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Vaitsekhovskaya's articles from worlds (quotes from judges, Browning and others...)

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by TAHbKA, Mar 28, 2012.

  1. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    Vaitsekhovskaya talks to Browning: don't turn the competition into a war

    The 4 times (1989, 1990, 1991, 1993) world champion was having his breakfasto n the rink and was watching the russian ice dancers practices closely. He was so focused on his food that I wasn't sure it would be polite bothering him with questions. Nevertheless, I approached and sat.

    EV: Kurt, perhaps you don't remember me...
    KB: Of course I do. We met in the competitions before, right?

    EV: Well, just that quite a lot of time passed since I interviewed you as a skater. I'd love to interview you as a commentator.
    KB: Not that! I feel awkward coming to the competitions and being the focus of the journalists. Everyone are interested in exactly the same question.

    EV: I was wondering what do you think about the contemporary figure skating watching it as a viewer
    KB: Right, it's exactly the question I'm being asked. I can't really say I follow the amateur skating too closely, but more thanks to working on the TV I sometimes get to go to the competitions. It is sort of going back to the previous life. Which is nice, but hardly more.

    EV: What do you like the most in the skating now-a-days? The way the skaters are fighting for the medals or the artistic side?
    KB: Ideally both. I mean when those who have interesting programmes are fighting for the metals. Reckon the viewers and the journalists would agree.

    EV: The question comes from my point of view that there is nothing more interesting in the sport then the fight for the medals. But can admit now: when I'm feeling low the programme I rewatch is not an olympic winning programme, but your `Singing in the rain'. Am not trying to flatter.
    KB: So you are saying I was not one of the skaters who were fighting for the medals? I'm kidding, of course I understand what you mean. It's not easy to create a programme that would get so much attention in my times nor now. Of course I'm a much more spoiled viewer than people who attend the competitions. I spent too many years in figure skating. When I hear a piece of music the first thing I think `I skated an sp to that music in that year. Or an lp in that...'. As for the programmes today under the CoP they remind me of flowers arrangements - everyone uses the same flowers but not everyone can come up with a good arrangement.
    As for the programme you mentioned... I have special feelings for it as well. So much that I agreed to repeat it for the TV this year. When it was first filmed I recall taking my sister's old skates for the shooting

    EV: What was wrong with yours?
    KB: I didn't want to ruin them. Thought that if I'm supposed to skate under a rain on some strange ice made between the decorations it would do nothing good to my boots and blades. I was a bit worried going to the shootings, but was so swept by the process that forgot everything but the skating.

    EV: Do you miss the competitions?
    KB: I still participate the shows.

    EV: You mean Stars on Ice?
    KB: Yes. It'll be 22 years this year since I've joined. I decided I'll stop after 25. And then... Oh, I'll come up with something to do.

    As for the competitions - I miss those Dick Button was holding in the USA (the professional worlds). I think it was a show in which the organization and the sport were on the top.

    EV: I attended Button's competitions for several years.
    KB: Then you know what I mean. The competition that continued for several hours yet no one left the rink nor took their eyes off the ice.

    EV: Are there any competitions of the kind in the USA or Canada now?
    KB: That's the thing: no. I'm really sorry about it.

    EV: You seem to be very interested watching the pairs practice...
    KB: I like your pair so much (he points on Volosozhar/Trankov). Out of all who are skating now I think they are the best. I wouldn't predict they'll necessarily win in Nice, think there are several teams that are technically equally good, but when I see Tatiana and Maksim skating I enjoy every move they make. the speed, the completeness of the moves, the expression - everything I've always praised in figure skating. In addition Volosozhar/Trankov are so `alive' - their emotions make you feel. It's another form of art. I've seen many beautiful skaters who skated well but the glance was as if they saw you via the aim. It's even worse when the ladies are skating with that expression.

    EV: What about the male competitors? You must be cheering your compatriot Partrick Chan?
    KB: Actually I'm equally fond of Daisuke Takahashi's skating. But yes, indeed Chan is really really good. Not his technique - he has nothing left to prove there, but that ability to make a gesture in a way it catches the crowd and gives the programme a whole new meaning. It's not an obvious skill. When I just started adding the 3A and two 3/3 jumps in my programmes it took so much off me that nothing left to think of the artistic side.

    EV: Of all the elements you ever performed which was the hardest?
    KB: Hm.. am not sure. Though wait, the throw 3 jump

    EV: Excuse me?
    KB: A thow 3 jump. I was thrown by Piter Oppegard. Jill him and I were working in Stars on Ice and Piter offered to try.

    EV: How did it feel?
    KB: Weird. Without having enough of experience you don't really understand how high are you flying and where is the ice. I somehow landed the throw a couple of times without falling, but I was very uncomfortable.

