Ari Zakarian interview

Sylvia

TBD
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79,332
(Never heard of metaratings.ru ... the original article in Russian was published on March 29, 2023):
The 2022/23 season in figure skating has ended. The last competitions of the year, the World Championships, was held in Japan, where local athletes dominated. Figure skaters from the Land of the Rising Sun won three out of four gold medals. However, it was not without scandal. American figure skater with Russian roots, Ilia Malinin, performed a very powerful program: he became the first skater in the world to land a quadruple axel at the World Championships.
But the judges placed the 18-year-old athlete only in third place. [me: :rolleyes:] In an exclusive interview with Metaratings, Malinin’s agent Ari Zakaryan expressed his opinion on what happened, as well as summed up the season.
Excerpts:
Ari Zakaryan: The success of the Japanese skaters was not surprising to me. Their figure skating has been improving since 2006. During this time, they have developed a strong training program for their skaters, which is supported professionally by the federation. The Japanese have not only produced top skaters but also have a decent “bench” in general. For example, there is Mao Shimada in juniors.
I was not surprised that Miura-Kihira won the pairs event. They have been consistently improving in recent years. As for Kaori Sakamoto’s victory, all the ladies were competing at a similar level. Nobody attempted quads, but the Japanese skater had powerful, fast skating, which was her main advantage, plus she had the support of the home crowd.
As I said, the men’s competition had a very high level. All the guys performed brilliantly. However, the men’s event was the biggest disappointment of the season. There is no way to judge Malinin’s performance so low.
In your opinion, has pairs figure skating stopped developing?
Ari Zakaryan: At one point, there was a surge in quadruple throws, and most likely due to their traumatic nature, everything returned to what it was before. Even in 1983, Selezneva and Makarov were performing the same elements as today’s skaters. That is, pair skating has been stagnant for 40 years. Yes, there is progress, interesting programs appear, but the technical level has remained the same, with only a few variations of triple jumps added, and even then very rarely.
Perhaps this is why interest in pair skating is declining. In the days of Gordeeva and Grinkov, Underhill and Martini, people went to arenas for them, because it was a fireworks display. Now it’s completely different – audiences come to pairs performances as part of a general event.
... Yes, he [Malinin] needs to work on his skating, I agree. But let me say it again: quads are a completely different level of concentration. They say that Ilia skated poorly at other moments. But understand, at that moment on the ice, a skater’s mind is only focused on those jumps, those crazy elements. And when you try to show some smiles, edges, between those elements, that’s a different story. I hope the experts who judged the competitions at least once put on skates themselves. They should understand what it is and how difficult it is.
Ari Zakaryan: ... I will repeat again that I am not questioning the places of other skaters who performed well and deservedly took their places. I am challenging the fact that the quad axel was scored humiliatingly, with disdain and cynicism. Let’s see what the future holds for us.
 
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On My Own

Karen Chen, Olympic Gold Medalist
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Maybe you can move this post to the Zakarian thread I just started?
After seeing something very recent, I'm not sure I'd trust fs-gossips translations, tbh.


of course, Ari is a dumb hypebeast, but still, wouldn't trust it.

ETA: But I will agree with this translation that I thought Ilia should have been higher, silver imo.
 

Sylvia

TBD
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79,332
Ari Zakarian's photo with Arutunian and Beacom at the Saitama Super Arena during Worlds: https://www.instagram.com/p/CqZTiXtJ0ox/
On this photo, they are too incredible people, that changed figure skating forever. Rafael Arutunian , Armenian native who came from Soviet Union, to USA and give so many victories to the world of figure skating ,as a coach.And Canadian Gary Beacom, who inspirers thousand of skaters worldwide for his unique talent. Unfortunately, the new generation of figure skaters have no idea who is Gary, but I would love to ask if anyone is following my Instagram. Please check on YouTube ,what an exceptional skater Gary Beacom was. I hope he will inspire young skaters the way he inspired me back in New York when I was introduced to him,by Moira North,from the Ice Theatre of New York.
 

