Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by TAHbKA, May 4, 2011.
5 years on the way to each other
translation to come (in a couple of hours)
wheee, I cannot wait to read it
Thank you so much in advance
I can't wait either!! Thank you!
A stupid question... who is Vaitsehovskaia? I see all kinds of interview from him with russians skaters.
She's a journalist.
Even though she writes a lot of skating articles, her background is actually in diving
Having won the silver medal in the pairs skating after skating together for about a year Volosozhar/Trankov became the heroes of the Moscow World championpships. Nevertheless, they showed up for the interview right when it was scheduled.
We only had half an hour to talk, so the idea of speaking to them separately had to be dismissed.
On the missed opportunity
EV: Tatiana, you are often compared to the two time world champion Aljona Savchenko. You are both from Ukraine, both skated with Stanislav Morozov, both trained in Kuhar and the Steuer group. Now you both represent a foreign country. Can you recall what were the feelings when Savchenko left to Germany?
TV: Not really. Back then I was skating in Dnepropetrovski with Petro Kharchenko, and, frankly, were more concerned with who to move to Kiev, where at least some training conditions existed. All and all the situation in Ukraine was so bad that we were thrilled for Aljona she left and was successful.
EV: Maksim, is it true you had a chance to start skating together with Tanya back in 2005?
MT: Ludmila and Nikolai Velikov, who coached me and Maria Mukhortova back then really wanted me to skate with Volosozhar. But it happened that we left the Velikovs to Moskvina after the worlds in Calgary and soon after temporarily broke up. Moskvina asked me to think who would I want to go on skating with and come to her later and discuss. We met and, as I recall, sat in Tamara Nikolaevna's car where I said I'd like to skate with Volosozhar, but back then for some reason everyone assumed Tanya will not break up with Stas Morozov since they were an off ice pair as well.
Later it turned out no one ever mentioned that to Tatiana. Last year when we started training together I asked Stanislav how would he had reacted had the question been popped. He said, that had he seen a partner with whom Tanya would become more successful than with him - he would let her go.
EV: Tanya, if you were offered the same at 2006, would you agree?
TV: I would at least consider. But then Russia had enough very good pairs back then - Petrova/Tikhonov, Obertas/Slavnov....
About laziness and strategy
EV: Maksim, why did you and your previous partner decide to joinr Moskvina's group?
MT: It was Moskvina's offer. She approached us at the Calgary championship and offered to join her group. She is very good in planning. Her goal has always been having her skaters at the top.
EV: Why did you part so fast
MT: Moskvina kicked us out a couple of days after Yuko and Sasha joined her group.
EV: For a good reason?
MT: Of course. Frankly, if I were her I would had kicked us even earlier. I probably wouldn't get involved with such sportsmen at the first place.
EV: Such as you or such as your previous partner?
MT: We were equally fond of scandals. But that wasn't the reason I didn't want to skate with Mukhortova. The problem was that she was not quite ready to work hard. I don't blame her, it's just the way she is.
EV: And you are not lazy yourself?
MT: I'd put it differently: I know what `must' means. I don't mind, say, closing a window is there is a wind. Though many people would just cover themselves in more duvets rather than getting up. I'm not crazy about working too hard and I will not work from the dawn till the sunset, but if one of the coaches or Tanya say there is an element that needs to be done again I will without arguing as many times as needed.
On horses and parents.
EV: Were your parents strict?
MT: Yes. Mainly my father. Though after the age of 15 I lived alone in St. Petersburg.
In Perm father would come with me to all the trainings and if there was something that went wrong we would go through a whole post mortem on the way home. I hated going back from the rink with him. It was especially annoying when he would start teaching me figure skating giving examples from the horse riding sports he was active in for many years.
EV: Can you ride a horse?
MT: Ever since I was a kid.
EV: It's interesting your father's hopes were laid on you rather than your older brother. Was Alexey involved in the sports altogether?
MT: He used to do cross country skiing. But not for a long time. Father had hopes he would become good in the horses sport, since he more or less grew up with the horses. but my brother was never much into the sports. He was more interested in rock music and other non classical directions.
