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Vaitsekhovskaya's interview with Zhulin

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by TAHbKA, Aug 19, 2012.

  1. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    Zhulin: the skaters can smell the coach's sincerity.
    Elena Vaitsekhovskaya for sport-express.ru

    Zhulin: the skaters can smell the coach's sincerity.

    In two and half weeks the leading Russian skaters will gather in Novogorsk for the first official test skates. Zhulin is expected to show two of his pairs - the European silver medalists Ekaterina Bobrova/Dmitrii Soloviev and the 2011 Junior World champions Ksenia Monko/Kirill Khaliavin.

    Knowing how busy Zhulin usually is I didn't expect to set the interview date anytime soon. We spoke about the end of August. I was going to end the call when he suddenly asked `you live not far from Olympiski, right? I've just finished the training, so I could drop by now. What's the address'
    15 minutes later we were having tea.

    EV: Sasha, when Monko/Khaliavin came to you they expected to become n. 1 for their coaches, which they were lacking in Kustarovas' group. Yet right after you accept those very skaters who they were trying to avoid training with. Were you worried they might see it as a conflict of interests?
    AZ: When we had our first training together I explained them they'd have to prove me who is the best every day.

    EV: Nevertheless, were Monko/Khalavin shocked by Bobrova/Soloviev's switch to your group?
    AZ: I guess. I wasn't going to accept Katia and Dima even when they asked. Frankly, I was a bit afraid: they were regressing already. They lacked any style, I didn't like their costumes, some aspects of their technique. But then I decided it was worth a risk. After all Bobrova/Soloviov are still Russia n.1, despite their failure at the Worlds in Nice. They have a potential and it shows. After all they are European silver medalists not for nothing.
    I explained the four of them that I, myself had my best results when we were training in Dubova's group together with Marina Klimova/Sergey Ponomarenko and Oksana Grischuk/Evegeni Platov. Dubova didn't hide how much she enjoys every training. It was because we were motivating each other and doing our best to make sure the coach pays attention to us. We were not fighting with each others, there were no conflicts within the group.
    I want to create the same atmosphere in my group now. We can talk all we want about figure skating being subjective and the judges deciding everything, but quoting Tatiana Tarasova - no one cancelled the skating skills. I'm amazed that on Tuesday one pair would be the best, but it would be the others on Wednesday. I have no idea whether it's their ability or their character, but I know for sure a good competition never hurt anyone. Isn't it bad to be the first and second pairs in the world and fight on that level?

    EV: When both of your pairs started training together did they expect to be divided into the first and the second?
    AZ: Sure. It's always in the air. And, after all, Katia and Dima are Russia n.1 pair, while Ksenia and Kirill are only 5th. Both pairs have a huge potential, I just have to develop it. Bobrova has to run forward and not look back. Ksenia and Kirill's situation is a bit easier - they have an example in front of them. Let us not forget Yulia Zlobina with Alexey Sitnikov and also the young pair that became much better while looking up to the others - Lera Zenkova with Valerii Sinitsin. There are also the kids in the group who stay on the rink to watch the seniors after their practice is over.

    EV: When the coach sets a goal he usually knows how to gain it. You more or less voiced your goal by mentioning the fist and second pairs in the world. What needs to be done in order to beat the current champions?
    AZ: I have some ideas, which, of course, I'm not going to voice out right now. And what for? Have you seen David Rudisha winning the Olympics in London? He created a huge gap at the very beginning and finished first, breaking the world record. It's easy in sport: work hard, do more than the others, be the best on the floor, on the ice and the result will come. What is Igor Shpilband's secret? His students are listening to his every word and never questioned him. And Igor is a very demanding coach. That's the whole secret. When Shibutanis joined the group they saw from the first day how hard Virtue/Moir and Davis/White work. I reckon Maya and Alex realized they would get to that level only by working even harder. The result, as you recall, was the Worlds in Moscow when 3 Zueva/Spilband's pairs were on the podium. That's really cool! Dubova was the only one who've done it before.