Ananas Astra

Get woke, go broke!
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One thing I have always been wondering about: What exactly is Zakarian's background in figure skating?
I know he has been around as a "manager" for Russian figure skaters for a while, and he was the one who "choreographed" Lutai's exhibition from the Euros in 2007 (I am desperately trying to find this on the interwebzzz, so if you happen to have it, drop me a line), but otherwise...?
Who is this guy?
 

TAHbKA

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The new narrative in the russian media now is `they all are against us, they all hate us!' and since there is no `us' in figure skating now they adopted Malinin as a Russian. So there were several articles on how Malinin is underscored, how unfair all these westerns are to the poor Russian kid.
Am qutie sure Malinin would be surprised to read...
 

Frau Muller

From Puerto Rico…With Love! Not LatinX!
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One thing I have always been wondering about: What exactly is Zakarian's background in figure skating?
I know he has been around as a "manager" for Russian figure skaters for a while, and he was the one who "choreographed" Lutai's exhibition from the Euros in 2007 (I am desperately trying to find this on the interwebzzz, so if you happen to have it, drop me a line), but otherwise...?
Who is this guy?
Weren’t there two Zakarian brothers skating as comics or jugglers in Champions on Ice a few years ago - Ari & Akop? I remember an Armenian duo of acrobatic skater clowns. Brothers or friends?
 
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Karen-W

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The new narrative in the russian media now is `they all are against us, they all hate us!' and since there is no `us' in figure skating now they adopted Malinin as a Russian. So there were several articles on how Malinin is underscored, how unfair all these westerns are to the poor Russian kid.
Am qutie sure Malinin would be surprised to read...
Well, to be fair, they already glommed onto Ilia after he won silver at US Nats in 2022 and was then left off the Olympic team. They would be glomming onto Max Naumov and Andrew Torgashev if either of them had been as successful last season and this one as Ilia has been.

I'm a little surprised they haven't also glommed onto Nikolaj Memola, TBH, lol.
 

Yuri

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The first or second time I met Ari Zakarian around 25 years ago, he still had his wrist bandaged from being the passenger when Oksana Baiul wrapped her car around a tree in her infamous drunk driving episode! He's always been a bit of an opportunist/manager type, but he did skate in the Tom Collins/COI Tour as the "Ari and Akop" duo that were acrobats on the ice.
 

kwanfan1818

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Now if this were Bach amd the IOC in charge, and Zakarian told them beforehand that he had :bribe: sponsors lined up, Malinin would have won all of the medals.

Just when I wanted to max out the :rolleyes: at Zakarian's PT Barnum/WWE take on figure skating, he goes and recognizes one of the greatest. Argh.
 

Rhumba d’Amour

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One thing I have always been wondering about: What exactly is Zakarian's background in figure skating?
I know he has been around as a "manager" for Russian figure skaters for a while, and he was the one who "choreographed" Lutai's exhibition from the Euros in 2007 (I am desperately trying to find this on the interwebzzz, so if you happen to have it, drop me a line), but otherwise...?
Who is this guy?
I had heard that he is the person responsible for the creation of those annual ISU “awards” that were supposed to bring in all those new fans
 

On My Own

Karen Chen, Olympic Gold Medalist
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4,881
The first or second time I met Ari Zakarian around 25 years ago, he still had his wrist bandaged from being the passenger when Oksana Baiul wrapped her car around a tree in her infamous drunk driving episode! He's always been a bit of an opportunist/manager type, but he did skate in the Tom Collins/COI Tour as the "Ari and Akop" duo that were acrobats on the ice.
How popular is this acrobats on ice thing? IIRC, there was a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance who claimed he did break dancing on ice haha. https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=264949620810997

Apparently he was also in Art on Ice https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDLIW3G2hAo&ab_channel=ArtOnIce
 

tony

Throwing the (rule)book at them
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There was always space for an acrobat or off-kilter type of number in COI or SOI. I think Besedin and Polishuk followed Ari and Akop. And in the mid-1990's, Gia Guddat and Gary Beacom were doing the numbers involving the skates on their hands, too.