    EV: I've always wanted to ask how were your relationship with your rivals while you were competing.
    KB: It was great. I still speak to some of them and in general I was always against turning the competition into a war. What's the point, when everything depends on who you skate and not what the others do on the ice?
  2. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    Browning watching Volosozhar/Trankov closely

    The first day of the competition started with the qualification rounds in ice dance and pairs. 8 best pairs and 10 ice dance teams proceded to the main group of the competitors.

    The Russian pairs didn't participate the qualification rounds. While in the other 3 disciplines the Russians were considered the top in pairs it was clear the leaders would be the Chinese Sui/Han - the 3 time junior world champions.

    When talking to one of the Russian judges (whose name I will not reveal since the judges are not allowed to speak to the press during the competition) I joked that while the senior pairs are fighting for the medals the young Chinese will come and beat everyone

    Judge: I doubt. The judges question a lot of what that pair does. They've been skating one programme for 2 seasons now, the other programme for 3. In such cases it is expected the programme to be polished till perfection. It's not the case - every time a mistake pops up. They skate very fast, so watching them live the mistakes are not obvious, but in the slow motion they are visible. For example their skating skills is still far behind the senior leaders.

    EV: I.e. they go for the difficulty?
    Judge: Yes. In their LP they perform a 4 throw and a 4 split twist. I saw myself many times not only she underotates the last revolution - the partner spins her after catching, but she lands with her stomach on his shoulder. At least that's how they did the 4 split twist in the 4CC where they received a +2/+3GOE for it, even though it should had been negative. In Minsk junior worlds they were judged a bit more harsh.

    EV: And yet they won.
    Judge: They couldn't loose there. On the junior level Sui/Han are miles ahead of their competitors. But I'd love to see them skating a new programme. If they ever do.

    Despite all that was side it's hard to think of the Chinese participating the qualification as some sort of a joke. Just comparing their LP PB (135.08) to the one pair that was behind them - the German Mari Vartman/Aaron Van Cleave (102.99) doesn't need commentary

    It is also worth mentioning Sui/Han are 2 times national champion, i.e. it's them, and not the two times world champions Pang/Tong who should be considered China n.1 and aim for a medal.

    The gap between the marks of Sui/Han and the senior skaters is not that big. Sui/Han scored 201.83 in 4CC, while Volosozhar/Trankov received 210.45 in Sheffield with Bazarova/Larionov scoring 193.79. The 3 times world champions Savchenko/Szelkowy won the GPF with 212.26. But a small remark: Savchenko/Szelkowy's technical content in GPF was 70.80, while Sui/Han's in 4CC75.54

    The morning practice could end with the injuries: Bazarova/Larionov whose music was playing almost ran into Kawaguti/Smirnov who just fell. All ended well, but the skaters looked a bit nervious till the end of the training.

    Watching the Russians I unexpectingly found another great fan of Volosozhar/Trankov, that being the 4 times world champion Kurt Browning. The canadian was combining watching the competition and having breakfast but looked so involved in Volosozhar/Tankov's programme that I couldn't help approaching (Browning's comments on Volosozhar/Trankov and Chan are in the interview above, will not retype)

    The Olympic champion Viktor Petrenko, who I met near the ice confirmed Johnny Weir's comeback.
    VP: He lost weight, got his 3 jumps back, he doesn't miss a single practice and is wroking harder than he ever had. He will strart competing in the autumn and perhaps will participate a GP. His quad is almost back. He is very motivated.
  3. Zemgirl

    Zemgirl Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the translations!

    He's doing Singin' in the Rain again? Does anyone know where and when? It was really a fantastic program but it must have been a real challenge to shoot and I wonder why he's decided to repeat it.

    Do you think he was so complimentary of them because it's a Russian interview? Because I agree that they're really good, and obviously they have some wow elements - but considering Kurt's earlier comments about choreography and memorable programs, well, I don't think V/T are standouts in that respect.
  4. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    Thank you -- that was great. Not surprising that Browning is a fan of Takahashi; Takahashi reminds me a lot of Kurt in his ability to work an audience.
  5. liv

    liv Well-Known Member

    I think it's probable Kurt said those things because we know he likes them. He mentioned their speed, completeness of moves, not their specific choroegraphy/programs. I would guess that he knows the best of this team is yet to come.

    I like that he likes my favourites too, V/T, Daisuke...
  6. Teenes

    Teenes Well-Known Member

    No, Kurt really does like the Russians. Here's the CBC Worlds Preview for pairs, with PJ, Tracy, and Kurt's analysis, and Kurt says he's "smitten".


