she’s going to love it as much as I love figure skating, I’ll be the happiest father in the world.

— How useful computer games can be for a professional athlete?

— Well, we need to ask professional experts. As far as I am concerned, when I was in a training camp computer games helped me to take my mind off the training routine, because the workload is huge and your whole body is aching, so you switch from physical activity to the intellectual one. Plus, you shouldn’t really be fixated on something and stick to just one thing doggedly spending all your time on it. Personal development is a multifaceted process. The broader his horizon, the more a child takes up – the better. And computer games are part of our world. Team sports, individual sports, reading, watching film, computer games – it is all important.

— Do you think that down the road such large-scale tournaments as Games of Future can leave behind the Olympics in terms of number of views?

— You know, I practically have no doubts about it. And I have no doubts about it because I really enjoy watching The International on Dota2. And my wife also thoroughly enjoys it. Mind you, she has no clue
about esports or computer games but when she saw The International, she would start asking: “Wow! It’s so beautiful, isn’t it? Let’s watch. Who’s making it to the finals? What teams? What are they doing?”. I mean, it’s contagious, it does draw attention of the people who are not even immersed in this sport discipline.

So, I have no doubts about the success of esports and phygital sport. It means we are moving forward”.