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  1. #1

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    Vaitsekhovskaya's interview with Oleg Vasiliev `CoP chases the audience away'

    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.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by TAHbKA View Post
    [URL="http://winter.sport-express.ru/figureskating/reviews/26186/"]

    EV: Before you had to leave the technical committee were you trying to explain the pairs skating is moving to the wrong direction?
    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.

    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.
    a Russian coach who hates a Russian pair
    some of words are quite true though

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    thanks for the interwiew TAHbKA.

    puh, many rough words. but i like that he speaks open-minded and tells what he thinks.
    but nice, some known person obviously speaks loudly about matters like bazarovas weight and pang/tong still competing


    i really liked him as a coached, did great things with tot/mar (who disappeared much too soon) and muk/tra, want to see him again with a great russian couple.

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    Hmmm, so he is criticising Bazarova for being only 33 kilos, but at the same time likes Kavaguti? That's a bit hypocritical. Yuko is as thin as Bazarova, if he wants to judge skaters according to their sizes.

    I loved how he couldn't help himself digging into Trankov. According to Vasiliev, how Trankov split up with Mukhortova was ugly, but how Vasiliev and Mukhortova went on holiday while Trankov was not allowed to take time off, that was ok?

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    to be fair, Vera maybe borderline scary thin but she has gorgeous lines and her triple twists are very nice

    Quote Originally Posted by hanca View Post

    I loved how he couldn't help himself digging into Trankov. According to Vasiliev, how Trankov split up with Mukhortova was ugly, but how Vasiliev and Mukhortova went on holiday while Trankov was not allowed to take time off, that was ok?
    ikr, lying about a sick Grandma and going to a Dominican Republic vacation on your back while working your butts on the ice is more ugly !

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    Quote Originally Posted by love_skate2011 View Post
    to be fair, Vera maybe borderline scary thin but she has gorgeous lines and her triple twists are very nice
    I agree about the lines.
    Last edited by hanca; 11-13-2012 at 06:16 PM.

  7. #7
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    Great interview, I agree with almost everything. For someone who says he doesn't follow skating closely, he sure seems up to date with all the latest developments (Peng/Zhang's 4twist, S&S' new programs, etc).

    I have always wanted him to coach B&L, and that goes doubly so now that he has said what everyone is thinking about Bazarova.

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    Really amused too by the dig at Bazarova's weight immediately following an appreciative comment about Kavaguti/Smirnov.

    Though we already went through the state of a huge guy and a tiny girl about 20 years ago.

    Valova/Vasiliev were up against G&G, didn't win often, and can't you just tell .
    But actually it's great that he's so honest about what he thinks, agree with it or not, it's a pleasant break from all the PC bull.
    Touching the void.

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    V/t had a fall on a throw and a two foot throw the two foot was always going to earn point but with goe -3 or -2 instead of +2 would have been proper but the huge score would have been there. He had a winning team in COP so he knows what it's all about but that was the 2006 Olympics and was much different - only throws were considered for highlight distribution marks not lifts but he still likes 6.0 much more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Primorskaya View Post
    Really amused too by the dig at Bazarova's weight immediately following an appreciative comment about Kavaguti/Smirnov.

    Though we already went through the state of a huge guy and a tiny girl about 20 years ago.

    Valova/Vasiliev were up against G&G, didn't win often, and can't you just tell .
    But actually it's great that he's so honest about what he thinks, agree with it or not, it's a pleasant break from all the PC bull.
    I agree that I enjoy more reading when someone honestly says what he really thinks, rather than the PC bull. However, in this interview Vasiliev seemed to me a bit bitter. If you look at the interview, there doesn't seem to be a pair except of Kavaguti-Smirnov he would actually like (and I am not sure if he likes Kavaguti-Smirnov for their skating; after all, Kavaguti is as slim as Bazarova and he did not like Bazarova for being too thin. My guess would be that he likes K/S just because of Moskvina). Otherwise he doesn't seem to like anyone.

