From Russia with Love [#33]: Summer 2019

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Bigbird

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I haven't yet had time to watch the junior test skates, but when I saw Shanaeva/Naryzhnyi in practice in May and working on their FD, I thought they looked really good. I am expecting them to do very well this season if they continue to progressed like that.

They're good but I like what I'm seeing from the David Samokin camp. There is a young girl there that is really good to watch, great dancer and such controlled finesse. I'm also curious to see how Drozd and his new partner are doing.
 

Amy L

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I would assume so. They made the jgpf/junior worlds 2 seasons in a row.

Nekrasov had a surgery, so them getting a spot will have more to do with whether or not he's healed before the end of the JGP season.
 

Dobre

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So, are Ushakova/Nereskov still in the running to get a jgp

I'm sure it will come down to their health & recovery. We don't have any details so impossible to predict at this point.

They are also already on the sub list for the French JGP.
 

annie_mg

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... and from what was posted, Nekrasov's surgery was not a "light one", he had to go to Italy to see specialists.
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Alina Zagitova's full SP from "Ice" show: https://vk.com/video-165382538_456240484

Well it's refreshing to see Zagitova skate to a non-warhorse and she is trying to interpret the music. Unfortunately I think the choreo sort of accentuates her shortcomings in terms of posture. But I'm behind this programme, let's see how it evolves once she's more comfortable with it. I kind of like the direction they are trying to take her to - more of a young lady than a teenager.
 

Tinami Amori

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Well it's refreshing to see Zagitova skate to a non-warhorse and she is trying to interpret the music. Unfortunately I think the choreo sort of accentuates her shortcomings in terms of posture. But I'm behind this programme, let's see how it evolves once she's more comfortable with it. I kind of like the direction they are trying to take her to - more of a young lady than a teenager.
I don't like the "knee slide".... and the ina bauer should be held longer, like in the promo-video. But there are a lot of "pluses" as well.

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Ok, few "FS upcoming season" short videos came out on Russia Channel #1 sports section.
(it's in Russian, but the video part is quite telling itself). if any questions about "spoken parts", i can help to translate.

"Eteri's Team - the preparations and Novogorsk training camp"

"Daniil Samsonov - about childhood, and feelings before entering the ice".
He buys boots 1/2 size larger, because his feet are growing. Lost his gloves, had to borrow, promised to return. Going on the ice he has no emotions, tries to keep his head cool, step on the ice and show your best. He has no idol/hero; he does not want to be like anybody, tries to be unique; to be the one who sets the standards.

"Alena Kanysheva - her SP in the upcoming season".
The story of her programme: she finds an old note written by people who loved her. She throws it in the air, and memories of good old days fall upon her.
 
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Perky Shae Lynn

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I really like this program for Alina. She looks beautiful and expressive. The calmer pace is tricky though, because it magnifies her posture issues. Can they be fixed at this point? It seems like the break at the waist is almost part of Alina's technique.
 

Tinami Amori

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Russian Ch#1 - short story on Camila Valieeva
if this video does not work, youtube does
(voice: i tried rhythmic gymnastics - did not like it at all. ballet? no i did not want to become a ballerina. of them all i liked figure skating the best. it feels good when your jumps work, when you feel that there is more you can do.)
 

Coco

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In Alina's sp, would she get credit for a forward sit spin position? It doesn't seem low enough.
 

thvudragon

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In Alina's sp, would she get credit for a forward sit spin position? It doesn't seem low enough.
It was not low enough for credit. The thigh of spinning leg needs to be at least parallel to the ice.

If you draw a line from the knee of the skating leg directly to the ice, the angle it forms with the thigh must be 90 degrees or less for to count.

(Though, I’m sure she’d get it right in competition.)
 

Tinami Amori

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My favorite programme was and still is Kamila Valieeva's "Girl on the blue ball". I love how the choreography starts and ends with "breaking the 4th wall" - she steps off the painting, becomes alive, and then steps back in at the end.

The rest were hard to pick from, they were all very good.. given the time of the season.
 

Ka3sha

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New interview with Ruslan Zhiganshin

Some excerpts:

On his coaching career
- As far as I understand, you mainly work with children.
- Last season I mostly worked with children from elementary training groups and with more experienced skaters like candidates for Master of Sport. At the moment, I received an offer from Angelika Krylova to work in her team. And now we are working together.