    Thank you from me as well for the translation and the link! This was a really interesting interview, and now I have stuff I need to ask him next time I get the chance...Singing in the Rain on TV this year?? SOI for another 3 years? Hmm... =)
  7. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    The first day summary by Vaitsekhovskaya

    The pairs SP ended with failures of the Russian teams. The world silver medalists Volosozhar/Trankov are currently 8th, the European champions Kawaguti/Smirnov are 11th. The 3 times world champions Savchenko/Szelkowy are leading.

    Late Tuesday evening when many viewers left the arena I saw Nina Mozer standing aside.

    NM: It's very hard. I don't think I've ever felt such a pressure in the air during my whole careeer. It covers you completely in the main rink - you enter a cloud of pure stress...
    Other's expectations are even worse. They are higher every day and pressure even more....

    A couple of hours prior to that waiting for the men qualification round I was `killing time' on the practice rink watching the ice dancers. Zhulin enquired how did Korobeinikova do and hearing that she failed every jump but the combination exhaled
    AZ: It's worlds. Sometimes you don't understand what is going on -all is normal, yet you can't move a limb

    And still, a failure differ one from anoter. Take the qualifications, where the Russian skaters took part: Voronov didn't show his best skate, but was much more concentrated than Korobeinikova. Commenting on the ladies skate the Olympic Champion Viktor Petrenko mentioned the skater has to have a whole package in order to fight for the medal. He pointed Korobeinikova has that `package'

    Voronov's skate was more dissapointing, than good - his LP is a blooper. It looks as if it was choreographed 10-12 years ago, when what skater is doing between the jumps was not really important.

    When I voiced out my opinion to Viktor Kudriavtsev he sighed - indeed, such a shame. No one expected Nikolai Morozov, who coaches Ilinyh/Katsalapov, Leonova, Voronov and Amodio (and some less known skaters) would fail.
    It was especially painful realizing watching Voronov's skate how bad his programmes are. I don't want to pick on Morozov - after his pupil Miki Ando won the Worlds last year he explained, he never knows how will the programme turn out to be when he first choreographs it. Through the season Morozov changed parts of Amodio's programm, changing his LP completely.
    Voronov also has a new programme for the rowlds- the SP, admitting that the football composition was a bad choice. His LP remained the same. Combined with a not really expressive skating in the qualification round it left a rather disappointed impression about the skater.

    The pairs competition drew so much attention also because there were several teams with the same `package', as Petrenko calls it. I cant' recall when there was such a competition between equally good pairs. Kawaguti/Smirnov were fighting the injuries, Volosozhar/Trankov lacked experience skating together and in Sheffield, when thsoe two were supposed to fight Savchenko/Szelkowy all of the sudden Volosozhar/Trankov found themselves alone with their rivals withdrowing at the last moment because of the surgeries and injuries.

    In Nice another pair should had entered the competition - the two times world champions Pang/Tong.

    Just before the 4th group where all 3 Russian pairs competed took the ice the leaders were the Japanese Takahashi/Tran. That surprise was nothing compared to what happened on the ice some minutes later. Alexandr Smirnov almost finishing a complicated lift fell with his back on the ice with his partner falling on him. Right after the pair made another mistake in the todes - Yuko touched the ice.
    The fall costed them 2 poitns and a very low final result

    If only we knew the evenings' misfortunes had just began! Bazarova/Larionov had a double fall at the end of the programme. They were more lucky - it happened after all the elements were done with only a slight mistake in his landing the jump.

    But even that was nothing compared to what happened to the last year silver medalists Volosozhar/Trankov, whose Season Best was 72.80, who ended up here with 60.48 for the SP. The warm up wasn't successful - Tanya fell from the throw jump. They later failed the throw during the skate- while she didnt' fall she double footed the landing.

    And then Trankov sat down on his todes. Just like Smirnov and Larionov before he took his partner down with him, loosing 2 points for a double fall.

    It would be considered a silly mistake if it was a usual todes. But the mistake happened during the arms change, when all male's partners concentration is on keeping the force in his arms while the female partner glides raound. It's not easy and Kawaguti/Smirnov's past problems in the todes were exactly because of that. Trankov lost his balance and with that a chance to win the SP.

    In the last group the main question was whether Savchenko/Szelkowy and Pang/Tong will be able to escape the falls that chased the other teams, including the Chinese Sui/Han. When the Germans began their programme Elena Buyanova (Vodorezova) couldn't believe it
    EB(V): Dear god, they are entering a 3.5 throw jump!

    The element was double footed, but Vodorezova didn't let me remark on that:
    EB(V): It doesn't matter. What important is that Aljona and Robin went for it, took the risk. Even double footed the element will be so expensive that it'll be enough to create a gap between them and the other teams. But even that is not the most important thing. The important thing is that it is clear now the pair is working not towards becoming the world champions 2012, but Olympic champions 2014. I respect them so much for such dedication. They could have dropped the throw 3A and do a throw3 jump, especially after all their rivals failed. Kudos to them! Well done!