From Russia With Love [#39]: Into Winter 2021

Tinami Amori

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Russian Junior Nationals are confirmed to be held Feb. 1-5, 2021, in Krasnoyarsk @ the Crystal-Arena. The article also states that all safety measures will be in place, including mask requirements, temperature testing at the entry for all, space between occupied seats, etc.
 

rfisher

Let the skating begin
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Russian Junior Nationals are confirmed to be held Feb. 1-5, 2021, in Krasnoyarsk @ the Crystal-Arena. The article also states that all safety measures will be in place, including mask requirements, temperature testing at the entry for all, space between occupied seats, etc.
Kostiukovich FTW!
 

Tinami Amori

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Anna Shcherbakova seems to be feeling fine; she is performing and doing at interview at an open GUM Rink on the Red Square. The show is "Good Morning". One of the first things the commentator asks is "why are you without a warm hat?".. :).

Alina Zagitova re-caps her year 2020 and all the events in her life during it.

Elizaveta Tursynbaeva, 2 video clips of some kind of a programme; she is at a rink in Kazhahstan. The 2nd clip's caption is "just like that" (or "for no reason").

Evgeniya Medvedeva, also at the GUM Rink, doing "Good Morning" show.

Ilya Averbuch, a "art video" from his wedding and new year's wishes.
 

Bigbird

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What happened to Ekaterina Katashinskaya? Did she outgrow her partner, too tall, injured? She no longer has a partner?

Why are all the really interesting girls leaving?
 
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What happened to Ekaterina Katashinskaya? Did she outgrow her partner, too tall, injured? She no longer has a partner?

Why are all the really interesting girls leaving?
There are no strong men to match up to her standards. She is, like you say the best junior girl at the moment, Another girl I would like to look out for is Elizaveta Pasechnik, who skates in seniors, and like Katashinskaya has a small partner.
Unfortunately such talented girls do not go far. look at what happened to Ilinykh. I fear the same might happen to Katashinskaya unless if she skates for another country just like Maria Kazakova did.
 

Bigbird

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There are no strong men to match up to her standards. She is, like you say the best junior girl at the moment, Another girl I would like to look out for is Elizaveta Pasechnik, who skates in seniors, and like Katashinskaya has a small partner.
Unfortunately such talented girls do not go far. look at what happened to Ilinykh. I fear the same might happen to Katashinskaya unless if she skates for another country just like Maria Kazakova did.
Pasechnik? Who does she skate with? Don't recall them at all. Seniors?

So EK is not searching for a new partner?

EDIT: Is she too young for Pavel Drozd? She's much more talented than Abashkina, right? They wouldn't have any issues with nationality either, not so?
 
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hanca

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There are no strong men to match up to her standards. She is, like you say the best junior girl at the moment, Another girl I would like to look out for is Elizaveta Pasechnik, who skates in seniors, and like Katashinskaya has a small partner.
Unfortunately such talented girls do not go far. look at what happened to Ilinykh. I fear the same might happen to Katashinskaya unless if she skates for another country just like Maria Kazakova did.
Yes, I can see how having a bronze in individual event and gold in team event at the Olympics may be an awful thing to happen to any skater. Let’s hope the same disaster won’t happen to Katashinskaya.
 

Bigbird

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Yes, I can see how having a bronze in individual event and gold in team event at the Olympics may be an awful thing to happen to any skater. Let’s hope the same disaster won’t happen to Katashinskaya.
Sarcasm aside, seriously, will her career end before it's even begun? What can really even be done? The ratio of girls to boys in Russian Ice Dance is around 30:1, not so? I really like Eva Kuts as well, but she's nowhere to be found now, except shows.
 
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Pasechnik? Who does she skate with? Don't recall them at all. Seniors?

So EK is not searching for a new partner?

EDIT: Is she too young for Pavel Drozd? She's much more talented than Abashkina, right? They wouldn't have any issues with nationality either, not so?
Pasechnik skates with a boy called Egor Kolosovsky and they finished thirteenth at nationals. Ted Barton praised them for their soft knees and deep edges, and that they needed more experience.
 

