Simonenko's interviews with Rukavitsin's group (Makarova, Menshov etc)
Menshov: Olympis is the main motivation
The Russian champion 2011 Menshov had a rather unseccessful last season, became 7th in the nationals, didn't make it to the team, which caused many to doubt he has any future. Many, but not himself - the 29y.o. is full of will to prove he is not yet done and is getting ready to the new season in Latvia. Andrey Simonenko interviewed Menshov for R-Sport
AS: Guess a usual question for the off season: how is the mood? What are you working on and how does it go?
KM: The mood is fine. Glad the weather is finally nice. It's not my first time in Latvia and I like it here. The work progresses. The new LP is almost ready. We have some small details to finish. All and all I like the new programme. I'm in a good shape, can do all the elements I did at the end of the last season. Usually it takes me a while to get back into the shape, but this year it's fine.
AS: Any injuries?
KM: A slight pain in the leg, but nothing major.
AS: There are several changes in the rules for the next season. For instance the choreographed steps. Did you manage to figure what is it?
KM: Not completely, we had just completed that step seq and sent the video to St. Petersburg so the specialists can watch it and give their remarks on whether we followed the rules or missed something.
AS: But in general you understand what the change is and why?
KM: The change was made so there would be more freedom and it'll look better. Most important that the steps would suit the music. The spins became harder as well, we are working on it now.
AS: What about the jumps?
KM: We are making them harder as well - I'll be performing two quads and two 3A in my LP. I used to include just one 3A. I'll be performing twice the same quad - 4T in a seq and a solo 4T. The jumps are good, I don't need to change anything
AS: Your last season was far from good. Did you gain anything positive from it or was it just one long black strip?
KM: The end of the season was ok-ish. The last two competitions were good: the Russia Cup final and Gardena Trophy in Italy. The rest... Well, the SP in NHK Trophy was desent. Otherwise I can't really recall anything possible about last season.
AS: The situation with the team compatition in Japan was weird: you were Russia n.3 in the international standings : after Gachinski and Pluschenko, yet Bush and Kovtun were selected to participate, and, well.. didn't quite impress there.
KM: Of course it was paiful not being included in the team. Especially at the beginning - it should had been my competition. But.. this is what the RFSF decided. What could I do. Sure, it was my fault as well - had I skated cleanly that season no one would had doubted me. I would be chosen.
AS: I know you considered retiring during the last season. What made you change your mind?
KM: After the Russian nationals in Saransk the coach (Rukavitsin) and I decided I'll take some time off and think. If I still feel I want to skate - I will. I took 2-3 weeks off and then wanted to go back skating. I just wanted to prove I can win something except for the Russian nationals, that I can do more.
AS: What is the main motivation?
KM: The Olympics. I want to participate them. And decently. This is my main goal.
AS: You are considered an inconsisten skater. How are you working on that? There is a technique: recalling the competitions where you did well and the feeling you had back then.
KM: You're right: this is exactly how I work now. I try to recall what I felt like when I skated well - when I went to the ice and it felt great.
AS: Define great.
KM: When you feel a bit relaxed and skate just for the fun. Then everything works out. That is exactly how I felt in the last competition in Italy. I skated both of my programmes completely clean. That's what I'll keep in mind.
AS: Do you recall your LP in Europeans 2011? You had a great skate.
KM: Frankly, not in so many details. I don't remember exactly how did I set myself to it. I recall the later competitions better.
AS: During the career the athlete becomes more experienced and changes. How did you change?
KM: After my failure in the Russian nationals I thought a lot. It's a bit hard to explain, but in short - I became more relaxed.
AS: The near future plans is the training in Sweden?
KM: Yes, we'll continue to Sweden from Latvia. We'll spend 2 weeks training there and then participate the test skates in Moscow. I will compete once or twice before the GP, but don't know yet in which competitions. It's being discussed now.
Wow, Menshov is not giving up!
I believe he had a really good performance at the same tiem Kovtun and Bush were bombing at the WTT.
Rukavitsin: Averbukh puzzled us the day he choreographed the programme
These days the ex Russian champions Ksenia Makarova and Konstantin Menshov completing their first part of the towards the season training in Latvia. The RSport journalist Andrey Simonenko visited them in Jeglava and spoke to their coach Evgeni Rukavitsin about their work.