EV: Did you relatives come to Moscoe for the Worlds?
TV: My mother and my sister did. My mother came in Moscow at 2005 as well when Stas and I represented Ukraine in our first World championships. My sister saw me now for the first time.
MT: I forbid my relatives to come. I don't like it when they come and see me. So far I was unable to put a decent skate in their presence. I remember they came to the Russian nationals to Kazan where Mukhortova and I beat Kawaguti/Smirnov in the SP. In the LP I was unable to land a single jump/
On surviving and partners.
EV: One of the most painful subjects for Pluschenko is still his hungry life in St. Petersburg when he first moved here. What was it like for you, Maksim?
MT: I think the people who know the best what it is like surviving in St. Petersburg is Sasha Smirnov and I. What is it like to be homeless, like we were. We slept on the audience sits on the ice rink or in the coaches room. Sure, we told parents we were living in the dorms and that everything was allright, but think if my mother knew how things really stood she would immediately bring me back home.
EV: Why did you leave then?
MT: I wanted some freedom. For the first three years I wasn't even really training. I had an acquaintance who would feed me from time to time and if needed I could stay overnight at her place. Smirnov's parents came to see him from time to time since Tver is not that far from St. Petersburg and would bring various cans of home made food. We knew all the baristas and waiters on the ice rink and often they would let us have the leftovers.
During the night mass skates Sasha and I worked in the dressing room and there were all the empty bottles left in the bar during the week. We returned the bottles at the weekend and on the money received would buy some cheap spaghetti. We survived on that for two years.
EV: When the real skating began?
MT: AT the age of 18, when I parted with my then partner Irina Ulanova. She grew too tall and it became obvious she will never be able to do jumps. An ex pupil of my Perm coaches Rashid Kadyrkaev offered me to move to the USA saying there was a potential partner. I agreed - the move solved many problems, one of which was the army service. My parents were all for it, they assumed in the USA I had more chance to become someone even if I stopped skating.
So I went to the USA embassy to apply for a visa and was declined. I could reapply only half a year later, but when I walked out from the embassy I realized I was glad. Deep down I didn't want to leave St. Petersburg.
I started skating with Natalia Shestakova in Nikolai Velikov's group, even though my coach from Perm - Valeri Tukov was against - he had some issues with Velikov. Velikovs told me later had I joined their group a couple of months earlier they would had teamed me with Obertas. A year later I was teamed up with Maria Mukhortova.
About the money and Germany.
EV: Tanya, it must had been equally hard for you at the beginning of the career?
TV: Well, I had a lovely childhood. My mother took me to the training while my father was always busy at work - he's a military man. I was a very home attached child. When an opportunity to move to Kiev from Dnepropetrovsk arised my mother came with me. Of course we were not rich, but then everyone in Ukraine was in the same shoes.
EV: I.e. the figure skating was among other things something that one day will make you rich?
TV: No, I just wanted to skate. And win. As far as the money goes it was never an important thing in our family. My parents taught me at the very early age there are more important things in life.
EV: Not long before the Worlds I read an interview of your previous coach Galina Kukhar and I was under an impression that she had always tried to do what was the best for her pupils. She initiated Savchenko's move to Germany, then your and Stanislav's.
TV: The move to Germany for us was a bit harder than for Aljona. After we agreed with Steuer about joining his group we couldn't get the needed amount of money for living. At the end the Ukrainan Federation agreed to pay for the living and gave us scholarships which we had to exist on. We trained there for two years. Training with such a strong pair as Savchenko/Szelkowy became by then was a huge benefit for us. I realized Steuer would never give as much attention to an Ukranian pair as he does the German. Nevertheless, our first Grand Prix medals were with him.
EV: Do you mind being compared to Savchenko.
TV: It did at first, but then I stopped paying attention.
MT: It began with Aljona and Tanya dressing the same and making the same hair style in one of the Art on Ice shows. The photos were all over the web and triggered those talks about how much Aljona and Tanya are alike. In real life they are not at all.
