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    Vaytskhovskaya's interview with Buyanova `Sotnikova always knew what she wanted'

    Vaytskhovskaya's interview with Buyanova `Sotnikova always knew what she wanted' for sport-express.ru

    There are interviews which can't be done `right after'
    Elena Buyanova and I are sitting in a tiny coaches room in TSKA rink and am thinking how right it was not insisting we speak right after her pupil Adelina Sotnikova won the Olympics in Sochi. Probably the phrase `I just now realize I became a coach. Adelina made me one...' would never be voiced.
    Actually it was impossible to talk to Buyanova in Sochi anyway - a day after Sotnikova became an Olympic champion, her coach's ticket to Moscow was changed and she was sent back to Moscow - to recover.

    EB: I can vaguely recall my husband picking me up in the airport. It was all blurry. For the first two weeks I just ate and slept. And then slept some more. In Sochi was the first time I had troubles with high blood pressure. Every morning our masseur Tamara Gvozdetskaya came to wake me up, gave me more pills and then I would be able to scratch myself from the bed. When Adelina was skating her LP I was on the edge, I was hanging on that border, not standing next to it.

    EV: Adelina made her life with that victorious skate.
    EB: She've been heading towards it for so many years. It was so hard. In the last 2 years we were becoming desperate. Adelina and Liza Tuktamysheva set the standards of the ladies skating so high and created a competition. And then understood remaining on that level is not always possible. When an athlete who never fell on a jump for two years suddenly starts falling it's hard to understand what is going on. I am so thrilled Adelina lived through all that - you know how many girls have to retire during their puberty.

    EV: Sotnikova had a chance to become one of them. Like many others who didn't reach the top. Is it possible at all to prepare one to become an Olympic champion? Or is it a combination of things that just happen?
    EB: I guess both. Of course nothing would happen with some luck. I thought about it a lot when I was skating myself. Beside me there were several skaters on the rink who were certainly not worse than me. Perhaps better in some things. They sure worked harder than me. But I had some success while they just faded out.
    When I started coaching it was my biggest fear. That after I take an athlete I will not be able to lead them to their goals. I think it's awful to put so much effort, health and leave the sport with nothing. I noticed such people - no matter how successful they are in other professions, deep down they still have that pain. Knowing they could be great and didn't. And it were just circumstances that were against.

    EV: When talking about the Russian ladies chances at the Olympics before the games many thought the best scenario would be one of them taking a bronze. Yet I can't imagine there is an athlete who is mentally set to `perhaps take a bronze' would do better than that. Were you setting Sotnikova and yourself to the maximum result?
    EB: I was very cautious with the `home' games. I remembered Turino only too well and how all that atmosphere of the home competition crashed Carolina Kostner. So I thought not to put any stress on Adelina with the possible medals. But she kept thinking of the gold medal. This whole season went wrong for us. When Adelina was skating badly in the practices I would ask `so where exactly do you plan to end up with such a skating?'. She would spit the answer `I will win those Olympics'.

    EV: You sure it was you she was telling that to?
    EB: I think she was firstly convincing herself. You know what is the most important thing about Sotnikova? She has a spine. She is unbendable. She've always been. She knows what she wants. Of course we also have to keep in mind the various specialists who worked with Adelina this year. The federation and the ministry of sports helped us with those. It was mainly thanks to them we had a well structured work where the gliding specialists, shape coaches, choreographers, masseur, doctor, nutritionist were working together... We couldn't even dream of that before, and, frankly, deep down I hope this collaboration will continue.
    First I didn't even understand how am I supposed to divide my skater between all those people. I had to become a coordinator as well. I guess it will sound silly, but it sounded like a good stable where the horse is groomed. Then they go to the race and their leather shines like silk. This was Adelina's state before the Olympics.

    ***

    EV: You completely failed the GPF this season.
    EB: We came back from Japan to retire. We were desperate. All of us, Sotnikova included. We couldn't understand what was next. What's the point of Adelina's perfect skates in the practices if she can't provide two clean skates in the competition? How are we supposed to go out to the mixed zone and talk to the journalists? What are we supposed to say?
    I was kicking myself 24 hours a day I was a professional failure, if I can't stop that constant fail of the programmes. Adelina was kicking herself just as much. I can say that for sure: in December we were more ready to call all that suffering off rather than continue.

    EV: Yet you didn't?
    EB: We decided to try again. For the last time. I'm so grateful to Adelina. I learned so much with her. Her failures pushed me to think all the time. And most importantly: she never defied: whatever I offered or came up with she would just comply. Many times in such situation the skater and the athlete part their ways - for the lack of choice. More than that sometimes it works, so I probably would even accept such an action. But Adelina insisted on going on with me, more than that, we had the same pace.
    Tatiana Anatolievna Tarasova when she saw all that said `Lena, you can't work that much. One day it must become a result, you have to believe'.