AS: During the summer both the skaters and the coaches keep away from the crowd. I came here to find out what are you doing now.
ER: Right now it's the routine work - we are choreographing the programmes, getting used to them, adding some TM elements, so the viewers could say: `this is their move'. We are also getting used to the surprises from the ISU. The rules changed, there are new elements, new step sequences, new spin levels. Learning all those changes takes a lot of time, unlike the previous years when there weren't too many updates. This year there are so many serious changes. In the step sequences the one foot goes, the men have to perform a difficult seq. We have to understand what do they mean, what we have to show to gain the points.
AS: So what are the changes about?
ER: Generally it means we can do whatever in the step sequence. In a way it's back to the roots, a step towards some freedom. I mean those times when we saw the famous unforgetable step sequences such as Yagudin's. We can add spread eagles, ina bauers, interesting jumps... For instance the steps we choreographed for Menshov include some powerful masculine jumps. Of course, it all is well integrated into the music, with some interesting turns. Someone might include long edges and spread eagles. I think it'll be very interesting, but there will be lots of misunderstandings. So far not everything is clear. We sent the specialists in St. Petersburg the video of what we did so they can judge it. Reckon when we get to the test skates there will be plenty of discussions on those elements.
AS: Are Makarova's and Menshov's programmes ready?
ER: They are choreographed, but not yet polished. When they attempt to do all the elements they miss some, it's something we have to work on. For example we thought some entrance to a spin would look good, but it turns out in order to gain the right level we'll need more time for that element, so we have to cut that interesting entry. That's what we are mainly working on right now.
AS: Since you started talking about Menshov let's continue: how does working with him go now?
ER: I won't go into the details about the programmes precisely because it's still not yet done. But things look good for him right now. We were training in the USA in May, then went to Nice for 10 days, I'd say it was both work and vacation. In previous years he would go to Sochi, but since I could go to Nice this year he joined me there, having 1.5 hours of ice a day, using the rest of his time to rest, swim, tan. We started working seriously here in Jeglava.
AS: What about his shape?
ER: Let me tell you about something that happened to Menshov in Nice, which might explain things. When we came to train there Michelle, the president of the Nice figure skating federation asked Menshov to particpate an evening with lots of amateur skaters. Some kind of a local celebration. He asked me `Can Menshov just go to the ice and show something?'. I said, of course he can. We didn't have a new exhibition number so he went out and did what we had. But he skated it so well! He landed a 4T. We didn't discuss it since I know a warm up is necessary for such an element, and, of course, he didn't have a chance to warm up there. But he first landed a 3T and then a 4T. It was nice.
AS: So do I understand it right that you are not working on the jumps with Menshov right now?
ER: I changed some things in his training process. When the pressure is high the jumping technique gives a way a b it. Without getting into the details, I give him elements and he has no problem performing them. For example last training between the warm up and the steps I told him to work on the jumps, whihc he did quite easily going through all the jumps including the quad...
AS: Menshov is quite far from being young. Are you satisfied with the will he has to go on trianing?
ER: It's not a secret after the failure last season he faced the decision: to continue or retire. After the nationals, where he became 7th I told him `Kostya, I'm not going to press on you, you decide yourself. Come back and train when you miss the ice. That is, if you miss it at all.'. And he came. Decided he wanted to go on skating, so guess he knows he has more to give. It was on purpose leaving most of the decision in his hands- I think he should take the responsibility.
AS: What about Ksenia Makarova? She also participated the trainings in the USA, what happened after and what happens now?
ER: Unfortunately her season didn't start as was planned. She was late to the training in Latvia because of her health. Without getting into the details : she had some bad results and had to remain in the USA to complete the treatment. She is recovering now. She is better, but still needs to be under some observation and needs to do a lot before she can start working as she should. Even though the work started much later than we antcipated is started. She won't be changing the SP and we already choreographed the LP with Ilia Averbukh, but it've been a while since we choreographed, so we have to recall it all now. I'm going to contact Ilya soon and ask to meet him either in Moscow or St. Petersburg. It wil ldepend on him. We are redoing it all now with the group choreographer Olga Glinka and once Ilya comes we'll complete the work. Of course we'll have to make some changes so the programme is compatible with the new rules - it was created at the end of the last season, before the ISU congress and we didn't have any information on the changes yet. We'll have to change the spin duration and the pattern.
