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Vaytsekhovskaya's interview with Vodorezova

Discussion in 'Great Skate Debate' started by TAHbKA, Oct 31, 2012.

  1. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    "It's not the technique one needs to win the Olympics, it's the nerves of steel" Elena Vaitsekhovskaya talks to Elena Buyanova (Vodorezova) for sport-express.ru

    For the well known past skater now coach the Grand Prix Final might be tense. Maxim Kovtun, who joined her group just this season won both of his events and is to participate the JGPF, while Adelina Sotnikova has a chance to earn a spot in the GPF.

    We met in TSKA rink right after Buyanova and Sotnikova returned to Moscow. Naturally, we started the conversation with Skate America, where Sotnikova became 3rd.

    EV: In the LP Adelina's jumping combination didn't count. Don't you teach your pupils to control what they do on the ice?
    EBV: It's funny, but in Adelina's case it didnt' even cross my mind. She've been landing all the combinations clean in the practices and we didn't anticipate an error. In a way I'm to blame for her redundant combination. Adelina's math is just fine. It's her favourite subject at school. I guess she was just lost in Kent - it was quite unexpected. Nevermind. It's an experience to have.

    EV: You were a great skater yourself. After you started coaching you worked with Olga Markova, Elene Gedevanishvili. Do you have a role model you are aiming for when working with your female skaters?
    EBV: There are no skaters I was a huge fan of. Ever. At the same time I always liked Dorothy Hamill's skating. She had some sort of harmony no other skater had. When I became a coach I wanted to create such a skater. What I loved about Makarova was her gliding. It was perfect. But she could only jump 2 jumps. We learned all 6 with her later. She later was injured and retired. But it was thanks to her I realized great gliding and jumping is possible.
    We were following the same route with Gedevanishvili. Guess we were just not meant to work together. And then Adelina came along. She is just 16y.o. now and it's her first season in the seniors, but I think she looks quite in place there.

    EV: Among her rivals this season does anyone stand aside?
    EBV: I follow everyone. What they do, what is the potential, what to expect.

    EV: Can you share: who of the now skating ladies is to become the biggest competition?
    EBV: Potentially Julia Lipnitskaya. I like her a lot. Of those who have been skating for a while now - Mao Asada. The Japanese skaters in general are so soft, jump so well, thye are `flying'. They amaze me. I wouldn't miscount any of them.

    What's the difference between us and the Japanese skaters
    EV: Not so long ago Nikita Katsalapov told me the whole group started training differently ever since Daisuke Takahashi joined.
    EBV: And what prevented them from training like that before? It's great when a skater has an example to follow and understands how to work but.... We're just a year away from the Olympics. That's the difference between our skaters and the Japanese skaters for you.
    Adelina and I spent 12 days in Japan in July participating the shows. I was shattered seeing how the Japanese male skaters work. Take Hanyu - he was landing quads and 3A in all the shows. With spot lights only. I don't think any of our guys could do it. When skating with the spot lights only you can't see the ice, can't feel the borders and don't really understand to which direction to skate. It's like walking in the dark. And if the light gets into your eyes - you're blinded. And they land quads and 3A in such conditions!
    I didn't miss a single show. Was waiting for Hanyu to make his programmes easier. No way! The practice began at 8AM and he would do all his jumps at the instance!
    After witnessing that I'm not surprised the Japanese skaters took the podium in the first Grand Prix event. On the other hand you can't really explain the coach's preferences. We are used to discuss the technical part: who jumped what, who progressed in what. And still in SA I came every day to watch Jeremy Abbott practicing. I was sitting and melting when he wasn't even doing the elements during the practice. His control of the ice is incredible. I like the men skating in general. It's the energy and the quads. As Mishin likes to say working with the girls is like spilling the water into sand - you never know what will happen in the end.

    EV: Last year Adelina went through puberty - she was growing and some elements didn't work - I was wondering about the coach's feelings in such situations. You put so much time and energy into skater, choreograph the programmes, teach the technique and take the skater to a certain level. And then something uncontrollable and unpredictable happens.
    EBV: Well, women are enigmas, right? You don't say that about men, do you? As far as the sports goes - I went through the same when I was skating. I was coaching a lot of girls of various ages. So I have the experience and take it quite calmly.