    EV: Indeed the gun `shot' at the right moment. Though frankly, I still don't understand how did you prepare your skater after she was kicked out from the team event.
    EB: It's not about her not participating. It's how things were done. I was the only coach in the team who was preparing two athletes: one had to skate and the other was a substitute. Of course I had to know what am I preparing them for. Do they skate on 9/2 or 19/2? It's not a local school competition after all.
    It was full of nerves. Now I understand I made a mistake telling Sotnikova she would participate the team event. It was the information I had at the time. A couple of days later I learned my skater was not in the team.
    When I told Adelina the news I saw the life blowing out of her. Yet I had no right to feel sorry for her. I understood should I show a fraction of compassion I will never be able to get her back to the right mood again. Nor myself.
    I felt so guilty I couldn't look Adelina in the eyes. I felt I betrayed her. I didn't overlook the situation, I didn't stand up for her....
    That was the first time my blood pressure jumped up.
    ***

    EV: What changed things?
    EB: Adelina's first trip to Sochi. She went there with our choreographer Irina Tagaeva as a team substitute right before the team event. She participated the opening ceremony, had one practice, saw another and understood how much she wants to skate on that ice and what a fight she is willing to give. From there on she was unstopable. We saw in front of our eyes what we taught her for so long just happening. She was skating so well in the practices that Petr Tchernyshev who choreographer her programmes said `Lena, I'm frightened'.
    I had yet another confirmation what a fighter Sotnikova is. When a person goes through so many failures something inside breaks and they stop fighting. I know myself how hard it is when you are praised so much and the next second you are falling to the bottom and there is no one next to you.

    EV: Were you shocked by the amount of offences in the internet coming from the Korean figure skating fans?
    EB: I tried explaining Adelina at the beginning Yu Na Kim was the whole country idol. The only one. They have no other skaters and it's not obvious they ever will. In other words - it's the nation's pride, love, hope and support. I can only dream to have such support for Adelina in our country. I explained her all that. When the hopes are shattered it's hard to remain adequate.
    Of course it's unpleasant all those discussions about Adelina. How much and how fast her components mark went up... What exactly do we compare her olympic skate with? The way she skated in the GPF in December? She missed 5 elements there. When all the elements are completed the second mark goes up. Add a very complicated combo to that.
    On the other hand you have to deal with emotions in the sport. Negative included. I was very impressed how after the SP Mao Asada's coach came out to the Japanese press who were waiting for him outside the `Iceberg' at 1am. There were hundreds of them. The flashes made it seem as if it was the middle of the day. He was standing there with his eyes on the ground and spoke, spoke, spoke... As if he was apologizing in front of the whole country understanding what a blow to the nation was Mao's bad skate.

    ***
    EV: Would you like Asada to stay in figure skating for another cycle and attempt the gold medal again?
    EB: For me Mao will always remain a little girl whose mother brought to our rink in TSKA. I love her dearly, but understand keeping skating on such a high level for her 3rd Olympics will be hard. I thought that perhaps Asada needed to fall so low as she did in the SP so we all would witness her magical skate in the LP? It was exactly the skate her mother dreamed about - she told us so much about it when she came to Moscow. When her mother was gone I know Mao kept living with that dream.

    EV: What if Adelina, when she comes back to Moscow will come to the rink and say she is done skating?
    EB: It's her right. Right now she is set to continue. Says she've never won the Worlds, the Europeans and would love to have those medals. Right now she has a great time participating the show and she learns a lot there. Tchernyshev created 2 great programmes for her in 3 days. 3 nights actually - the ice was busy during the day. I can see now how much Adelina enjoys figure skating. She gets a standing ovation every time. It levels all that negative stuff that still goes on in the internet. I'm so grateful to the Japanese fans for that.

    EV: In one of the interviews your pupil said she is willing to try more complicated jumps. Do you think it will pay off?
    EB: To try does not mean including in the programme. Why not. It's possible. We will consider it after the summer training when it will be clear in which shape Adelina is. She obviously has an ability.

    EV: Which GP do you plan this season?
    EB: We don't have a choice. She is not a seeded skater - she did not finish in top 6 at the Worlds. We even laughed when we spoke about it with Nina Mozer - she is in the same shoes with Volosozhar/Trankov. The Olympic champion gets one event. They will probably be invited to a 2nd event, but still, they don't have a say.

    EV: Are you ready to start working for another cycle?
    EB: I'm horrified, frankly. I don't really want to go to the ice rink right now and deep down I'm glad my skaters are in various shows now. I suddenly have so many things to do... sometimes I don't even understand how did I combine that will the practices.

    EV: Does your family moan you are never home?
    EB: I'm so calm and quiet right now, my husband and son are not used to that. I can be unnoticed. But I understand getting back to work will be very hard. It's something we have to go through every year. Usually the first week after the summer vacation I dream of quitting. Every day. I think it's impossible to endure. And then the interest sparks again and you become alive on the ice...

  2. #2
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    I really hoped someone would translate this article - I saw the link on Elena Vaytskhovskaya's facebook page in the morning.
    Thank you a lot, TAHbKA - I do appreciate the fact that you take your time and translate these very consistent Russian interviews. Hat off to you.


    [QUOTE=TAHbKA;4246921]Vaytskhovskaya's interview with Buyanova `Sotnikova always knew what she wanted' for sport-express.ru

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    Thank you so much TAHbKA.
    My travel and adventure blog http://alisonanddon.wordpress.com

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    Thank you TAHbKA!