AS: The SP which was choreographed by Averbukh for Ksenia was very well received. Can you tell a bit about the new LP?
ER: It took us a very long time to choose the music. Ilya and I spend so much time on listening - I thought my head would explode, but we finally chose the piece. The day we were supposed to choreograph Averbukh surprised everyone and brought a completely different piece.
AS: Did you go with him?
ER: Ksenia and Ihad some doubts about the first choice - it was overused. It's a great piece, but it was used before and by some good skaters. Which was a bit of a set back. Ilya probably realized it and must have heard we had our doubts. Guess this is why he decided to choose a different piece. Frankly it's one of the things that I like in working with him so much - he didn't just ingore it as he could, but brought some new ideas, new thoughts. We started choreographing, hope the result will be interesting.
AS: Everyone knows Ksenia struggled with the toe jumps last year. She attempted the lutz and the flip, but unsuccessfully. How are you going to work on it?
ER: A lot. We are using the Dartfish system to analyze each jump frame by frame. It helps understanding what should we work on. Not only the Dartfish allows watching the frames, but it also gives an option to glue the jump on the perfect one. Bottom line: we are working very hard on it. Indeed, there were difficulties, we asked for more profesisonal help. She landed the jumps during the trainings before the Euros and the Worlds, but we havent' solved the problem completely. We are trying now.
AS: Last season Makarova worked withe a well known psychologys Rudolf Zagainov. Do you plan continuing working with him?
ER: No, we don't. I'm grateful to Zagainov not only for working with Ksenia, but in general for sharing with us his point of view on the sport. It's a treasure. I mentioned before why we had to terminate the work with him. I will not repeat it, it's quite painful still.
AS: Ksenia was also helped by the well known coach Viktor Kudriavtsev...
ER: We will certainly continue working with Viktor Nikolaevich. It was a pleasure working with him, he helped so much. I hope he'll agree working with us again.
AS: I saw you working with very little kids here in Elgava. Why?
ER: First of all I'd like to mention the great athmosphere here in Latvia, the conditions we have: the hotel and the ice rink are nearby, the training stadium is awesome, the gym, the fascilities - everything we need. A huge thanks to the organizer Andrey Brovenko. As for the kids - it's our Russian kids from the regions. They are from very different ages. There is Elena Maschenko's group from Tumen, Irina Deminova's from Rostov on Don. We are working with them. It's great they pushed things and came here.
AS: How do the kids work?
ER: Each in it's way. There are good kids, some quite gifted, but most importantly - those who are closed to the juniors by age have a huge will to learn. It inspires. They can get high. Which is nice. I came here with a big team - the choreographer Olga Glinka, the coach Andrey Luschikov, the steps coach Valentin Molotov, my assistents Kirill Davydenko and Roman Usatov. We are trying to surround the kids in every possible dimention.
AS: The next thing is Sweden?
ER: Yes, in a couple of days we'll move to Luleo and will work there till August 6th. We'll then go back and wait till we are called to the test skates and given feedback on the work done now. We'll get the remarks and mistakes corrections and star the work anew.
Does anyone know why they stopped working with Zagainov? I read all those articles that has been posted here at the time when they started working with him, but surely they knew about those issues too, so if they decided to work with him in the first place, I would think that they didn't mind. What happened since then?
Originally Posted by TAHbKA
If I remember correctly Mishin freaked out and and demanded Zagainov was not allowed into a rink where Pluschenko competed. I.e. Sheffield.
Originally Posted by hanca
^ Mishin had asked him away of the rink at Torino 2006 because Zagainov was bothering to offer " help" to his team so that Plushenko can win the Olympic medal, and they denied, it doesnt surprise me they didnt want him and his scientific approach near again, if he was in Sheffield anyway. But I thought Makarova had stopped working with him before Euros, her father said so in an interview.
But that doesn't seem like an explanation. The fact that he couldn't attend one competition to be the reason why they can't continue working with him in day to day training? Did he get annoyed/angry and decided not to 'help' them any more?
Originally Posted by TAHbKA