Vaitsekhovskaya speaks to Volosozhar/Trankov `We argued with Mozer every day' for sport-express.ru
(please be nice and open the link, apparently she needs clicks to prove something the publisher...
I wasn't counting on the interview with the World champions in London - with all the mess of a major competition every agreement is forgotten. `We'll find you' promised Maksim, and I dismissed his words. Next day Volosozhar and Trankov showed up on time in the press room `We are ready...'
EV: Maksim, quite a lot of time had passed, but I still can't stop thinking about your father who died just before the Europeans. More than that, now, when he is not here I think more often that your sports achievements, including the current one are thanks to him
MT: I don't know whether any other worlds exist where the people go when they die, but I think my father helps me more now when he did while alive. Both in Zagreb and London I was thinking how unfair it is that he will never see me skate, never will be happy for my winning my first wolds. I was talking to him in my mind all the time. I was asking him to help me if he can see me. Perhaps it's what gave me the needed confidence. I could just feel that help from above.
EV: It must be very hard feeling all that and understanding you will never get to thank him
MT: It's behind me now and I can talk about it. Dad was my biggest fan. Another reason his death was such a blow for me is because I never needed figure skating. My father did. I was skating all those years because he wanted me to. This feeling that dad is gone and I have no one to skate for was especially hard. I didn't understand where to gain the motivation from and whether I can find it at all.
On the other hand everyone called my participating the Europeans in Zagreb heroic.... It was nothing of the kind. I was just doing my job.
EV: Were you hesitating about coming there?
MT: Yes, but not for long. You know that I have a brother - Alexey. He was always very far from sports and what I do in general. For me and our parents he is a bit of a weirdo (his brother is a quite well known among the russian speaking computer geeks) with his own hobbies and stuff I don't understand. When he suddenly said I must go to Zagreb I was taken aback. He is the last person I would expect to hear those words from. I was sure he doesn't care about my life.
EV: Perhaps we all underestimate our closest relatives?
MT: Perhaps. Anyway, Alexey said all that back then and it was sobering. I realized that I must go to Zagreb and skate, no matter what. I guess my father would say the same.
EV: He came to Moscow just before
MT: Yes, he spent a whole week in my flat, came to the practices. We left on Saturday and he was gone on Sunday.
EV: What were you talking about in the last evening?
MT: Something not related to figure skating. He suddenly told me `you'll win'. I started explaining him it won't be easy in Zagreb. That the Germans will compete there, they will probably have more complicated programmes and that Tanya and I were unable to pull a clean LP. He interrupted me and repeated `You'll win. It won't be a clean skate, but you'll be first'. And it's exactly what happened....
EV: The first part of this season when you were experimenting with the programmes and kept making mistakes during the competition was baffling. What did you feel?
MT: We were not satisfied, even though we won all the competitions we entered. Every competition took off a bit from the confidence and made us more nervous. It was especially baffling that during the practices we skated well. That 3T that we first planned to put in the 2nd part of the programme I never failed to land in the practices. There were no mistakes. If anyone fell it was Tanya. And then I fell from that jump in two competitions...
EV: When have you decided to stop chasing the content? What caused it?
MT: We just took a look at the numbers. The contemporary figure skating is just maths. Tanya took the protocols of a whole year, analyzed them, compared the numbers and we realized that all our attempts to make the programme more complicated were for one point. ONE!!!!! Because of that silly one point we wasted so much time! (how much did they loose last year? I think it was far less than a point...)
The trouble with the programme was also that the first part was quite easy. We couldn't get used to skate not holding back in the first part of the programme. So it ended up with us skating not giving 100% in the first part and then not being able to switch on the 2nd part. You have to show the emotions, give all you have in the 2nd part, yet we had to be concentrated on the elements instead.
EV: All 12 elements of your LP were done textbook good with a huge amplitude in London. How did you do it?
MT: Exactly like that - we were working on those elements during the practices giving the maximum effort. Both the throws and the splits.
EV: Tanya, admit it, is it scary to fly so high?
TV: Sometimes. But you know, when, say, in the throw jump I fly and feel very comfortable it's alerting. I stay too calm and the risk to fail the landing is higher. When something goes wrong in the take off and I have to change things in the air to correct the mistake the landing actually becomes easier.
MT: Sometimes Tanya flies with her head down in the practice. I sometimes close my eyes - it's too scary to see. The thoughts I'll have to run to call the paramedics cross my mind. And then she puts her leg somehow and wow, she lands! Sometimes it's the opposite - you run after her, in high spirits...
EV: ...And find yourself on all four as it happened in London? It's not the first time it happens to you.
MT: Indeed. For the male partner it's important to catch up with the female partner after the throw jump and do the exit with her. When you are standing where you are you can see the fly and where she is gonna land better, so you understand where you have to run to. But then you need to run there fast. It doesn't always work.