    He doesn't like Savchenko/Szolkowy. (Fair enough. Not sure what is there not to like, but nevermind.)
    Americans have rubbish skating skills.
    Canadians are not ready to fight with the top pairs.
    He doesn't like Bazarova/Larionov because Bazarova is too thin for him.
    Volosozhar/Trankov have nothing new in their programmes. It's a repetition and not the best of a repetition.
    Stolbova/Klimov - They can become a very interesting and technically strong pair. Not yet though.
    Hao Zhang with the new partner - we already went through the state of a huge guy and a tiny girl about 20 years ago.
    Pang/Tong - don't even really want to skate.

    Perhaps sour grapes?

    When he speaks about bad relationship between Mukhortova and Trankov, he doesn't seem to think about how he contributed to this bad relationship. Being in relationship with Mukhortova definitely couldn't help the relationship between Mukhortova and Trankov.

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    I thought he was saying S/S have programs that are just repetitions. And I agree this season they have, erm, shite programs.

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    Oh, sorry, you are right. According to Vasiliev, S/S have repetition after repetition.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hanca View Post
    Oh, sorry, you are right. According to Vasiliev, S/S have repetition after repetition.
    Well, he did have quite the laundry list of gripes, so I could see where you'd lose track . Is he still doing his adult pairs camp?

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    Interesting what he has to say about P&T .. and very sad too.

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    Can't say I disagree with him. Pairs competition is quite boring right now. I used to LOVE watching pairs.

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    Two stories I heard about Bazarova - Vasiliev situation.

    1. At the very beginning of Yuri' s disqualification for 2 years many thought that that was the end of the pair Bazarova-
    Larionov. So, Vasiliev who had influence in the RUS Federation at that time said he needed Bazarova (supposedly for Blanchard but not sure). Piseev called Bazarova and told her to pack and to be in St.Petersburg in Vasiliev's group in 2 days. Even the coach of Bazarova-Larionov told Vera to go because as she said if she does not follow Piseev's instructions, she by that will put the end of her skating future.
    Despite all this pressure Vera who was 13 or 14 years old at that time said the following: Yuri was my first parner and was patient with me when I started skating pairs from zero level with him ( he was already a pair skater with different partners before). I shall not betray my partner and shall wait for him, no matter what my future will be. This was the position of 13-14 years old girl.

    2. Two years ago there was a huge pressure to take the pair Bazarova-Larionov from their current coach who has no political influence and to give them to Vasiliev who had the interest in the pair. The pair refused.

    So, I am not surpirised that Vasiliev does not like them after they refused him 2 times. But I admire Vera's life position. May be she is tiny physically but she is sure strong in her mind to sya NO to Piseev and to stick to her life principles.

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    Wow, she is cool! Not surprising he doesn't like her!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SUN View Post
    Two stories I heard about Bazarova - Vasiliev situation.

    1. At the very beginning of Yuri' s disqualification for 2 years many thought that that was the end of the pair Bazarova-
    Larionov. So, Vasiliev who had influence in the RUS Federation at that time said he needed Bazarova (supposedly for Blanchard but not sure). Piseev called Bazarova and told her to pack and to be in St.Petersburg in Vasiliev's group in 2 days. Even the coach of Bazarova-Larionov told Vera to go because as she said if she does not follow Piseev's instructions, she by that will put the end of her skating future.
    Despite all this pressure Vera who was 13 or 14 years old at that time said the following: Yuri was my first parner and was patient with me when I started skating pairs from zero level with him ( he was already a pair skater with different partners before). I shall not betray my partner and shall wait for him, no matter what my future will be. This was the position of 13-14 years old girl.
    Love It !!!
    Bazarova is indeed the current Diva of Russian Pairs and in a good way at least

    B/L are still a real life couple right ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by love_skate2011 View Post
    Love It !!!
    Bazarova is indeed the current Diva of Russian Pairs and in a good way at least

    B/L are still a real life couple right ?
    AFAIK, they are not, but people say the relations are like a bother and a sister. Also the story is that when Yuri was disqualified he was taken for the military service (which is compulsory in Russia). He was at some military unit in a remote area in Siberia. Vera was skating alone but every two weeks she travelled to the area where Yuri was doing his national service to visit him and to support him because Yuri felt really guilty and at cetrain moments he was at the breaking point. So Vera did everything to help him to overcome this mental crisis.

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    I don`t get it..why don`t American/Canadian pairs work with him in Chicago?

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