CoP chases the audience away Elena Vaitsekhovskaya speaks to Oleg Vasiliev for sport-express.ru The known Russian coach commented for the sport-express on the CoR results and explained why after Mukhortova/Trankov split almost two years ago he didn't work with the top pairs. It seemed back then the Olympic champions Totmianina/Marinin will come back soon, but he kept away for almost 2 years. He came to Moscow with the Italian pair, who only recently started skating together. We met right after the pairs competition where the Russians Volosozhar/Trankov won. EV: Oleg, what brings you here? We were guessing where did Vasiliev disappear. OV: I'm still in Chicago. Last year I hardly worked: my daughter graduated from the highschool and she had to decide what to do - continue the education or get a job. This year I hardly coached. Mainly kids. The Italians, who I'm here with came at the end of the last summer - we were supposed to work for a couple of weeks only. Their participating the GP is quite by chance - someone didn't come, someone was ill, so we were invited to replace them. The essence of judging is the same as under 6.0 EV: Were you following the pairs skating during those 2 years? OV: Hardly. I mean - I do follow certain skaters, the results, the news, but I don't watch all the competitions. EV: Why? Aren't you interested? OV: What's there to be interesting if people without 2 jumps, 2 throw jumps and a so-so lift get 130 points and a season best? There is something wrong with that. I understand the audience that left the rinks after the CoP was introduced. They stopped understanding figure skating altogether. EV: You used to be part of the ISU pairs skating technical committee... OV: Not for the last 1.5 years. In 2008 it was decided there should not be more than one representative from each country. The other specialist from Russia was Lakernik, so it wasn't really a question which of us should leave. EV: Before you had to leave the technical committee were you trying to explain the pairs skating is moving to the wrong direction? OV: I don't think it is moving to the wrong direction. That's not the question. I think the judging is not equal to the skating. They are trying to work with that, there are judges trainings all the time and quite stern talks about certain situations. But... In the past the 6.0 system was criticized for not being clear and the judges going after their feelings more than the skating. Now there are definitions how to judge but the judging remained the same. It applies both to the 2nd mark and the bias in giving the 1st mark. If Chan wins in Canada with 3 falls and a huge score why wouldn't a Russian skater get the same marks for an equal skating in Russia? The figure skating judging was always subjective and it will remain such. You just have to remain within some boundaries. EV: Agree. When I saw Volosozhar/Trankov's LP sky high marks here I felt awkward. OV: Me too. When the body is falling apart EV: When you stopped working with Mukhortova/Trankov I was quite certain you'll be coaching a new top pair very soon. Yet you haven't. Why? OV: I was just tired. I was tired fighting for the result, with the difficult skaters, and that's what I had. It's not a secret I was working with the skaters no one else wanted to work with. After working for the RFFS for 10 years and not getting even a `thank you' I realized I didn't want to go on. It was painful. So I left. EV: Was anyone trying to get you back? OV: When the potential pupils called I explained I was in vacation. Can't say there were too many calls, but there were several. EV: Did you miss it? OV: Not at all. Not only was it mentally hard, but physically as well. I felt that my body was falling apart. Mental state and physical state are quite related. When you are under a pressure for a very long time the body reacts. So I had to think more of my health than of figure skating. You can't turn just anything into a great thing EV: From what you've seen this year in pairs skating what did you like and found interesting? OV: I like Volosozhar/Trankov. They have a huge potential. I don't like Savchenko/Szelkowy. I found nothing new in their programmes. It's a repetition and not the best of a repetition. There are some interesting pairs in Canada, but they are not yet ready to fight with the top pairs. There are Americans who can perform complicated programmes, but their skating skills are nothing to write home about and they won't change it within a year. I like Kawaguti/Smirnov, especially their LP. I don't like Bazarova/Larionov. Not what they do, but how they look. As a professional coach I can see a female partner who weight 33kg just can't do what she is supposed to. She looks ill on the ice and it's wrong. You can't sacrifice health for results. There is also Stolbova/Klimov. If they find a way to use their potential they can be counted for the next 4 years after Sochi. They can become a very interesting and technically strong pair. Not yet though. As for the Chinese - I can't say much about Pang/Tong except for it's really hard to skate at the age of 30+ especially when you don't even really want to. And it's rather obvious continuing the skating career was not their decision. Hao Zhang with the new partner - their L3 quad split twist is interesting. Though we already went through the state of a huge guy and a tiny girl about 20 years ago. EV: You don't sound very optimistic. OV: Pairs skating is a tough sport. There aren't many athletes who choose to do pairs, so we get only the skaters who for some reason or another were useless in singles. It's hard to create something good out of them. As Mishin likes to say from a bad material you can only create bad products. It's hard to raise a good pair. In any country. It's a hard work and a hard team. EV: Nevertheless such work is being done in several countries at the same time. OV: Agree. And I hope to see the results. Of course, if the end of the world we were promised doesn't happen in December. Is the comeback possible? EV: Do you agree Tamara Moskvina, who made you and Elena Valova Olympic Champions almost 30 years ago is still one of the top and the most creative coaches? OV: I partly agree. Take Yuko and Sasha. They have a very interesting LP. I can see the guys and the coach did a huge job. Now they only have to be consistent in their elements. EV: You mentioned Volosozhar/Trankov having a huge potential. When Maksim was leaving your team 2 years ago did you understand what stood behind his decision? OV: Maksim's bad relationship with Maria Mukhortova was obvious before I started coaching them. So his split was understandable: if he wanted to get anywhere in that sport he had to look for a partner who he would be more or less compatible with mentally. So it was a right decision he made. How it was done is another question. I think he did it quite ugly. EV: When you see Trankov skating now not as his coach do you think there are still some problems unsolved? OV: It's a good question I'd rather not answer. EV: Ok, then another question: do you think you'd agree to work with the Russian team again? OV: In theory - yes. But that will only happen if certain people retire from figure skating for good.