- What exactly are you responsible for?
- Angelika is the head coach. She defines a work plan for each training session and sets some certain tasks like working on elements or programs. This is my core responsibility. In addition, I can always look at what athletes in our group do, precisely from the perspective of a male partner. I am pleased to work in this format. Angelica does not put any boundaries. I have a certain carte blanche.

I also like that Angelica has experience of working in the States. Thanks to this, we can combine several approaches to coaching together. And that’s great. It’s not a problem for her to invite an outside specialist, for example, an acting teacher or a yoga instructor.

- When your sports career came to an end, did you think to try something radically different from skating?
Of course, I thought about it. Although I understood that in any case I would be connected with sports. At first I wanted to try sports management, at some point I was seriously interested in sports psychology. I read a lot of special literature on this subject. But it fell off rather quickly. I asked myself a question: what can I do best? The answer was always the same - to skate. And this is normal, I have been in figure skating since 4 years old, in fact, for all my life.
On his retirement and career
- Do you regret that your sports career has ended so early?
- No. I haven’t regretted it for a single day, although many said that in six months I would come back and say: “I was such a fool, when I decided to retire.” But it didn't happen. It was a deliberate decision. Of course, that was a step into the unknown territory. And now I think that everything happened at the right time.

- Were there any chances to stay in figure skating?
- I don't know. From a moral point of view - no. It was a complete emotional devastation. My mother persuaded me to think more, even tried to find me a partner for a couple of times. But I don't change the decisions after they have been made.

- Your retirement is still very actively discussed. From the side it seemed that everything happened very suddenly. And you haven’t talked about the reasons anywhere.
- Let them discuss it. There were many reasons. The main one is injury. I 'earned' the protrusion of the cervical spine (pathological process in the spine. - Sport24). For you to understand, now I can’t throw my head back without pain even if I want to look at the plane flying in the sky, for example.

- Shortly before retiring, you and Elena Ilinykh went to the States for an internship with Igor Shpilband. Was it a great experience?
- I took this trip as a chance to change my life for the better. In fact, everything turned out completely wrong. I really enjoyed working with Fabian Bourzat. He generally did 80% of all the work.

I didn’t get along with Igor. I didn't like his style of working. It got to the point that I didn't want to come to the training sessions with him. I did not like how they went. In Russia, a coach is much closer to an athlete: monitors your condition, your weight, your life as a whole - does everything so that you can achieve your goal and show the result. In America, only an hour of a paid private lesson connected us with the main coach.

Still everyone is very polite and tolerant there, they will smile in your face and discuss you behind your back. And I didn't like that either.

- It turns out that Igor Shpilband is now more of a face than a real coach?
I don't know how it is now. And I don’t know how he works with other athletes. When we trained in his group, he was more likely a face, yes. Of course, he participated in the training process, in choreographing process. But then again - his participation was somehow strange.

The choreographer usually says what exactly you should do or offers you some options for execution. But I didn’t personally appreciate suggestions like “well, do it somehow”. Ilya Averbukh is the direct opposite of Shpilband. He is a generator of ideas.

- Now you are also a coach. Looking back, what would you change in your attitude to figure skating?
- I would have changed something when I was about 14. We (in Russia) like to skate in a way we did back in the Soviet Union, with static poses. But the French, the Americans and the Canadians haven't been skating like this for a long time. And we also should have stopped doing it. But according to our school each element must be visibly marked. They, on the other hand, have one element moving into another, and all is done very smoothly.

We did as we were taught. At the same time, I , in no way, blame the coaches. I am very grateful to them for everything they have done, for their patience and hard work. They also worked with us as they were taught. It is a long chain.
On current ice dance:
- For how long, in your opinion, will Papadakis/Cizeron dominate the ice dance? Why did they had such a rapid rise to the top?
Until someone with a new style appears. I can’t say that they had a rapid rise. When we were at one of the JGP events with them, I looked at them with admiration. They already had the freedom in their skating. Maybe they had a slightly weaker technique, but they had terrific skating skills! They are phenomenal dancers.

- At the same time, they are often criticized for using the same style over and over again. That they don't want to add complexity.
- I do not really understand the essence of such claims. They have found their style. Moreover, half the world is striving to replicate this style.

As for adding complexity, this also distinguishes Russian ice dancing school from any Western one. We always try to complicate things, to add some dumb turns or transitions. It all looks heavy and static. It reminds of a 'Workers' and Peasants' style.

