Aljona Savchenko signs 2-year contract to be the Dutch national figure skating coach in Heerenveen NED

Sylvia

Rooting for underdogs!
Messages
72,684
Starting a new thread with this news (thanks to @wobbly for the heads up in the OES News thread; oops I missed seeing @GoneWithTheWind’s post & link in the German news thread until well after I had started this thread):
Aljona Savchenko to move to Heerenveen (Netherlands) to head new Dutch figure skating centre.
Tweeted by the NED federation: https://twitter.com/schaatsennl/status/1503349340882059275

March 14th announcement (machine translation copied out below):

The KNSB has appointed Aljona Savchenko as national figure skating coach. The Olympic champion of Pyeongchang (2018) in the pair riding [skating] will lead the National Training Center Figure Skating (NTK), which will start next spring in Heerenveen. Savchenko, a German of Ukrainian descent, moves to Friesland for this.

“We are proud that Aljona has chosen us. With her wealth of international experience, she will be able to significantly improve the quality of our best art fighters together with the coaches at our Associations for Talent Development”, says Remy de Wit, technical director of the KNSB. “The search for the best national team coach took longer than we wanted. There was great enthusiasm for this position, but care was our top priority.”

Aljona Savchenko (38) is a big name in the world of figure skating. In her active career she specialized in horse riding [paarrijden], in which she built up a glittering career. That brought her four European and six world titles. The highlight of her career was the Olympic gold, which she won in 2018 with her French partner Bruno Massot. She won bronze twice at previous Games.

After her active career, which she ended after the 2018 Games, Savchenko became a trainer-coach. De Wit: “She has also clearly focused on guiding individual drivers. We are convinced that Aljona will be of great added value as a coach for both pairs and individual drivers.”

The new national team coach spent the past few days in the Netherlands. Today the signatures have been placed under the contract, which provisionally assumes a collaboration until mid-2024. Now that the name of the national coach is known, the KNSB will continue to fill in the newly formed NTK staff in consultation with Savchenko.

It is not yet known which figure skaters will join the National Training Center in Heerenveen. “The enthusiasm among the potential participants was great,” says De Wit. “But everyone wanted to know: who will be the national coach? And what will the program really look like? These are also valid questions for athletes with a lot of ambition. We now have an answer to both questions, which we will discuss with the potentials."

The new national coach Aljona Savchenko was born in 1984 in the Ukrainian capital Kiev, but has had German nationality for some time. Since 2003 she has competed as an figure skater for Germany. She still lives and works in Oberstdorf, but she will soon move to Friesland. When that will happen exactly depends on the current war in her motherland, where her family still lives.

"I would prefer to start working in this position tomorrow, because I think it is a big challenge as national coach to take figure skating in the Netherlands to a higher level," says Savchenko. "But there is a war going on, one man is destroying my motherland. This war has a big impact on the Ukrainian people and therefore on my family. My parents are now safe with me, but my three brothers are still there and I am very concerned about them. We have to be strong now and we are doing that. I am trying to get started in Heerenveen as soon as possible. I am glad that the KNSB is offering me this opportunity. My ambitions are great: I want to that the riders I will be working with will ultimately achieve the same as what I have achieved in my active career. I want to show them and experience that that is possible if you work hard every day for it."
 
Last edited:

eurodance2001

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,021
Somehow I don't think she's going to make it the whole two years...
During normal times, probably not. However, these are not normal times. She does mention the war and the effect on her and her extended family so by having something stable like this provides the family some security and also the means for her to keep caring for the parents and hopefully her brothers if they need it.
 

maatTheViking

Roxaaannnneeee!!!
Messages
5,631
In google’s defense, the Netherlands does quite better in horse riding than pairs skating… (joke, I know translate doesn’t quite work like that)

This is exciting news, as far as I’m aware the speed skating program in the Netherlands is pretty solid? Hopefully this will lead to more Dutch skaters at a high level.
 

Nune

Active Member
Messages
232
Mmmh, how will she deal this… she is living in divorce and as far as I know her Ex husband in Oberstdorf…
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
Messages
33,345
I hope it works out, but her previous venture in coaching (Knierims) didn't work out. Some very talented and successful skaters just don't make good coaches, because it's hard for them to accept that not everyone learns and trains the same way that they did.
 

Willin

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,407
I hope it works out, but her previous venture in coaching (Knierims) didn't work out. Some very talented and successful skaters just don't make good coaches, because it's hard for them to accept that not everyone learns and trains the same way that they did.
And her coaching venture in Germany, and her coaching/advisory arrangement with USFS...

Given the circumstances with her family, I would be happy if this worked out, but she doesn't exactly seem reliable.
 

AxelAnnie

Like a small boat on the ocean...
Messages
14,463
I will be praying for her students. No that I don't like her..............I do. But one blade wrong, and I can almost hear the screams.
 

once_upon

Believer in woman's right to own healthcare decisi
Messages
23,154
I do hope she is successful at coaching, but if the Kiernans are any example of her coaching methods, I don't think she will be.

Maybe she learned from that experience, or maybe parents will approve of her training methods, I don't know. It just has the feel of a football (American or World definition, take your pic), who signs a big star to rescue a team and it falls flat.

In any case, I hope she is happy and is successful in coaching.
 