About Programmes and fights.
EV: I take it you follow what the others do on the ice?
MT: We try to watch as much as possible, discuss what we have seen.
EV: Who of your rivals is potentially the most dangerous?
TV: I like the Japanese pair. The Americans made a huge progress.
MT: I keep saying one can always loose to anyone. A little slip and the crown will be gone. Just as it happened to Aljona and Robin last season when they lost the Grand Prix in Paris to Mukhortova and I and then the GPF to both Chinese pairs. I reckon had it not happened Aljona and Robin would be judged differently at the Olympics.
EV: I already asked you during the competition, but let me repeat: how many of the wishes from the beginning of the season came true?
TV: There were no surprises, I'd say. We decided with the coaches (Mozer and Stas Morozov) at the beginning of the season which elements we'll perform and it was only left to decide in which order to put the into the programme. And well, train.
MT: We knew from the very beginning we have four years to train. So I decided not to push things too hard and not try to get ahead of ourselves. We did not complicate the programme too much on purpose. We didn't include a 3/3 jump even though we do that in the practices, we did not include a 3split twist in the second part of the programme, though we could. The goal for this season was to skate as clean as we can with the stress on choreography.
Of course we have new goals for the next season but we will only include the harder elements if they go very well in the practices, at least 8 out 10. It's not worth it otherwise.
We also want not only to be skaters who jump and spin, but making the viewers emotional as well. In the last year I see it even more than before that there are not many such pairs.
This is, by the way, the reason I immediately fell in our LP to `Romeo & Juliette. A classical ballet which was offered us by Nikolai Morozov is indeed difficult emotionally, but professionally for us it was an ideal choice.
EV: Had you have any fights in the year you've been skating together?
TV: More then one. There were misunderstandings, bad moods. But we only really fought once. We didn't speak to each other for half a day.
There were two hard periods - when we just started skating together and for a long time nothing worked out, and now, just before the championships. Too many things accumulated: the tiredness, the waiting for so long. It all went away when we started skating in Hodynka - the new ice somehow took the tension away.
more to come.....
Interesting so far, thanks again, TAHbKA!
I would not mind to see Maxim on a horse
On Idols and Genius
EV: will you next season programmes be choreographed by Nikolai Morozov?
MT: Yes. He is not only a choreographer, by the way. He taught me anew how to do the basic stroking - the step the figure skating starts with.
EV: What were you doing wrongly before?
MT: I was skating in a `Russian' way
MT: The Russian school is very classical - the body is always erect and tensed. It might look better in the simple elements, but once you skate something complicated you look unnatural and heavy. You also get tired faster.
I remember some cases when it took a huge effort even to lift my hand on the bows, nevermind projecting any happiness. Morozov teaches skating in a relaxed way, so the muscles will have a chance to rest during the skate.
Truth to be told, for a long while I thought Nikolai became a top coach only thanks to his work with Alexey Yaguring. That is is more famous than actually good. Now I realize his genious - he always comes up with something to surprise with. You are not fighting for the medals in the worlds like Amodio - go and hit everyone with the most unexpected music choice. You don't get high marks like Fernandez considering him a mediocre skater - go and do two different quads so everyone would just shut up and think how come that Spanish `mediocrity' does things no Russians nor Japanese no Americans can do.
Nikolai also doesn't hang on something that didn't work out quite as expected. When we first started working with him - without skating with each other enough and not quite understanding where to skate and what to do Morozov worked with us in Novogorsk during the nights. He would show Tanya her part replacing the male partner, then showed me my part, then pair us and.. we couldn't repeat a thing. It went on for quite a long time and when we finally succeeded we were shouting with happiness. Kolia signed, said it was useless and the whole piece had to be redone.
He never gets angry or looses his bearings. If I were him I would kill the pupil. Well, at least shout at them,
TV: I once read Morozov's interview which I liked. He then said he is always looking for something in his pupils that he himself can learn.
EV: Tanya, what are the virtues of an ideal partner?