While the Americans or the French are gaining tremendous speed in the simplest way, and their skating looks easy and with grace. Among Russian couples only Victoria and Nikita look almost as easy right now. They are great. There is a feeling that in general they are closest to the French couple.

- At what point Russian ice dance lost it’s leading position? Are the French to blame?
Not really. For a long time the whole world had been striving to achieve the level shown by Russian (Soviet) ice dancers. I read somewhere that the crash most often occurs at the moment, when you think that you are already invincible.. You just stop developing at some point, and perhaps people involved in Russian ice dance allowed themselves to think this way. At the same time, everyone else really wanted to win, they worked very hard and eventually overtook Russian couples. Catching up is always a little easier than holding on the leader's position.
 
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starrynight

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I remember when Ruslan was with Igor the school at Novi was literally bursting at the seams. It would never have been possible for the head coach to do any more than a single private session a day. Given how many teams were there, I’m actually surprised they got an hour a day with him. I doubt each team at Gadbois could get an hour a day one on one with Marie France - there’s not enough hours in a day.

I imagine things are much different now that Novi is not as packed. And coaching isn’t a one size fits all arrangement. What some people will love others will hate and vice versa.
 

starrynight

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It was interesting to hear Ruslan’s perspective on training in one of the big crowded centres. I heard a lot in general at the time that they struggled to adjust to the hands off approach and lack of individual attention when they were used to having every aspect monitored closely by their coach.

In retrospect such an environment would not have suited Elena Illinykh at all as she was a skater that needed a lot of external motivation and monitoring. As we know she struggled to self motivate to maintain a high level while at Novi.

I can imagine it was super easy to fall through the cracks at Novi - and I imagine it’s the same for Gadbois. If you can’t independently motivate you’ll just get over run and forgotten.

But I can imagine that other skaters would enjoy the autonomy and independence. I guess there’s a lid for every pot.
 

barbarafan

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It was interesting to hear Ruslan’s perspective on training in one of the big crowded centres. I heard a lot in general at the time that they struggled to adjust to the hands off approach and lack of individual attention when they were used to having every aspect monitored closely by their coach.

In retrospect such an environment would not have suited Elena Illinykh at all as she was a skater that needed a lot of external motivation and monitoring. As we know she struggled to self motivate to maintain a high level while at Novi.

I can imagine it was super easy to fall through the cracks at Novi - and I imagine it’s the same for Gadbois. If you can’t independently motivate you’ll just get over run and forgotten.

But I can imagine that other skaters would enjoy the autonomy and independence. I guess there’s a lid for every pot.
I doubt if you could compare the 2 schools.
 

starrynight

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I doubt if you could compare the 2 schools.

How so?

Well, I'm not much of a Shpilband fan; but to be fair, Ilinykh & Zhiganshin were only there part of one off-season. (Some of which they reportedly spent injured).



Chock & Bates and Olivia Smart probably can.

I do think that North American teams and other teams who are used to this kind of training environment are probably fine. It’s what they know. But it does seem a huge adjustment to Russian skaters who are used to something very different. I know everyone thinks Gadbois is the arrival of the Messiah but I imagine that a Russian team used to a completely different system would find challenges there too due to the size and the independence required to function there.

If I recall correctly, Viktoria Sinitsina said something similar about Canton too and preferred training in Russia.
 
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Dobre

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As, I'm sure, it was quite an adjustment for North American teams to adapt to Tarasova, Linichuk, and Dubova; but it was doable over time. Part of one off-season is very little time.

There are a plethora of international teams at the top ice dance rinks from all over the world and very likely from a wide variety of systems. Tkachenko & Ucar both came out of a traditional Russian dance coaching system & appear to have adapted well as they are now coaching in North America. (Shpilband too;)). I would never wish to underestimate the challenge of moving to another country and training there. It would be a huge cultural adjustment; but a lot of dance teams do it. The Russian teams are fortunate in that they have multiple options at home and funding there.
 
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PRlady

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Med has also said that she appreciates having more freedom with Orser than she did with Eteri. Someone else making the same transition might feel abandoned by a more hands-off coach. It’s very individual.

The Soviet system in general valued control, the North American individualism and self-reliance. It’s not surprising that these values would apply to a hierarchical relationship like that of skaters and a coach. Some Europeans think American schools are too chaotic, some Americans look at the rote learning and dutiful memorization in European and Asian schools and say blech, that’s not learning to think for yourself. Cultural inheritance and habits....
 
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