    EV: I can't recall you having weight problems as a skater.
    EBV: You not being aware of things doesn't mean they didn't exist. There was a time when I had to consider every 500g. I even skipped a competition because of the weight. It happened. Hence I take it as a given.
    On the other hand I lacked patience. Now I realize: first you must teach the kid and then demand. It's useless shouting at the skater if he can't do what you want him to. When I was younger I didn't realize it. And I used to be ... a loud coach - it's when you work on the ice and they can hear you from the 2nd floor.
    It's also important the skater not only gains knowledge and experience, but is able to use them later. It's less important whether the knowledge comes from good skates or failures.

    What shakes the coach
    Last season Sotnikova participated the seniors Grand Prix events, but despite everyone's expectations she didn't make it to the GPF. Was it hard on her?
    EBV: Sure. When the skater wins almost every junior competition and doesn't have a single miss up he sets his standards high. At some point it becomes hard to remain there. This is what I'm trying to explain to Adelina. We still talk a lot about it.

    EV: Do you think some of Sotnikova's programmes are a bit too much for her?
    EBV: It's always the same: if you skate well no one has anything to say on the programmes, but if you fail they start discussing everything else: the choreography, the costumes... Of course I try to bring my skaters to skate with no fails, to fight for gold. When you realize the athlete is ready to win but becomes only 3rd it is disappointing. Especially if it was for silly mistakes. It's not about my work, but about the chance the skater missed. I can't settle at such moments.

    EV: Perhaps you are not aware of the fans thinking you demand too much from Adelina. People see how you react to a bad skate when you sit in the K&C.
    EBV: It once happened when Olga Markova and I were at some competition where she didn't skate well. It's hard to be behind the border, see all that, especially when you lack coaching experience. The blood pressure goes up, the sigh becomes blurry, you hear the blood in the temples. I remember sitting in front of the monitor and watching the marks and I couldn't see a thing - all went blurry. Olga, who we were always in good terms with realized I'm shaking. She said quietly `turn to the table, the numbers are bigger there'. When we came back to Moscow someone asked me why do I behave the way I do during the competitions. Apparently the commentator who was commenting said something like `see those relationship, the coach is not supporting the skater and turns away from her'. So what am I supposed to explain exactly?
    There was a time when I was watching figure skating and was trying to figure skater-coach relationship from what I've seen in the K&C. It was funny sometimes: they seem so good towards each other on the screen, and a week after the athlete switches coaches.

    EV: Speaking of switches. Kovtun, who joined your group- is he your `project' or Tarasova's?
    EBV: I think Tarasova has a special feeling towards those `hard' skaters. Those who it's hard to work with. After Morozov kicked Kovtun from his group for unacceptable behaviour Tarasova offered me to take him. I did - for two months try out. But it was Tarasova who is responsible for Kovtun as far as the federation is concerned.

    EV: It've been more then 2 months now, so reckon you are satisfied with Kovtun?
    EBV: First of all Maxim is the only Russian skater to win his GP events and make it to the final. Second not only he won the events, but he skated really well. HE landed a quad and two 3A in Zagreb. No other junior skater showed such a skating. So I don't know, we'll see. During the practices he works really hard and I have no complaints. Of course I want him to prove himself.

    EV: I know Sotnikova was training in the men group for a while. What did she learn there?
    EBV: When you skate with the guys the practices are different. The speed is different. It's not easy to keep up with , but Adelina is mentally very strong. We had a situation last year when Tarasova decided to make a new dress for one of the programmes and it was not ready for the competition. In the morning the tailor came to the rink and was working on Adelina - sewing, cutting, changing. It went for a quite a while - any other skater would be in a state - instead of having some time to rest she had to stand on her feet. And it was not obvious whether the dress will be ready for the competition or not. But Sotnikova just didn't mind. Someone even asked her whether it gets to her. She just waved it away as in : never mind, if I have to, oh well. It's hard to get her out of her mood during the competition - she is so focused and concentrated.