    EV: In Vancouver Olympics where Zueva/Spilband's skaters became first and second the most amazing thing was that the result was absolutely correct. I.e. the coaches were able to prove the ice dance gold medal does not depend on who are the judges
    AZ: I agree

    EV: Can you comment Zueva/Spilband's split?
    AZ: I guess the moment when two people realized they don't want to or can't work together came. I don't know the reason. In my view Marina complimented Igor and Igor complimented Marina. It was a very powerful combination.

    EV: When you were building your coaching group did you have them in mind as an example?
    AZ: No. I decided there will be no women in my team. It's enough my wife Natalia works with us. Not that I had to do anything about it, it just happened, but I'm happy. I trust Oleg Volkov completely, we've been working for four years together and I think he trusts me as well. I can say the same about Sergey Petukhov, who joined during the spring. He is an outstanding choreographer, a great coach and an great personality. I'm generally lucky to be a around interesting people. It's Igor Orshuliak who I met through the TV show, Maks Staviskii, who I'm going to use a lot for working with my skaters. Such a bunch of guys we feel comfortable in. Whoever comes to the trainings first of all feels the great atmosphere. Yes, there is a hard work, all the time. And yet everyone smiles.

    EV: Did you consider your coaching career over when half a year ago Ilinyh/Katsalapov left to be followed immediately by Pechalat/Bourzat?
    AZ: I lost 4kgs. Volkov lost seven. Oleg took it much harder than me, but it was really hard for me as well. Frankly, I had a harder time then during my divorce. Though now I think everything worked out for the best. Lena and Nikita are unique and working with them is a pleasure. But it's much nicer dealing with very hard working people. It is a huge talent to know how to work. That's the kind of group I have now. No matter what I offer them they do it. I attend every practice as if it was a celebration. It's worth a lot.

    EV: Typically Zueva and Spilband would start the season with a B competitions, which is almost ignored in Russia.
    AZ: It's bad practice really and only means we never had skaters who we would not be ashamed to show in August. But we should! That leaves enough time to polish the programmes and to change them before the main competitions.

    EV: I recall talking to you about two years ago and you reassured me Ilinyh/Katsalapov shouldn't start the season early because they have to peak in January-March.
    AZ: I was taking into an account they have just switched to the seniors. I was afraid to break them. Not only Lena, but also Nikita seemed too fragile. They could injure themselves in a way that would demand a lot of time to recover. I realized how and in what way I'll take them to Sochi's Olympics. There was no point overdoing things in their first year.

    EV: Nevertheless it was painful to watch how Ilinyh/Katsalapov are being beaten by the Shibutanis, who switched to the seniors circuit the same year, yet had better standings. The progress was planned by Spilbadn and Zueva.
    AZ: It is why I kept saying even then Marina and Igor are far ahead of the other coaches. We should change our ways of trainings, our point of view on figure skating. Spilband and Zueva were the first to adopt to the new system. Right after the system was accepted there were lots small competitions in the USA under it. It is why we now have an impression the system was made for the North Americans. Yet here nothing was done about it. I recall working with Tanya Navka and Roman Kostomarov and reading the new system even the little hair I no longer have raised. I didn't know where to start and where to move, how to adopt.

    EV: And now?
    AZ: Now I understand. The hardest thing is that nothing is left unpolished. Everything is important. Actually several coaches are needed: for the shape, technique, lifts. acting....

    EV: Do you have such coaches in your team.
    AZ: Of course. We started the season much earlier than usually and it is precisely so we'll be in shape at the Autumn. Monko and Khaliavin missed the whole last season and have to prove themselves. Bobrova / Soloviev have to climb up from where they fell at the Worlds.

