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Ingo Steuer: "Main thing is not to stand in Savchenko's way"

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by quiqie, Dec 9, 2011.

  1. quiqie

    quiqie Well-Known Member


    Ingo Steuer's interview by Elena Vaitsekhovskaya: "Main thing is not to stand in Savchenko's way"

    Thursday was the only practice day for senior participants of the Grand Prix Final, and their practices were as popular as junior short programs, if not more. When pairs practice was over, I walked up to Ingo Steuer, Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy's coach.

    When asked about an interview, the coach nodded: "Yes, I have time."

    - Your students performed triple axel throws twice in short programs, at the Grand Prix events in America and in Japan, and both attempts were unsuccessful. Are you planning to experiment with this element in Quebec?

    - I don't know yet. We arrived by the same flight as you. To have a full-on practice so soon after such a long flight would be silly. But tomorrow we'll see. I think you understand: if I saw in practice that the element was not 100%, we wouldn't include it in the competitive program. But Aliona and Robin don't have problems with it in practice.

    - How important to you is the Grand Prix Final? In other words, is it worth so much risk?

    - This is just one more competition. Naturally, we want to do our best, but December is December. Athletes of this level should peak a little later. But of course we don't want to lose.

    - When Aliona and Robin announced after Vancouver Games that they were going to stay and compete for another four years, many thought that that decision was ill-advised, dictated not by common sense, but rather by the frustration with the Olympic defeat . And what was your reaction to that decision?

    - I can certainly say that it was not spontaneous. Yes, we were all quite upset then. But the next morning we talked very calmly. We discussed the perspectives, and made the decision.

    - Three years ago, when Savchenko and Szolkowy became European champions and Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankov took bronze, I spoke with Oleg Vasiliev, and he said that Aliona and Robin have almost reached their limits, while their competitors just started climbing up. And Tatiana Tarasova, quite the opposite, believes that your athletes haven't met their potential yet. What do you think, as their coach?

    - I would rather agree with Tarasova. Limit - it is when you suggest something to the athletes only to realize that they are not able to do it. When I was competing myself, and skated with Mandy Wetzel, I knew that I did only 50-60% of what I was capable to. Yes, we won European championship in 1995 and World championship in 1997, but that doesn't change anything. Perhaps that feeling of dissatisfaction, inability to completely express myself became a driving force in my coaching career. If we are to speak about a limit now, it is only my limit as a coach. Will I be able to offer my athletes something more interesting, more complicated, more impressive?

    - How do you manage to motivate your students for so many years, by the way?

    - Motivation is always present in figure skating, I think. New music, new elements, new programs - that makes it interesting for you. Again, this is mostly my problem rather than than my skaters'. And it's a massive challenge for myself.

    - Don't you have a feeling that Aliona, skating with Robin, has to adjust to his level just as you had to adjust to your partner? And, accordingly, don't you have a feeling that she doesn't reach her full potential?

    - No, I don't. When Aliona and Robin just teamed up, it took them a while to work it out. First, they were taught different basics, and secondly, Robin was too "slow" for Aliona. But that problem doesn't exist anymore.

    - But you're not going to argue that between the two of them, Savchenko is a leader, are you?

    - So it's great. To begin with, there cannot be two leaders in a team, otherwise a duet is just doomed to failure. Robin is a brilliant performer. It is enough to tell him what he should do, and you can rest assured everything will be done thoroughly. Moreover, he is very comfortable with the situation.

    - I always thought that dealing with a female leader was not easy.

    - Aliona has good character. The main thing is not to stand in her way when she pursues her goal.

    - As far as I know you, you always work with their skaters alone. You do everything yourself: you choose music, do the choreography, costumes drafts. Is it your principle to not turn to anyone for help?

    - Not at all. I told Aliona and Robin many times that I wouldn't mind if they got their programs from someone else. But they firmly believe that I do best. For me, it is a very big additional work and responsibility, but there's nothing you can do.

    - So your current coaching position is working with one pair?

    - No, there are other skaters, although they are not so well-known. Not to mention that until recently I worked with Tatiana Volosozhar and Stanislav Morozov.

    - I heard that when Volosozhar finished her former partnership and teamed up with Maxim Trankov, she originally intended to continue training in your group in Germany. Is this true?

    - Yes.

    - What prevented it?

