Interview with Nikolai Morozov: "The fact that I train foreigners doesn't bother me" (after the test skates in Novogorsk)
DR: What can you say about our skaters' performances here?
NM: I am content. Such events push athletes giving the opportunity to see competitors and evaluate the progress they made in the off-season. But you cannot say how the skaters will perform during the season. Not everyone is in their optimal shape yet.
DR: Now, before the Olympics, is there much competition [between the athletes on the Russian team]?
NM: Everyone is trying to do their best because they understand there isn't much time left until the Sochi Olympics. Everyone keeps getting better and it's good. As for competition, it is different in different disciplines. For example, in pairs we have Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, who, in my opinion, are beyond competition. And in ice dancing, my dance team Elena Ilinykh / Nikita Katsalapov didn't skate here.
DR: Why not?
NM: I didn't want them to show their programs. Also, Lena had a minor shoulder injury. I think in this discipline we don't have many people who are competitive at the highest level. In singles, I was pleased with Artur Gachinski, he has interesting programs this year. I also liked Adelina Sotnikova, she is in good shape. Tuktamysheva and Lipnitskaya did not skate, and I didn't have a chance to see their programs.
DR: Are there any interesting events this year, besides the World Championships?
NM: World Championships (to be held in London, Canada, 10 - 17 March 2013) always stand out, but the Grand Prix Final in Sochi (6-9 December) is also extremely important this year. It will be held at the Olympic rink. It would be good if athletes who are going to compete for medals at the Olympics skated there.
DR: Do you set a goal for your skaters for this season to win any particular event?
NM: I always set goals for the season, and especially to win something. With the exception of two World championships, not a single one had gone without medals for me.
DR: Sometimes you aren't able to accompany your athletes to competitions...
NM: Yes, it happens often. But there are coaches who can replace me at competitions. I always try to be with them at important events.
DR: What concerns you the most in athletes' preparation?
NM: The main thing is injuries and health. In winter, there is a big risk to get sick. I wish it could be avoided because such things always interrupt training process for at least a week.
DR: Do you have a contract with the Russian Figure Skating Federation? And at whose expense do the athletes train overseas?
NM: I have no contract with the federation. Frankly, I do not know much about these issues, but I think that these trips are paid by the Ministry of Sport of Russian Federation. Not only my athletes, but the entire team travels to such camps.
DR: Won't the fact that you train foreign athletes hurt the chances of our skaters at World Championships and the Olympics?
NM: Yes, I coach European champion Florent Amodio of France and two-time World champion, Daisuke Takahashi of Japani. But in terms of competition with Evgeni Plushenko and Artur Gachinski, it doesn't bother me. After all, at competition everything will be in hands of the Russian athletes, and not in mine.