Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Platov `There is nothing worse than going to the Olympics defeated' for sport-express.ru
The Brits' small bronze medal for the SD was the main sensation of the first day of the Europeans. Coomes/Buckland's coach, the two times Olympic champion Platov confessed their only goal was to go out there and skate like they do in the practices.
EP: When I first started working with the guys 3 years ago they had quite an interesting attitude to the skating. For them it was not obvious the skater can work for 2-3 hours a day off the ice. That there are ballet classes every day. I recall asking them whether they ever did any ballet and Nicholas replied they had and quite a lot. Apparently it was about a single training camp that lasted for one week where the ballet specialists took part. They came to me when they were older than 20y.o., which meant it would be hard to teach them anything new. Or at least assume it won't take ages. The British federation has some hopes for the couple placement, but for me it's much more important to see they can apply everything I teach them during the competition. They made it in the SD, though for a while they couldn't.
EV: Why Coomes/Buckland dances are so acrobatic? Is it on purpose so they would differ from the others or you are just using what they can do?
EP: Both. First of all indeed we wanted to be different, since we have a way. Penny is very short and light, yet very strong. You can spin her as you wish in the air. This is also a reason they have much more injuries than anyone else - they are attempting lifts and holds no one else does. The last serious injury happened in September and kept them off the ice for almost a month.
EV: Yes, I heard rumours Nicholas keeps dropping his partner.
EP: Well, that was 5 years ago, before I started working with the guys. Nick dropped Penny in Zagreb quite badly. She didn't even understand what happened and spent two months in the hospital. In September Penny dropped Nick. We were learning an amazing lift at the end of the programme, which, unfortunately, we had to replace with a simpler one. Penny is doing more or less a back flip and opens with her legs up in the air. Nick catches her and spins her around himself. Everyone who saw the lift said it was amazing. It was doing so well they decided to try executing it when they are closer. It just happened that Penny bumped into the partner when taking off the ice and he started falling. She was already in the air. So there was no one to catch her. I was on the other side of the rink. She had quite a concussion... We even made her a special helmet for the practices
EV: Your lifts are very original. Who comes up with them?
EP: It is mainly thanks to Phil Askew, who works with this pair as well. He used to be a national champion skating with Marika Humphreys. Phil is not only our choreographer, but also Penny's step father. We also work with the professional acrobats -one pair in the USA, and one in the UK, who are specialists in the acrobatic RockNRoll. They all are happy to work with that pair - Penny can do in the air things no other girls can.
It is also their spirit - they don't want to be like anyone else. In that they resemble my previous pair - Sinead and John Kerr. The guys wanted to skate to Mischael Jackson. They exhausted me. I was holding my grounds till the end. Explained they can't take a Jackson song and just skate to it. It's a serious style. In the end they found a guy in London who was a dancer in Jackson's last show `This is it'. He worked with Penny and Nick on the steps and moves. It came out quite interesting.
EV: Do you often hear complains you and your skaters turn the ice dance into acrobatic numbers?
EP: All the time. Though what do you mean - I turn them into? The ice dance became acrobatic thanks to the new rules, which require a complicated entrance and dismount. As for the general ice dance... only yesterday I was rewatching some old stuff - wanted to show Phil how Ovchinnikov skated. I ended up watching some old stuff- Navka's 2006 in Torino, myself with Oksana Grischuk, Torvill/Dean. And I got bored. Yes, we all skated well, but to do a spread eagle while your partner is above your head and changing a position? We couldn't even dream of that in the worst nightmare. Yeah, there was lots of drama in our progammes. We would look at each other with a stare full of fire, skate apart, turn, run into each other's arms... but now we want to fly! Not just lift the partner, let her take a position and spin around yourself 5 times - anyone can do that. But actually fly. Like Ilinyh/Katsalapov do in their `Swan Lake'. It's awesome!
EV: Speaking of the them - how do you explain their losing to the Italians?
EP: First of all the italians improved a lot during this year. Working with Spilband helped them to construct the programmes correctly. They used to have a programme full of complicated moves and do whatever between. Igor taught them to gain speed with the simpliest steps and Anna & Luka seem completely different. Besides, Lena and Nikita made some minor technical mistakes. When your steps is level 2 don't be surprised someone is ahead of you. As for Ilinyh/Katsalapov in general they can afford making some minor errors having that incredible speed. Take the twizzles - I recall when the new rules were first introduced it was allowed to stop in the twizzles. We would do them almost standing on one spot. As for doing 4 revolutions in a good speed - that was a sci fi. If your blade catches the ice even slightly - it's a disaster. This is why Nikita fell in the practice. But this risk makes it all interesting. This is what you want to look at.
EV: What should we expect in the FD?
EP: I personally think Ilinyh/Katsalapov's dance is much harder than the Italians'. Though I like Cappellini/Lanotte's dance as well. Should Ilinyh/Katsalapov do all their elements I think they will win. I love their programmes. I recall after watching it on the internet for the first time I though it is the kind of a programme than, if skated clean, can beat anything. And their crazy potential. I wish their skating was a bit more tame.
EV: Is it a good or a bad thing two leading pairs are missing the Europeans?
EP: Missing the competition is ambigious but in this case for both Pechalat/Bourzat and Bobrova/Soloviev it's an advantage. When you aim for an Olympic medal, which both pairs do, you stay away from the unneeded defeats. There is nothing worse than coming to the Olympics defeated.
EV: What do you think about Bobrova/Soloviev's going back to the last year's FD?
EP: If the previous programme was brilliant there is a point doing that. We can recall the French Duchenays in worlds 1991 - they went back to their old programme which made them 2nd a year before, but they won the FD. I have no idea how will it turn out to be this time though.