One of the most intriguing competitions that never went anywhere IMO was when Improv Ice, in the first year, had the adagio pairs competition similar to what the all-male acrobat teams were doing. All four teams were amazing. That portion of the show starts here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlQe94mt_5g#t=1h5m55s
 

Ananas Astra

Get woke, go broke!
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14,798
There was always space for an acrobat or off-kilter type of number in COI or SOI. I think Besedin and Polishuk followed Ari and Akop. And in the mid-1990's, Gia Guddat and Gary Beacom were doing the numbers involving the skates on their hands, too.

One of the most intriguing competitions that never went anywhere IMO was when Improv Ice, in the first year, had the adagio pairs competition similar to what the all-male acrobat teams were doing. All four teams were amazing. That portion of the show starts here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlQe94mt_5g#t=1h5m55s
Dude, you are a ****ing library of obscure figure skating stuff.
Please never change!
 

Wyliefan

Ubering juniors against my will
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The new narrative in the russian media now is `they all are against us, they all hate us!' and since there is no `us' in figure skating now they adopted Malinin as a Russian. So there were several articles on how Malinin is underscored, how unfair all these westerns are to the poor Russian kid.
Am qutie sure Malinin would be surprised to read...
Too bad, Russia, he's ours. Finders keepers. :p
 

Willin

Well-Known Member
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2,577
The funniest part about all this is the Ilia is so Westernized and seems to not care one bit about Russia. Does he even speak Russian fluently?
 

Karen-W

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The funniest part about all this is the Ilia is so Westernized and seems to not care one bit about Russia. Does he even speak Russian fluently?
He speaks it well enough that Raf was talking to him in Russian in the KnC at Worlds. He has said that he doesn't really know how to read or write in Russian, though.
 

tony

Throwing the (rule)book at them
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He speaks it well enough that Raf was talking to him in Russian in the KnC at Worlds. He has said that he doesn't really know how to read or write in Russian, though.
He also speaks with Tatiana and Roman in Russian, at least in the promo video NBC made. Tatiana was giving him instructions and talking to him in Russian on the ice.

Of course Russia will try to take credit for him, but even his parents didn't want to skate for the country :p
 

Dobre

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Huh. I guess Russia's fake World Championships was a bit of a bust if the Russian skating blogs feel they have to generate false controversies on behalf of our American kids;).

(Ilia's going to be a better skater in the long run because of this World Championships, I feel).
 

Frau Muller

From Puerto Rico…With Love! Not LatinX!
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21,743
There was always space for an acrobat or off-kilter type of number in COI or SOI. I ….
At the same time of Ari & Akop, CoI had the Hula Hoop Gal…it was sorta a Circus Side Show on Ice.
 

Yuri

Well-Known Member
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808
Upon further review, I now recall that a mutual friend who worked on Wall Street introduced me to Ari at 1996 Skate America in Springfield MA as they both skated at Chelsea Piers in NYC. We reconnected at 1997 Europeans in Paris when I was credentialed with Grishuk/Platov and I remember hanging out with him at the Gala at the Old Paris Opera House, the primary setting of Andrew Lioyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. I am embarrassed to admit that POTO is my all-time favorite Broadway musical, having seen it live in NYC circa the late 1990s and 2019, and I didn't realize the staircases and chandeliers at the Gala were later sets in Phantom!

It was at 1997 Worlds in Lausanne where Ari showed up with his bandaged wrist following the car accident, so I definitely had met him prior to the incident with Baiul. He's a very charismatic guy and seemed to know everyone connected with figure skating and took time to get to know me due to my connection with Oksana and Evgeny in U Delaware.

I haven't seen Ari since the initial public performance of Evgeny with Maya at Harvard University for the Jimmy Fund in fall 1998, where he performed with Akop in the fundraiser. Definitely an interesting dude and yes, he's the force behind the ISU Awards.
 

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