Coach's labour is not easy Morozov speaks to Olga Ermolina for Moscow News
2 sets of medals were given on Tuesday during Russian Natioanls. Bazarova/Larionov became the pair champions, Sonikova became the national champion for the 3rd time. One of the most wanted Russian coaches gave an interview right after the comepetition
OE: The ladies competition used to be the most depressing one once. Now it seems we have many talented skaters. How do you explain that?
NM: With the growing interest in Figure skating in Russia. Our skaters took three gold medals in Turino Olympics, then thanks to the tv ice shows the sport became really popular. Many parents want their daughters to become figure skaters, and not only mediocre ones. Hence the huge amount of kids who do figure skating. BTW, the USA figure skating is based on the numbers. You also have to take into an account that the girls are more disciplined and hard working, it's easier for the mothers to convinse them to take up the sport the mothers like.
OE: Is it harder with the boys?
NM: It's different - the parents want them to be in the male sports - football, hockey. As far as the Russian figure skating goes there is a different reason: for many years the sport was ruled by Yagudin and Pluschenko. In my point of view they are still the best skaters. Not only in the elements they can perform, but in the way they skate - brutally, powerfully, agressivly. The picture we see now is different: the men characteristics are secondary while the viewers and specialists are looking for other features.
OE: Did I understand you correctly that, so to say, one must sew some lace to the men shirts?
NM: the stress is now on the ballet and dance moves, the flexibility, elegance. It's not a secret there are many gay skaters. It gives their skating a different flavour and influences the male skating in general. But in Russia where Yagudin and Pluschenko's example is in front of everyone's eyes the skaters of the new generation are following the tradition and go the same way. Which is good. Zhenia Pluschenko, a charizmatic skater who participated the Nationals showed his character yet again. Starting everything from the scratch for the 3rd time is really hard and not many could endure that. Pluschenko is an idol for many skaters in Russia. This is where the difference becomes more profound what the Russian skaters look up to and what the others. I've been coaching our guys for a year now and it's quite hard to overcome the difference. I think that it's useless attempting to do what the foreign skaters do. We should come up with our style and persue it - the male style that will win in all the possible components.
OE: A year ago when telling about your new pupil Sergey Voronov you explained that as a coach you enjoy working with skaters who were written off. What can you tell about his bronze medal in Russian nationals?
NM: Indeed it's interesting working with `problematic' skaters. I almost gave up on Voronov at some point. Kudos to him for believing in himself eventually. I'm very satisfied with his skate in Saransk. It's his and the whoe team's achievement.
OE: Did his 3rd place come as a surprise for you?
NM: Yes and no - I've been waiting for it for a while, but for some reason it didn't happen so far. Things would go well and he would get injuried again. Then again - all goes well and back to the square one. Voronov was skating in the nationals with an injury, not completely healthy, which made the preparation period shorter. And again, the biggest achievement not his skating - he was always able to do the elements, but the mental change.
OE: Your other pupil, Alena Leonova could have missed the nationals, but decided to participate.
NM: I offered her to skip Saransk since she skated very well this season and earned a spot in the Europeans and the worlds. But she wanted to compete. I'm actually glad she made mistakes in her SP.
NM: Yes. She made no mistakes in the SP for 3 times in the row. She had to step back, shake it a bit and it was a good timing - the nationals are not very important competition for Leonova - she proved everything at hte first part of the season skating well in her GP events and winning a medal in GPF. Now she has to rest a bit from the training , the work, to chill.
OE: What can you say about Ilinyh/Katsalapov's skate?
NM: I liked their skate. Yes, Lena had a fall in the SP, but it's a minor mistake. They skated freely. It was their best skate in the competition since they started skating in my group. It's not ideal yet, but then unlike the others they never showed their best. They probably show about 20% of what they are capable of. They have a huge potential. I think it's a pair who can fight for an olympic medal, even if not many believe that.
OE: They were critisized for not training hard enough. Do you agree?
NM: That's what the critics are for - to critisize. When and how much do they train - it's part of the process. I think they skate better than they did last year, they improve with eveyr competition. If they were not progressing and stagnating - that would mean they have no future and I would be speaking differently. What is needed to be done now is to plan the work correctly and the results will come. If you recall many things were said about Voronov as well, yet he came out and provided here.
OE: Do you find it hard working with Ilinyh/Katsalapov?
NM: The coach's job in general is not easy. It's not easy working with people. But I like it.
OE: Elena Tchaikovskaya thinks our ice dance goes in a wrong direction.
NM: I agree, but don't want to elucidate on the subject yet.