Willowway

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Kulik has aged so well...probably the best out of all the Russian Olympic champions.
Yes and he works hard to maintain his skills - skating almost everyday and lots of tennis (he is an accomplished tennis player). Before social distancing he was also continuing his Aikido practice regularly - the situation has limited that but he'll likely be back to it when he can be. A jump video from last month, practicing in Dallas. https://www.instagram.com/p/CJVHAgA...gp4PPOfDIH74Wn-DIAhg12uoDXCHEJSNstJXET6_GkiVs
 

hanca

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Sarcasm aside, seriously, will her career end before it's even begun? What can really even be done? The ratio of girls to boys in Russian Ice Dance is around 30:1, not so? I really like Eva Kuts as well, but she's nowhere to be found now, except shows.
Ilynikh’s career might have been relatively short, but there are many skaters who haven’t achieved gold and bronze medal at Olympic regardless how long they have tried. So what is success? Is it how long one kept trying, or is it the medals one achieved? If I should choose for myself, I would prefer the short one with the medals, rather than the long one that didn’t go anywhere. In fact, the shorter one with the medals gives the skaters options to figure out what they want to do with their lives, including university if they wish to. Whereas the long one without medals - one may suddenly realise that they are thirty, have no education, don’t know what to do with their life and wouldn’t go to university even if they wanted, because they don’t want to be dependent on their parents for another five years.

ETA: Eva Kuts is on icepartnersearch. So whatever she tried in the USA didn’t work out.
 

Cherub721

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Ilynikh’s career might have been relatively short, but there are many skaters who haven’t achieved gold and bronze medal at Olympic regardless how long they have tried. So what is success? Is it how long one kept trying, or is it the medals one achieved? If I should choose for myself, I would prefer the short one with the medals, rather than the long one that didn’t go anywhere. In fact, the shorter one with the medals gives the skaters options to figure out what they want to do with their lives, including university if they wish to. Whereas the long one without medals - one may suddenly realise that they are thirty, have no education, don’t know what to do with their life and wouldn’t go to university even if they wanted, because they don’t want to be dependent on their parents for another five years.

Apparently, it's very sad and awful when a 16 year old girl wins everything and retires, but it's good if one sticks around many years while winning less overall than that girl and having up and down seasons and dealing with injuries and illnesses, but then if they stay a moment longer than people think they should have (Leonova or Suguri) then they are considered pathetic by skating fans. :blah:
 

hanca

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I think skaters should stay as long as they wish to. I can’t see anything bad on Zagitova retiring early, or Ilynikh retiring at the age of 23. It was their call to retire. (Yes, I know Zagitova didn’t retire in theory, but I don’t think she will compete again, so she is as good as retired.)

At the same time, I don’t think it is bad if Leonova or Suguri compete forever, if they wish to, as long as this was their choice and not any external pressure from their family.
 

Cherub721

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I'm all for them skating as long as they want to. I don't think it's sad when their career ends early, unless they hadn't achieved all they wanted, like Radionova (but then again, sticking around probably wouldn't have made a difference). I have enjoyed watching skaters like Zagitova, Tuktymsheva, and Leonova with their various different types of careers.
 

hanca

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I'm all for them skating as long as they want to. I don't think it's sad when their career ends early, unless they hadn't achieved all they wanted, like Radionova (but then again, sticking around probably wouldn't have made a difference). I have enjoyed watching skaters like Zagitova, Tuktymsheva, and Leonova with their various different types of careers.
But even Radionova was the one who made the decision. There was nothing forcing her to finish her career. She could have stayed longer and try if she wanted. One never knows...people wrote off Tuktamysheva so many times and she always came back. Who would have thought that she would be the one who comes on top at this years Russian GP? So I don’t think it is right to say that Radionova didn’t have a chance. Her chance might not have been huge, but if the stars align...
 

shah

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I've finally finished watching Russian Nats and I'm more than impressed. Even with that many injury/C-19-related withdrawals, the event was superexciting.