TV: Someone like Maksim. It is hard to put into the words, but now I feel so comfortable on the ice. It must have been for a reason we took so long to come to each other
Maxim is very expressive. I got a little misty thinking about he and Sasha sleeping in the rink and scrambling for food while they were just kids.
I wonder which potential American skater was lost. What a missed opportunity for the US. Not that I'm not glad things worked out as they have because we don't have any skater to equal Volosozhar.
I think V/T really exemplify what can happen when you put together the right skaters with the right coaches at the right time. Max is high strung and apparently has to be handled correctly mostly by letting him make his own choices. He doesn't do well if others try to tell him what to do. Stas has said that he is the artistic part of the pairing while Tatiana is a workhorse. I'm excited to see what they can become over the next 3 years.
As someone said above, Vaitsehovskaya is a 1976 Olympic champion in diving. After finishing her sports career she became at some point a sports journalist. IMHO she is the best figure skating journalist in Russia right now. Among other reasons because she is an Olympic champion herself she often dares to ask questions no one else would. She also speaks other languages, so she can interview skaters many other Russian journalists can't and analyze their answers from a Russian point of view (which she often does).
I usually translate all the articles by her I can find. They are usually controversial, give answers to the questions asked by the FSUers and IMHO never boring. IMHO she is usually rarely biased and if she is - her biases are well known and she does not hesitate to mention being biased.
There are other Russian writers whose articles I like: Nadezhda Baranova and Tatiana Geikhman (as far as I know they both only write about figure skating and their payed jobs are not related to journalism. Nevertheless, they know alot, they always ask interesting questions and get interesting answers. They usually speak to the skaters they like and most of the articles are a bit fluffy. My problem is that the skaters they like are not necessarily the skaters I like ); Andrey Simonenko (he's a sports journalist from St. Petersburg. I many times disagree with him, which doesn't make his articles any less good. He's not biased as far as I can tell, but a bit too patriotic to my taste.). Anna Kondakova is great and writes in English at the first place; Igor Poroshin is considered a good figure skating journalist but I usually disagree too much with him and dislike his style so much that any translation I would do would be far too biased. There is also, of course, the oldest and the wisest Arthur Werner whose articles usually focus on the bust size of the female skaters and include so many metaphors and clues that I don't bother reading him at the first place, never mind translating.
She is also known to be biased towards certain skaters.
Thank you so much, TAHbKA
Very nice interview indeed
Yes, and certain coaches. Which she openly says, hence her biases are no secret.
Thanks so much for the translation. It's a great interview, lots of interesting tidbits.
I'm always amused by the difference in the style of questions asked between America and Russia. Can you imagine an American figure skater being asked "Is your father strict" and the skater replying "Yes he is, it annoys me"
I liked reading about Morozov's training methods. We all think of him as a sleaze but he is obviously well-liked and respected by his skaters.
Trankov's and Smirnov's dedication and perseverance are admirable. If I had to starve and sleep in the stands I would just probably say eff skating and go back crying to my mommy!
Thanks as always for the translation! The more I hear from them, especially Trankov, the more I like them.
I also found it interesting to hear about Morozov from a skater's perspective. I understand why so many skaters from different disciplines go to him.
I'm starting to get it too.
It's just too bad he won't outsource the choreo.
Trankov talking about Morozov was interesting - paraphrasing "I didn't think he was anything- he was just famous because of Yagudin!" Then he thought he really was good and improved his skating. The interview has lots of good stuff.
It would be great if you could also translate this Miki Ando interview for FSUers.
It is unusually candid and can shed some light on many rumors going on right now.
This was already translated here: http://www.fsuniverse.net/forum/showthread.php?t=78668
I thought the Miki Ando interview's translated already? or is this a different interview?
Sorry didn't see that.
It's not so much Russia, I think, but more Maxim himself. He is very candid in his interviews, not sugarcoating anything.
(though Zhulin, Dmitriev and Vasiliev have been quite frank, as well. hm... maybe part of it is being Russian)
ITA. I remember both Dai and Adam Rippon spoke about him with respect and affection even after they left his team. And both splits weren't easy, as far as I remember...