    EV: Does she care about her costumes?
    EBV: She is as much a fashionista as I am. We both love shopping so much that the team makes fun of us : the coach and the skater are equally bad. If Sotnikova dislikes the costume she will certainly tell so. When we make a dress the sketches are first shown to her, not to me. And she had the choice. It's just that I don't think for Adelina it's the most important thing.

    EV: Will you mind if she doesn't make it to the GPF?
    EBV: I guess a bit. But it's not the most important thing. We'll just have to move on. It's better to fall and raise then to be on the top and slide down.

    EV: Will you dare to predict the Olympic results?
    EBV: It's impossible. It doest' matter how they skate now. Some predictions will be possible when the Olympic programmes are made. I'm sure everyone will come to Sochi equally ready and in a great shape. It's just that you win the Olympics not with the great technique, but with the nerves of steel
    TheIronLady, euler, sbanet and 2 others like this.
  2. floskate

    floskate Vacant

    Thanks TAHbKA, fab interview. :)
  3. Jeschke

    Jeschke #teamtrainwreck #teamschott

    sorry, but this is insane :D
    at least she┬┤s blaming herself for that fault afterwards.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2012
  4. Loves_Shizuka

    Loves_Shizuka The Stolbova/Klimov and James/Cipres Uber

    Great interview, thanks!!
  5. znhurston

    znhurston Well-Known Member

    I love this woman as a coach. Thank for translating this interview.
  6. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Many thanks, TAHbKA!
  7. dinakt

    dinakt Well-Known Member

    I love this interview to bits. Insightful and honest ( and the fact that I agree with her points does not hurt one bit).
    Thank you, TAHbKA, very much for bringing it here and translating.
    Just one little clarification- in the beginning, in the phrase What I loved about Makarova was her gliding. It was perfect. But she could only jump 2 jumps. We learned all 6 with her later it is a typo; it is meant to be Olga Markova.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  8. TAHbKA

    TAHbKA Well-Known Member

    "Sotnikova is so much more mature" - Vaitsekhovskaya's interview with Vodorezova (Buyanova) for sport-express.ru
    I think it was the first time I felt like being in a secret lab when entering the TSKA ice rink: doors shut, just two people near the borders and two one the ice - the JGPF winner Maksim Kovtun and one of the most desired Russian choreographers Petr Tchernyshev. The most sacred part of the work began - choreographing the Olympic programmes.

    EV: Elena, I know your group leaves for vacation soon. When will you start working again?
    EB: At the beginning of June - we'll have a camp in Latvia. We were first planning spending Juni in Andorra, but we had to change plans - apparently the ice rink where we planned working was sold to Russian tourists from Siberia - they decided to let their kids skate during the vacation and just payed cash for the rink for the whole period of time. We were denied.

    EV: Why have you remained in Russia with Sotnikova after the Team Championship in Japan, while Kovtun left to the USA with Tarasova?
    EB: It was planned. Tarasova together with her assistant Janna Folle as usually choreographed Mao Asada's programmes and thought it would be a good idea if Maksim would work there on his steps and strength. He spent a month in Chicago.

    EV: What had he learned?
    EB: When he came back he started working with Petr Tchernyshev on his programmes. I can reveal the process is easier than it was last year - his steps basics is different. He worked for 4 hours a day in Chicago and we are trying to use all he learned in the new programmes.

    EV: Did you have a chance to work with Tchernyshev before?
    EB: No. It was Tarasova's idea to invite him - she was very impressed by his choreographing abilities while they worked in the TV show together. Petr have always been a very creative man. He stood out with his blade control. But controlling your blade is one thing, teaching the others is another.
    Hence first I was really curious what will Tchernyshev have to offer to Sotnikova. I was amazed how easily he found the style in which Adelina is the most comfortable. I also had no idea how much can she do. When Tchernyshev offered her to try certain things my first reaction was `no way. She can't'. Sotnikova managed. I was even more amazed by Tarasova's reactions though.