    - Savchenko and Szolkowy's decision to continue competing until Sochi Olympics. When Tatiana skated with Morozov, the difference between them and Aliona and Robin was significant. Therefore, they were doing great in the same group. I think it is impossible to work with two pairs of the same level. And, as far as I know, Russian figure skating federation wanted Tanya and Maxim to stay in Russia.

    - What do you think of them as competitors?

    - They are good competitors. They make for an interesting competition. So we'll compete.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
    FunnyBut, Nadin, hanca and 5 others like this.
  2. MikiAndoFan#1

    MikiAndoFan#1 Well-Known Member

    What a nice interview. Thanks for sharing! :)
  3. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

    Interesting. He says that "When Tatiana skated with Morozov, the difference between them and Aliona and Robin was significant. Therefore, they were doing great in the same group. I think it is impossible to work with two pairs of the same level. " I suppose if I was on that level, I wouldn't want to train together with my direct competitors who are on the same level either. Too much pressure. On the other hand, it seems to be working in dance, both top teams having the same coaches and training at the same rink. I wonder why it is working there.
  4. orbitz

    orbitz Well-Known Member

    The skaters themselves have to be 100% committed to agree to put aside any discomfort, ego, jealously, etc. when training with their direct competitors. Frankly I don't how D&W and V&M do it, but maybe each dance team doesn't think that any other coach can take them to the top beside Marina and Igor.
  5. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    I think it depends on the coach. Quite on the contrary - Moskvina prefers to have 2 same level teams in her group.
  6. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    So he could've coached V&T? uuugh how epic that would have been.

    I guess it makes sense though, Ingo is supposed to be a hothead under normal circumstances, so coaching two direct competitor could become intolerable for all. Moskvina and Shpilband seem calmer.

    A couple of years ago I probably would have said they'd reached their limit, and I'm so happy to be wrong. They've grown so much just since Vancouver. Trying the 3a, trying even more difficult entrances like the ridiculous surprise entry into their 3twist in the LP, and how much they've pushed themselves choreographically and artistically... Korobushko, Pink Panther, Angels & Demons, and Pina are all completely different, yet so authentic, and thats only two seasons' worth of programs!!!
  7. equatorial

    equatorial Well-Known Member

    She actually never had two pairs of the same level simultaneously. Bechke had serious psychological problems, and it was 100% clear that K/D were going as Number 1 in Moskvina group to Nagano. B/S were Plan B, in case K/D screw up big time. And that was the only time Moskvina had something close to two pair who could compete for the same (top) place on the podium.
  8. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    I agree since 2006 K/S have been her only really good pair.

    I remember Tatiana saying she felt sort of neglected and knew she would never be the #1 team with Ingo. I would feel fine about training with serious competitors it would probably make me do better.
  9. Ajax

    Ajax Well-Known Member

    Thinking of them skating to Steuer's fantastic choreo rather than the Morozov shite they have now makes me :wuzrobbed:
  10. l'etoile

    l'etoile New Member

    Add me to that:dog:

    Very interesting and great, informative interview! Thank you for bringing and translating it:)
  11. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    I didn't say she had them, I said she prefers to have them:) At least that is what she said in several interviews.
  12. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

    She has usually two or more, but only one of them is the strong one. There is usually very clear who the number one is and who the number 2.
  13. centerstage01

    centerstage01 Well-Known Member

    So...women leaders are a bad idea now? We're not supposed to pursue goals or be strong in pursuing that goal? :confused::mad: I do hope I'm interpreting this wrong. :shuffle:
  14. grandma

    grandma Active Member

    you cannot compare Steuers character with Robin`s. Steuer could never have been the subordinate partner in a team.
    I think he basically wants to say that the there is mostly a stronger character in a pair , and one of them has to comply. This may be one of the many reasons Mukhortova and Trankov did not work out in the end.
    I do not believe he is thinking gender wise ;)
  15. flowerpower

    flowerpower Well-Known Member

    Thanks for posting. Interesting interview. Such a great battle shaping up between them and V/T.
  16. Loves_Shizuka

    Loves_Shizuka The Stolbova/Klimov and James/Cipres Uber

    V/T under Ingo would have been so :inavoid: I know he's not the most popular man in the world, but I think he's come up with some fab programmes for S/S.

