Vaitsekhovskaya's article on Morozov and interview with Soloviev for sport-express.ru
At the very beginning of the season when the skaters were learning their new programmes Nikola Morozov said about his pupils `If in the GPF or the Worlds Lena and Nikita will not be able to fight for a bronze I don't think there will be a point continuing working with them'. In the GPF they remained 6th, but then it seemed like a silly one time thingie, which will be fixed soon.
Only it wasn't fixed. Ilinyh/Katsalapov's result in London let us all assume the experiment, which began 2 years ago (when Elena and Nikita switched from Zhulin to Morozov) did not hold.
Blaming the coach is the easiest. However, getting to the root of the problem is more interesting. It's not only Morozov's ice dancers who failed: it happened to the whole group. The 2010 World Champion Takahashi was only 6th being 8th in the LP, the Europeans 2011 champion Amodio was 12th, the 2012 Worlds Silver medalist Leonova 13, and even the not really well known Rakimgaliev, who represents Kazakhstan became 28th not even making it to the LP.
In the middle of season Morozov's colleagues cautiously mentioned he overestimated himself and has too many pupils in his group. Even attending the competitions with his pupils meant leaving part of the group alone. Take Ilinyh/Katsalapov - 2 weeks before the GP in Japan they spent working with Elena Kustarova rather than with Morozov. It seems the Russian athletes were the ones the coach lacked time to work with mostly.
Some independence is expected in professional sport, but when it's about the major competitions it is always visible who is the favourite of the coach and who is left for his own devices. I can't tell the first option is the right one, but it just happens that in the personal sport such as figure skating it gives better results
There is a chance Morozov lacked knowledge in certain stages of the preparation and his ego didn't allow him inviting other specialists to his group. It could be the reason all of his pupil's technique lamed. All things became so visible at such an unfortunate moment I could only feel sorry for Nikolai.
It's just that it's hard to feel sorry for him. When there is the coach's ego on one side and the more or less ruined career of the most talented and promising young pair of the country (and it is what Ilinyh/Katsalapov were rightly considered just 2 years ago) I feel much more sorry for the pair. I'll agree completely with Morozov's saying while giving it a bit different meaning: with such a results as Ilinyh/Katsalapov showed this season continuing working in that team seems useless. That is if aiming for other results. It's not necessarily the skaters who are the weakest link in that team.
Bobrova/Soloviev's bronze is the first Russian ice dance medal in the last 4 seasons became an illustration to a different approach. It's obvious the duo's coach Alexand Zhulin, who suddenly lost his pupils who he was aiming for the Olympic Gold with would want a revenge. Even if it was the case it was for a short while. From the very beginning various specialists were invited to work with Bobrova/Soloviev and what's more important they all had the same goal.
Soloviev said during the press conference the mood on the rink was setting them forward. Setting? Pushing and kicking more like, corrected him Bobrova.
When Ekaterina went to the doping control Dmitri remained in the press room. He was asked to comment their not too high marks and the 2nd level of the steps.
DS: For us it's a major mistake, we worked so much on the steps. We felt it was ok. Especially the circular steps. But I guess we made mistakes. We'll have to analyze it later. As for the skate in general - we are satisfied. When we left the ice and we didn't know yet how will the French team skate and whether we'll remain 3rd we didn't fell we lost. Neither me nor Katia.
EV: What was the hardest thing?
DS: This championship was hard in general. We still have to learn things anew: the technique, the choreography. Each coach has a different approach and demand. When we were working with Maksim Staviski before the championship he polished every element. Sometimes we would repeat the same transition 20 times during a practice and would crawl home after. But we tried to get to a place where we can perform any element no matter in what state we are.
EV: Did coming so late to London effect you?
DS: Not at all. We felt fine during both competition days. It's not our first time in NA and we know how the body will react. We made a mistake just once - in the Olympics. We had to skate in our 10th day here and we felt lousy.
EV: Did the coaches voice out the ideas for the Olympic season programmes?
DS: Not yet, but Katia and I didn't have time to ask. Though I know Zhulin has some ideas.
EV: Will you be glad or sorry to let the old programmes go?
DS: We had two amazing programmes this season. I was interested skating it even during the practices. I felt it differently every time I skated it and figured something different every time. I was never tired of those programmes.
EV: Were you very nervous during the FD in London?
DS: Katia was. She said she feels uncomfortable before the skate. I did all I could to calm her. When during the 2nd part of the programme she started sliding away I recalled how I was out of it in the GPF and how it ended. So I decided: I'll let her do whatever she wants and will just try to be there, stay calm and catch her if something happens.