    EV: What do you mean?
    EB: Choreographing when Tarasova is watching is quite an experience. She criticizes. Here on the other hand, I saw how she watches Tchernyshev's work both as a coach and a spectator. With a pleasure. She even clapped.
    Tarasova's appreciate of the other's work is great. We, coaches, understand fully well who skates better than our pupils, but not many would voice it. Tarasova does. She genially admits a good job.

    EV: I recall during the years Tarasova worked with Sasha Cohen she was offended her assistant Nikolai Morozov suddenly started choreographing for her rival Michelle Kwan. What happens now? Do you mind her choreographing for Mao Asada while working with Sotnikova?
    EB: No. First of all Tarasova worked with Mao before Sotnikova appeared. We here, in TSKA love Asada - she is very nice to Adelina, they are really close. Asada invited Adelina to her show in Japan last year, this year we plan going there again, this time with both Sotnikova and Kovtun. Besides, Tarasova is really tactful and has enough energy for all.

    EV: Will you be showing the new programmes in the Japanese show?
    EB: Yes. It's a great opportunity. There is enough time before the beginning of the season to make changes and polish things. Besides it's the environment which helps the skaters. And, of course, an opportunity to watch how the Japanese athletes train and skate. I can watch their trainings forever. I would love our skaters to work as much as they do.

    EV: What Sotnikova took with her from her first seniors season?
    EB: Technically it's not her first time with the seniors ans she was ready. Of course being among the top skaters was an experience.
    Her previous season, when she could compete in the seniors Grand Prix was not quite a disappointment, but...She looked good compared to the other Russian single ladies, but I knew she can do so much more. Yet she could only show part of her abilities. I think she needs time to understand she is more mature and different.

    EV: who is more mature - Sotnikova or Kovtun?
    EB: On the ice - Adelina without a doubt. In the real life though she is a momy's little girl, she is very attached to her family. Maksim, on the other hand, lives alone for several years now and is independent, even though he is the youngest among the 3 brothers. He and Adelina complete each other, which might be the reason they are such good friends.
    Maksim is becoming as motivated as Adelina now. When I accepted him to the group last summer I was afraid he doesn't know how to work- he is talented and understands things fast. Such people usually get bored fast with the trainings.
    First he was just mad and wanted to prove things to his previous coaches, it was obvious. After he won the JGPF he suddenly understood he could do so much more. He became more interested in training. And still at some point it became obvious he had enough competitions. He never had such a long season as last year.

    EV: Were you vary the situation when there are so many expectations of him and then such a disappointment might break him?
    EB: There were no real disappointments. There was a hard period after the nationals. He is a company guy with lots of friends and he cares what his friends think about him. All of the sudden he was in a situation where everyone were as if against him. He took it hard. So the Europeans were not easy for us.

    EV: In the team championship in Japan Kovtun said he sets very high goals this season. Comment on that?
    EB: Frankly, the 3 of us didn't yet had a chance to meet up and talk about the goals. But setting the high goals is the allright.
    alilou and (deleted member) like this.
  9. morqet

    morqet rising like a phoenix

    Thanks TAHbKA - I love how insightful she is in her interviews.
  10. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Thank you so much, TAHbKA!

    I'm looking forward to a Sotnikova with great choreography.
  11. caseyedwards

    caseyedwards Well-Known Member

    lol worlds was not a disappointment for kovtun? It was just too many competitions for him. Like the two men he Was beaten by at nationals would have loved to go I'm sure! Wasn't it being said he wanted to go to worlds and not jr worlds? His whole worlds trip was for two spots!

    Sotnikova's biggest problems revolve around the lutz and flip and just nothing here about that.
  12. arakwafan2006

    arakwafan2006 Well-Known Member

    Reading this about Tarasova makes me love her even more. How amazing is it that she truly wants to see talent developed and invited Peter T. to work with some of Russias top athletes? Tatiana really is amazing!

    I hope that Adelina's new programs showcase her in a different way. She can really improve from seeing Peter move across the ice in the way he does. I am looking forward to it and hoping that his work with Maxim looks different than recreated Yagudin.