    EV: Are you ready for the mental pressure that can be provoked by such competition within the group?
    AZ: Yes. So far so good - the guys are not in a situation when they'd divide something that is not yet theirs. If I see a pair is `breaking' or is not comfortable I might add a psychologist to the team. It's not easy for the coach either when you start working with a team, put yourself into it and suddenly the understanding is gone. Of course the skaters were switching coaches and will go on switching coaches. Sometimes it's the right thing to do, sometimes it's not. I decided I'd be as honest as possible. The skaters can smell the coach's dishonesty.

    EV: You yourself as a skater had to go through a period when your coach bet on another couple, even though your and Maya were the World champions.
    AZ: It's not exact. When Klimova/Ponomarenko skated in Dubova's group for 4 years Maya and I were not even nearly as good. We became better, but Marina and Sergey switched to Tarasova. And won the Olympics. Maya and I were offered to leave Dubovas' group after the Olympics. I never left and never regretted.

    EV: Why?
    AZ: It's just that Dubova picked me when I was in a bad situation. I was 17, I was kicked from everywhere, sometimes I would waste a day drinking alcohol. I stopped skating for half a year. Dubova picked me, promised to find me a partner and she did. She tried to do everything within her power so we'll succeed, and we did. It's not something you forget. SO deep down I knew I'll never betray Dubova. Under no conditions.

    EV: Yet you and Maya lost the Lillehammer Olympis
    AZ: Yes. That didn't work out. But other things worked out later.

    EV: What you would never forgive those you work with?
    AZ: It's hard to tell. Just that if a person set me up or lied I would let them go easily. But when I see dedication and trust from those I work with I will never let anyone else hurt them. They are my people, those I spend my life with. Oleg Volkov was offered a job in another country for far better money. Yet he stayed. I know for sure we'll make it. If not this Olympics - the next.

    EV: Do you have any free time?
    AZ: We are talking now, right? I'm not participating any TV shows this year - there are none. By the way, I was constantly criticized for participating them but I can now tell this year I used 6 musical themes from the `Ice Age' TV show and 3 ideas we came up with during the show.

    EV: When we met over the spring and I asked what will be the first thing you'll do with Bobrova/Soloviev you said you'll change their dressing style and haircuts. Was it hard?
    AZ: Quite the opposite: that was the easiest. I'm amazed how open all the guys are to all the suggestions. They are great!
    BittyBug, mazzy, Braulio and 11 others like this.
  2. l'etoile

    l'etoile New Member

    Thank, GOD!

    It was a tough couple of years for Zhulin. But this interview tells me that he's got enough to rehabilitate himself and bring some serious competition to the top level. Really looking forward to his work on B/S shine this season!

    Thank you for translating, TAHbKA!
  3. Coco

    Coco Well-Known Member

    Love your translations, always!! Thanks!

    LOL at his "But it's much nicer dealing with very hard working people. It is a huge talent to know how to work. That's the kind of group I have now. No matter what I offer them they do it. I attend every practice as if it was a celebration. It's worth a lot."
  4. martyross

    martyross Well-Known Member

    thank you very much... i really like the way he prizes coaches and athletes from Canton. it shows humility! Bobrova and Soloviev are perhaps the team i'm most interested in this year, because with the right guide they can do wonders!
  5. Macassar88

    Macassar88 Well-Known Member

    Love the shade he's throwing at Ilinykh and Katsalapov throughout the interview. Great politicking will be useful for Sochi!
    Also, thanks Tabkha for translating!

    As for the thing he said about ideas from Ice Age, I'm curious to see what he means. I never really watched the show, but I like some of the stuff that Averbukh does (and considering that he does like a bazillion programs a week, there are bound to be some bad ones) and I'm wondering what Zhulin is going to use.
  6. nuge

    nuge Well-Known Member

    I really want to like this team and I hope they have improved over the summer.They have great basic skating and lines.With some great music choices and costumes they could be great .Looking forward to seeing them .
    I hope for a close battle between them W/P and P/B :):kickass:
  7. peibeck

    peibeck Simply looking

    I am really hoping M/K blossom under Zhulin. They are my favorite Russian dance team at the moment. :rollin:
  8. Macassar88

    Macassar88 Well-Known Member

    Yeah that's going to happen in Cup of China. Those three are probably the three teams that will be fighting for Bronze at Sochi.

