`Am not too fond of the USA' Vaitsekhovskaya's interview with Leonova for sport-express-ru.
The world 2012 silver medalists tells Sport Express why she had no doubts about participating the Worlds, why the old programme is better than the new and why she'd rather train in Russia than in the USA.
In Saturday, the day before Leonova was supposed to leave to the USA and join her coach's group we met in Novogorsk
EV: The decision who would represent Russia in London - you or Nicole Gosviani was made after the Russian Cup Final in Tver. Were you worried?
AL: Not really. I was quite confident. After the LP I felt everything worked for me despite failing the first combo. After all everyone saw me in the warm up and the practices in Tver and saw how I was skating. And I was quite good.
EV: A bit earlier during the Europeans where all 3 Russian skaters did quite well - were you afraid your season might be over?
AL: No. I kept practicing every day and kept in mind I might go to Zagreb. What if? Then it was the same before the competition in Tver.
EV: When did you decide to change your LP?
AL: Right after the New Year.
EV: Changing the programme often means the new programme was a flop. When you felt first the new programme is not good enough?
AL: Probably at the beginning of the season. On one hand I always felt the Spanish music should suit me: the characteristic dance, flamenco. On the other - I couldn't find myself in the new programme. Perhaps it lacked some more profound Spanish sounds - the guitar, the rhythm. After all we chose that piece not because I particularly liked it, but rather because we were sure no one else would skate to it. As for me - I always wanted to skate a tango, but Nikolai Morozov declined. He said everyone and his grandmother will be skating to a tango.
BTW, during the practices I was skating that programme just fine. I loved working on it, but once I stepped on the ice on the competition - all went wrong.
EV: In other words - you need to feel the programme throughout?
AL: I'd say I need the music to turn me on. Yet here it seems I was just skating. doing some elements but felt no connection to the music. It was a nice background not related to me. This is why we decided to change things. First we changed the music to Aranjues - I skated to it in Russian nationals, then we tried to find something more dramatic. It didn't work either - sounded like a funeral. So we went back to the last year's programme.
EV: After you failed to qualify to the Europeans it was obvious your coach is more focused on his other pupils - those who are to skate in Zagreb. Were you uncomfortable with that?
AL: Can't say he wasn't focused enough on me. I came to the practices just the same, was skating on the same ice. More than that- many times after the training was over Morozov would work for another hour or even more with me. It's when we were working on some technical aspects which is rather time consuming. When Morozov was away for 3 weeks I worked with my 2nd coach Alla Pyatova. It was quite an intense work with lots of run through. Alla Viktorovna was always for skating as many run through as possible, while with Nikolai we usually work on certain parts of the programmes.
EV: Why didn't you go to the USA with the rest of the group?
AL: Frankly, I don't even know. Morozov wanted us to go together, but then the thought I should stay in Russia for a couple of days more came up. Frankly - I was glad - didn't want to go too soon. So Nikolai will go with the ice dancers to the USA on 21/2, and I will join on 25th.
EV: It seems you are not too fond of the USA
AL: Indeed. I'm uncomfortable with everything there.
EV: What exactly?
AL: Everything. Starting with the accommodation and finishing with the food. The only positive side - lots of ice time and not many people. No one bothers while skating
EV: Do you like skating alone?
AL: I like it when I'm not bothered. When the coach is concentrated on me only.
EV: It's rather hard in Morozov's group - you must feel quite uncomfortable all the time with the amount of skaters he has.
AL: I mainly jealous the skaters. No matter how many times he says he likes working with the single skaters better sometimes when we are on the ice at the same time it's obvious he doesn't know where to begin. It would be better had he divided his time: either there are ice dancers on the ice or the single skaters, myself included. BTW, I don't mind working with the single skaters. Besides, he sometimes says I work better than the guys.
EV: Sergey Voronov mentioned the advantages in working on the same ice with Takahashi. What about you?
AL: I'm equally amazed by the way Takahashi works. He does so much in one practice. And at the end of the practice when everyone is already tired he is attempting a quad lutz
EV: Can he land it?
AL: He is trying. But the sheer fact he is trying is what I respect so much. And his ability to do an LP run though after just one warming up round.
EV: During the last 2-3 weeks before the Worlds usually the skaters polish their programmes, getting rid of the slightest mistakes. It demands someone from the outside to watch the skater constantly. Who is working with you?
AL: When Morozov left to the USA he left me a list of tasks. He said I should go on the ice everyday with the thought I'm the best. I should get used to present myself in such a way now. Of course I have to polish the programme, perhaps add some emotions at some places. Indeed it is hard to do without a coach. The technical part is easier - it's all on the level of doing out from the sleep.
EV: Who works with you on the choreography?
AL: Sometimes I get remarks from Tatiana Druchinina - Arthur Dmitriev's mother (used to be a choreographer in Moskvina's group, a rhythmic gymnastics world champion). She also works with us off the ice when asked by Morozov. Have to admit I like working on the ice much better and dislike the ballet classes. It's so tiring.
EV: How do you know if you are not taking those classes?
AL: When I was skating in St. Petersburg we were working quite a lot on the choreography. Of course it's important - it gives you the flexibility, the posture, the lines which you later take with you to the ice. But I think working on that is more important to the skaters who prefer the classical programmes. I, on the other hand, prefer the characteristic ones.
EV: From what you've seen in the Europeans what did you like?
AL: I loved Carolina Kostner's new LP. In the past I was not impressed by her programmes- I couldn't understand what is she trying to do on the ice. But I loved this one.
EV: Were you ever sorry you can't do on the ice things the others can?
AL: The jumps perhaps. When I saw Mao Asada doing a 3A I thought how much I'd love to learn that jump. I think I can, though I realize it takes a lot of special preparations.
EV: Which is Leonid Raitsin, who used to work with your group, specialty.
AL: We didn't get to work much together. I didn't quite get his approach. Perhaps I'm more used to more active and energetic exercises which we were given in St. Petersburg. Raitsin's approach is more focused. But also more boring. In general I could convince myself to do such a work.
EV: Do you have a general physical coach in your group right now?
AL: No, we work it out ourselves.
EV: Do you have ideas for the Olympic season?
AL: Not yet. We'll try to surprise, like usually.