    Were K/D really considered Moskvina's top pair for Nagano - not B/S?
  17. julieann

    julieann Well-Known Member

    Ingo would make V/T wear blue body condoms :rolleyes: they still would not be his favorite. That is why Tatiana said staying with him was not an option.
  18. flowerpower

    flowerpower Well-Known Member

    Guess that's to be expected. :p
  19. Artifice

    Artifice Guest

    I'm not in Steuer's head but I believe he didn't mean that woman leaders are not a good idea. It looks like to me that from his point of view as a man, it's not easy to deal with the gender aspect of the situation.
    By the way it's kind of a macho's opinion to point that one shouldn't stand in Savchenko's way when she is pursuing her goal. He probably wouldn't say so had it been about a man's goal.
    And yes, as if women weren't normal women if they try to pursue a goal.
  20. Bournekraatzfan

    Bournekraatzfan Well-Known Member

    interesting interview, quiqie. thanks for posting:)

    geez, that interviewer really wanted Ingo to say that Robin was an inferior partner. anyways, I think S/S show us that it is impossible to really know how much potential skaters have and consequently if they have maxed out that potential. I love the growth they have shown this year. That LP is a masterpiece, and I can't stop watching it.
  21. Jenifer

    Jenifer Active Member

    Just to clarify, the first line is Vaitsekhovskaya, the second Steuer, right? So the sorta sexist bit comes from her, not from Ingo, whose point is just that both partners can't be the "leader" of the team or the team will consistently butt heads and not be successful. I don't think there's anything controversial about that. If anything in this interview was offensive, IMO, it was Vaitsekhovskaya's repeated insinuations that Robin isn't a good enough partner for Aliona.
  22. joeperryfan

    joeperryfan Well-Known Member

    ^^That was my impression too Jenifer.
  23. bek

    bek Guest

    I think Robin is a fabulous skater, and with any top girl he'd do well. But he did hit the jackpot with Aliona...

    Of course though I think after skating with Stanislav, Aliona has to be appreciative of having Robin. I honestly am surprised that more skaters don't go to Steuer for choreography.
  24. rfisher

    rfisher Will you rise like a phoenix or be a burnt chicken

    The fact that they do not, is telling. Either he's difficult or he's not interested in doing choreo for skaters that are not his.
  25. bek

    bek Guest

    Well I'd imagine at this time he wouldn't be interested in doing choreo for S/S's competition. But I'd be interested in what Ingo could come up with for singles skaters/dancers. It would be a way for him to make some money. Even if Ingo was difficult, I'd think that it would perhaps be worth working for him as a choreographer because its not like you have to train with him every day.
  26. joeperryfan

    joeperryfan Well-Known Member

    The figure skating world is full of difficult people yet they keep getting new students, so either Steuer isn't interested in doing more choreo or his method simply doesn't go well with temporary students, this is just my opinion of course, but he probably gains from knowing his students well and from working with what they are and what they can do and his students gain from knowing his quirks and coping with them, in a short term relationship this is hard to achieve.
  27. hanca

    hanca Well-Known Member

    It can also be that he simply doesn't have spare time, or that he is not willing to spent the little of free time he has making choreography for skaters for who he doesn't have responsibility. I know someone may look at it as opportunity to earn some extra money, but does he really need extra money? Sometimes people prefer having more free time than earning extra money. I can imagine training Aliona and Robin may take a lot of his time, and not only coaching but also doing their choreography, which is more than some coaches do.
  28. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Because winning the World Junior Championships with Morozov was bupkus.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  29. Cherub721

    Cherub721 YEAH!

    I imagine money would be a consideration, because he has issues being funded by the German fed due to his past with the Stasi. Plus, he doesn't have too many other students (is it just the Swiss pair?).

    It is odd though, that you have coaches who will do side work with everyone and their mother, while a talented choreographer like Ingo just works with one or two pairs. I agree that it can't just be due to his difficult personality, because he's not the only coach with that problem.
  30. bek

    bek Guest

    She uprooted and moved countries for a reason. In terms of Ingo it may be because he's a difficult personality. But I also can't help feeling that a lot of skaters have a tendency to want to use the same choreographers. (over and over). But given his talk of money problems, I would think choreographing would be a great solution for him. I really would be curious what he could come up with for a dance team or a singles skater.