Btw, I must ask this question as I didn't manage to find the answer anywhere - is Leonova still competing? Or just busy organising parties in the middle of the p******c? ;)
 

Bigbird

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Ilynikh’s career might have been relatively short, but there are many skaters who haven’t achieved gold and bronze medal at Olympic regardless how long they have tried. So what is success? Is it how long one kept trying, or is it the medals one achieved? If I should choose for myself, I would prefer the short one with the medals, rather than the long one that didn’t go anywhere. In fact, the shorter one with the medals gives the skaters options to figure out what they want to do with their lives, including university if they wish to. Whereas the long one without medals - one may suddenly realise that they are thirty, have no education, don’t know what to do with their life and wouldn’t go to university even if they wanted, because they don’t want to be dependent on their parents for another five years.

ETA: Eva Kuts is on icepartnersearch. So whatever she tried in the USA didn’t work out.
In my book there is nothing wrong in keeping it short and sweet, so long as you leave on your own terms. Besides you can try your hand at other opportunities.

As for Ilinykh she did great for herself. It was in large part due to her tenacity and drive and sheer beauty that they got individual bronze. Even at Sochi in their warm ups Katsalapov was flubbing his twizzles, he wasn't as impressive. The commentators called her performance flawless.

Now she has gone on to greater heights with different projects and started the family she has always dreamed of. There is nothing to feel sorry about where Ilinykh is concerned. She made some good lemonade with the lemons tossed her way, just like all of us do every single day.
 

Tinami Amori

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Btw, I must ask this question as I didn't manage to find the answer anywhere - is Leonova still competing? Or just busy organising parties in the middle of the p******c? ;)
If i am not mistaking, i think through out the past year Leonova participated in one local St. Petersburg competition, but not in any national, or let alone international events. There has been mentions of her training young skaters at local rinks. There was an interview back in March 2020, where she said that quarantine is tough on her because she is kept off the ice, she can't imagine living without ice in one way or another; her show had to be cancelled, but she performed in Liza Tuktamysheva's (local) show; she and Anton Shulepov (her husband) went on a diet/reduction of fats in their food intake; played with her dog, talked about her daily life with Anton; etc.
 

starrynight

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Ilikynk is such an interesting topic in terms of what happened with her career. I've got some thoughts in no particular order:

1. Ice dance careers aren't comparable to ladies, where the skaters peak about 10 years younger and it's just a case of going out there and reeling off ultra-c elements as quickly and as young as possible. Ice dance is a sport for adults where there are no such elements or quick routes to the top. There are no champion 15 year old ice dancers. Ladies is a sprint and dance is a marathon. So I won't start discussing the ladies as they are not relevant to ice dance.

2. I recall after the Sochi Olympics, where Ilinykh and Katsalavapov won that bronze in such style - and with such a huge helping of political push, everyone thought they'd be what Papadakis/Cizeron are now. And I agree that If I/K had been able to continue that momentum they would have won 2014 Worlds and really, really slowed down the rise of P/C.

3. However, in ice dance there is a difference between having one 'on trend' program that people hype you about and then actually sticking to the course of winning. It does actually take a couple of seasons of repeating that magic to really cement a team as champions. The big champs like Virtue/Moir, Davis/White, Papadakis/Cizeron have had to keep showing up season after season with quality.

4. There are plenty of teams that are hyped into being the 'next big thing'. Usually this happens after one great program and then a few mistakes, a bad music choice etc and the sparkle wears off. Think Hubbell/Donohue, Weaver/Poje for example. Both teams tipped for big things, but never really worked out. I think that it has caused these teams a lot of stress to be so close to a goal and have it not materialise. That's a lifetime of work there.

5. Prior to Sochi, I/K were notorious for being really hit and miss. Big mistakes out of nowhere, sloppy technical. Just before Sochi there was that Ghost program with the voice overs. So I would say that Swan Lake at Sochi may have been a result of a big political push and growing a second set of legs with a home Olympics. I would say that neither Ilinykh or Katsalapov had the discipline to buckle down for the marathon that is being true champions at the peak of ice dance.

7. Skaters can be just so lucky to get the timing right. Ilinykh is one of them. She had the skate of her life at a home Olympics and then got the resultant fame. If that skate had just happened at 2013 Worlds or something, then she'd have just been a foot note in Russian ice dance. Lucky lucky lucky.