    As for their improvements, I noticed definite improvements in Bobrova's posture in their Latvian performance. I also noticed that their stroking is less labored. Instead of digging into the ice, they are gliding on it.
  9. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

    B/S need to get level 4's on everything and only the step sequences can be level 3 but most of the time level 4.

    He is still being really critical toward I/K. But B/S getting all level 4's is the test. If they don't I guess they don't work hard either or Zhulin doesn't know what' he's doing.
  10. Braulio

    Braulio Pleasantly pleasing with Peggy

    Thanks for the interview, nice to see Zhulin knowing what he is doing, hope he has good programs and a complete changed Bobrova-Soloviev
  11. Macassar88

    Macassar88 Well-Known Member

    I don't know if Zhulin does know what he's doing with technique. I'm going to assume that he'll get them level 4 on everything except for steps and patterns where they'll get level 3. That's what Pechalat and Bourzat were getting with him.
    Although he may have improved his knowledge of steps and figured out that elusive level 4 which would be amazing.
    Anyway, I feel like level 4 steps and patterns is usually due to execution where one wrong edge brings you to level 3 already and that can just be a small mistake.
  12. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

    P/B could only get to number 3 and weren't so far ahead that they couldn't make a mistake and not be beaten by the Shibutani's. And they couldn't get first or second because of technical problems most of the time and the PCS was too low. So B/S need to be better technically and have better PCS than P/B to replace them as third and better to beat VM and DW. This is all on Zhulin. He needs to get level 4 step sequences and the CD's in the short dance All level 4's and 9's to sometimes even 10's for PCS for B/S. Sometimes I wonder if just because N/K won without many level 4's he still can get teams wins without them. He can't, they are necessary on every element. If B/S arrive with some level 2 step sequence he did nothing.
  13. Marta24

    Marta24 Well-Known Member

    It is very difficult to get 9's as PCS. P/B achieved this at Worlds, they even got some 10's in the FD. I don't know if B/S will be able to catch the first three in time for Sochi.
  14. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    What does he mean by the first sentence?

    Wasn't Vaitsekhovskaya talking about Dubova betting on Gritchuk/Platov after Usova/Zhulin's only World Championship title in 1993, the year after Klimova/Ponomarenko went pro? U/Z were ahead of K/P in early stages of the 1991 WC, but they never placed ahead of them at a major championship.
  15. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

  16. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

    9's and 10's in PCS would be probably be tougher than the level 4 technical elements. But if B/S work hard and Zhulin is a good coach for them B/S should make a debut with all level 4's in technical elements.
  17. Macassar88

    Macassar88 Well-Known Member

    Well they were getting from 7.25-9.5 in PCS at COC, so I don't see why they couldn't get from 8.5-9.5 in PCS and bump their SD PCS to 35-37 and their FD PCS to around 53.
  18. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

    It's definitely Zhulin's job to get rid of any thought of them deserving anything under 8. A Kustrova 7.25 is just not going to be acceptable being with Zhulin. Nothing under 8.5 or level 4. He says he is with hard workers now.
  19. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

  20. peibeck

    peibeck Simply looking

    Well they got plenty of undeserving 8+ scores at Worlds for their messy OD, so I'm not too worried for how their politiking is progressing. :p

    I feel for D/S to have to fight so hard to be prove themselves as Russian No. 1 ice dance team, because there are a lot of teams around their same level. For me, they are like the Petrova/Tikhonov of ice dance, talented but not particularly memorable, and their skating seems very self-conscious (rather than effortless). :shuffle: Hopefully Team Zhulin will give them programs this season that allow their personalities to shine through.
  21. Sedge

    Sedge Well-Known Member

    What a lovely way to express that Elena and Nikita did not train intensely...Imagine how good they could be with a strong work ethic.Nice praise for his new students.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012