Lemonade20

If I agreed with you, we’d both be wrong.
Messages
2,351
It's rare to see a former elite skater excel in coaching. Orser is successful at that. I think Gordeeva would make a great coach too. She really knew how to turn her hockey player partner into a pairs skater on BOTB. Aliona strikes me as someone who has the talent but probably not the right communication skills. It'll be interesting to see if she can pull this off.
 

Karen-W

Well-Known Member
Messages
19,248
Y'all realize she was working, earlier this year, with the Crafoords before Greta's unfortunate knee injury, right? Everyone is obsessing on what happened with the Knierims 3 seasons ago and placing all blame on Aljona for that experiment failing and forgetting that Chris himself wound up quitting due to a lack of motivation to continue competing at the elite level less than 16 months later. Neither the Knierims nor Aljona have explicitly addressed what went wrong there, but let's stop assuming that she was entirely in the wrong - the Knierims made a huge change in their life to work with her, maybe it was just too much for Chris to handle right then and he dealt with the stress by shutting down and not working as hard as Aljona knew was necessary to be successful.

None of us are walking in her shoes, but wow, the judgment against her continues to be high. It's all very strange and, frankly, reeks of a bit of misogyny. I haven't seen many people slamming Robin Szolkowy for leaving LA and returning to Europe when it didn't work out as a consultant/coach at Great Parks Ice - but maybe that flew under the radar because the pandemic was offered up as part of the reason why he left. None of what he's done as a coach or consultant has produced great results, yet I don't imagine that his next high profile gig will engender the same sort of handwringing over what a potential mistake this is for the fed paying the money.
 

skatfan

Well-Known Member
Messages
6,918
It's rare to see a former elite skater excel in coaching. Orser is successful at that. I think Gordeeva would make a great coach too. She really knew how to turn her hockey player partner into a pairs skater on BOTB. Aliona strikes me as someone who has the talent but probably not the right communication skills. It'll be interesting to see if she can pull this off.
Gordeeva was not self coaching in Battle of the Blades - they have coaches and choreographers. She hasn’t formally taught skating, has she?

Likewise hoping things work out for Savchenko.
 

Sylvia

Rooting for underdogs!
Messages
72,684
Gordeeva was not self coaching in Battle of the Blades - they have coaches and choreographers. She hasn’t formally taught skating, has she?
She previously has assisted in coaching young pair teams in Southern California before she moved to Edmonton.

IIRC, Robin Szolkowy contributed to Tarasova/Morozov’s success in the 2018-2019 season (national title, then silver at Euros & Worlds) when he was coaching in Russia.
 

once_upon

Believer in woman's right to own healthcare decisi
Messages
23,154
I haven't seen many people slamming Robin Szolkowy for leaving LA and returning to Europe when it didn't work out as a consultant/coach at Great Parks Ice - but maybe that flew under the radar because the pandemic was offered up as part of the reason why he left. None of what he's done as a coach or consultant has produced great results, yet I don't imagine that his next high profile gig will engender the same sort of handwringing over what a potential mistake this is for the fed paying the money.
Quite frankly, I was not aware of Robin's coaching, so I don't believe that factored into my equation.

I'm not usually invested in coaching changes, but I followed Chris and Alexis for sometime and that's why I knew of their coach switching. I believe, but can't find a reference, I read where he and Alexis talked about the training environment not meshing

Then it was the jump to Sappenfield's camp to be a coach and then to skate with TJ, that formed my opinion that she may not be a good coach candidate.

I believe I said that perhaps she learner from those experiences and would succeed. I was expressing my opinion - not from a misogynist viewpoint. But whatever.
 

ballettmaus

Well-Known Member
Messages
17,599
As Karen-W said, we don't know what happened between the Knierims and Savchenko but from my own experience (not with figure skating but dance) I know that there's quite a difference in how things are done between Americans and Eastern Europeans and I can see how the Eastern European way can be discouraging when you're not used to it.
I wouldn't put blame on either coach or student in this case. It's just different cultures and expectations.

I hope it works out for Savchenko!
 

skipaway

Well-Known Member
Messages
10,274
It's rare to see a former elite skater excel in coaching. Orser is successful at that. I think Gordeeva would make a great coach too. She really knew how to turn her hockey player partner into a pairs skater on BOTB. Aliona strikes me as someone who has the talent but probably not the right communication skills. It'll be interesting to see if she can pull this off.
Ice dancers seem to make excellent coaches….for their disciplines.
 

overedge

Mayor of Carrot City
Messages
33,345

Y'all realize she was working, earlier this year, with the Crafoords before Greta's unfortunate knee injury, right? Everyone is obsessing on what happened with the Knierims 3 seasons ago and placing all blame on Aljona for that experiment failing

I don't see anyone placing all the blame on her. But if she was coaching with the same intensity we saw from her as a skater, that might not have meshed well with how the Knierems preferred to work, especially when Chris was struggling with depression. Part of being a successful coach is adjusting to your students' learning style, and it sounds like that didn't happen.
 

Bigbird

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,782
I don't see anyone placing all the blame on her. But if she was coaching with the same intensity we saw from her as a skater, that might not have meshed well with how the Knierems preferred to work, especially when Chris was struggling with depression. Part of being a successful coach is adjusting to your students' learning style, and it sounds like that didn't happen.
You have a point. May be better for her to consider working in Russia?
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top
Do Not Sell My Personal Information