EV: Maksim, during the press conference you spoke in length how detailed was the plan your coach Nina Mozer wrote for you for the Worlds. How she took every little thing into an account, forcing the same schedule even having the practice and the skates at the same time it'll be during the championship. It's exactly how things were calculated back in the Soviet times. Many are trying to get away from that system calling it old-fashioned. What do you think?
MT: Nina Mikhailovna is a very contemporary coach. On one hand she is trying to take care of every little detail. On the other she is very good in taking off all the redundant things. Of course she sometimes makes mistakes but she admits it, so we go with her, rather than behind her. We were even fighting before the Worlds.
EV: What about?
MT: Tanya and I wanted to change the entry to the throw jump, Mozer was against, saying we don't have enough time for the changes. She was right in a way - I fell in London doing that entry Tanya and I insisted on. Back then, before leaving to London we were arguing every day. I recall after one of the practices I was arguing in my usual overemotional manner with waving hands and eyes popped out I was shouting at her that she is not working right with us, that we fail the whole season and she doesn't think she should analyze things.... 10 minutes later Mozer came to our changing room and completely calmly, as if we were not shouting a couple of minutes ago said `fine, I'll write another plan'. I.e. she is a coach with whom you can discuss everything and who will listen, rather than say `Do as I say because that's what I decided'. I skated under some great coaches and I know what the coaching dictatorship is like.
By the way after we won I told Mozer now she will become like all the great coaches. She laughed and said `I think I'll be able to follow my principles'
EV: what was the hardest thing for you in London?
MT: Nothing really. We even went to sauna with Tanya after the SP, even though we never do during the competition. We were that confident.
EV: I would have thought for people who are so used to train home only the camp in the USA would be a challenge.
TV: I used to be quite against those camps. I thought they would just break the routine. But after the current preparations I can admit being wrong. It's a huge bonus when you have nothing to think except for the skating.
EV: Are you planning participating the Team Competition in Japan?
MT: We are not particularly thrilled having to participate yet another competition -we are tired. But it's worth it. We decided we should participate it before the Olympics and then finish the season.
EV: Are you ready for the new season work? Do you have ideas for the new programmes or you haven't thought about it yet?
MT: This season we deliberately didn't try to create an outstanding programme. Nothing like the Black Swan or Romeo & Juliette. We thought that we should take it easy a year before the Olympics and not set the standards too high. We completed the LP in about just a week. Even though Nikolai Morozov insisted the programme should be as good as they go.
EV: Do I understand it right you chose the Olympic season music then?
MT: More like ideas. We have a few.
EV: What do you think about another good pair joining your group?
MT: I would love that. We've been asking Nina Mikhailova for that from the first season together.
EV: You lack the competition so badly?
MT: Our practices are very calm. There are no motivators. The only thing that can give us a kick is when Nina Mikhailovna gets upset with us. She has such a look and we feel so ashamed that we want to compensate for our faults and we work twice as hard. But it is indeed hard working alone. We can't really compete with the juniors, it's not the same as with the real rivals. Of course the junior teams learn from us all the time, but they have different programmes and they look up to us. You come to the rink and they say `Good morning' (he uses plural, which is the polite way to talk to someone in Russian). Just as well they don't use the patronymic when talking to us. But we want some real fight from time to time.
TV: I used to have such a sparring in Germany when I was skating with Stas Morozov. All our practices were together with Aljona Savchenko and Robin Szelkowy. It was very motivating. So indeed we keep asking Mozer to have another pair, even if it's not a Russians.
EV: Usually the realization you are the World champions comes later. Your journey to the top was quite long. What do you feel now?
TV: I was quite overwhelmed when we finished the skate. First I was a mess inside, but then I couldn't care less and just wanted to be back to the hotel and be alone. I didn't understand what was going on, why are there so many people around and why can't they all just leave us alone. I woke up the next morning with the understanding `We did it!'
MT: I didn't care. Recently after every competition we win the only thought I have is that Tanya needs it. So I just skate for her. To make her dream come true. I like winning for her. I think I was euphoric after winning just once in my life: when I became the junior world champion. Maria Mukhortova and I didn't think it was possible for us to win that competition. I kept thinking about the unbeatable Chinese who were competing there with us who were making unbelievable throw tripple twists. That there are Petrova/Tikhonov in the Russian team, Obertas/Slavnov, who we'll never go through. That I will end up like all the guys from Perm - once the junior competitions will be over so will my career. I had a chance to skate in a show at the best case.
When we were standing on the podium I imagined my dad opening the ISU site, seeing the results, runing to mom to tell her her son is the world champion... I became hysterical on the podium. Masha was scared, tried to calm me. I was crying and I couldn't stop.
I went back to the changing room and everyone were looking at me as if I were mad. I told them `guys, sorry, but you'll never understand it'
I keep waiting for those emotions to come back. And they don't. Guess they never will.
EV: Could you please mark then in your diary Tanya really needs to win the Olympics in Sochi.
MT: No problem.