9. So I would say that Ilinykh probably won the lottery with what she had. That experience at Sochi was extraordinary for her.

10. However, in a perfect world, Ilinykh could have been one of the great champions like an Oksana Grishuk or a Tessa Virtue etc. So the idea of that is a loss to the sport. But whether that was ever actually going to happen is questionable.

11. Ilinykh never really retired on her own terms. There was the split with Katsalapov, the partnership Zhiganshin that was marred with being out of form, underprepared and then ended acrimoniously. There was then the failed match with a much inferior Anton Shibnev. So it's not like she went out on a triumphant high. I think that she did want more.

12. As for Ilinykh now, I am a bit perturbed that she is dating someone with neo-nazi tattoos, but then I can see that the famous bad boy would be her thing. A bit of Marina Anissina in her there.
 
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mjb52

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I think 4 and 5 are critical. I went back and read some old interviews and looked at old threads awhile ago and I was surprised to realize that people's feelings about I/K were more mixed in the seasons leading up to Sochi than I had really remembered or realized. I think they hit so well at exactly the right time that it created an impression that they were destined for dominance that wasn't necessarily in tune with some of the struggles they'd had.

I think with the wisdom of hindsight, it would have been better if there hadn't been such a push to get I/K to reconsider. Of course it's understandable, because they had such promise, but I think it's part of why everything spun so out of control. When the break-up was first confirmed, people seemed to get that maybe they just weren't compatible, but as everything dragged on and on, that's when issues seemed to build up that ultimately probably made it hard for both new partnerships to get off on a strong footing.

Re: Kolyada - what a great interview! He is really thoughtful and I loved that he quoted Kung Fu Panda, a truly awesome movie. :)
 

Tinami Amori

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12. As for Ilinykh now, I am a bit perturbed that she is dating someone with neo-nazi tattoos, but then I can see that the famous bad boy would be her thing. A bit of Marina Anissina in her there.
She is not just dating him.. :). They live together and have a son. She calls Polunin his common-law husband. Business wise they are also connected. Elena closed down her and Liptnitskaya's skating academy and Polunin took it over in his name, it is now Polunin Inc.
 

starrynight

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She is not just dating him.. :). They live together and have a son. She calls Polunin his common-law husband. Business wise they are also connected. Elena closed down her and Liptnitskaya's skating academy and Polunin took it over in his name, it is now Polunin Inc.

Ah yes I know that. Turn of phrase. I should have said de facto rather than dating.

I actually looked up Marina Anissina to see what she is up to and noticed that her ex (?) Dzhigurda is giving all sorts of gross interviews to the media.
 

Ka3sha

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Elena Ilinykh is probably the most naturally gifted female ice dancer in Russia in last ten years or so. She had great skating skills, charisma, presence on the ice, everything... except the fact that she was not a great athlete when it came to long-termed goals.

Anyway, she hasn’t competed in 4 years. She is happy, skating in shows and raises her son - I see no reason to open this can of worms and start another ‘what could have been’ debate.
 
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starrynight

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Ilinykh is probably the most naturally gifted female ice dancer in Russia in last ten years or so. She had great skating skills, charisma, presence on the ice, everything... except the fact that she was not a great athlete when it came to long-termed goals.

I agree. I think that's what makes ice dance a challenge - it's how much of a marathon it is.

But everything came together like lightening in a bottle at the Olympics, the choreography of both programs, music choices, music.

Can't think of such a moment before where an ice dance time has peaked and disappeared so quickly. Of course Papadakis/Cizeron burst out of nowhere, but they did stick around.
 

Sylvia

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Olympic champion in figure skating Evgeny Plushenko posted a photo with his son Arseny on Instagram.
In other frames, Plushenko is captured in the company of his wife Yana Rudkovskaya and his three sons: 14-year-old Yegor Ermak - Plushenko's eldest son from his first marriage with Maria Ermak, 7-year-old Alexander (Sasha) and Arseny - the youngest son of Plushenko and Rudkovskaya, born on September 25, 2020 from a surrogate mother.
 

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