    I hope Sotnikova skates next season and kick some major butt!
    As of March 2013 - no longer scared of TAHbKA or Andrey aka Pushkin

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    Thanks for the translation!

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    Hmm interesting... I thought I saw Sotnikova with her coach the day after she had won in the Olympic Park. Guess the lady wasn't her coach.

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    Thank you very much, TAHbKA!


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    Very nice article, thank you for the translation.

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    A few thoughts:

    1) The team of Buyanova and Sotnikova sounds so cute , I like especially the tenacity of Sotnikova and how Buyanova is such
    a ball of nerves all the time.

    2) All the talk of all the professionals that helped Sotnikova leading to Olympics makes me fearful even more for a comeback from
    her, I can't see the federation investing in her like that for a Europeans or Worlds.

    3) Of course, All the people who had a problem with the result are Korean fans of Kim, And we are comparing the Olympic PCS to her
    5 fault fail at GPF, And not to the good clean skate at Bompard a month prior, yawn, Whatever gets them through.


    Fun article,

    Thanks for the translation.

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    The nastiest comments made on social media did come from Korean fans. Some of them called for Adelina's death.

    Thanks as always for the translations. I enjoy Vaytskhovskaya's interviews with coaches. The questions give a nice insight into the coach's thoughts, personalities and relationship with their students.
    Those who never succeed themselves are always the first to tell you how.

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    This is an amazing interview. Most of all, because it is brutally honest describing Buianova's mental state. Between Buianova's descriptions and my memory of Mozer's face before V/T's LP, coaching is indeed brutal. Loved the comparison with a champion horse; becasue really, at the top, that's what it is; and an athlete have to have that singular vision which does not look at the big picture, but only at the moment ahead.
    Thank you again, Tanbka, for linking and translating.
    improving my ballad- like lines

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    Many thanks, TAHbKA!
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    I was impressed with her skate in Sochi, the marks...not so much. That said, I am very impressed with her show programs and I really hope she stays healthy and keeps her fighting spirit. The sport needs Adelina to continue.
    Keeper of Nathalie Pechelat's bitchface.

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    Thanks again. What a long interview this was, and totally fascinating. I had been wanting to hear from Adelina's coach.
    Like a leaf on the wind

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    Was there some reporter throughout all of this that asked Sotnikova what she thought\felt about her Olympic scores,

    Or if she was at all surprised by such a high score ?

    Or any of the other big Russian skaters ?

    I usually enjoy the Russian type honesty and forthcomingness in interviews, Would be interesting to hear thoughts.

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    I think Kostner was asked several times about her scores (not during the Olympics). Her usual answer was: it's the judges job to give us marks. We just go out there and skate. Why would anyone else's answer different?

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    I think Maxim Trankov said in a interview something like the two ladies who were appreciated the most by the crowd were Adelina and Carolina, so it would have been more understandable if the backlash were from Italy, and also he thinks all of this isn't from Kim but it's from her fans who are very angry about the result in Sochi.(Not the exact words. Maybe FSUers who understand Russian can explain better than me.) Kim's fans in Korea are so angry now and talking about All That Skate since he is invited to the shows.

    Back to the topic. Thank you very much for the translations. Adelina is a true fighter. I expect her good skate in the next season. I agree with Coco. This sport needs this extremely talented lady to continue.
    Last edited by rosewood; 04-25-2014 at 10:46 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rosewood View Post
    I think Maxim Trankov said in a interview something like the two ladies who were appreciated the most by the crowd were Adelina and Carolina, so it would have been more understandable if the backlash were from Italy


    Gotta love him ^_^

    Nah, Both Kim and Kostner got the same dead silence in their step sequences, And no standing ovation, Only random shouts here and there.

    Sorry to dwell on this but did Slutskaya say anything about this ?

    I know she's a big Kim supporter, And she was meant to be the first Russian with that Gold medal,
    i wonder if she was happy for Adelina nonetheless.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eladola View Post
    Was there some reporter throughout all of this that asked Sotnikova what she thought\felt about her Olympic scores,

    Or if she was at all surprised by such a high score ?

    Or any of the other big Russian skaters ?

    I usually enjoy the Russian type honesty and forthcomingness in interviews, Would be interesting to hear thoughts.
    Not about the scores, but Maxim Trankov said that he would not have been surprised if the Italian Federation filed a complaint, as the best skates of the night were by Adelina and Kostner. He said he doesn't believe Yuna is behind the complaint as he considers her to be a very honourable athlete.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xela M View Post
    Not about the scores, but Maxim Trankov said that he would not have been surprised if the Italian Federation filed a complaint, as the best skates of the night were by Adelina and Kostner. He said he doesn't believe Yuna is behind the complaint as he considers her to be a very honourable athlete.
    Personally I still think Adelina is better than Yuna in the LP night but that score is unreasonable. I think either Caro or Yuna should get the gold since their SP were so much more better but underscored.

    Having said that, I don't expect Adelina to retire right away. At least I want to see her show us if she can skate like that night again.

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